After failing to come up with a score in overtime, the Michigan men’s soccer team (3-1-1 Big Ten, 3-1-1 overall) tied Ohio State (3-1-1, 3-1-1), 2-2 on Monday.
During the first half, both the Wolverines and Ohio State struggled to develop goal-scoring opportunities. Despite missing sophomore goalie Owen Finnerty, Michigan’s defense held its own against the Buckeyes, denying all three shot opportunities in the first half. The two sides remained deadlocked at the break after a scoreless half.
“I think getting used to the elements was a big part of it,” Wolverine coach Chaka Daley said. “We have played outside four times and only two of those opportunities were games, so I think getting used to the elements and wind took more time than we would’ve liked.”
After a scoreless first half, both sides’ offenses proved to be far more aggressive, with Michigan notching seven shots on goal while Ohio State registered six. Sophomore midfielder/forward Inaki Rodriguez provided the game’s first goal with a strike in the 53rd minute.
Ohio State answered back in the 60th minute with a right-footed strike from midfielder Parker Grinstead.
After a save off the crossbar by Wood in the 59th minute, the Wolverines pushed the ball into Ohio State territory, with senior defenseman Jackson Ragen scoring on a header following a free kick from senior midfielder Marc Ybarra. The strike put the Wolverines up 2-1 in the 61st minute.
After taking the lead, Michigan continued to attack the net, developing many scoring opportunities to try and run away with the match. In minute 65, Ragen nearly scored another header, but the Ohio State goalkeeper was able to put a palm on the ball and send it out of bounds for a corner kick.
“In the second half, we adapted to what was given to us,” Ragen said. “Ohio State’s defense was pressing up high at first and ended up dropping back after we scored, forcing pressure on them to back up. I think recognizing their defensive strategy and knowing when to put pressure on them served us well.”
After successfully holding off the aggressive Wolverine offense, the Buckeyes made the most of their opportunities on the offensive end. In the 74th minute, Ohio State forward Ty Konrad delivered a strong right foot strike to bring the game back even, 2-2.
Following Ohio State’s goal to even the score, both teams once again struggled to gain the lead. By minute 90, neither team was able to score and win the game in regulation.
While the Buckeyes maintained possession for the majority of overtime, anticipation soared as Ohio State continuously shot at the Wolverine net. Despite the ferocious attack, Michigan’s defense stood tall as freshman goalie Ethan Wood denied Ohio State the game-winning goal.
“Ethan has done a great job since he’s been there,” Daley said. “Not playing in the fall is a positive for a young goalie and now after being here for four months in the fall, and competing six weeks going into the season, he has earned his spot to be the backup and be ready to play whenever his number is called. I thought he did a good job today.”
Ultimately, neither side was able to find the back of the net in overtime, resulting in a 2-2 draw.
“I think we could have been more clinical on our service and commitment in and around the box,” Daley said. “I can’t fault the guys, they put together a great shift. Playing through the elements is different than what we are accustomed to but we will keep fighting through the punches and move forward in a positive direction.”
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