Oakland men’s soccer (4-7-0, 3-2-0) had another case of the first-half blues at its away game Tuesday night against Ohio State (4-9-0, 2-3-0). The Buckeyes got up 3-0 in the first 45 minutes, but the Golden Grizzlies kept them scoreless in the second half on Oct. 11.
“Disappointed coming out of the gates,” Oakland head coach Eric Pogue said in a GrizzVision interview. “Kind of a common theme for us this year. Something we’re going to have to right the ship on if we’re gonna make another run at another conference title.”
Oakland defender Nick Strack got a yellow card in the sixth minute.
The first Buckeye goal came in the 11th minute. Abdi Mohamed scored his third goal on the season from five yards out off a pass from the far right post. Niall Logue and Hunter Robertson got the assist.
Ohio State’s second goal came in the 14th and was almost identical, but the pass came from the left side a little bit farther out. Nate Kohl got his fourth on the season. Ben Fitzpatrick got the assist.
In the 22nd minute, Oakland sent in Austin Ricci and Alex Serwatka. Neither had started.
The Buckeyes put up four shots until another stuck in the 40th minute off a free kick from 20 yards out. Mohamed got his fourth for the season and his second of the game.
The Buckeyes outshot the Golden Grizzlies 11-3 in the first half and got four corners to Oakland’s one.
“We didn’t match their energy level,” Pogue said.
Pogue kept it in perspective and said the league play is more crucial. But that didn’t mean the players were off the hook.
“We really challenged the guys at halftime of how they wanted to be remembered,” Pogue said. “As a team that kinda just packed it in, called it a day, and that game turned into 5-0, 6-0, 7-0? Or were they going to battle back and look to win the half?”
They chose the latter and held it at 3-0. The transformation could be glimpsed at the end of the first half. After the goal by Mohamed in the 39th minute, Ricci almost immediately got a shot off which went wide. The Golden Grizzlies managed a corner in the 42nd, a shot on goal by Wilfred Williams that was saved in the 43rd minute, and another shot by Ricci that was blocked in the 44th minute.
“I thought we were probably the better team in the second half and controlled much of the play,” Pogue said.
Ohio State got a shot and corner kick in the 47th minute, after which Oakland got corner kicks in the 56th, 57th and 63rd minutes. Ricci put up a shot in the 69th minute that was blocked. In the 70th, Williams put up a shot high after faking out a defender by dribbling hard left. If he had placed it six or seven feet lower, it would have snuck in top-left.
Oakland’s Nebojsa Popovic shot one in the 82nd that was blocked. Ricci tried another on goal in the 83rd. Ohio State’s goalkeeper Parker Siegfried saved it.
A wide shot by Ohio State’s Henry Chancy closed out the game.
Ricci led Oakland with five shots, two on goal, followed by Williams with two shots, one on goal and Popovic and Serwatka with one shot each. Zach Walker spent 90 minutes in the net, allowed three goals and made one save.
For Ohio State, Siegfried did 90 in the net, making three saves and allowing no goals.
“I think we learned some things tonight,” Pogue said.