Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
The Ohio State men’s soccer team opened Big Ten play on the wrong foot, falling to the No. 15 Indiana Hoosiers, 2-0.
Sunday’s loss drops the Buckeyes to 3-5-1 on the season while the visiting Hoosiers improved to 6-1-1.
The Buckeyes opened play against the favored Hoosiers with a conservative mindset, hoping to contain the Indiana attack and make the most of their own chances, said OSU coach John Bluem after the game.
“Today we chose to play a little bit more defensively,” Bluem said. “(Indiana is) a strong attacking team. We wanted to play safe and keep ourselves in the game.”
The defensive-minded strategy worked until a costly mistake in the OSU goal in the 30th minute allowed Indiana to take the lead.
Indiana freshman Andrew Oliver’s shot was deflected and rolled past Buckeye sophomore goalkeeper Alex Ivanov, who was not able to recover and make the save.
Oliver again helped the Hoosiers find twine, drawing a penalty in the first minute of the second half. Ivanov guessed correctly on Indiana sophomore forward Eriq Zavaleta’s penalty, but the shot scorched past the sophomore goalkeeper’s outstretched arms. Indiana led, 2-0.
Bluem did not agree with the penalty call, saying it was “a very bad decision by the referee that ended the game.”
The Buckeyes abandoned their defensive mindset in their attempt to erase the two-goal deficit. OSU outshot the Hoosiers, 10-4, in the second half but were eventually held scoreless. The shutout is the second consecutive for OSU.
“We did create some good moments,” Bluem said, “and sometimes that’s all you need. We just weren’t sharp enough to get it done.”
Riding a two-game losing streak, Bluem said his team is “having a difficult time,” but is still in the mix to compete for a conference championship.
“You’re not out of this conference race at all just because you lost your first game,” Bluem said. “We played today what many people are thinking is the best team in the conference. I think we held our own against them.”
OSU will take a break from Big Ten action on Wednesday when they host Butler (2-1-4) at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.