Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium - The Ohio State Buckeyes return home tonight after a hugely successful road trip to the West Coast - the team went 3-0-0 with wins over ranked San Diego, 2007 national champion USC and UNLV - to host Youngstown State. The Buckeyes are 4-1-1 overall while YSU enters the contest with a 2-2-1 mark. OhioStateBuckeyes.com is blogging alfresco...from field level with the Youngstown bench to the right and the Ohio State bench to the left.
Let's pick up some of the action...
- Just spent a few moments talking to one of the officials for the game tonight. A most-pleasant individual whose real job is helping to raise money for "The James." Raising money to fight cancer...that person is a terrific individual in addition to being a most-pleasant individual.
- Starting lineups are being announced by best in the business announcer Bob Kennedy. Buckeyes are sporting the all bright white uniforms with red numbers trimmed in black. The Penguins are in candy apple red uniforms with white trim and white numbers.
- Friends of OSU soccer were just honored for their gifts of endowed scholarships.
- It will be hard pressed for anyone to find a better public address announcer than Bob "best in the business" Kennedy, who was spot on with his inflection, timing and pauses while directing the fans in a moment of silence for the lives lost and lives affected by the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy eight years ago today.
Kickoff: Here is what one notices right away when sitting 10 feet from the soccer playing field: the sound of the ball as it is getting blasted by the feet of the soccer players. THUMP. BooM. Thwap. The sound is loud.
8th minute: "Dani right, Dani right" orders team tri-captain and senior goalkeeper Taz Robertson to Danielle Scolieri, one of the team's best players the first six games of the season.
9th minute: Lauren Beachy delivers a perfect corner kick into the box that Paige Maxwell heads into the goal for a 1-0 Ohio State lead. An early goal was something the Ohio State coaches wanted to see. This is the fourth game in eight days. The coaches want goals. They want quick goals and then they want to play a lot of players.
17th minute: Paige Maxwell scores her second goal of the match and team-leading fourth of the year with assists from Lauren Beachy and Lauren Steuer.
19th minute: The first Buckeye substitutes go into the game. Liz Sullivan and Lauren Granberg replace Danielle Scoliere and Caitlyn Martin. This is why the Buckeyes are 4-1-1 and well on their way to another win: Sullivan was a 19-game starter last year who has been coming off the bench while getting over an injury. Granberg is a Canadian U-17 National Team player coming off the bench.
25th minute: Time for a tasty treat. The Buckeyes are cruising. Kayla Eckman is in the game. Super-hot point producer Genna Brand - goal and assist in the last three games - is in the game. Nervous tension is gone. And this writer has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with peanut butter on both slices of bread to keep the jelly from soaking through, in the bag...and now it's out of the bag. Nothing better than PP&J.
32nd minute: Youngstown's first substitute enters the game. So does OSU's Lauren Cusick. The two-sided peanut butter sandwich needs more jelly. The peanut butter is thick and it is hard to swallow. It is good, though. It is just a little more work than the writer expected.
37th minute: Kelsi Landry, Taylor Moront, Ali Schwach and Aly Walker are now into the game and the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is gone. The writer is looking forward to the 45th minute to get some of that delicious green apple thirst-quenching stuff the trainers - Kristen and John plus they have some student help tonight - mix up.
44th minute: "Good work, Taylor, good work, Taylor" one hears from the Ohio State bench as Taylor Moront, who has scored two goals in the last three minutes, outhustles her opponent to get to a loose ball and keep possession with Ohio State.
Halftime: Ohio State 2, Youngstown State 0. The Buckeyes leave the field first. Then the Penguins. The black-and-gold-clad officials position themselves along the sideline. And the Ohio State coaches are the last to leave. They huddle in the corner of their bench area and discuss strategy. Fifteen soccer alumni are at the game tonight and are honored on the field.
50th minute: The blogger finally got tuned back into the game after a busy halftime with discussions with two official photographers at this game, shooting it on behalf of the Ohio State Dept. of Athletics. Two photographers. That's big time. We'll post a photo gallery of images Monday. At least 24 photos so check back then.
55th minute: Three of the Ohio State coaches are enjoying the action from their seats on the bench. A fourth is standing. They deserve a 2-nothing game at this point; all that travel and games and wins and excitement of a 3-win-no-loss road trip still percolating in their minds and bodies. They'll enjoy having a week to prepare for the North Texas game next Friday, too.
58th minute: Speaking of standing up and sitting down: the soccer players on both benches stand all the time. They don't seem to ever take a seat.
60th minute: The photo at the top of the page is from tonight.
61st minute: Buckeyes' Paige Maxwell scores her third goal of the game. A natural hat trick and the second of her career. Three goals ties the school record and Paige becomes the second Buckeye to score three goals in a game twice. Lisa Suttmiller was the first. The assist is under review. A sleepy second half has just become terribly, terribly exciting.
68th Minute: Lauren Granberg plants a drive from about 15 yards into the back of the net with Lauren Steuer getting her second assist of the game. Here comes that "Lauren-itis" thing again.
71st Minute: Buckeyes are hitting on all cylinders and it is safe to write they are about to go 5-1-1 on the season. Nice work, team. Nice teamwork, team.
73rd Minute: Lauren Granberg, again, for her second goal of the match and third of the year. Ali Schwach on the assist this time. Buckeyes lead, 5-0.
75th Minute: Lauren Granberg exits the game and gets high-fived from every coach.
78th Minute: Freshman Kendyl Reed scores off an assist from Brooke Taylor. These Buckeyes are finishing off a delightful evening of soccer in style.
80th Minute: Blogging fatigue is setting in. It's hard work thinking of words and phrases and descriptions...adjectives...in real time during the run of play. Nothing that a bit of statistical analysis can't cure. Here's a good stat: Lauren "Taz" Robertson is zeroing on her school record 23rd career shutout, breaking the record of 22.5 set by Amber Barnes between 1997-2000.
Final Score: Ohio State 6, Youngstown State 0. Buckeyes improve to 5-1-1. Taz gets the school record 23rd career shutout. Paige Maxwell kicks the doors of "Maxwell's house" in with three goals from in close. Buckeyes outshoot Penguins 25-2.
Final Thoughts: Ali Schwach was the Players' Choice for Player of the Game. Congratulations to Ali, a young lady who brings great effort and spirit to the team every day. Coach Lori Walker and the team will take a few days off now before beginning preparation for North Texas next Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.