Facing a top-10 opponent, the Ohio State men’s soccer team’s goalscoring on Sunday afternoon lived by a penalty kick — and ultimately died with a penalty kick.
The Buckeyes (4-5-3, 2-2-0) played a tight game throughout the 90 minutes against the No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers (8-1-3, 2-1-1), but were ultimately unable to match the play of their opponent, falling at home, 2-1.
A penalty kick by junior defender Kyle Culbertson — his second try of the day following a successful one — was knocked away with just over a minute remaining to seal the Indiana victory.
“I’m heartbroken for the guys right now, because although there were stretches of the game where we made some bad mistakes and hurt ourselves, we played well enough to win the game and I think deserved to win the game,” OSU coach John Bluem said.
The Hoosiers broke a 1-1 tie in the 78th minute with a goal by freshman forward/midfielder Jay McIntosh. Heavy pressure in front of the net allowed McIntosh to take a pass and knock it into the far-right post, where it ricocheted into the net.
McIntosh’s goal — the first of his collegiate career — came less than 50 seconds after the Buckeyes had tied the game.
An Indiana defender attempted to clear out the ball in front of his goalkeeper, but did so with his hand, granting the Buckeyes a penalty kick. The kick was taken by Culbertson, who rolled a shot to the left side of the net while Indiana sophomore goalkeeper Colin Webb dove to the right.
The goal was Culbertson’s second of the season, and seemed to turn around the momentum of the game until McIntosh’s strike seconds later.
“Their quality combined with the amount of effort we put in during the first 25 or 30 minutes, maybe we got a little bit tired,” junior midfielder Zach Mason said. “But I think it’s just something where we had moments, and they had moments, and unfortunately they took better advantage of their moments.”
With just more than a minute remaining, it was déjà vu for the Buckeyes and Hoosiers, as another handball gave the Buckeyes another penalty kick — which was again taken by Culbertson.
However, there was no such luck on Culbertson’s second try, as Webb again dove right, only this time directly to where Culbertson shot the ball. The sophomore knocked it away, sealing the win for the Hoosiers.
“That’s very hard to make two penalty kicks in one game,” Bluem said. “But we felt confident that he could do it, so we went with him, and I wouldn’t change the decision. I felt it was the right decision then and unfortunately their goalkeeper came up with a big play.”
Indiana opened the scoring early in the second half, when heavy traffic in front of the net allowed the ball to bounce out to junior forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen, who deposited the shot into the empty net.
“We defended poorly, on both goals against us today,” Bluem said. “That’s all I’ll say about that, we just defended poorly.”
The Buckeyes controlled the ball throughout the majority of the first half. However, their aggressiveness did not lead to any scoring, as three goal-scoring opportunities — two shots by sophomore forward Danny Jensen wide of the net and a rocket off the foot of senior midfielder Max Moller knocked away by a diving Webb — all went for naught.
“I think that we had the opportunity to score, myself included, and we didn’t put them away” Jensen said. “At the end of the day, you have to put those chances away to win the game against a top-10 team in the nation.”
OSU is set to have five days off before traveling to Madison, Wisc., to take on the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday. That match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.