Oct. 3, 2010

Courtesy of Ohio St. Athletics

Just four days after breaking Akron's shutout streak, Austin McAnena scored the game-winner in the No. 19 Ohio State men's soccer team's 2-1 victory over No. 11 Michigan State Sunday afternoon at a rain-soaked and wind-blown Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes, unbeaten through their last four games, including three against ranked opponents, are now 6-2-2 overall and 2-0-0 in the Big Ten, while the Spartans had their six-game winning streak snapped and fall to 7-2-0 on the season and 1-1-0 in the conference.

McAnena found the back of the net in the 65th minute off an assist from Buckeye goalkeeper Matt Lampson to break the 1-1 tie that had stood for the previous 46 minutes of play. Sam Scales also scored for the Buckeyes, equalizing the game at one in the first half after the Spartans took an early lead. This is the first 2-0 start to the conference schedule for Ohio State since the 2004 season.

"The [2-0 start in the Big Ten] is critical," head coach John Bluem said. "Michigan State is a good team. They had some problems today, but I think they are going to figure into the conference race. For us, you have to get your points at home - you have to win your home games. When you only have three games on the road and three at home, you don't want to give away your points."

Michigan State struck first Sunday, scoring midway through the 16th minute of action when Jeff Ricondo connected with Cyrus Sadee along the left side of the penalty area for the cross-goal shot and the early 1-0 lead. The advantage was short-lived, however, as Scales tied it up 3:20 later towards the end of the 19th minute.

Chris Hegngi found Scales with a centering pass five yards out from the goal mouth and the senior captain headed it between the pipes for his second tally of the season.

The scored remained 1-1 until midway through the second period. Lampson, who finished the day with one save, launched a goal kick into the Buckeyes' offensive third and found McAnena towards the top left corner of the penalty area and the sophomore midfielder turned and fired it into the right side of the net to pull ahead at the 64:09 mark.

The Spartans stepped up their game in the second period, producing a number of opportunities, but none as close as in the 84th minute when Lampson was caught out of the goal area and Tim Kreutz found himself with the ball in front of the open net. His shot went wide left, however, and the Spartans were unable to produce another chance.

Ohio State held a commanding 15-7 advantage in shots, including a 7-2 margin in the first half alone.

Thirty-plus men's soccer alumni were on hand for the game against the Spartans, including 11 members of the 2000 Big Ten championship team. In the 10 years since that conference titles, the Buckeyes have captured a total of three Big Ten tourney crowns and two regular-season championships.

The Buckeyes have a week off before traveling to Northwestern for a noon game (CT) Sunday, Oct. 10. The match is the first of three guaranteed appearances on the Big Ten Network for the defending conference champions. It will air on same-day tape delay at 5 p.m. (ET) on the television network. Northwestern is 3-4-1 on the season and 0-1-0 in the Big Ten with contests against Missouri State (Sunday) and DePaul (Wednesday) pending before meeting the Buckeyes.