Alex Ivanov seemingly can’t catch a break. Following a 10-save losing effort on Sunday, Ohio State’s redshirt-senior goalkeeper faced 12 shots on goal in Ohio State’s 3-1 loss to Akron on Wednesday night.
The Zips (4-2-1) peppered the Buckeyes (2-2-3) with an offensive onslaught that handed OSU its first home defeat of the season.
Coming off a 1-0 loss to then-No. 10 Penn State, the Buckeyes’ attempt to regain momentum was stifled by Akron’s potent attack.
“Akron’s always really good at keeping possession in the final third,” OSU junior midfielder Zach Mason said. “They’re just a dynamic team and they’re always tough to play against.”
Scoring opened 12 minutes into the match when Akron redshirt-freshman forward Sam Gainford poked a nine-yard shot past Ivanov.
The game’s first goal put OSU in a hole, senior midfielder Yianni Sarris said.
“We just need to learn that we can’t have a goal scored against us in order to wake up,” Sarris said. “We need to get at teams from the beginning and just go at them.”
The Buckeyes found an equalizer just over four minutes later when sophomore forward Danny Jensen saved a throw-in headed for the byline and curled a tight-angle shot past Akron junior goalkeeper Jake Fenlason.
Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, they fell back asleep after leveling the game.
The Zips took their second lead of the game in the 35th minute when freshman forward Stuart Holthusen fed a pass to junior forward Sean Sepe, who beat Ivanov with a choppy shot to the far corner of the net.
“Giving up that second goal kind of deflated us,” Mason said.
Akron entered halftime with a 2-1 lead, outshooting the Buckeyes, 10-6, before the break.
Aside from a couple chances, the next 45 minutes didn’t bring much for OSU in terms of offensive success.
“I think we just ran out of juice after a while,” Mason said. “That can happen when you’re down.”
The Buckeyes managed one shot on goal in the second half while the Zips posted four and stretched their lead to 3-1 in the 76th minute.
OSU junior defender Liam Doyle had a chance to make it 3-2 from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute, but Fenlason made the save to preserve his team’s two-goal advantage.
Akron generated the majority of its chances through the center of the field, something OSU coach John Bluem said he was not surprised to see.
“(Akron) is very disciplined in their attacking play,” Bluem said. “It’s hard to stop them from playing.”
Despite the result, Bluem said he was pleased with the turnout for a game played in memory of Connor Senn, a former Buckeye who passed away after collapsing during a game against Akron in 2001.
“It’s good that the tradition of this game has carried on for so long now,” Bluem said. “The students were wonderful in their support of the game tonight.”
The game was preceded by a flyover and moment of silence in Senn’s honor.
OSU looks ahead to a tough stretch of its schedule next. The Buckeyes are set to play three ranked teams in their next five games including matchups against No. 9 Louisville, No. 16 Michigan State and No. 17 Indiana.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.