Outplaying them in the box score, down big on the scoreboard. That was the story for the Ohio State men’s soccer team last Tuesday against Penn State.
Despite having the advantage in shots at 12-7 and the advantage in corner kicks at 8-1, the team would glance up at the scoreboard at the final buzzer that read 4-2 Nittany Lions.
“We shot ourselves in the foot. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was going on but some we had some individual mistakes that lead straight to their goals,” said Danny Jensen, Ohio State senior forward. “We had four critical mistakes in the first half and they didn’t have any.”
The Buckeyes will look to regroup on Sunday at 2 p.m. as they take on Rutgers at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Rutgers comes into the game with a record of 0-5.
That record is deceiving, however, as Rutgers has faced some stiff competition thus far. Three of its five games have come against ranked opponents, receiving losses against No. 7 Creighton, No. 20 Denver, and No. 4 Maryland, whom they took to double overtime before losing 2-1.
The Scarlet Knights face a similar issue to the Buckeyes: scoring.
Through their first five games, Rutgers has scored only one goal, the equalizer against Maryland coming from junior forward Dante Perez.
Sunday’s game will feature a matchup of two goalies on the opposite ends of the age spectrum.
Rutgers goalkeeper David Greczek, a senior o
ut of Fairfield, New Jersey, has made 26 saves on the season while allowing 14 goals. Greczek has a career .744 save percentage.
Buckeyes goalkeeper Parker Siegfried, a redshirt freshman out of Granville, Ohio, has made 16 saves while allowing 10 goals, good for a .615 save percentage.
Siegfried was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday after his first collegiate shutout vs. Northwestern.
The upcoming stretch will be very important for Ohio State, as four of their next five games will be played at home.
“It’s time for this group of players to put wins together and start climbing back toward .500 and building confidence,” OSU coach John Bluem said. “We need to settle in on our best lineup and hopefully keep everybody healthy enough to play.”
Health has been a big issue for the Buckeyes this season.
“The key to success last year was that we were able to play the same group of guys for 13, 14 games in a row with no injury problems whereas this year we have been riddled with injury problems,” Bluem said.
Against Northwestern, OSU lost one of their captains, senior defender Tyler Kidwell, after going down with an apparent knee injury when making contact with a Wildcat. Kidwell did not play against Penn State, but coach Bluem said he is hoping he will be able to return to action against Rutgers.
At 1-5, it is going to be an uphill battle for the team to get back to where they would like to be. However, the players are locked in and ready to fight back to the high level they feel they are capable of.
“We have to win from now on,” said sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed. “Next game is pretty crucial. Right now we are 1-1 in the Big Ten and we are looking to be 2-1.”