At the beginning of the Ohio State men’s soccer season, the coaching staff set a goal to make the NCAA tournament. With the regular season end in sight, the Buckeyes need a few more wins if they hope to make the tournament.
“These six games are critical,” coach John Bluem said. “We’re getting into that part of our schedule where we’re playing some good teams right now. You want to be in good form at the end of the season and we certainly need to finish strong to reach one of our team goals this year.”
The No. 15 Buckeyes’ will play tonight when the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames visit Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. UIC has burst onto the soccer scene in the last several years, going deep into the NCAA tournament under the leadership of coach John Trask.
Last season, the Flames made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, but this season has been a struggle.
“They’re having some difficulties this year,” Bluem said. “But they’re right around .500, so it’s not like they’ve fallen off the end of the earth, but it seems like something is missing this year. We’re not falling for that, though. I know they’re a real good team.”
Bluem knows that UIC could upset the Buckeyes if given the opportunity.
“I think this team is capable of coming in here and giving us a very tough game,” Bluem said.
UIC comes to Columbus with a record of 3-4-4, riding a two-game losing streak. However, they have played well against several other Big Ten teams and against Akron, the No. 1 team in the country.
OSU goalie Matt Lampson was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after he posted back-to-back shutouts last week. For Lampson, it is the second time he has received the Big Ten honor.
The OSU men’s soccer team takes the field at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.