It might have taken seven overtime periods, but the Ohio State men’s soccer team finally grabbed its first victory of the 2014 season.
OSU opened its season with a double-overtime scoreless draw against the University of California Davis before going to two more overtimes in its next game against Butler.
The Buckeyes (1-0-3) experienced a familiar feeling with a 1-1 draw in double overtime against tournament host University of North Carolina-Wilmington on Friday night before achieving that elusive first victory against Elon University, 1-0, in single overtime Sunday.
Sunday’s win came when junior forward Joao Ehlers fired the golden goal past senior Elon goalkeeper Nathan Dean about 2.5 minutes into the overtime period. Ehlers a Brazilian native made his OSU debut Friday night after transferring to the school from the University of the Cumberlands this season.
Redshirt-senior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov made four saves for his 10th career shutout and the second shutout of the season. Ivanov has started all four games this year, allowing 0.75 goals per game.
OSU was outshot 14-10 by Elon (2-2-0), including 9-4 in the second half, but Ehlers’ shot was the only one of overtime — and the only one it needed.
The game was delayed for just under 90 minutes during the 55th minute because of lightning in the area.
In Friday night’s contest, OSU spent the majority of the game playing protection. UNC-Wilmington outshot the Buckeyes, 19-8, including 4-0 in the two overtime periods, but OSU did not break.
The scoring was opened with OSU’s first shot of the game during the sixth minute when senior midfielder Yianni Sarris took a pass from his left from sophomore forward Danny Jensen and shot inside the right post for his second goal of the season.
The rest of the first half saw a flurry of attacks from UNC-Wilmington, but Ivanov stopped three shots to keep it scoreless.
The OSU goalie didn’t experience quite the same amount of success in the second half, as Seahawks sophomore forward Freddy Nzekele took a header off of a free kick in the 65th minute and put it past Ivanov to knot the score at one.
Chances were sparse throughout the rest of the second half, and the Buckeyes once again headed to overtime.
Offense was hard to come by throughout the two overtime periods, but Ivanov stepped up with about five minutes remaining in the game when he made a diving stop on a penalty kick to save the game.
The Buckeyes have yet to play a game ending in regulation time, but were still able to pick up the win they were searching for through the season’s first three games. Jensen said earlier in the week that getting a win is “basically all that’s on our minds right now.”
The team is set to return home to open Big Ten play against Northwestern on Sunday. That game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.