The Ohio State men’s soccer team knew that a win on Sunday could be pivotal to its season. Despite losing its last two matches, OSU still maintained a favorable standing in the Big Ten at 2-1. If the team could register its third conference win, its hopes of winning the conference title would remain very much alive.
With No. 25 Michigan State coming to town, that proved to be no easy task.
Despite keeping it close, the Buckeyes were overmatched by the Spartans, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon, the third straight loss for the Scarlet and Gray.
“They are a veteran team,” said OSU coach John Bluem. “They have good experience everywhere. They are in a good rhythm right now. It was a very difficult team to play against.”
The opening period was all Spartans. OSU was outshot 8-2 through the first 45 minutes, seemingly unable to get out of its own defensive zone. As a result, Michigan State would get on the board first.
In the 23rd minute, Michigan State junior defender Brad Centala got the ball into the Buckeyes zone and put a shot off the crossbar. Sophomore forward Ryan Sierakowski was able to corral the rebound in front of the net and direct it in for a goal, giving Sparty a 1-0 lead.
Sierakowski’s goal would prove to be all the away team would need, as neither team would find the back of the net for the remainder of the match. For Sierakowski, it was his fourth goal of the season, all four coming as game winners.
The final 30 minutes of the match provided multiple opportunities for the Buckeyes to net an equalizer.
In the 82nd minute, OSU senior forward Danny Jensen launched a strike from right side of the net that beat the goalkeeper but did not beat the post, as it ricocheted off the left upright and out.
In the final minute, sophomore forward Abdi Mohamed floated a corner kick into the box. Junior forward Nate Kohl was able to get his head on it, but the ball floated just over the crossbar as time expired.
“We had a few chances at the very end that could have easily gone in,” said senior defender Tyler Kidwell. “The ball just didn’t bounce our way. That happens, but it’s a tough break for sure.”
Despite the loss, OSU redshirt freshman goalkeeper Parker Siegfried continued his solid season-long performance. He allowed only the one goal in the match while making three saves.
OSU has put itself in a very tough position. At 3-8 overall and 2-2 in conference, Bluem’s squad will have to head to Maryland on Friday to take on the conference-leading Terrapins.
Despite the rough season for the Buckeyes, the team is not calling it quits.
“We just have to regroup again and talk about what we are going to have to do to compete against Maryland at their place,” Bluem said. “This group keeps coming practice everyday anxious to get better, anxious to get back on the field. They haven’t given up yet.”