In last Friday’s addition of The Lantern (Ohio State’s student newspaper), senior captain Tony Earp voiced his opinions about the upcoming soccer match against Michigan:
“Last year, they came here and beat us, so now it’s our turn to let them know how it feels. They have a couple of tough players in (knox) Cameron and (Mychal) Turpin that can cause us problems if they go unmarked. Either way, we’re pretty confident about our level of play and have no doubt that we can get the job done.”
This simple outlook on the game portrayed a certain confidence carried by Ohio State, and reassured the scarlet and gray faithful that the events of last season would be avenged.
Unfortunately for Earp and the Buckeyes, these pre-game prophecies caught the attention of some student-athletes a little north of Columbus.
“We combed their school newspaper, and used some bulletin board material, and that really helped to pump everybody up and get the result today,” Michigan coach Steve Burns said.
The result was a 1-0 Michigan overtime win, which gave the Wolverines a victory over heated-rival Ohio State for the second straight year. The “W” also put Michigan in a four-way tie with Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin for second place in the Big Ten, with a final mark of 3-3 in conference play (8-6-1 overall).
A physical and emotional battle, the match came to an abrupt end in 98th minute, when Michigan junior Kevin Robinson received a pass from Mychal Turpin and buried the ball in the back of the net.
“I heard the goalie call for the ball, and it was in the air and I didn’t think the defense saw me, so I just went towards the goal,” Robinson said. “(Turpin) headed it, and I was in the right spot. I just got my toe on it, and it went in.”
Robinson’s goal, just his second of the year, won the game, and showed Earp and any other doubters that the Wolverines don’t just consist of Cameron and Turpin.
“Coach has been stressing all year long, it’s not a one- or a two-man team,” Cameron said. “It’s a team effort, and as you can see, Kevin Robinson got the great goal today.”
Although the game saw only one score, there was a sufficient amount of offense. The Wolverines cranked out nine shots, including many close calls, before the Robinson strike. Ohio State also had many opportunities, but thanks largely to freshman keeper Peter Dzubay, the Buckeyes converted none of their seven shots. Burns was very pleased with the play of his young keeper, who improved his record between the pipes to an impressive 5-1.
“What you need, especially in a game like this, is your goalkeeper to keep you in the game long enough to figure out a way to win it,” Burns said. “Dzubay did his part today, by keeping a blank sheet against a very good Ohio State team.”
The match was very evenly played, and came down to one defining moment; characteristics Burns credits to the rivalry.
“The game matched up to the billing,” Burns said. “Michigan-Ohio State, it’s going to be hard fought. This type of rivalry is going to be decided by who can take advantage of a little, little mistake that the other team makes, just because both teams are in form at this point of the season.”
Already done with conference play, Michigan finishes off its regular season this week with games against local rivals Detroit and Oakland.
“I think we’re going to come into the next two games with a lot of confidence, and just keep the train rolling,” Robinson said.