The last home game of the regular season for the Ohio State men’s soccer team ended in dramatic fashion as they came up with their second-straight Big Ten victory, beating Michigan 2-1 — their first win against the Wolverines since 2016.
The Buckeyes (6-8-1, 2-5-0) came out strong in the first half with a goal in the 18th minute by senior midfielder Xavier Green. Green put the ball low and hard into the left corner of the net to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead. He was assisted by junior forward Channing Chasten, producing his third assist of the season.
Green said finishing opportunities was something Ohio State needed to execute, and Green was ready to do so when the ball was at his feet.
“You dream of scoring against that team up north and I’m very happy to score and just happy to get the win,” Green said. “We just knew we needed to outwork them and I think we did that tonight.”
Michigan (7-6-3, 4-3-1) answered back 12 minutes later on a cross from senior forward Derick Broche, who connected with senior defender Kevin Buca, tapping the ball into the net with his back heel in the 32nd minute.
That was the last time Michigan scored in the match, despite a total of 12 shots throughout the game.
Head coach Brian Maisonneuve said he knew it was going to be a tough game going up against a talented Michigan offensive attack. He added that one major focus for him was that the team needed to play the whole 90 minutes, which has been a struggle this season.
“Defensively, we knew that they could play. [Redshirt senior midfielder] Marc Ybarra and [sophomore midfielder] Quin Rogers really pull the strings for them, yet they can go direct off of the big [junior forward] Evan Rasmussen and Derick Broche, so they’re athletic on the counter as well,” Maisonneuve said. “It was one of those games where we really had to focus and play every play, as we keep talking about, in terms of playing the whole 90 minutes.”
All through the second half, both teams generated many chances to take the lead but were unable to execute. The desire to win was clear for both teams as the Wolverines and Buckeyes were aggressive toward each other, committing a total of 21 fouls just in the second half.
Finally, the Buckeyes took advantage of a corner kick with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Freshman midfielder Anthony Samways kicked the ball into the box where it was headed into the goal by sophomore midfielder Laurence Wootton for the game-winner in the 89th minute.
Wootton’s goal in the final minutes of the game was his sixth score of the season, following up his Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors. He said his desire and motivation have consistently helped him come up big, especially when it matters most.
“I think it’s just wanting it to be honest. Especially at the end of games, it’s just getting yourself in the right spot and then it’s just giving it all you got,” Wootton said. “I think I just gave it a bit more than them and especially beating that team up north gives you extra motivation.”
After this thrilling victory, the Buckeyes will look to end the regular season on a good note Sunday as they travel to face off against Rutgers at 1 p.m. on Halloween.