The Ohio State men’s soccer team will take on in-state rival Akron this Wednesday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m.
In their last time out, the Buckeyes picked up a big conference win against Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The game-winning goal came from junior forward Nate Kohl in the second overtime. Kohl, who played for the Wolverines his freshman year before transferring to OSU, had his goal featured on the SportsCenter Top Ten.
“It felt good to be back in Ann Arbor, but it was real special to be there and get a win for Columbus,” Kohl said. “It was pretty cool to see that I was on SportsCenter. That’s something I’ve always dreamed of since I was a little kid.”
The Buckeyes will look to continue their recent hot play as they take on the Zips.
“They are a very dangerous team,” said OSU coach John Bluem. “They are very good at attacking. They have great team speed. It’s going to be a challenging match, but I am looking forward to a good rivalry game.”
Akron, a team ranked No. 3 in the country by TopDrawerSoccer in the preseason, has not played as well as it had hoped when the season began.
The Zips sit at 7-5-2 on the year, coming off a 3-1 loss to West Virginia in their last contest. They are led by senior midfielder Adam Najem. Najem has scored five goals on the year while also adding three assists.
Sophomore keeper Ben Lundt has had a solid year in the net for Akron, tallying 46 saves and six shutouts through his 14 games played.
The game is the Buckeyes’ last in Columbus this season, and also is the team’s Senior Night.
There are eight seniors on the OSU roster. Players said the last regular season home game in an Ohio State uniform will be a special moment for them.
“Being here for four years already is crazy,” said senior defender Tyler Kidwell. “I think about all the memories I’ve had here. To know it’s all coming to an end this year is sad, but at the same time it’s something to really cherish.”
Despite numerous injuries, the Buckeyes have started to play some of their best soccer in the tail end of the season. The team has posted a 2-1-1 record over its past four games against some stiff competition.
“We have been much better defensively,” Kidwell said. “We have been getting some crucial goals lately too. Hopefully we can continue that down the stretch.”
After Akron, OSU will have just one more contest, coming on the road at Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are hoping to finish the season on a high note and go into the Big Ten tournament with a high seed.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we are trying to position ourselves to give us the best chance to win the conference tournament,” Bluem said.