Tim Kubick / For the Lantern
Despite the hardships its faced, there’s no quit in the Ohio State men’s soccer team. OSU coach John Bluem hasn’t seen evidence of that, anyway.
It’s hard to deny the obstacles OSU has faced. Early in the season, it was injuries. Recently, it was the Buckeyes’ 3-2 overtime loss at Michigan that has set the team back. The loss also dropped the Buckeyes’ record to 4-6-1 on the year. With a week between games, OSU is using its time away from game action and on the practice field to right itself.
OSU’s next Big Ten Conference test will come Sunday at home against Michigan State.
“I’m satisfied with the work of most of the guys at practice,” Bluem said. “I don’t see anybody that’s quit. They all want to be successful still. They all want to win games and they’re all trying their best. This week will be very good for us, a little time off to catch up on some injuries that have been bothering us.”
OSU senior co-captain and midfielder Austin McAnena agreed that time off will help the team rest up.
“Everyone’s been working hard, and there have been a lot of guys in and out,” McAnena said. “We’re a deep team, and any guy that comes off the bench could be a starter one day.”
Some OSU players have taken advantage of the injury problem, said junior co-captain defender Sage Gardner.
“I think the guys injured at the beginning of the year are starting to improve their fitness, and that’s the key,” Gardner said. “I think they’ve all contributed pretty well.”
With plenty of team depth, McAnena said he sees more players coming back as opportunities for players to get on the field remain.
Gardner agreed, saying that the more healthy players there are, the better off everyone will be.
“We need pretty much everybody now, everybody that we can have healthy because we’re starting to get into the real meat of the season, with the rest of the Big Ten coming up,” Gardner said.
McAnena said having different players come back throughout the season is better for the team as a whole.
“Every guy that comes off the bench gives us a spark,” he said.
OSU’s match against the Spartans (3-6-1) is scheduled to kick off Sunday at noon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.