Bottom Row L-R: Tyler Allen, Mike McKune, Josh McDaniel, Sam Agranoff, Zach Arefi, Alex Eikenberry, Evan Ekis, Brock Hersch, Nevin Anandika, Niko Strickler, Craig Zahour, Ricky Krause, Commodore Williams. Top Row L-R: Dillon Ricketts, Joe Villari, Yuval Greenshtein, Nate Meizlish, Nathan Zanzig, Jared Gerlacher, Adam Hirsch, Ross DiDonna, Thomas Gullo, Will Gallucci, Niko Popovich, TJ Schuster, Alex “Juice” Highley, Alex Haas, Jon Bowman
OSUFC Regional Champions
OSUFC won it’s third Regional Championship in the last four years this past weekend in Westfield, Indiana. After an 8-1-1 regular season finish, the team finished 2nd in the MASC-East Division with Miami winning the Division and Cincinnati finishing 3rd. With 80 points out of a possible 100, OSUFC was tied for third in Power Points with UW-Madison behind an unbeaten Northwestern University (92 points) at the top of the table, and a three way tie for second between Purdue, Cincinnati, and Miami (83 points). As the #2 seed in Group A, the team was grouped with UW-La Crosse, and for the second year in a row, Michigan State University.
After beating MSU at the 2015 Regional Tournament 1-0, the team entered the match with a bit of knowledge on the opponents. Although OSUFC had possession for most of the game and Mike McKune put in a late goal, the Spartans held on to the 2-1 victory to clinch the top spot in Group A moving into the elimination round. Entering the second match of the day, OSUFC was to play UW-La Crosse in what was essentially a win or go home game for both teams. A scoreless first half lit a fire under the Buckeyes as Brock Hersch sent in the only goal of the game to save the season and give the 1-0 victory to OSU. Senior goalkeeper Zach Arefi and the Buckeye defense tallied it’s first shutout in 9 games. Sophomore defender Evan Ekis also had a game saving clearance off the goal line to help secure the win.
In the knock out stage of the tournament OSUFC was drawn to play Indiana University who had won their group. After a dominant performance and 2-0 victory by the Buckeyes, Thomas Gullo and Josh McDaniel scored to put OSUFC into the Regional Championship against TTUN. TTUN had also placed second in their group and had beaten Loyola-Chicago 2-1 to advance to the Championship match. The Ohio State defense denied 6 corner kicks in a row to keep a clean sheet early on in the game. It wasn’t until 20 minutes into the match that TTUN finally put the ball away to take the lead. The rest of the game was very level with solid defending on both sides of the field. The persistence and fitness of OSUFC paid off in the final 2 minutes of play as Senior Niko Popovich netted his 9th career goal to tie the game. The momentum had clearly shifted going into what would be “Golden Goal” Overtime. In the first half of overtime TTUN created an early chance that Arefi was ready for. Junior and club Vice President Thomas Gullo scored his second of the tournament and 7th career goal to win the game for OSUFC in overtime. There was an explosion of cheers from both the team and the crowd as everyone stormed the field to tackle both Club President Mike McKune, and goal scorer Thomas Gullo. With the 8 points secured in the Championship game, OSUFC became the overall points leader and overall Champion of the MASC Region with 106 total points, beating out UW-Madison by a full 3 points. On the other side of the bracket, the Michigan State Spartans were also crowned champions, proving that OSUFC was drawn into the most competitive and difficult group of the tournament.
Gullo’s goal was the one to punch OSUFC’s ticket to Foley, Alabama to compete in the NIRSA National Tournament. The tournament will be held at Foley Sports Tourism Complex on November 17th, 18th, and 19th. OSUFC will be 1 of 24 men’s teams, and over 575 athletes competing for the chance to be crowned National Champions. The last time OSUFC competed at the NIRSA National Championship, the team took home the crown after beating San Diego State University 1-0 in the Championship. The Ohio State Buckeyes will enter the competition with an overall record of 11-2-1, 40 goals for, 10 goals against, and 6 shutouts. Senior Mike McKune is the leading scorer with 10 goals on the season.
Details such as who the team will be drawn against, transportation, lodging, and game times will be announced as soon as they are known.