No. 13 Buckeyes earn 2-1 win over Spartans, position well for Big Ten tournament

No. 13 Ohio State capped off its senior night with a 2-1 win over Michigan State in Columbus on Tuesday. Credit: Zachary Rilley | photo editor

Ohio State’s No. 13 men’s soccer team earned a 2-1 win over Michigan State in its final regular season home game Tuesday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

With the victory on a memorable senior night, the Buckeyes (9-1-5, 4-1-2 Big Ten) moved into second place in the conference standings, while the Spartans (6-7-2 , 3-3-1) remained at No. 5 in the Big Ten.

Michigan State applied the high pressure early, keeping the ball in its offensive third for the majority of the first half. Senior midfielder Xavier Green had a few first-half chances to give Ohio State a lead, but couldn’t convert in part due to three saves by senior Spartans goaltender Owen Finnerty in the first half. .

Although the Spartans were mostly attacking early in the first half, senior striker Devyn Etling was fouled in the Spartans penalty area. Junior midfielder Laurence Wootton iced the penalty for a 1-0 lead over Buckeye in the 32nd minute.

Ohio State came out attacking early in the second half, as sophomore defenseman Nathan Demian scored a quick header in the 47th minute on an assist from sophomore midfielder Anthony Samways.

Demian said it felt good to score Buckeye’s first career goal.

“Finally I got that goal, you know, obviously a great performance from Samways,” Demian said. “He’s been on set pieces all year, and he’s showing why. His assists, the number of good balls he’s put in and we’ve got guys who want to go attack him. And luckily that’s was my time to attack.

Head coach Brian Maisonneuve said he was surprised that Demian only scored one goal this season, but he’s happy the whole team is helping to score.

“Cause, I don’t mean a short guy, but then again, he’s not super tall. But he’s very good in the air,” Maisonneuve said. “His timing is excellent and he is aggressive. So I’m not surprised.

Even with two goals, it looked like the Buckeyes were playing with more urgency than the Spartans. Ohio State had three shots on target in 10 minutes, two saved by Finnerty and the other a strike from sophomore midfielder Joakim Jahnsen that went off the right post.

However, senior striker Conner George quieted the raucous home crowd with a 65th-minute pass from junior midfielder Jack Zugay to cut the lead to one.

The Buckeyes responded with three single counterattacks late in the second half. Green, along with freshman forward Tanner Creech, had more opportunities to extend the Buckeyes lead, including two consecutive misses in the 78th, 79th and 80th minutes.

Ohio State barely pulled out a 2-1 win to keep its regular-season Big Ten championship hopes alive.

Green said he should have scored a few more goals to highlight the Buckeyes’ victory, but he’s happy to have another scoring chance in his final regular-season game on Sunday.

“I think we’ve done really well with offense all season,” Green said. “We should have put those chances aside. We should have had a few more goals. But luckily we had enough to win the game.

Ohio State honored its four senior graduates – Etling, midfielders Green and Chris Dowling and goaltender Keagan McLaughlin – before the game with personalized frames of their jerseys and a ceremony with families and friends. friends.

Green said his five years as Buckeye were unforgettable.

“I’ve been here a long time,” Green said. “So yeah, I really enjoyed the shirt I got. And hopefully we’ll have another home game here in a week or two.

Maisonneuve said the position was what the Buckeyes have wanted since August.

“We talked about winning the championship. And now we are setting ourselves up to do that,” Maisonneuve said. “We need a little help from Indiana. Maryland is a very good team, Indiana is a very good team. It’s going to be a battle. I mean, it all comes down to Sunday, c is what you want, what you expect in the Big Ten with the parity that we have.

Demian said the team comes in with the mentality that “every game from now on is a must win.”

“Every game in the Big Ten tournament is a must win. Every game in the NCAA Tournament has to be won,” Demian said. “Just start a game early in Wisconsin.”

The Buckeyes travel to Madison for their season finale against Wisconsin (5-6-3, 2-4-1 Big Ten) Sunday at the McClimon Memorial Soccer Complex at 1 p.m., streaming on BTN+.

Helen J. Jimenez