The thought of sudden-death overtime in a soccer match would seem an uninviting proposition to some, but not the Ohio State men’s soccer team.
OSU claimed its third overtime victory of the season Sunday afternoon after defeating Penn State on Senior Day at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
After 90 minutes of scoreless action, the Buckeyes needed just less than six minutes in overtime to defeat the Nittany Lions, 1-0, and improve their Big Ten record to 3-1-0.
“The dream of being Big Ten champions is still alive,” said head coach John Bluem. “We knew what we needed to do, and it was the last opportunity to get a result here at home for the seniors.”
Senior forward Parnell Hegngi stole the ball from a Penn State defender and passed it ahead to a sprinting junior midfielder Austin McAnena.
“At first I saw (Hegngi) right when he stole it; it was a great steal,” McAnena said. “Then I saw kind of a little lane I could run to so I just go at it full speed. He played me a nice ball.”
McAnena took the pass and shot the ball towards PSU goalkeeper, freshman Andrew Wolverton. The freshman misplayed the shot as the ball went through his hands and rolled across the goal line for the Buckeye victory.
“I hit it a little off,” McAnena said. “I thought the keeper had it at first so I was kind of a little hesitant. Then all of the sudden I just kept seeing it go and from there I was just really stoked.”
The goal came in front of the student section on the south side of the stadium and the players immediately began celebrating the victory with fans.
On Sept. 25, the Buckeyes defeated Michigan in front of the newly added student section in overtime.
Hegngi said it was a “good vibe” to score in front of the fans.
“It was great,” Hegngi said. “It was just like (against) Michigan. It was good to go celebrate with them right away.”
Ohio State has played in four overtime contests this season with a record of 3-0-1 in those contests. They defeated Bowling Green on Oct. 5 and tied Valparaiso last Sunday.
“We’ve had a couple overtime games and come out with two wins out of them recently,” McAnena said. “I was just glad we could get the victory.”
Despite the victory, OSU was outplayed in a couple major categories. Penn State outshot OSU 19-11 for the contest and also held an advantage on corner kicks 10-3.
Junior goalkeeper Matt Lampson finished the contest with six saves.
“I think we were outplayed through some stretches of the game, but a good counter-attack at the end and a nice goal, so we walk away (with the win),” Bluem said.
The team cannot celebrate for long though as a Wednesday road contest against Oakland University awaits it.
Two games against conference games will follow as the Buckeyes travel to Wisconsin next Sunday and Indiana on Nov. 5 to finish their regular season.
“If we want to make the NCAA tournament, we have to believe that there is an outside chance that we can still get there,” Bluem said.
The Buckeyes (8-5-2) will kick-off their game against Oakland at 7 p.m.