Sept. 30, 2009

Courtesy of Ohio State

AKRON, Ohio - The No. 15 nationally-ranked Ohio State men's soccer team suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of top-ranked Akron, 3-0, on a chilly Wednesday night at Lee Jackson Field in front of a sellout and record crowd of 2,473. The Buckeyes end their record season-opening, eight-game unbeaten streak and fall to 5-1-3, while the Zips improve their flawless 8-0-0 record.

"There is a reason that Akron is No. 1 in the country," head coach John Bluem said. "They are a very skilled, talented team with tremendous speed and great possession play. Once we went down 1-0 on the penalty, I think we felt like we were in a hole and couldn't get out of it.

"I certainly give credit to Akron, but we did not play as well as we are capable of playing tonight and I hope it serves as a lesson for games to come."

The game started as a battle in the midfield with neither team taking a shot for the first 10-plus minutes of action until Akron's Teal Bunbury sent his attempt wide right. From there, the Zips showed why they have one of the nation's most potent offenses, out-shooting the Buckeyes 13-2 in the half.

Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Matt Lampson, however, countered by showing the skills that earned him Big Ten defensive player of the week skills earlier this week. The Hilliard, Ohio, native made three saves in the period, including back-to-back stops in the 28th minute, plus several stellar defensive players.

The only Buckeye miscue of the period came in the 24th minute on Akron's first goal - a penalty kick by Blair Gavin that was just beyond the fingers of a diving Lampson - after an OSU foul inside the penalty area.

Trailing 1-0, Ohio State came back with a couple close calls in the form of a header by Doug Verhoff and a blast by Sam Scales that was stopped by Akron's goalkeeper David Meves. Despite the effort, they Buckeyes headed into halftime trailing for just the second time this season and came out of the intermission unable to overcome the deficit.

Instead, Akron flaunted its fourth-rated scoring offense in the NCAA. Darlington Nagbe scored his fourth goal of the year in the 53rd minute with a header from 10 yards out off an assist from Michael Nancoff. Nancoff would once again fuel the fire in the 68th minute, sending the ball to Ben Zemanski in the middle of the box for him to put in the back of net for the 3-0 lead.

NEXT UP: The Buckeyes return to action at 2 p.m. Sunday against Northwestern back home at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. The Wildcats are 4-1-3 on the season and ranked No. 25 in the country, marking the third-consecutive game against a nationally-ranked foe for the Buckeyes. It will be Northwestern's Big Ten opener.