After Saturday’s demoralizing 2-1 overtime loss to Penn State, the Ohio State men’s soccer team (7-5-2, 2-2) dropped to sixth place in the Big Ten standings.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, their three remaining games against Oakland University (Mich.), Wisconsin and No. 1 Indiana are all at home, providing ample opportunity to gain ground in the conference.
“Oakland’s not having a great season, but a win against Ohio State is a big accomplishment for them,” OSU coach John Bluem said. “That gives them the motivation.”
OSU has lost three of its last four games after starting the season unbeaten in its first four. Whether or not the team can regain the confidence level it had in early season performances against top-ranked Louisville and Akron remains an important question.
“Obviously, winning breeds confidence,” defender Matt Gold said. “It’s been tough to be super confident going into every game when you know you’re dropping games that you should win. But we know that all hope isn’t lost.”
Forward Konrad Warzycha said the loss to Penn State will be tough to recover from.
“We’re trying to be as positive as we can,” forward Konrad Warzycha said. “Obviously that loss was tough to swallow.”
Still, Gold said the score wasn’t indicative of the way the team played.
“I think it was still a positive,” Gold said. “We saw some development in (the way) we played our opportunities. I think the goals went against the flow of the game.”
The Buckeyes have not netted more than one goal in a game since Oct. 3 against Michigan State. Bluem said the team needs more production from its forwards in the coming games if it wants to get back into winning form.
“I’m very confident that we can put together some good results here at home, keep ourselves very much alive for the NCAA Tournament,” Bluem said. “Now we’re in a situation where we’re hoping Indiana drops some points along the way for us to have a chance at the Big Ten championship.”
Although there is a lot at stake for the Buckeyes over the remainder of their schedule, Bluem maintains that the team isn’t putting any added pressure on itself.
“The pressure comes from trying to play well,” Bluem said. “We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”