After winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships, the Ohio State men’s soccer team earned the No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.
“[Our four seed] is recognition of the season,” coach John Bluem said. “The run we had at the end of the season, winning the Big Ten regular season championship, the Big Ten conference championship, beating the teams we did. At the end of the season our RPI kept getting better and better.”
Because of that run put together by the Buckeyes, they earned the highest seed in program history, guaranteeing them a bye in the first round of tournament play.
Bluem marks an Oct. 25 2-0 loss to Wisconsin as one of the games that was important in going forward.
“We lost that game at Wisconsin. Then we won four straight games since then against the best teams on our schedule,” Bluem said. “The team found a nice rhythm and the wins have just improved the confidence and belief this team has in itself.”
OSU has been playing well in its last four games, starting with a win against Indiana and ending with a win against Penn State for the conference tournament championship.
The Buckeyes also beat archrival Michigan to grab the Big Ten regular season title and defeated Indiana once again in the semifinals.
With that win they became the first team ever to defeat Indiana twice in one season.
OSU must now sit and wait until its game, which will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes will await the winner of Drake vs. Western Illinois matchup on Thursday night.
“We’ve been working with them to keep their heads on straight [and] take it one game at a time, which they’re going to need to do.” Bluem said. “Anyone in the tournament is going to be good enough to beat you. You’re going to have to respect all your opponents and it will be very important to get a hold on this team’s ego and keep it in check.”
For the Buckeyes, it’s their third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and seventh in program history.
All appearances have come under Bluem’s coaching. He has been with the Buckeyes for 12 seasons.
Elsewhere in the tournament, Akron earned the overall No. 1 seed, followed by Wake Forest and Virginia with the second and third.
The top four teams in the tournament will have home-field advantage throughout the tournament, assuming they continue to win.
At the end of the 48-team playoff, the four remaining teams will advance to the College Cup held at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
The farthest the Buckeyes have ever advanced in the tournament was in 2007, when they lost to Wake Forest in the College Cup Final.