Coming off a big win over Michigan in Ann Arbor, the Ohio State men’s soccer team looked to take down a rival of a different sort on Senior Night in-state foe Akron.
The Buckeyes would not be as fortunate in this one, however, dropped a 2-0 contest against the Zips in their final regular season home game.
“Akron is an explosive team with very good athletes and a lot of pace,” said OSU coach John Bluem. “We knew that would trouble us going in. We conceded a couple of bad goals early on. It put us in a hole that, against a team like that, you are probably not going to get out of.”
Akron opened the scoring early in the first half.
In just the 5th minute, Zips freshman forward Jonathan Lewis received the ball on a deflected pass and fired it into the back left of the net from 12 yards out, giving the Zips an early 1-0 lead.
Later, in the 24th minute, freshman defender Nick Hinds received a pass at midfield and beat the keeper from the right wing, extending the Akron lead to 2-0.
The two goals proved to be more than enough for the Zips, as they were able to hold the Buckeyes scoreless through 90 minutes. Akron outshot OSU 15-8, with both teams garnering five corner kicks apiece.
The Buckeyes were without sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed and senior forward Danny Jensen, who both sat due to injury.
Despite the loss, coach Bluem felt good about the intensity the team played with until the final whistle.
“Its senior night and we just asked our guys to give it the best effort we possibly can and make sure we don’t give up,” Bluem said. “I think this team has given us that all year through a lot of adversity and a lot of challenges. We have never given up hope and always give it our best effort.”
As part of the Senior Night festivities, the eight seniors on the roster were honored with their families before the start of the match, giving them time to reflect on their time at OSU.
“It is crazy,” senior defender Tyler Kidwell said. “I just think about all the memories I’ve made in this stadium. I’ve had a little bit of success, but the friendships I have made have been awesome. I’ve met some lifelong friends. That’s the biggest part of it.”
Senior defender Austin Bergstrom echoed his classmate.
“It has been great,” Bergstrom said. “Coming in as a freshman I looked at the seniors and didn’t know how I was ever going to get to where they were. Now that I’m here, it’s pretty strange but it was really nice.”
For the Buckeyes, there is only one game remaining on the regular season schedule: an away match against Wisconsin. For OSU, a win in the game could mean capturing a top-four seed in the Big Ten tournament.
“We have a lot to look forward to still,” Bergstrom said. “The season isn’t over. I think we will go up to Wisconsin and give them a run for their money. We should come back with a win.”