A three-goal, 13-minute span and a shut out earned Ohio State its first home win of the season against No. 24 Kentucky Tuesday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Buckeyes (2-3-2, 0-1-0 Big Ten) scored each of their three goals in the second half, courtesy of sophomore midfielder Luciano Pechota with two goals and one from junior midfielder Micheal Adedokun.
Head coach Brian Maisonneuve said the tempo control opened up chances to find goals.
“We had eight shots, and we had a couple good chances in the first half, but we talked about fine-tuning it in the boxes and I thought today that’s exactly what we did,” Maisonneuve said.
The Buckeyes started off strong, controlling the possession through their eight shots in the first half to the Wildcats’ (3-4-0, 0-1-0 SEC) one. Kentucky’s lone attempt came at the 43:18 mark of the first half: a shot off a cross from outside the box that went to Wildcat freshman midfielder Alfred Baafi, who then hit it just over the top right of the net.
An attempt by Buckeye senior midfielder Parker Grinstead came from atop of the box, where his shot curved left of the net. Buckeye sophomore midfielder Ashton Bilow had a close shot attempt that was saved by Kentucky’s sophomore goalkeeper Casper Mols. The ball nearly went over the head of Mols, who ended the first half with four saves.
The Wildcats’ slow start was offset by the Buckeyes’ comparable inability to score, ending the first half 0-0.
In the second half, senior forward Ben Damge gave the Wildcats an early shot attempt that was saved by redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Max Trejo at the bottom left of the net.
The Buckeyes drew blood first. A touch by junior midfielder Adedokun on the counterattack lifted the ball over the defender to give Adedokun a one-on-one with the goalkeeper for the 1-0 lead at 50:06.
A close equalizer at 55:07 came from inside the box by Wildcat senior forward Aboubacar Camara that went just wide of the bottom right corner of the net.
At 60:42, Ohio State scored a second goal off a counterattack, allowing Pechota to get a goal from the center of the box into the bottom middle of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Two minutes later, the Buckeyes did not stop as they got a third goal for a 3-0 lead. This was Pechota’s second goal from inside the box.
Kentucky was given a penalty kick attempt off a foul in the box at 66:20, which was taken by junior midfielder Casper Grening. The attempt was saved at the bottom right corner by Trejo.
From then on, the Wildcats were contained as the Buckeyes were able to keep them off the board the rest of the game. Pechota said he thought the outcome showed more than just a win.
“As happy as I am that we won 3-0, I’m even more happy that we were able to pull a shutout and close the game out,” Pechota said.
The all-time series record is now 6-6-4 between the two teams.
The Buckeyes look to turn this victory into a two-game winning streak when they play at No. 13 Northwestern Sunday at 2 p.m.