The impressive season for the Ohio State men’s soccer team continued on Saturday after senior midfielder Kyle Culbertson’s overtime goal gave the Buckeyes a 1-0 victory over Penn State.
OSU moved on to the Big Ten tournament semifinals following the win.
“It took a great goal and a great individual effort by Kyle Culbertson to beat them,” OSU coach John Bluem said.
OSU and Penn State were both coming into the match wanting revenge, because the last time the two met back on Sept. 20, the game ended in a tie.
The Nittany Lions surprised the top-seeded Buckeyes, though, as they came out of the gates with a lot of energy and an attacking attitude.
The Buckeyes struggled a little in the first half but were able to keep the Nittany Lions off the board.
“Penn State’s players were fantastic,” Bluem said. “Their spirits were great, their soccer was very good, and it wasn’t until the second half we were able to finally start getting on top of them a little bit.”
The best look of the first half came from OSU junior defender Austin Bergstrom in the 10th minute, but a huge save by Penn State junior goalkeeper Evan Finney kept the match scoreless.
OSU senior goalkeeper Chris Froschauer had a solid first half, including a huge save in the 14th minute to prevent the Nittany Lions from scoring.
OSU and Penn State continued to go back and forth, but the two squads trotted into the locker rooms for halftime deadlocked at 0-0.
“Penn State is good and I think they came out fighting in the first half,” Culbertson said. “We came out, for whatever reason, and weren’t playing at our best. We knew that coming into halftime we had to regroup.”
The Buckeyes definitely showed a lot of improvement heading into the second half, matching the intensity of the Nittany Lions for the remainder of the game.
In the 67th minute, it looked like the game was about to open up when OSU junior forward Christian Soldat created a shot opportunity, ripping a shot at the goal, but it missed sailed too high, hitting the crossbar.
The luck of the crossbar kept the underdog Nittany Lions in the game against the regular-season conference champions.
The Nittany Lions had a chance of their own to open the game up when freshman forward Dayonn Harris got loose with the ball, but as he sent across a pass, Froschauer charged forward to impede the attempt.
No goals were scored for the rest of play, meaning the quarterfinal match needed extra time to determine a winner.
Just three minutes into the overtime, Culbertson sealed the deal for the Scarlet and Gray after he knocked in the golden goal off his own deflection.
“The first shot was blocked and somehow went off my chest,” Culbertson said describing the play. “It kind of fell nicely and I just tried to get it on frame, far post, and was able to sneak it by the keeper.”
Overall, shots were 22-10 in favor of the Buckeyes, while the Scarlet and Gray also led 12-7 in the corner.
Froschauer had another strong game, racking up a total of four saves, while improving to 12-5-2 on the season.
The Buckeyes advanced to the semifinals, where the team is set to square off against Rutgers. The last time the two programs met on the pitch, on Oct. 25, the Scarlet Knights derailed OSU’s eight-game winning streak.
That match, however, was in Piscataway, New Jersey. Now, the two teams will meet on OSU’s turf.
The first kick between Rutgers and OSU is set for 1 p.m. on Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.