It was a game the Ohio State men’s soccer team had to have to keep their hopes of a conference championship alive, and it was a game they got by defeating No. 24 Penn State, 2-1, on Sunday.
“We’ve kept our hopes alive,” coach John Bluem said. “There are a whole bunch of teams in the running now for it but we’re real happy for the guys. That was a great win for us.”
Under sunny skies at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the Buckeyes came out playing very aggressive and with a sense of urgency. They looked for early scoring opportunities, which finally paid off in the 14th minute of play.
The Buckeyes struck when Austin McAnena put one into the left corner of the goal. It was set up by a great outlet pass from Konrad Warzycha, who crossed the ball into the middle of the field and McAnena finished it off by giving the Buckeyes the 1-0 advantage.
For McAnena, it was his fourth goal of the year and the freshman seems to be developing into a solid player for the Buckeyes. There have been multiple times this season when McAnena has been on the receiving end of a pass into the middle of the field and several times it has ended with a Buckeyes goal.
Early in the second half, the Buckeyes added another goal. This time it was Konrad Warzycha who got his first goal of the season to give the Bucks a 2-0 lead. Sam Scales and McAnena each had an assist on the score.
“That was a great goal by Austin to get us off to the good start and then an electric goal by Konrad in the second half really made the difference,” Bluem said.
For the Buckeyes, it was McAnena, Warzycha, and Scales who provided the offense for OSU. All three were involved on both goals.
Penn State was not done, though, as the Nittany Lions tried to mount a comeback. In the 59th minute of play, Frank Costigliola kicked one from deep that somehow went into the net and cut the Buckeye lead to 2-1.
Penn State turned up the heat once they scored and had several good chances to tie the game but OSU found a way to hold them off and get the conference win.
The Buckeyes (8-3-3, 2-1 Big Ten) continue to keep pace with the top teams in the conference.
OSU will return to action on Wednesday for its last home game of the regular season. It will also be the Bucks’ last non-conference game of the season, as they face West Virginia at 5:30 p.m.