Around The Oval

By Jeremy Birmingham on November 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm
The invisible limbo is the most difficult limbo move of all

Ohio State operates the NCAA's second-largest athletic department. Eleven Warriors is committed to keeping you informed of what's happening with those sports that make Ohio State athletics more than just football and basketball. Around the Oval will be your weekly update on these teams.

Hello everyone, and welcome to Tuesday afternoon, the home of Around The Oval and your respite from all things revenue.

Lots of things happening, so let's not spend too much time on the how do you do's and get to the meat and spuds.

men's soccer look to lock up b1g regular season title

Ohio State's men's soccer team entered this past weekend with the Big Ten title firmly in their view. A win on the road against the Hoosiers would mean the Buckeyes would enter the Big Ten tournament as the league's top-seed heading into this week's tournament in Ann Arbor.

Indiana, one of the top teams in the conference, was primed and ready to play spoiler on senior day in Bloomington, where they hoped to extend to seven their own unbeaten streak.

Ohio State (10-5-2, 4-1 Big Ten) at Indiana (10-3-4, 2-1-2 Big Ten) With three shutouts in the last four games, Buckeye goaltender Matt Lampson's been a certifiable brick wall in goal for Ohio State. Of course, as the goaltender, his job is to keep the opposition out, which he's done well. On the other side of the coin for Ohio State, has been their own inability to put the ball behind the keeper in their losses. Heading into Saturday's game, the Buckeyes had been shut-out in three of their five losses, and failed to score in one of their ties, as well.

When Indiana came out firing early and often against the Buckeyes, it was Lampson who kept the Buckeyes offense, which didn't put a single shot on IU netminder Luis Soffner, in the game. The Hoosiers controlled possession for nearly the entire first half, and Lampson made three saves on seven Indiana shots, but the Hoosiers kept on keepin' on. Finally, before the first half clock wound down, Indiana found pay-dirt on a goal from sophomore midfielder Nikita Kotlov at 44:46. The goal, Kotlov's sixth on the season and third in B1G play, put the Buckeyes' championship hopes in a serious bind.

The Buckeyes came out with a vengeance in the second-half, but nine shots and two Soffner saves later, time had run out on the Buckeyes and they found themselves on the losing end of the tightly-contested battle, 1-0.  Head coach John Bluem thought his team played well, despite the disappointing loss.

"It was certainly a disappointment to come away without a win and not win the championship outright, but it was definitely a difficult task at hand," John Bluem, Ohio State head coach said. "I think Indiana is probably the best team in the league and they played well today. It was tough to mentally come back from the goal late in the first half, but I think our team stuck with it and produced some good chances in the second half."

With the loss, Ohio State finished in a tie for second in the standings of the Big Ten, but thanks in part to their 2-0 win against Wisconsin last week, still earned the #2 seed in the B1G Tournament. The team will start their quest for a title against Penn State at 3:45 Wednesday afternoon. The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes battled through 96 scoreless minutes on October 23rd in Columbus, before Austin McAnena scored the game winner to give the Buckeyes the victory.

Bluem knows the Buckeyes have a tough road ahead of them, and hopes the Buckeyes will be able to take things in stride.

We are prepared to enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed and put together the best run we can. Every game is one more chance to take the field this season and we are certainly going to do everything we can to keep that going through a tough conference tournament."

icers off to best start in 7 years

After two shut-out wins this past weekend in Huntsville, Alabama against Alabama-Huntsville, the Buckeyes' men's hockey team now stands at 6-3-1 on the young season, their best start since they began the 2004-2005 season 7-3.

Dries was too much to handle

The Chargers, who are now 0-8-1, were little competition for Ohio State's offensinve onslaught, and goalies Cal Heeter and Brady Hjelle each earned shutouts, Hjelle stopped 21 shots on Friday night in a 4-0 win; and Heeter blocked all 20 he faced during Saturday's 2-0 win.

Ohio State was led on offense by senior Danny Dries, who recorded his first career hat-trick Friday night. to go along with an assist. The three goals increased Dries' team leading total to seven on the year. On Saturday, the Buckeyes turned to freshman Nick Oddo and Tanner Fritz, who each notched the first goals of their careers, sophomore Chris Crane assisted on both tallies for Ohio State. Ohio State pounded the Chargers with 44 shots on goal in the series final.

The three straight shutouts earned by Ohio State marks the first time in school history that the team has recorded three shutouts consecutively. With the addition of Oddo and Fritz to the "G" column in the box score, the Buckeyes now have 7 different freshman who have put the biscuit in the basket in the season's first ten games. 

The Buckeyes will host Northern Michigan this weekend for a two game set Friday and Saturday. The Wildcats are 4-3-3 on the year, scoring 2.8 goals per contest, while allowing 2.5.

Buckeye bits

After falling to #18 Illnois on penalty kicks in the first round of the B1G tournament, the Buckeyes ladies soccer team received some good news on Monday when they were informed that they had been selected as an at-large selection for the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State will face fourth-seeded Tennessee this Saturday afternoon. This is Ohio State's 7th NCAA appearance, and their fourth in the last five years.

#22 Ohio State's woman's volleyball team went on the road this past week, beating Wisconsin 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21) and then falling to #15 Minnesota 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23) to end another weekend with a split. The ladies will stay on the road for a weekend pairing in Illinois, where they will face Northwestern and Illniois Friday and Saturday.

The #13 grapplers opened their season in Ypsilanti, Michigan this past weekend at the Eastern Michigan Open, and the Buckeyes left the meet with five winning wrestlers. Logan Stieber, Hunter Stieber, Josh Demas, Nick Heflin and freshman Nyle Bartling all left as champions. This weekend, Ohio State will head to Harrisburg, PA for the Harrisburg Duals.

Thanks for reading Around The Oval, see you next week.

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