The Ohio State men’s soccer team took second in the eighth annual Wolstein Classic over the weekend, finishing behind undefeated UNC Wilmington and going 1-1 in the tournament as it opened regular season play.
OSU dropped its first game of the season Friday to UNC Wilmington, 2-1, in double overtime. Buckeye senior captain and defender Sage Gardner scored OSU’s lone goal on a penalty kick in the 64th minute. OSU was forced to play a man down late in the game after freshman defender Tyler Kidwell was shown a red card.
The Buckeyes then took on Northern Illinois Sunday afternoon to finish off the tournament. Both teams came out aggressively in the first half and the officials gave out four yellow cards, three to the Buckeyes, and had to stop play to settle down the teams multiple times.
“Well we got into a little trouble in the first half with three yellow cards,” coach John Bluem said after the game. “Those players have to be careful if you put them back into the game because if you get another yellow card, then you’re playing a man down, which happened to us Friday night and had a lot to do with our loss.”
The Buckeyes scored the only goal of the first half in the 31st minute when Gardner took a free kick from just outside the right side of the box and played the ball in to where senior defender Alex Harrison was waiting to head it in the goal. This was Harrison’s first goal for the Buckeyes after transferring from the University of Pittsburgh for his senior season.
Both teams began the second half with the same intensity, and in the 63rd minute senior forward James Stevenson’s penalty kick for Northern Illinois was saved by OSU junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov after he dove to the right and held onto the ball, maintaining the 1-0 lead.
In the 73rd minute the Buckeyes added to their lead when sophomore defender Alex Bujenovic saved the ball from going out of bounds and played it in the middle of the box to junior midfielder Ryan Ivancic who put it into the back of the net.
Ivanov saved another penalty kick in the 82nd minute, securing his first shutout and the Buckeyes first victory of the season.
“I feel great,” Ivanov said. “I mean to keep the shutout and to get that monkey off my back tonight; it’s my first career shutout so I’m really proud about that.”
The Buckeyes head to Tulsa, Okla., Friday for the University of Tulsa Classic. They are scheduled to play Tulsa at 8:30 p.m. and finish off the weekend with Southern Methodist Sunday at 1 p.m.
Gardner is hoping the victory will carry over into next weekend.
“It’s huge momentum, especially after the disappointing loss Friday,” Gardner said. “It immediately turns our season around and I think we take this into a tough weekend next weekend.”