The Ohio State men’s soccer team will finish exhibition matches when it travels to South Bend, Ind., to play No. 7 Notre Dame. Unranked OSU is currently 1-1 in exhibition this year after falling to West Virginia 1-0 and defeating Indiana University — Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) 2-0 at home.
Like the Buckeyes, the Fighting Irish enter this game with an exhibition record of 1-1, after splitting back-to-back road games, losing to Creighton 1-0 and beating Drake 2-0.
Notre Dame is coming off a season in which, at one point, it was the top-ranked team in the country, going 17-4-1 and finishing with the program’s best record since 1987. The team is hoping to continue that success despite the loss of two first-team All-Americans, including Big East Offensive Player of the Year forward Ryan Finley, who scored 21 of the Irish’s 52 goals.
OSU will treat this game like a regular season one, but coach John Bluem will still be using the exhibition contest as a learning experience for his team.
“They (Notre Dame) were the No. 1 team in the country for a while last year,” said Bluem, who is entering his 17thseason at the helm. “It’ll be a really good test to go on the road and play a team of that quality and again, it will expose some of the weaknesses of our team and the strengths of our team as well.”
OSU junior midfielder Yianni Sarris, who assisted on both Buckeye goals against IPFW, said that the team will prepare for Notre Dame like it would for a regular season game, even though it knows it is still preseason.
“You got to be ready for the season,” Sarris said. “The regular season is just around the corner and we’re going at it 100 percent.”
Sarris will look to become a leader of this team after transferring from Florida Gulf Coast University before the 2012 season.
The Buckeyes will begin regular season play when they face off against UNC-Wilmington and Northern Illinois in theWolstein Classic Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.