Ohio State men’s soccer head coach Brian Maisonneuve’s first match against his alma mater and the team he helped guide as an assistant coach for nearly a decade did not see the dream conclusion that all coaches seek.
The Buckeyes lost 1-0 to No. 2 Indiana on Wednesday night. The result secured the final point the Hoosiers needed to win their first Big Ten title since 2010.
Yet, the result, and the manner in which Ohio State (1-13-2, 0-6-1 Big Ten) stood toe to toe with the Hoosiers for a vast majority of the match, was a welcomed sign of encouragement for the program in the midst of a season that has seen the team find just one victory. Indiana (14-2, 7-0 Big Ten) came in ranked No. 2 in the nation, undefeated in Big Ten play, and winners of 13 of its last 14 matches.
The match featured both positives and the perennial problems that have haunted Ohio State all season.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Parker Siegfried tallied a season-high seven saves Wednesday night, as his play between the pipes, along with the play of the defenders in front of him, kept Ohio State in the match.
Maisonneuve said that Siegfried was “excellent” in the match, and that “he did everything he had to do.”
“I think that comes from the guys in front of me just putting me in good positions to be successful, and I think that every guy that played tonight was absolutely fantastic,” Siegfried said. “We obviously haven’t had the best go of it this year results wise, but to come in here and have the No. 2 team in the country on their heels for a good portion of the game was huge.”
Defensively, the Buckeyes held their own against a top 10 offense, save for the lone goal scored by Indiana’s senior defender Andrew Gutman, who tallied his team-leading ninth goal of the season in the 28th minute.
The Buckeyes limited the Hoosiers potent attack, giving up only six first-half shots with only two or three of those being quality chances.
The Hoosiers applied pressure throughout the second half, but the Buckeyes were able to prevent another goal, thus preserving the chance of a late comeback.
“With so many new guys playing this year, with new guys just getting minutes in college soccer in general it’s been tough to string together a good 90 minutes of defending, not switching off and being able to get the ball cleared and now it’s starting to come together,” Siegfried said. “That’s kind of what it is, just finally becoming a nice, cohesive unit that is communicating well.”
Maisonneuve liked the play of his team’s defense against the Hoosiers.
“I thought the whole team defensively played really well. We talked about it before the game, and we knew it was going to take that kind of effort and they put it in.,” Maisonneuve said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group right now.”
However, as has been the case throughout the whole season, the Buckeyes failed to generate multiple meaningful offensive chances. The Buckeyes only generated three shots on the night, while sophomore goalkeeper Trey Muse was only forced to make one save for Indiana.
After the match, Maisonneuve shared a long moment with one of the Hoosiers players, a reminder of the connection that he still has with that program despite taking the head coaching gig at a conference rival
“Yeah it’s tough. I told our boys too, I love both those locker rooms. Both locker rooms mean so much to me and it was an emotional night tonight, and I thought our group left everything they had on the field and I thought they played really well,” Maisonneuve said. “Like I said I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and I wish the Hoosiers, that group of guys, again I love them too and I’m happy for them and I wish them all the best.”
The Ohio State men’s soccer team concludes the regular season at Wisconsin on Sunday at 4 p.m.