The Ohio State men’s soccer team fell to the Dayton Dutch Lions of the USL Pro league Tuesday, but the final score of the game was secondary.
The Dutch Lions defeated OSU, 3-1, in the 10th annual Connor Senn Memorial Match at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The yearly match commemorates the life of former Buckeye Connor Senn, who died Sept. 26, 2001, from a congenital heart defect during a game against Akron.
During the halftime ceremony, a $50,000 check was presented in Senn’s name to Dr. Richard Gumina, director of interventional cardiovascular research at the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.
OSU coach John Bluem said he was honored to be a part of the fundraising efforts in Senn’s name.
“We’ve been pleased to have the support of the community and to be able to raise so much money over the years,” he said.
Bluem said Senn’s father, Dr. Lance Senn, was grateful for the donation in his son’s name.
“This is a tough day for him to come over here and it brings back not-so-pleasant memories for him,” Bluem said. “He’s excited about the future.”
Before honoring Senn and his family at halftime, the Buckeyes attempted to pay homage to Senn with their on-field performance.
Junior forward Joshua Breto registered two shots on Dutch Lions goalkeeper Brian Visser just minutes into the contest. The second of Breto’s shots came in the ninth minute. It caromed off the inside post of the Dutch Lions’ goal and went out of bounds.
Just one minute later, freshman forward Omar Vallejo forced a kick save after firing a side-angle shot on Visser.
The Buckeyes defenders also did their part in honoring Senn on the field, containing Dayton’s offense for nearly the entire first half before ratcheting up the pressure just minutes before halftime.
In the 36th minute, Dayton midfielder Joel DeLass ripped a shot from 12 yards away from the OSU net, but Buckeyes goalkeeper Matt Lampson was able to control the shot.
In the 41st minute, DeLass broke in on goal alone but pulled up at the top of the of the OSU penalty area and fired his shot wide of Lampson’s net.
The final two minutes of the half featured an offensive burst from both teams.
Dayton defender Joe Tait was tripped in the Buckeyes’ penalty area in the 44th minute, drawing a penalty kick. Tait took the penalty himself, knocking it passed Lampson to give the Dutch Lions a 1-0 lead.
About a minute later, OSU sophomore defenders Chris Gomez and Ben Killian collaborated for a goal to tie the game.
After earning a corner kick with just seconds to play in the half, Gomez volleyed the long crossing pass back across the goal to Killian, who headed the ball just under the crossbar to tie the score, 1-1, as halftime arrived.
When play resumed in the second half, the Dutch Lions came out firing.
Dayton attacking midfielder Marvin van der Pluijm dribbled through several Buckeyes defenders inside the OSU penalty area. The ensuing shot from van der Pluijm was deflected, but fell to midfielder Mikael McNamara, who slipped the ball under Lampson to score, giving the Dutch Lions a 2-1 lead in the 59th minute.
OSU began to substitute out its starters in the 65th minute, and Dayton took control of the game.
A Dutch Lions corner kick in the 82nd minute resulted in a loose ball in the Buckeyes’ penalty area. Dayton forward Kolby LaCrone collected the ball and chipped it over OSU substitute goalkeeper Alex Wimmer to extend Dayton’s lead to 3-1.
Dayton went on to win by the same score.
Even though momentum shifted to Dayton after a series of substitutions, Bluem said he was satisfied with his team’s performance.
“We wanted to allow everybody to play in the game tonight,” Bluem said. “They played well, and the guys that came off the bench gave a good account of themselves.”
Killian said he was disappointed with the result of the game but enjoyed playing against a professional club for a cause that is close to his heart.
“I think we did pretty well,” Killian said. “(Dayton) played well and you gotta give it to them too, but it feels good to be able to play in a game and raise money for (Connor) and remember the moment and remember the tragedy that happened to him.”
Columbus Crew defender Danny O’Rourke, a childhood friend of Senn’s, attended Tuesday’s game and signed autographs for fans. Despite the Crew not competing in the match for the first time in the event’s history, O’Rourke said he was happy to play a small role in this year’s edition.
“We’re still disappointed that the Crew wasn’t officially involved in the game, but we don’t want to take away from what this game really means,” O’Rourke said. “His name will be able to live on.”