The struggles for the Ohio State men’s soccer team (2-6-3, 0-2) have continued against rival Michigan, as the Buckeyes fell to the Wolverines 1-0. It was the fourth consecutive match in which OSU has failed to net a goal.
Nearly 1,000 fans were in attendance for the game Sunday, and members of the Ohio State Marching Band were present for the rivalry matchup. Buckeye senior defender and captain Sage Gardner said the support of the fans and the band was great for the team.
“It’s always awesome here at (Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium) and having that big of a crowd — especially against Michigan — just pumps us up,” he said. “It’s tough we couldn’t get the result today, though.”
Gardner said it will be important to keep the spirits of the younger guys high as the team still has the majority of its in-conference games yet to play in addition to the Big Ten Tournament scheduled to be held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in November.
“I don’t remember how many games we have left, but the majority of them are Big Ten and the season is still not over,” Gardner said. “We can turn things around easily by giving (the younger guys) motivation with a Big Ten Championship ring and with the Big Ten Tournament being here.”
A 25th minute goal for Michigan (4-3-3, 1-1) was all it took for the Wolverines to leave Columbus with a victory.
Sophomore forward James Murphy scored his third goal of the season for the Wolverines from the middle of the box, giving Michigan a 1-0 lead. Murphy’s shot went into the upper left corner of the net after he receiving a pass from Michigan junior midfielder Marcos Ugarte.
OSU took 11 of its 15 shots in the second half but was unable to capitalize. The lack of scoring has become an unfortunate, yet familiar trend with this Buckeye team, OSU coach John Bluem said.
“We have to elevate our intensity throughout the game,” Bluem said after the loss. “I think we may have to start looking at some different combinations and getting some other players a chance to play because we can’t seem to get it done with the players we are putting out there.”
With just more than five minutes left in the match, the Buckeyes fired multiple shots, including two by junior midfielders Alec Lowell and Yianni Sarris. Lowell’s shot was high and sailed over the goal and the shot by Sarris was blocked by Wolverine redshirt-junior goalkeeper Adam Grinwis.
OSU freshman forward Danny Jensen gave the Buckeyes one final chance to send the game into overtime when his header sailed toward the goal with just more than a minute left in play, but it was saved by Grinwis.
Buckeye redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov said the team must stay positive moving forward. He called the team’s next game against Michigan State a “must-win.”
“Well, we are 2-6-3 now and well, we have nothing to lose,” Ivanov said. “We got six guaranteed regular season games left, so the motivation there is to capture as many points out of those six games as we can and you always got to be looking forward.”
OSU is set to play its next match in East Lansing, Mich., against Michigan State Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.