The Ohio State men’s soccer team defeated Michigan State 2-1 Sunday afternoon to improve to 6-4-1 on the year and 2-0 in Big Ten conference play. The loss drops MSU to 2-6-2 on the year.
“The Big Ten conference always ends up being a very, very close race,” OSU head coach John Bluem said after the game. “We are very happy to be off to such a good start.”
The Buckeyes started the scoring early as junior defender Chris Gomez headed a deflected free kick from sophomore forward Omar Vallejo past the MSU goalkeeper Jeremy Clark and into the net in the ninth minute.
The Spartans fired back four minutes later when freshman forward Adam Montague scored his second goal of the season on a header of his own off an assist by senior forward Domenic Barone.
OSU continued the scoring flurry in the 15th minute as junior forward and team scoring leader Chris Hegngi deposited his sixth goal of the season into the net with an assist by junior midfielder Sebastian Rivas.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult game so in the first half we got off to a good start scoring early,” Bluem said. “We allowed one and regained the lead right away. It leveled out after that.”
There were no more goals scored in the final 75 minutes of play, but there were several shots on goal by both teams. Junior goalkeeper Matt Lampson made five saves in the second half to end the game with a season-high eight. MSU held a 13-11 shot advantage.
Bluem said the team did a good job of shutting down the Spartans, but needs to do a better job defending corner and free kicks.
“We need to do a better job defending restarts,” Bluem said. “And on the offensive side we need to keep better possession.”
The game was Bluem’s 300th at the helm for the Buckeyes, and he said he has enjoyed his time coaching the team thus far.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity to be able to coach at Ohio State University,” Bluem said. “I have great assistant coaches with me and have been fortunate to work with absolutely great kids over the years.”
The Buckeyes will take a break from Big Ten play this week as they welcome in-state rival Bowling Green (7-2-1) into Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium Wednesday at 7 p.m.