The No. 16 Buckeyes’ men’s soccer team (7-4-2) beat Valparaiso 1-0 in overtime on a sun-splashed Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial stadium, ending their two-game losing streak.
Ohio State dominated the game but failed to convert numerous scoring opportunities.
“We knew we needed a good result today, we knew we needed to stop the bleeding from those two losses,” coach John Bluem said. “Hopefully we would have done it in regulation.”
Konrad Warzycha scored the game-winning goal in the 96th minute after a defensive lapse from the Crusaders. They failed to clear the ball from the middle of the box, allowing Parnell Hegngi to find Warzycha just to the left to finish the score in the top-left corner of the goal.
“It felt like the weight of the world was off our shoulders,” Warzycha said. “We played good, we just couldn’t get one in the net. We had lots of shots.”
OSU controlled time of possession and had 23 shots to Valparaiso’s 12. Despite the winning effort, Bluem did not seem pleased about his team’s inability to finish.
“That’s been the m.o. of our team so far. We’re not as good as we need to be in the final third. We had a lot of possession today,” Bluem said. “It puts a lot of pressure on your defending.”
After losing to Northwestern and University of Illinois Chicago, OSU placed importance on Sunday’s performance to get things going with crucial conference games ahead. Although Bluem was discouraged with the Buckeyes’ inability to take advantage of scoring opportunities, he was pleased with the result.
“I think we were the better team today,” Bluem said. “The guys are happy, they’re relieved and we got a win. It keeps everything alive for us and it’s a good confidence builder going into next weekend for the important conference game with Penn State.”
Warzycha has confidence in his teammates.
“I think we’re getting our chances. Keeping good concentration, I think, is more what we need,” he said. “We’ll get our chances and finish them, I know that.”
Bluem said he started the game with two forwards but later had to make lineup changes after seeing his team struggle to score.
Warzycha’s goal was his fifth of the season as he continues to lead the Buckeyes in scoring. OSU takes on Penn State next Sunday at 3 p.m. in University Park, Pa.