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Ohio State men’s soccer downs DePaul, 2-1

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The Ohio State men’s soccer team outlasted DePaul, 2-1, Friday night  at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

The narrow win gives OSU their first winning streak of the season, and improves their record to 3-3-1.

DePaul falls to 2-4-0.

The Buckeyes were once again led by freshman forward Louie Berra, who scored a goal for OSU for a second consecutive game.

The theme of the first half was missed opportunities, as both sides squandered chances to find the back of their opponent’s net.

OSU’s first shot on goal came in the ninth minute on a Sage Gardner free kick. The junior midfielder curled his shot from just outside the box, but floated it too high. Senior forward Chris Hegngi fared better when his shot hit twine minutes later, but he was called offside and the score remained tied.

DePaul didn’t lack for chances in the first half either. The Blue Demons attempted nine shots in the opening period, five of which were saved by junior Alex Wimmer.

Berra’s goal in the 36th minute ended a spell of missed shots, missed plays and seemingly misfortune.

Senior midfielder Austin McAnena slipped a beautiful touch pass through the DePaul backline, giving Berra a wide open shot at net. The freshman forward calmly touched the ball by the keeper for the game’s first goal.

“We worked hard to recruit Louie Berra because he is a very talented attacking player,” said OSU coach John Bluem. “He drives the offense forward, he’s a good offensive weapon for us.”

Berra is establishing himself as a catalyst for the Buckeye’s offense. He scored OSU’s winning goal last weekend against San Diego State, and also had an assist.

“It’s nice,” Berra said. “My game is starting to come together.”

The game was put away in the 89th minute on a Kenny Cunningham goal, which was assisted by Hegngi. The senior forward was able to pull opposing goalkeeper Eric Sorby out of the net while dancing around the Blue Demon defense, and found Cunningham wide-open at the top of the box. The sophomore forward drilled the ball into a wide open net, securing a Buckeye victory.

The Buckeyes weren’t able to hold onto the shutout, however, as DePaul scored in the waning seconds.

“We were all pushing out because it was the last seconds of the game,” Wimmer said. “It’s unfortunate, it happens, but we still got the win.”

Bluem said the final goal was a silly mistake, but was happy with him team’s performance.

OSU now turns its attention to Louisville, who they visit on Sept. 18.

Riding a two-game winning streak, Wimmer said that the team will enter the road game with plenty of confidence.

“With this win we go into Louisville Tuesday night with our heads up and a positive attitude,” Wimmer said.

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