The Ohio State men’s soccer team is looking to continue its recent improved play as it hits the road to face off against No. 4 Louisville on Tuesday night.
The Buckeyes looked revitalized during their two-game home stretch, as they dominated Oakland 3-0 and battled No. 7 Indiana to a 2-2 draw.
“It started really with the Maryland game where we played really well,” coach John Bluem said. “We lost 2-0, but the spirit of the guys and the desire to fight right to the last minute started in that game and carried over.”
Despite not coming away with the win against the Hoosiers, the draw did have an effect on OSU’s confidence going into the game against the Cardinals.
“Louisville is a team we know is very good,” said junior forward Nate Kohl. “We should have beaten Indiana. I think we had the chances. But they beat Louisville last week so it helps us to know it is totally doable to beat Louisville tomorrow.”
At 9-3-2, Louisville has had a very impressive season. They have beaten a number of highly ranked opponents, including 1-0 victories over No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 3 Syracuse.
Much like Maryland, the Cardinals have dominated opponents when it comes to scoring. Louisville has outscored its competition 26-8, which averages to 1.86 goals per games.
Louisville is led by forward Mohamed Thiaw. The 6-foot-2 junior from Lexington, Kentucky, has found the back of the net nine times this season, while adding an assist to give himself a team-leading 19 points.
The Cardinals come into the game on a two-game losing streak, with losses to Indiana and at No. 7 Wake Forest. The Indiana game was Louisville’s only loss at home this year, playing to a 6-1-1 record at Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Stadium.
For the Buckeyes, guys will continue to have to step up to fill the shoes of a couple of starters who remain sidelined with injuries.
“There’s a lot of guys on the team now who are seeing minutes that didn’t really in the beginning of the year,” said senior forward Ben Fitzpatrick. “With a team of only 23 guys, depth can be an issue, but I think we have done well with finding roles for everyone. It is going to be important for everyone to make an impact on the game.”
While the season has not gone all too well for OSU, the team continues to stress it is better than the record indicates. The team feels that if a few bounces go its way Tuesday night, it can upset the Cardinals.
“This season we have needed a bit of luck,” junior defender Niall Logue said. “It has been on our side, and it’s also not been on our side. We feel like we can take anyone in this league. We just need the luck and the confidence.”