Before Friday, Ohio State redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Parker Siegfried said his greatest athletic achievement to date was kicking the game-winning field goal for his high school freshman-football team.
But breaking a record set by the greatest team in program history? Siegfried said that would supplant his game-winning field goal at the top of his list.
“Freshman football was a fun time with a lot of good friends,” Siegfried said after practice Wednesday. “But when it comes to sports achievements, this would definitely fulfill me a little bit more than that.”
The No. 25 Ohio State men’s soccer team (7-1-0) broke the record of the prolific 2007 team for consecutive shutouts, notching its sixth straight, beating Bowling Green State University (5-4-0) 1-0 Friday night.
Siegfried said the red-hot start has been eye-catching for a team that struggled for much of last season.
“We have a good group of guys that were here from last fall into last spring that have worked real hard since that down year last year to set the example for the guys coming in,” he said.
The Buckeyes secured the record-breaking shutout in a scrappy, in-state battle at home Friday. Siegfried did not face a shot in the first half, his backline holding firm, like many other games this season, even when facing three corner kicks and a run of Bowling Green-controlled play.
As the goalkeeper, Siegfried will receive plenty of credit for the streak. However, he said the streak would not have been possible without the supporting cast.
“It’s all 11 guys. It’s everyone that’s coming off the bench,everyone on the team, everyone on the practice squad, that help make these shutouts happen,” he said. “It’s a full-team effort, defending for 90 minutes. I’ve been lucky to not see many shots during some of these games.”
The streak has been all the more impressive when considering the team that set the original record. The 2007 Buckeyes finished the season 17-4-5 and are the only team in program history to reach the NCAA finals, losing to Wake Forest 2-1.
John Bluem, head coach of the Buckeyes since 1997, said he sees a lot of similarities in the team from 10 years ago, honing in on the talent present in the back four.
“That  team also was built on an exceptionally good back four,” Bluem said. “That gives you the platform. If you are in a game for 90 minutes and you are not allowing goals, you’re team is in the game. You always have cause to believe that you can win the game when you are defending so well and you are allowing the other team very few opportunities to score.”
Senior defender Niall Logue said breaking the record was not something the team had in its sights at the beginning of the season.
“We never set that goal to start a year but now that it’s upon us we all want to get there,” Logue said Wednesday. “To beat a record of a team such as the  team, and how well they did that year, then it is a great achievement and hopefully we can do what they did, if not better.”
Breaking records never comes easy and that didn’t change Friday. Siegfried might not have faced a shot in the first half, but in the 69th minute the attempts on his net began. In the span of four minutes, Siegfried was called upon to make four saves, the fourth seeing him stretch out to make an athletic diving save to deny a goal-bound volley.
“All of the sudden you’ll be walking around out there, the ball is in the other half, and you’re thinking about what you’re doing next week and what homework you have do on Tuesday,” Siegfried said. “It’s tough to stay locked in for what is really 100 minutes, but that’s what the position is.”
Siegfried was not forced into making many more saves the rest of the half.
Regardless of what happens in the games to follow, the team will retain sole possession of the program record. Logue said that even though they have the record now, they’d like to extend it out as long as possible.
“However long we go with it, we are happy with that,” Logue said. “We are record breakers now and we’ll celebrate and be happy with it.”
As for that freshman football field goal, Siegfried said he didn’t think about it Friday night, but he did share an embrace with his goalkeeper coach as he left the field with a brand new record.
“We have had a lot of discussions about what we want to do here,” Siegfried said. “Breaking the shutout record is cool, but it’s what we’re still trying to do, we are only halfway through the season…but it’s moments like [this] that are special.”