Ronna Colilla / Lantern photographer
Although Ohio State’s men’s soccer team hasn’t had the winning season they originally hoped for, two of their last three games are at home, leaving the team with some confidence.
Their next challenge will be taking on Akron at home Tuesday.
“We feel confident. We had a great week of practice this past week, everybody’s buzzing and very energetic, ” said senior forward Chris Hegngi. “We’re going to give it our best shot and I think we’re going to come away with a great result.”
With five of their six wins this season coming at home, the Buckeyes have reason to feel positive about another home victory.
Although the Buckeyes fell to the Zips last September, 3-1, coach John Bluem feels that a short turnaround from Friday’s victory against Wright State will be beneficial.
“First we’re going to rest, to try to get our legs back under us,” Bluem said. “Then we’ll try to prepare for Akron. They’re a very good team, they’re nationally ranked, they have very good players and a very good speed of play.”
Riding an eight game win-streak coming in to Columbus, the No. 3 Zips only have one loss this season.
But junior captain Sage Gardner doesn’t see need for concern as long as the Buckeyes connect.
“We have to work hard to communicate and stay together defensively,” the defender said.
Gardner said OSU’s 2-1 win against Wright State at home on Friday might prepare them when Akron comes to town.
“(That) was a good stepping stone into the Akron game because they’ll probably have a majority of possession,” he said.
With Akron’s coach Caleb Porter having the highest winning percentage in Division 1 soccer, Bluem knows a strong effort by his players is needed to defeat the Zips.
“We’re going to have to be at our very best,” Bluem said. “We’re going to have to be very good defensively to keep ourselves in the game.”
Gardner said that as long as the team is at their best, they can secure another win.
Nor is he the only one who thinks that as his teammate Hegngi agreed.
“We just need to have guys in the right spots,” Hegngi said. “Just make sure we’re strong defensively, but still play our game and try to attack.”