Coming off a 3-1 defeat at Penn State to open its Big Ten schedule, the Ohio State men’s soccer team (1-5-1) returns home to take on Northwestern on Friday.
The Buckeyes have scored goals in consecutive games, following a three-game scoreless drought and will need the momentum to continue against a tough Northwestern squad.
Ohio State’s first year head coach Brian Maisonneuve said Northwestern’s depth is a major concern.
“They got it rolling. They’re organized, they’re talented, they’ve got some new pieces,” Maisonneuve said. “Some of the freshmen stepped up and are doing a really nice job, and then they’ve got a lot of returners, so they’ve got some experience.”
The Wildcats (4-2-1) are anchored by solid play in all facets of the game.
Sophomore goalkeeper Miha Miskovic owns a 0.67 goals against average this season, which is good for 28th best in the nation.
On the offensive end, the Wildcats are led by senior midfielder Camden Buescher and freshman midfielder Bardia Kimiavi. Buescher has scored three goals, while Kimiavi has scored two.
Four other Wildcats have also scored this season.
“They’re playing some really good soccer right now, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge,” Maisonneuve said.
Maisonneuve also said that while the goals are starting to come, he doesn’t like that they gave up three goals the last time out and says his team will need to tighten things up defensively.
“We were creating chances the whole year, sometimes it just takes a little bit to find the back of the net,” Maisonneuve said. “A lot of times when you have a new group, new tactics and just everything’s brand new, we’re looking at five weeks now, sometimes that final piece is the goal-scoring piece.”
Friday’s match comes just days ahead of a trip to Ann Arbor to take onl Michigan. Redshirt senior midfielder Brady Blackwell knows that they cannot look past Northwestern, and they will have to take things day by day, game by game if they want to be successful.
“Northwestern’s a good team, they’ve got some good wins this season, so right now we’re looking to build off Friday and take that into Michigan,” Blackwell said. “If we can get a good win on Friday, that’ll give us a lot of momentum going into Ann Arbor.”
The Buckeyes will have to excel in all areas of the game on Friday if they want to knock off Northwestern to claim their second victory of the season.
Friday’s game is scheduled at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. start. Following Friday night’s match, the Buckeyes will travel to face No. 21 Michigan on Tuesday.