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Ohio State men’s soccer set to open Big Ten play at Northwestern

Binghamton junior forward Alex Varkatzas (9) slides into OSU senior midfielder Kyle Culbertson (3) for the ball during an August 30. match at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost 0-1. Photo Credit: Muyao Shen / Assist. Photo Editor

Binghamton junior forward Alex Varkatzas (9) slides into OSU senior midfielder Kyle Culbertson (3) for the ball during an August 30. match at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost 0-1. Photo Credit: Muyao Shen / Assist. Photo Editor

The Ohio State men’s soccer team is prepared to open Big Ten play in the third game of its four-game road trip at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire.

The Buckeyes are scheduled to face the Northwestern Wildcats on Friday in Bridgeview, Illinois, at 8 p.m.

OSU (1-3-0) is coming off a two-game weekend road trip in which it suffered losses against No.17 University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Navy.

The Buckeyes outplayed their opponent in the first half of the game against UMBC, but the Retrievers fought back in the second half.

OSU fought hard to try and sustain the momentum it had going to get a victory, but UMBC proved to be the better team at the end of the game with a 1-0 victory over the Scarlet and Gray.

“Against UMBC, we definitely should have won,” junior defender and co-captain Tyler Kidwell said. “I thought we had some chances and they had a few chances, but they put them away and that kind of was the difference.”

The Buckeyes looked as if the first loss of the weekend had affected them mentally going into Sunday’s match against Navy. The Buckeyes struggled to compete with the Midshipmen, as they were shutout, 3-0.

“I think maybe we were down from the tough loss Friday, and from the get-go, Navy gave a great effort and were all over us,” Buckeyes senior midfielder and co-captain Zach Mason said.

Kidwell said that despite the two losses, the team will continue to work hard to get a win.

“We have an extremely talented team, probably one of the most talented teams since I’ve been here,” Kidwell said. “We’ve just got to keep going and grinding it out.”

Mason also said that the team is confident and will be fine as long as the players and coaches stick to everything they know.

“We have all the pieces to win games and we have the philosophy so I think that as long as we stick to what we know and execute our game plans, we’ll be fine,” Mason said.  “It’s a confident bunch, it’s just a bit of a hardship, but we’ll bounce back.”

CLASS act

Mason was announced as a candidate for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award on Thursday. To be eligible for the award, a student athlete must show achievements in the following four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.

“It is truly an honor to be nominated for the Senior CLASS award,” Mason said in an online release from OSU. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a student athlete at Ohio State and extremely humbled to be considered for such a great honor.”

A committee will select the top ten finalists from a list of 30 candidates in October. Those finalists will then be placed on a ballot for a nationwide vote. One male and one female will be selected for the award and those winners will be announced at the 2015 NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Cup championships in December.

Last season, former OSU goalkeeper Alex Ivanov won the award, joining linebacker James Laurinaitis in 2008 as the two Buckeyes to win for their respective sports.

Looking ahead

Following Friday’s action, the OSU men’s soccer team is scheduled to travel to Akron, Ohio, to face the Akron Zips on Sept. 16.

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