Ohio State Knocks Tigers Out of NCAA Tournament
Nov. 19, 2004
COLUMBUS, Ohio - In a fierce, intense battle, the University of Memphis men's soccer team fell to Ohio State, 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
"I give absolute credit to Ohio State," said Memphis head coach Richie Grant. "The game went the way we thought it would with Ohio State being a very tough team. They got the goal we always look for; the first goal. We created some good chances in the first 20 minutes, and we were a little unlucky not to get a goal in the second half."
After beginning the game strong, the Tigers (16-4-1) faltered toward the end of the first period. Memphis put off five shots in the first 23 minutes of the game including a free kick by junior Dayton O'Brien from a couple of yards outside the penalty area that was saved by Ohio State junior goalie Ray Burse, Jr.
"We came out like we wanted to," O'Brien said. "You have to give credit to Ohio State. But we definitely have created positive opportunities to bring into next season."
OSU (11-6-2) attempted its first shot of the game in the 24th minute, missing an excellent opportunity on a Justin Cook one-on-one that was shot wide. But four minutes later, junior forward Kevin Nugent put Ohio State on the board with a goal over Memphis senior goalie Sebastian Vecchio's head from inside the six-yard box. Nugent's fifth goal of the season was assisted by Cook and Taylor Korpleski. With the assist, Cook, a senior, tied for the Ohio State all-time career assist record with 17.
The Buckeyes nearly scored again in the 32nd minute when Nugent put off another shot on goal. Vecchio dove to save the ball, knocking it to the right side. The ball was then immediately hit by Nugent but saved by a Memphis defender in front of the goal line.
In the second period, both teams battled back and force for position in an evenly fought match. The Tigers scored twice in the half only to have the goals recalled, once for offsides and the other due to a foul.
Memphis and Ohio State ended the match even in shots with 12 with the Tigers attempting six in each half. The U of M had two shots on goal, both coming in the first half, while OSU had three on goal.
"It's important to give the players a lot of credit," Grant said. "You never want the season to end. The senior players really inspired us throughout the game. We have to thank the support of all the people who have followed us around the country.
"We had a good season, and it's sad that it has to end. Hopefully, it built in the team the desire to play at this stage again next year."
The Buckeyes now move on in the NCAA tournament, facing fifth seeded Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Tuesday. It is Ohio State's first postseason win in three NCAA appearances.