After going nine straight matches without a win, seven of which were coincidentally without a goal, the Ohio State men’s soccer team (4-6-5, 0-2-2) is now riding a two-game winning streak following a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland State Vikings.
With a second half goal by freshman forward Danny Jensen, OSU now has five goals in its last two matches and has won back-to-back matches for the first time all season.
Buckeye coach John Bluem said despite a poor first half, the team stuck with it and earned a big win Sunday.
“We made the one change putting Jensen up top and bringing (junior forward) Kenny Cunningham into midfield and Danny ended up getting the goal,” he said. “A little different look there and something as little as that maybe changed it for us. They had a much more difficult time dealing with Danny than they did Kenny and that’s just how games go sometimes.”
Bluem said the team’s goal moving forward is to try and be at its best heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
“We’re experimenting. We’ve been forced to change our defense around a little bit and that’s worked out all right … and we’re finding that we can score goals,” he said. “(We have) a little bit of confidence, we now have a win streak for the first time this season, so I’m just happy for the guys,”
Jensen’s goal came when he connected with junior midfielder Ryan Ivancic’s cross to break the deadlock.
Jensen, who scored his second goal of the season, said after the match the shot was not a difficult one thanks to the help of his teammates.
“Basically, I saw the ball going into an area where there’s obviously going to be a cross,” he said. “Ivancic happened to put a ball right on my head and it was a pretty easy goal. I was inside the six yard box and you just have to put those away to win the game, I’m happy it happened. I’m happy it helped our team win, we needed that win, and overall a great play on that.”
Sunday‘s match was almost dead-even as OSU outshot CSU 9-8, while the Vikings held the advantage in corners 5-4.
Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov earned his seventh shutout in 2013 and recorded three saves on the day, putting his season total at 90.
Sophomore midfielder Zach Mason said the consecutive wins were a “long time coming” and the team will be able to use them as motivation to finish the season strong.
“We’re just going to try and keep the winning streak going all the way through the postseason and hopefully get a win in the Big Ten tournament, right out of the gate,” Mason said.
He also mentioned that having the tournament at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium will be a big advantage and the Buckeyes plan to “defend it with (their) hearts.”
The Buckeyes have five days off until they are scheduled to resume Big Ten play when No. 13 Penn State travels to Columbus Saturday. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m.