The Ohio State men’s soccer team squared off against Furman on Friday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, marking both the season opener and the first game for first-year head coach Brian Maisonneuve. The Paladines ultimately prevailed 2-0 over the Buckeyes, who open the season 0-1-0.
When asked about his team’s performance Friday, redshirt senior midfielder Brady Blackwell felt optimistic after the loss.
“Overall, we made a few mistakes that cost us in the back and we gave up goals. But I don’t think we ever gave up and that’s a positive,” Blackwell said.
The opening minutes of the match saw the two teams come out in a fast-paced style of play, with quality scoring chances coming for both clubs.
Redshirt-sophomore forward Jake Scheper gave the Buckeyes arguably their most realistic chance in the third minute, but his shot was saved by Furman redshirt sophomore goaltender Ben Hale.
Furman struck first off a goal from junior midfielder Rocky Guerra in the seventh minute, which beat Buckeye redshirt junior goalie Parker Siegfried to the bottom left corner.
The Paladins almost tallied a second midway through the opening half when junior forward Emery May saw his shot hit the crossbar and go out of play.
Ohio State played the first half of the match in a 4-5-1 formation, opting for a more defensive look.
Siegfried had a busy first half, making five saves.
Ohio State nearly leveled the match at the outset of the second half when the ball bounced around in front of the net for several seconds, but the Buckeyes could not capitalize on the opportunity, and the ball was subsequently cleared.
Minutes later, the Buckeyes saw a free kick glance off the outside of the right post.
Furman added to their lead in the 54th minute as senior midfielder Danny Kierath came free and buried his unassisted shot in the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Another golden opportunity for the Buckeyes came up empty as Hale made the save off of a close range shot from senior forward Michael Prosuk.
Ohio State continued playing out of a 4-5-1 formation throughout the second half, perhaps an indicator of what look Maisonneuve will most frequently employ in his first season.
“We didn’t really know what to expect, we’re still a young group, new coaching staff and everything, so overall it’s not the result we wanted but there’s some positives to take into Sunday so I think that’s what we’ll look to do,” Blackwell said.
In the aftermath of his first game as the head coach of the Buckeyes, Maisonneuve called this offseason and this game as part of the process.
“It’s a process. It’s going to be a process, again it doesn’t happen overnight,” Maisonneuve said. “When you play good teams like Furman, they’re going to kind of show you where we’re at, and I thought they did tonight,”
For Sunday’s match against Hofstra, Maisonneuve noticed areas of improvement and things to build off of for his squad.
“It’s such a quick turnaround, it’s tough to get too much done, but right away from a tactical standpoint our spacing’s got to get better, we were a little bit off in just our overall spacing,” Maisonneuve said. “I thought we started the first half just tentative.”
The Buckeyes will be back in action Sunday at 2:30 pm, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, as they wrap up the 2018 Wolstein Classic against Hofstra.