The Ohio State men’s soccer team overcame a late rally by rival Michigan for an emotional 3-2 win in overtime Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“It was a great win, a very emotional win and nice to do it in front of our fans here at home and in front of the student section,” head coach John Bluem said after the game. “But we have to play better than we did today that’s for sure.”
Junior midfielder Austin McAnena notched his second goal of the season in the 16th minute off of an assist by sophomore forward Omar Vallejo to put OSU up 1-0.
Ohio State would hold the 1-0 lead until the 81st minute when sophomore midfielder Fabio Pereira of Michigan scored on an assist by junior midfielder Latif Alashe. Four minutes later, Michigan took a late lead with an unassisted goal by sophomore forward Ezekial Harris.
With less than five minutes left to play, OSU senior midfielder Parnell Hegngi knocked a header into right side of the net on a long throw-in by freshman midfielder Adam Gorski to tie the game.
“We realized it wasn’t the first time all year that we’d been down; we had risen up against teams all year,” said junior forward Chris Hegngi after the game. “We kinda collectively gathered together and realized that we had five minutes left…we rose up together and did it.”
Bluem said there was no time to give the team a pep talk after Michigan had rallied to take the lead.
“There wasn’t a lot we could do and say to them, we changed the lineup as best we could to push people forward and then we got the equalizer,” Bluem said. “Now the momentum was back on our side.”
The Buckeyes would need just 34 seconds in overtime to send the Wolverines packing.
Vallejo added his second assist on a pass to Chris Hegngi from the right side of the field and Chris Hegngi sent the ball into the right side of the net past goalkeeper Adam Grinwis as the redshirt freshman charged the ball.
“I saw the keeper charge out a little bit and I thought I had a chance to hit it,” Chris Hegngi said. “It worked out I was very fortunate.”
Chris Hegngi and his teammates celebrated the win with the student section. It was the first overtime victory for the Buckeyes since their 1-0 win over Valparaiso on Oct. 17, 2010.
Bluem said the team has a lot to work on before its next contest.
“Just about everything,” Bluem said. “Mostly defending. Akron is a very, very good team. We’re going to have to really be organized and all on the same page defensively when we go up there.”
Michigan fell to 2-7-1 as OSU improved to 5-3-1.
The Buckeyes travel to Akron (5-0-2) Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. match.