The Ohio State men’s soccer team overcame all odds and clinched the Big Ten title in a 3-1 victory against Michigan on Wednesday night, awarding them the top seed in the Big Ten tournament.
Since the Buckeyes finished the regular season at the top of the conference, OSU will host the first round and quarterfinals at home at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
OSU coach John Bluem said, even as his team realizes the importance of the upcoming postseason games, it can’t change its mindset.
“It’s one game at a time,” Bluem said.
This has been the motto for the Scarlet and Gray this year and the team continues to follow it.
Earlier in the season, the Buckeyes lost four straight games until they managed to snap the streak against Akron in a 3-3 tie on Sept. 16.
Following the tie against Akron, the Buckeyes took off and went on an eight-game winning streak, putting the Buckeyes at No. 1 in the Big Ten.
Rutgers put a halt to the Scarlet and Gray’s winning streak in a 1-0 game on Oct. 25.
“We were unbeaten for 10 games, but one loss doesn’t change anything,” senior defender and co-captain Liam Doyle, who was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year on Friday, said following the game against Rutgers. “It reignites the focus for what lies ahead.”
The loss against Rutgers did just that for the Buckeyes when they bounced back and won a 1-0 shutout against Maryland, a team that is recognized for its physicality and ability to attack. The win against Maryland put the Buckeyes back on top with the chance to win the Big Ten title against Michigan.
All season, the Buckeyes’ defense dominated on the field, but on Wednesday the Scarlet and Gray offense ignited as three goals were scored, giving the Buckeyes a chance to call themselves Big Ten champions.
“This season has been a huge roller coaster for us, but right now we’re all pretty confident and we trust the game plan that we have,” junior forward Danny Jensen said. “It took us a little while to find our identity, but now that we have that, the vibe inside the locker room is pretty good.”
The first round of the Big Ten tournament is scheduled to be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, when No. 8-seeded Michigan State and No. 9-seeded Penn State will face each other head-to-head. The Buckeyes are scheduled play the winner of the match.
OSU squared off against both teams once this season. On Sept. 20, the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions went to two overtime periods before the match concluded in a 1-1 draw in Columbus. OSU traveled to East Lansing, Michigan, on Oct. 4 and topped the Spartans 2-1.
The Scarlet and Gray is set to take on either Michigan State or Penn State at 4 p.m. on Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Following the quarterfinals, the top remaining team will host the semifinals and championship on Friday and Sunday.