Austin McAnena scored for the second-straight game as the No. 19 Ohio State men’s soccer team beat the No. 11 Spartans of Michigan State 2-1 on a blustery afternoon Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“Coming off a good result against Akron, to get a result like this is even better,” mid-fielder Sam Scales said. “To go 2-0 in the Big Ten, we just got to keep going off this momentum and hopefully we can go 3-0 and get that Big Ten title in our hands.”
OSU coach John Bluem said it is critical for the team to keep compiling wins at home going forward.
“I think that Michigan State is a good team. They had some problems today but they’re going to figure in the conference race I think,” Bluem said. “You have to win your home games.”
With the Big Ten schedule including only three home games for the Buckeyes, each win against conference opponents is critical.
“I’m just glad that we got through it, and I think the guys gutted it out and it was a good performance, and a super goal by Austin (McAnena),” Bluem said.
McAnena’s second goal in as many games came off a set piece from goalkeeper Matt Lampson, which was misjudged by the Spartans’ defense. From the left side of the box, McAnena was able to track the ball behind the defenders and finish with his left foot into the far side of the net for the game’s deciding goal in the 64th minute.
“Matt (Lampson) just sent a great ball in. It was kind of slippery and it slipped through. I was hoping it would come through and it did, so I just put my left foot on it,” McAnena said.
Scales scored the team’s first goal with header after Chris Hegngi lofted a cross across the box, allowing Scales to put some force behind the finish to tie the game at one with 25 minutes to play in the first half.
The win pushes OSU’s record to 6-2-2 while Michigan State falls to 7-2-0. Despite being ranked No. 19, a win over the No. 11 team in the country did not feel like an upset for the Buckeyes.
“We’re both top teams in the Big Ten and we both play really well,” McAnena said. “Every game in the Big Ten every team is pretty evenly matched.”
“I’m not about rankings, to be honest,” Scales said. “If we come out everyday and compete, do the things we need to do, listen to our coaches, then we’re going to be a good team.”
The Buckeyes will have to find a way to maintain the momentum, without playing a game for another week.
OSU plays Northwestern at 1 p.m. Sunday in Evanston, Ill.