[OHIO STATE-AKRON: Men]
The bone-chilling cold made it all the more unbearable for the fans at Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Field in Columbus
, but they went home happy after enduring an unforgettable evening. Host Ohio State defeated Akron 13-12 in a shootout that lasted 15 rounds after a 1-1 double
overtime tie. For their efforts, the Buckeyes earned a date with No. 1 seed and defending champion Notre Dame on Sunday.
“I’ve never been involved in a penalty kick situation
that lasted that long,” said 24th-year coach John Bluem
, the 2014 Big Ten Coach of The Year. “With it being as cold as it was, we were all freezing
and we all just wanted it to be over. Our guys were just remarkable.”
On the 30th penalty attempt of the session, junior co-captain midfielder Zach Mason
sent in the eventual gamewinner while senior co-captain goalkeeper Alex Ivanov
made three saves during the never-ending marathon to
advance the Buckeyes to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2008 season.
“There wasn’t the pressure of losing the game,” Mason
said. “Obviously, I knew if I made it, we won. I was excited to have the opportunity to have the chance to help our team to the next round.”
Ivanov denied Stuart Holthusen
during the third round and stopped an attempt by Sean Sepe
in the 12th round. His third and final save came
in the 15th round against Robby Dambrot
with a dive to the far post.
As for the weather, it was the coldest soccer match in recent history
for the Buckeyes as the temperature dropped to as low as 24 degrees by the end of the match. With the gusty winds, it felt much colder.
Akron's goal by Adam Najem
in regulation also came from the spot in the 31st minute. Kyle Culbertson
, a double transfer from Akron and Columbia, evened the score
in the 67th minute.