The Ohio State men’s soccer team (2-3-2) should have some extra motivation heading into Tuesday’s match with in-state rival No. 15 Akron.
The Buckeyes are hoping the return of starting redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov from his one-game suspension may help lead the team to its first victory over the Zips since 2006.
Ivanov was forced to sit out Friday night’s match against Dayton after being shown a red card late in regulation in the previous match against Wright State Sept. 17.
Ivanonv said he is ready to get back on the field.
“Well (Akron) is a big in-state opponent, so I’ve been really preparing myself mentally and physically, especially after missing a game,” he said. “(They’ve) got a tough crowd and tough fans.”
Buckeye freshman midfielder Henry Chancy said he will look to build on the first career goal he scored Friday.
“It was a rough game last game, but I got my first goal under my belt,” Chancy said. “I think we’re going to learn from it. Akron is always a big game and it’s my first year, so I’m excited and a bit nervous. Hopefully we can come out and get a good result.”
The Zips (5-2) are the fourth straight in-state opponent for the Buckeyes. OSU is 0-1-2 in those matches, with a scoreless draw against both Wright State and Bowling Green and a 3-1 loss at the hands of Dayton.
Akron enters the game on a two-game winning streak, with victories against San Diego State University and Bowling Green.
Buckeye coach John Bluem said despite their sub-.500 record the team will be ready to play.
“Akron is a very good opponent. They’ve been good for a long time now,” Bluem said. “(They are) very difficult to play against, especially up at Akron. We’ve got a lot of guys who’ve never played in a game at Akron, so we’re trying to get them mentally tuned into how sharp and well prepared we’ll have to be.”
Bluem said the team’s failure to capitalize on their scoring chances so far this season could cause problems because Akron is a “possession-oriented team.”
“We work on finishing all the time — it’s something we do in practice almost daily,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a work thing and an effort thing.”
The match is scheduled to kick off Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Akron.