Staring down the top 10 ranked Zips, Ohio State men’s soccer head coach Brian Maisonneuve and the Buckeyes knew that Wednesday’s game would be an uphill battle. Against the odds, though, Maissonneuve and his team were up for the challenge.
Ohio State (2-3-1) upset No. 7 Akron (4-1-1) by a score of 1-0 Wednesday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium behind a first-half goal by freshman midfielder Joakim Jahnsen. The Buckeyes handed the Zips their first loss of the year and held them scoreless for the first time this season.
Maisonneuve said his strategy was to push up on the Akron offense, and to get their first shutout against such a formidable opponent is a great achievement.
“To get our first shutout against a team like that is fantastic,” Maisonneuve said. “We wanted to press early to see if we could turn them over.”
Akron came into Wednesday’s game as the No. 4 scoring offense in the country and with momentum off a 2-1 win against No. 3 Pittsburgh Sept. 6.
It was a tall task for Ohio State to hold the Zips from scoring their average three goals, but it would prove necessary as the game went on.
Akron had four shots on goal, yet each was saved by Ohio State senior goalie Keagan McLaughlin.
Both teams struggled to get things going on offense to start as both Ohio State and Akron went scoreless for the first 30 minutes.
With just under 11 minutes left in the half, the Buckeyes scored the game’s first and only goal off a header by Jahnsen.
The goal was Jahnsen’s first of his career and was assisted from the corner by freshman midfielder Anthony Samways and a pass off the head of senior midfielder Xavier Green.
“I told the other freshmen that I hope for my part, it doesn’t take too long for me to get my first college goal,” Jahnsen said. “I got it today, so I’m very happy.”
The first half ended with Akron having no shots on goal and going into the locker room with a deficit for the first time all year.
Fouls also hurt the Zips as they committed eight during the first half against Ohio State’s three.
Akron started off the second half with an aggressive attack, leading to a shot on goal by forward Samuel George, only to be repelled by McLaughlin.
The Zips would continue their attack, shooting the ball six times in the second half as the Buckeyes fought to retain their slim lead.
Akron’s final attempt to even the game came in the final minute as the Zips tried to get the offense close to the goal only to have the ball cleared by Ohio State’s defense.
Maisonneuve said that it was crucial for his team to stay resilient, and for the Buckeyes to do so was the key to their upset win on Wednesday.
“We needed to close and to be able to lock it down,” Maisonneuve said. “You’ve got to do that against good teams.”
Next up, the Buckeyes will host Cleveland State Tuesday at 7 p.m. The match will be streamed on BTN+.