Ronna Colilla / Lantern photographer
Ohio State men’s soccer came up short in a game coach John Bluem called a “must win,” and the players heard about it after the match.
OSU fell to Michigan State, 2-1, on Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The loss drops OSU to 4-7-1 on the season, and 0-3 in Big Ten play.
The loss effectively erased OSU from Big Ten Conference title contention, Bluem said.
“We’re out of the conference picture completely,” Bluem said. “(We have) no chance.”
The Buckeyes returned home for their contest with the Spartans a week after losing a 3-2 heartbreaker in the final seconds of overtime at Michigan. Bluem said that he was “extremely disappointed” with his team’s effort in its first game in a week.
“It’s a group of players that’s just failing to realize what it takes,” Bluem said. “Nobody wants to work hard. We have guys that just make silly mistakes. To me, they don’t care.”
OSU played with purpose in the first half and was clearly the more aggressive side. The Buckeyes outshot MSU, 10-4, and held a 5-0 advantage on corner kicks. They could not, however, find the back of the net.
Then everything unraveled at the seams for the Buckeyes midway through the second half, as MSU scored twice in a matter of minutes.
“After halftime, we just lost it completely,” Bluem said. “They gave up out there.”
OSU was able to score in the 81st minute, when sophomore midfielder Yianni Sarris hammered home a volley for his first goal of the season.
“It is obviously a good feeling to score a goal, especially my first one here at Ohio State,” Sarris said. “I wish I could have found it sooner or that it started a comeback today.”
The score seemed to give OSU a much-needed spark, but despite several attempts to find an equalizer, it was too little, too late for the Buckeyes.
“It’s really unfortunate,” senior midfielder Austin McAnena said. “We need to concentrate for all 90 minutes, I think that was the problem today.”
McAnena said, however, that the team didn’t lack motivation, as his coach suggested.
“I think we are all motivated to play,” McAnena said. “We love to come out here and play. We want to work hard and win every game. So maybe it just didn’t pan out like we wanted it to.”
With his senior season coming to a close, and a conference championship seemingly out of reach, McAnena said he still has something play for.
“We just have to turn it around,” McAnena said. “Win the next three games in the Big Ten, that’s what we have to look forward to.”
With a chance at Big Ten success fading away, Bluem said his players be fighting for wins and the opportunity to remain on the team.
“If they don’t want to do the things that’s required to play on a team like this,” Bluem said, “then we are going to get rid of them and we are going to find new players.”
OSU is scheduled to take a break from conference play this Wednesday night when they host Bowling Green.