Ohio State Continues Successful Start
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Winning its second tournament in as many weekends, the Ohio State men's soccer team knocked off No. 17 UCLA, 2-1, Sunday, Sept. 18, in the championship match of the Penn State/Nike Classic in University Park, Pa. With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 5-1-0 and continue to build on their best start since 2001, while UCLA, ranked as high as No. 3 in one national poll and a four-time national champion, falls to 3-2-0.
After a scoreless first half, Ohio State took a two-goal lead early in the second half on goals by all-tournament team members Kevin Nugent (Sr., Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and Xavier Balc (So., Hudson, Ohio/Hudson). The Buckeye defense, led by Classic Defensive MVP Eric Brunner (So., Dublin, Ohio/ Scioto/Maryland) and all-tournament team selection Dustin Kirby (Jr., Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), held the Bruins to one late goal.
"It was a great win over a very talented and nationally ranked opponent," John Bluem, Ohio State head coach, said. "Our guys played very well, are very happy, and we couldn't be more pleased with our two wins here this weekend."
UCLA, which won its fourth national championship in 2002, was ranked in Top 5 in three of the four national polls heading into this weekend and beat Penn State, 1-0, Friday night after Ohio State beat Cal State Fullerton, 1-0. Dating back to last October, Ohio State has five wins over ranked teams.
OSU senior goalkeeper Ray Burse Jr. (Prospect, Ky./St. Xavier) had four saves, including three in the second half, to earn his fifth win of the season.
At the 52:08 mark Nugent took a slotted ball down the right side from sophomore Eric Edwards (Loveland, Ohio/Milford) and put away the first goal of the game. Nugent, who hit the post with a shot in the first half, scored his goal just 50 seconds after a bench-clearing altercation on the field. Just over six minutes later at 58:16, sophomore Ryan Kustos (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) sent a corner kick into the penalty area that Balc sent to the back of the yet to put the Buckeyes up, 2-0. The assist for Edwards was the first of his career and the assist for Kustos was his first of the season.
Ohio State out-shot UCLA 7-2 in the first half (11-7 for the game) and had a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks. UCLA goalkeeper Eric Reed came up with three big saves in the first 45 minutes to keep his Bruins in the game, but the Buckeyes were too much in the second half. Along side Brunner and Kirby, defenders Jim Fisher (Jr., Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) and Rob Strachan (Jr., Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) helped Ohio State keep the lead behind the work in the midfield by Brent Rohrer (Jr., Springfield, Ohio/Catholic) and Taylor Korpieski (Jr., Westerville, Ohio/Thomas Worthington).
UCLA's lone goal came with 5:30 left on the clock when Jordan Harvey fired a shot that Burse saved, but couldn't control, and Jonathan Bornstein knocked in the rebound into the opposite corner of the goal.
In their last of five consecutive road games, the Buckeyes travel to Bowling Green at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, before hosting Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25.
### GO BUCKS! ###