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Men’s Soccer: Buckeyes drop College Spring League opener to Louisville

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The Ohio State men’s soccer team opened its Spring League with a 2-1 loss to Louisville Saturday. Credit: Zachary Rilley | Photo Editor

Louisville’s alertness from close range proved to be too much for Ohio State, as the Cardinals left Columbus with a 2-1 win in the two teams’ first game of the College Spring League season.

Head coach Brian Maisonneuve said one factor contributing to the Buckeyes’ loss was their approach early in the game.

“I thought Louisville came out really good in the first 15-20 minutes in terms of energy,” Maisonneuve said. “I thought all of it was good, and our fight wasn’t.”

Louisville took advantage of Ohio State’s slow start halfway through the first half, as senior forward Brandon McManus found the back of the net following a Cardinal free kick.

“I thought we let them wiggle out of some stuff, but they’ve got some good players, and I thought they did a really nice job especially that first half of wiggling out of some stuff, and they were dangerous,” Maisonneuve said.

After a first half that Maisonneuve described as “sluggish,” the Buckeyes got back on track in the first four minutes of the next frame.

As freshman midfielder Luciano Pechota made an incisive move inside the Cardinals’ 18-yard box, he was fouled, drawing a penalty kick for his team.

Redshirt senior forward Reed Davis was chosen to take the penalty kick, and his bottom right corner shot put Ohio State back on level terms.

Maisonneuve was satisfied with the goal, but he said he is looking for more scoring to come from open play situations.

“Even today, I thought we had even numbers and a couple of numbers-up situations where we got to score those goals,” Maisonneuve said. “That’s been one of our focuses throughout spring.”

After remaining tied at 1-1 for almost a half hour of game time, a 76th minute close-range goal from Louisville sophomore defender Josh Jones proved to be the decisive moment in the game.

Although the Buckeyes conceded two goals in the loss, Maisonneuve highlighted his two center backs, redshirt junior defender Sean Ryan and freshman defender Donny Williams as two key performers in the game.

Last season, Ryan and Williams appeared in eight and three games, respectively. Maisonneuve mentioned the importance of getting new players in the rotation in spring games.

“We got some freshmen that got some minutes last year, some freshmen that are very good that didn’t get as many minutes,” Maisonneuve said. “Same thing with sophomores and just some players that we need to get them in very competitive matches, give them some time.”

Maisonneuve said his team is approaching the spring season with development in mind.

“You’ve got to come every day with that energy to get better,” Maisonneuve said. “Sometimes, we train harder in the spring than we do in the fall because the fall is a lot about games. During the spring, we can really train and get after it.”

While development and training are important in spring games, Maisonneuve said he looks to make adjustments before next Saturday’s game against Marshall.

“You are really trying to grow and develop on some facets of the game to get better for the fall, but you also want to win games,” Maisonneuve said. “Winning is a habit. We’ve got to find ways to win these games.”

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