The Ohio State men’s soccer team defeated No. 17 Michigan State, 3-2, Saturday night.
The win moved the Buckeyes up to No. 2 in the Big Ten standings behind undefeated Penn State.
“I am just really happy for our guys. They really put a lot of hard work in this year and we deserved this kind of success,” OSU coach John Bluem said following the game. “I think we’re a good team and I think we can cause some teams a lot of problems. We bend but we don’t break.”
Freshman forward Marcus McCrary scored his first career goal in the 15th minute to give OSU the early lead.
“It’s been 10 games and I finally got the goal I’ve been looking for,” McCrary said of cracking the score sheet. “I took a touch one-on-one with the keeper, and I just hit it on target.”
Bluem said he was happy to see his young player contribute to the team’s success.
“(McCrary’s) confidence was starting to wean a little bit so maybe this gets him going,” he said. “He’s a dangerous player for us.”
After more than 45 scoreless minutes, Michigan State tied the game in 63rd minute. But less than 10 minutes later, OSU senior midfielder Yianni Sarris answered back as he gained possession in the box and buried the ball in the back of the net with his right foot.
“I was lucky to catch a break there and put one in the back of the net and from there our confidence grew,” Sarris said.
The goal was Sarris’ team-leading fourth of the season, and he said doesn’t plan on stopping there.
“Don’t take the foot off the pedal, I scored four goals and I’m going to keep going,” Sarris said.
Less than two minutes later, the Buckeyes scored again when junior defender Liam Doyle pushed the team’s lead to 3-1 with his goal off of a free kick. His shot from 30 yards out deflected off a Michigan State player’s head before hitting the back of the net.
But the Spartans didn’t give up there. Redshirt-senior forward Tim Kreutz scored in the 76th minute to get the Spartans back in the game, down by just one.
Michigan State looked for a goal to tie the contest, but the Buckeyes weren’t letting anything past redshirt-senior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov.
“It was a nerve-wracking 10 minutes, but we got through it and it will make use stronger for the next time,” Doyle said.
Despite the upset victory, Bluem said he was looking for ways the Buckeyes could improve going forward.
“One of the things we are trying to work on is our speed of play in the attacking end of the field,” Bluem said. “In order to score goals against the level of competition we are playing against, we have to play fast.”
The Buckeyes are set to head to Rochester, Mich., later this week to play Oakland on Wednesday at 7 p.m.