The Ohio State men’s soccer team (1-7-2, 0-3-1 Big Ten) returns to the pitch Friday night as it takes on Cleveland State in the 17th annual Connor Senn Memorial Match at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The match will feature a tribute to the legacy of former Ohio State men’s soccer player Connor Senn, who collapsed during a match at the University of Akron in 2001, and died later that evening.
Cleveland State (2-5-1, 1-2-1 Horizon) comes to Columbus fresh off a victory over the University of Illinois at Chicago, powered by a hat trick by junior midfielder/defender Vlad Jandric.
Between the pipes, Cleveland State has trotted out a pair of freshmen this season, alternating between Nicklas Rulle and Alex Gyerman.
Gyerman has played almost twice as much as Rulle and has compiled a 1.32 goals against average and a .759 save percentage. Meanwhile, Rulle comes into Friday’s match with a 2.40 goals against average and a .417 save percentage.
On the other end of the field, one of the strengths of Ohio State has been the play of redshirt junior goalkeeper Parker Siegfried.
Siegfried has a 1.44 goals against average and a .681 save percentage.
He said has continued belief and confidence in the 10 teammates in front of him.
“It’s about getting our confidence back. I don’t think there’s a game this year that if we didn’t play it over we have a good chance of winning,” Siegfried said. “I think that everyone feels that, coaching staff feels that, players feel it and so just getting that confidence when we roll the ball up Friday night, just having that for 90 minutes is going to do it.”
Offensively, the Viking attack is spearheaded by two players, Jandric and junior forward Gabriel Pewu, both of whom have three goals on the season.
Ohio State head coach Brian Maisonneuve talked about the offensive skill that Cleveland State possesses.
“Cleveland State’s a good team, I mean they’re very good going forward. Similar to Rutgers is they can hurt you going forward, they have some really good pieces, some good athletes and good soccer players and they’re dangerous on the offensive side,” Maisonneuve said.
Maisonneuve also said the team hopes for an improvement after an exhibition match that occured between Ohio State and the Vikings this past spring.
“They like to possess the ball but yet they’re athletic enough to go direct, so they’re going to cause some challenges,” Maisonneuve said. “I know we played them in the spring, and the result didn’t go our way, so the guys know what they’re all about, and I think they scored 5 on us in the spring, so they’re a dangerous attacking team for sure.”
The Buckeyes and Vikings are scheduled to start at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday.