In a game the Ohio State men’s soccer coach John Bluem said was embarrassing, the Buckeyes fell to Northwestern, 3-2, for their first conference loss of the year.
After falling behind 3-0 with 32 minutes to play, the Buckeyes scored two goals in the final 16 minutes of the game.
Junior forward Chris Hegngi scored on a penalty kick in the 74th minute, and added his second goal of the game in the 82nd minute off a crossing pass by sophomore forward Omar Vallejo.
OSU had chances late to tie the game, but the Northwestern defense came up with the stops they needed to preserve the win.
While OSU head coach John Bluem said he was happy to see his team rally late and score twice, he was not pleased with his team’s overall performance.
“We were thoroughly outplayed today,” he said. “(Northwestern) just embarrassed us. That was one of the worst performances by an Ohio State team in my 15 years here.”
The three goals scored by Northwestern tie a season high in points given up by the Buckeyes.
Northwestern’s first goal came off a corner kick in the 35th minute. Sophomore forward Reed Losee received the ball to the left of the goal, headed it to junior midfielder Chris Ritter, who headed the ball past OSU’s junior goalie Matt Lampson.
The Wildcats scored again in the 47th minute when senior forward Oliver Kupe took a cross from junior midfielder Kyle Schickel and headed it into the back of the net. Schickel scored their third goal in the 57th minute.
The Buckeyes had multiple scoring opportunities throughout the game, but failed to finish.
Hegngi had six shots, including two-in-a-row inside the Northwestern box that were blocked by Wildcats’ freshman goalie Tyler Miller in the 53rd minute.
Hegngi said the Buckeyes left a couple goals on the field.
“We know, especially with teams that work hard like Northwestern, we have to capitalize on our opportunities, and we failed to do so at the beginning of the game and the end of the second half,” he said.
Chris Hegngi’s brother, senior midfielder Parnell Hegngi, also had a missed scoring opportunity.
In the 14th minute, Parnell Hegngi broke free and got the ball to the top of Northwestern’s box and fired a shot, but it missed wide to the right.
The loss was the first for the Buckeyes in Big Ten play this season.
Senior defender David Tiemstra said the Buckeyes need to be better mentally in order to regain the momentum OSU built up during their first two Big Ten wins.
“We really didn’t come out today with the intensity you need in Big Ten play,” he said. “It really let us down today.”
Chris Hegngi is confident the loss won’t affect his team’s play going forward.
“I don’t think we’ll lose any momentum. (Northwestern is) a good team and they had a good result today,” he said. “But as soon as the game is over, we forget about it and go back to working towards the Big Ten Championship,”
The Buckeyes (7-5-1, 2-1) will travel to Indiana to play Valparaiso University (5-5-2) Oct. 16, before returning to Big Ten play to face Penn State Oct. 23 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m.