The Ohio State men’s soccer team knew the stakes coming into Friday night. A loss meant the Buckeyes would start the season 0-5 and 0-1 in conference play.
But when the lights were the brightest, coach John Bluem’s team finally shined.
The Buckeyes were able to secure their first victory of the season on Friday night, as they beat the Northwestern Wildcats by a score of 1-0.
The team had not gotten off to a good start, scoring just one goal through their first few games with an 0-4 record to back it up.
With their first conference matchup against Northwestern looming, The Ohio State men’s soccer team knew that the time to start winning was right now.
“The Big Ten Conference season gives you that new lift,” Bluem said. “Yeah we are off to a disappointing start but now conference games is a new chance, a new shot at it.”
It looked like Ohio State would be in an unfavorable position in the early goings of the first period.
In the 25th minute, Northwestern was able to put one into the back of the net off a corner kick. Their excitement would be short lived, however, as the Wildcats were called for being offside on the play, taking the goal off the board.
The Buckeyes were eventually able to control tempo in the opening period, outshooting the Wildcats 9-1 with a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
In the 30th minute, sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed ripped a shot into the top left corner of the net, requiring a diving save by Northwestern goalkeeper Francisco Tomasino to keep the Buckeyes off the board.
After a free kick by junior forward Marcus McCrary, junior defender Niall Logue stood alone with the ball on the right side of the box, but his strong shot flew just wide left of the far post.
Ohio State continued their possession-dominating play right out of the gate after play resumed.
Just four minutes into the second period, senior midfielder Ben Fitzpatrick was able to launch a shot off Tomasino and into the back right of the net for the Buckeyes first goal of the game and first goal at home this season.
“I found a gap. Danny [Jensen] played a good ball to me,” said Fitzpatrick. “The keeper could not make the save so I got my first goal for the Buckeyes.”
Fitzpatrick, who grew up in Hilliard, Ohio, is a transfer from Urbana University. Playing for Ohio State has always been a goal of his.
“It’s surreal,” said Fitzpatrick. “Ever since I’ve been a little kid I’ve dreamed about playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Coming in and finishing my senior year here has been a really big thing for me.”
Northwestern had numerous attempts to net the equalizer, registering seven shots in the second half.
However, Fitzpatrick’s score would prove to be enough, however, as the game ended with the Buckeyes on top 1-0.
The Buckeyes outshot the Wildcats 16-8 with a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks. They move to 1-0 in conference play.
“Our attacking play certainly was better tonight than it has been in previous games. We created a lot more opportunities,” said Bluem. “Our defense was very resilient again and Parker Siegfried had a very, very good game in goal for us tonight. Glad he got a shutout.
For Siegfried, it was his first career shutout. He made two saves in the game.
Ohio State will look to make it two in a row when they take on Penn State at University Park on Tuesday at 7 p.m.