The Ohio State men’s soccer team’s struggles with finishing continued when it was defeated by the No.15 Akron Zips 1-0. The Buckeyes were able fire six shots, including two in the last 10 minutes, but were unable to capitalize on any of them.
The Zips came out aggressive scoring the only goal of the match in the sixth minute as when senior midfielder Zac Portillos collected a rebounded shot in the box and powered the ball into the back of the net.
Despite the loss, Buckeye coach John Bluem was impressed with the way the team played.
“We had a very strong game tonight,” he said. “We knew we were coming into a tough environment with some inexperienced players and the only problem was we conceded an early goal.”
Both teams came out quickly from halftime. Akron was able to muster up three shots in the first five minutes, but was unable to finish.
The Buckeyes’ best chance to score came in the 77th minute when they brought the ball down the left side of the field and crossed it into the box. The ball bounced around multiple times until junior midfielder Yianni Sarris took a shot that was deflected by Akron senior midfielder Robbie Derschang. It was the Buckeyes first shot on goal.
With 45 seconds left, Sarris was pushed down just outside of the box and the Buckeyes were given a free kick. Junior midfielder Alec Lowell took the shot but it was deflected out of bounds for an OSU corner kick. Ivanov pushed forward into the Akron box and tried to head the ensuing kick into the back of the net but was unsuccessful as time ran out.
Bluem said the team will watch tape from the game and will learn how to be better prepared for its upcoming games.
“We will just keep working on things that prevented us from getting shots tonight. We have a couple days off until the big ten opener against Indiana, by that time we’ll be ready defensively and with attacking,” he said.
The Buckeyes were outshot by the Zips by a total of 15-6 with redshirt-senior Alex Ivanov recording five saves. Ivanov was making his first start since the team took on Wright State Sept. 17 after receiving a red card in that match for an intentional handball outside of the box.
OSU’s next five matches are against 2012 NCAA tournament squads, and Bluem thinks the team will be ready for the challenge.
“Hopefully the guys will respond with a really good effort and I believe we will knock of a couple of these teams coming up soon,” he said.
The match was the fourth-straight match versus an in-state opponent for the Buckeyes and was the team’s last match before beginning Big Ten play against Indiana Sunday.