Friday marks the beginning of a new era for the Ohio State men’s soccer team.
First-year head coach Brian Maisonneuve will make his debut on the sidelines for the Buckeyes after longtime coach John Bluem retired after 21 years following last season.
Maisonneuve comes over after a decade as an assistant coach at Indiana, where he helped guide the Hoosiers to a national championship in 2012, and a runner-up finish last season.
The Buckeyes return key players such as redshirt junior goaltender Parker Siegfried, redshirt senior midfielder Brady Blackwell and sophomore midfielder Joshua Jackson-Ketchup from a team that went 8-10-1 overall a season ago. The 2018-2019 squad will feature a mix of veterans and newcomers that look to set the tone for a new era in Buckeye soccer.
Alongside Blackwell and Siegfried, sophomore defender Will Hirschman rounds out the group of three Buckeyes to be named to the Big Ten Preseason Honors List.
Last season, the Buckeyes got off to a hot start, yet fizzled down the stretch, losing nine of their last 10 games, ultimately undone by an inability to find the back of the net during the losing streak.
The loss of leading scorer Abdi Mohamed will hurt after he transferred to Akron in the offseason, but Maisonneuve will look for Jackson-Ketchup and others to pick up the scoring slack.
The season kicks off Friday night with a visit from the Furman Paladins out of the Southern Conference. Furman ended the 2017 campaign with a 12-5-3 record and a third-place finish in the conference, capped off by a run to the semifinals in the Southern Conference Men’s Soccer Championship.
This season, the Paladins will return their top six scorers, including leading scorer and 2017 SoCon Player of the Year, Laurence Wyke. Furman also returns their starting goaltender redshirt sophomore Ben Hale, who ended 2017 with a 0.95 goals against average.
The 2018 Wolstein Classic concludes on Sunday with Ohio State taking on Hofstra. A member of the Colonial Athletic Association, Hofstra is coming off a 6-6-6 (3-1-4 Colonial) campaign, often maligned by a stagnant offense.
Making matters more difficult for the Pride this season will be the loss of Danny Elliott, who tied for the team lead in points last season with nine.
However, the Pride do return Luke Brown and Oscar Ramsay, who combined for 17 points respectively and will look to carry the load offensively.
Richard Nuttall enters his 30th season as the head coach at Hofstra.