It's been quite a tumultuous end-of-season for Ohio State, last year's runner-up at the Men's College Cup. The Buckeyes ended the season with four straight losses but managed to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Things got worse when Coach John Bluem suspended six players -- five of them starters in last year's final against Wake Forest -- indefinitely for a violation of team rules. But the Buckeyes (9-8-3) survived to win at Oakland on penalty kicks with a makeshift team and advanced to Tuesday's second-round game at Akron (16-1-4).
Making his first start of the season, sophomore Julian Sisman hit the deciding penalty kick as the Buckeyes outlasted Oakland, 4-3, in the shootout. Three players had the opportunity to start in their first collegiate game: freshmen Ross Dickson and Nick Galiardi and junior Joe Moore.
"I am incredibly proud of this team and the way we played," Bluem said after the game. "This was a hard-fought game on both sides, but we never let up and, in fact had some of our best shots in the second overtime."
The suspensions were issued to seniors Tim Gabel, Danny Irizarry, Geoff Marsh and Patrick Roan and sophomores Matt Gold and Sam Scales. All but Scales started in the 2007 Men's College Cup final and all have been starters this season. Ohio State stated they will be eligible to play against Akron.
Interest in the Akron-OSU game is high. The Buckeyes are planning on chartering buses to take fans to the game at Akron, 124 miles away.
Akron and Ohio State met Nov. 7 in Columbus, where the Zips won, 4-3. Akron star Steve Zakuani was unstoppable, scoring two goals and two assists. The three Buckeye goals matched the number of goals Akron had allowed in their previous 10 games.
G-Evan Bush, SR. Concord, Ohio
D-Kofi Sarkodie, FR. Huber Heights, Ohio
D-Ossie Michalsen, SR. Norway
OR Aaron Henkle, FR. Carmel, Ind.
D-Chris Korb, SOPH. Gates Mill, Ohio
D-Matt Dagilis, FR. Akron, Ohio
M-Blair Gavin, SOPH. Franklin, Tenn.
M-Anthony Ampaipitakwong, SOPH. Carrollton, Texas
M Ben Zemanski, JR. Akron, Ohio
M-Matt Tutich, SR. Westmont, Ill.
F-Darlington Nagbe, FR. Lakewood, Ohio
F-Steve Zakuani, SOPH. England
G-Byron Neal, JR. Cincinnati, Ohio
D-Patrick Roan, SR. Westerville, Ohio
D-Doug Verhoff, JR. Dublin, Ohio
D-Tim Gabel, SR. Wildwood, Ohio
D-Dave Tiemstra, FR. Clarendon Hills, Mich.
M-Matt Gold, SOPH San Antonio, Texas
M-Danny Irizarry, SR. Lawrenceville, Ga.
M-Geoff Marsh, SR. North Olmstead, Ohio
M-Sam Scales, SOPH. Louisville, Ky.
F-Konrad Warzycha, SOPH. Dublin, Ohio
F-Andrew Magill, JR. Oak Brook, Ill.