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Buckeyes Win Big Ten Tournament and Men's Soccer Title



Nov. 11, 2007

For 220 minutes this season, neither No. 9 Indiana (13-4-4) nor No. 18 Ohio State (13-3-5) could find the back of the net. With the game in penalty kicks, Ohio State came away with a 5-4 advantage in the Big Ten Tournament championship game at Old College Field in East Lansing, Mich.

While the game will go in the books as a 0-0 tie, the Buckeyes earn the Big Ten's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Both teams made their first kicks, but after Andy Adlard put the ball past Casey Latchem, Roger Espinoza sent his attempt wide for a 2-1 IU advantage. Brad Ring's attempt was saved by Latchem and Danny Irizarry made good for a 2-2 tie.

The remaining two shooters for each team made good on their attempts and the shootout went to 1-on-1 sudden death. Kevin Noschang's shot was saved by Latchem, but Cain came up with the save on Patrick Roan's shot. Next up for IU was Kelly, and Latchem again came up with the save. With the title on the line OSU's Doug Verhoff put home the game-winning shot.

Ring and Greg Stevning represented the Hoosiers on the all-championship team.

Indiana's John Mellencamp had a chance in the opening minutes for IU as a ball played back by the Ohio State defense made its way through and `keeper Casey Latchem was forced to come up and fend off a charging Mellencamp.

Mellencamp had a much more active first half in this championship game after making his first start since Oct. 21 in Friday's semifinal against Michigan State.

Brad Ring blasted a left-footed shot from about 20 yards out in the 10th minute, resulting in a spectacular punch over from Latchem to keep IU off the board. The ensuing corner kick was taken by Mellencamp and Greg Stevning got his head on it but sent the attempt high.

Xavier Balc had a dangerous free kick attempt for the Buckeyes just a minute later but the shot glanced just over the cross bar. Indiana was keenly aware of Balc's free kick abilities as the Big Ten Player of the Year led the league with nine assists and tallied seven goals this season.



Earlier this season the two teams played to a 0-0 double overtime tie in Bloomington. The Hoosiers and Buckeyes also met in last year's league championship game with IU posting a 1-0 victory in Columbus.

Ring was all over the field early on for the Hoosiers, finding himself in the right place at the right time defensively and taking his chances on the offensive end. Ring was one of two unanimous first-team All-Big Ten picks for Indiana, along with Eric Alexander.

Ohio State nearly put in an own goal in the 19th minute when a pass back by the defense forced Latchem to drop to his knees and smother the ball.

A ball from Michael Roach nearly made its way to Neil Wilmarth but the freshman was unable to catch up with the ball as it rolled out over the endline.

In the waning minutes of the first half, Wilmarth had a pair of shots in front of the net, taking his first look from about 4 yards out that Latchem got a foot on, then taking the rebound and putting in another shot that was blocked by the OSU defense.

Ohio State came out of the halftime break controlling the run of play as most of the action occurred in the Indiana half of the field. Indiana had a flurry of activity in the 57th minute with a shot from Ring drawing a corner kick but the Hoosiers were unable to capitalize on the chance.

Balc had an open look as IU goalkeeper Chay Cain was pulled up off his line, but he was unable to control the ball and was only able to get off an unbalanced attempt that sailed high.

Ring played the perfect through ball into Kevin Noschang at 63:31 but Noschang was unable to take advantage of the one-on-one opportunity with Latchem, blasting a shot high and out of play.

Ring had another opportunity in the 69th minute when his shot off Wilmarth's throw in was directly on frame but right at Latchem.

With under 20 minutes left in regulation, Andrew Magill took an on-goal attempt nine yards out at an angle but Cain came up with his sixth save of the afternoon, diving to his right to reel it in. Cain finished the game with a season high nine saves.

Wilmarth hit one off the right post with 9:46 to play, coming up just short with what would have been his second goal of the tournament. It was Wilmarth's score that gave the Hoosiers a 1-0 win over Michigan State in the semifinals on Friday.

The Hoosiers were living on the edge in the final minutes of regulation as Ohio State was awarded a free kick just outside the penalty box with six minutes on the clock. Balc's attempt found Eric Brunner but Cain was able to get a hand on the shot and punch it over. Roger Espinoza also had a shot saved by Cain in the sequence of events.

Despite the relentless pressure, the Indiana defenders were up to the task as they were continually able to steer out of danger.

Fatigue was starting to show on both teams as the first overtime period commenced. With six minutes gone, Balc had a left footer that went just wide as Cain had no chance to catch up to the shot. Each team had just one shot in the first overtime period.

After a two-minute break the two teams came out for a second golden-goal, 10-minute overtime period. Wilmarth and Ofori Sarkodie had shots in the first three minutes, with Sarkodie's a lofty ball that drifted high. Alexander had a shot that Latchem had bounce off his hands and back into play as Indiana peppered the OSU net with a second wind in the second overtime. The Hoosiers had a corner kick that was headed out by Brunner, ending the IU threat.

The 48-team NCAA Championship bracket will be announced Monday, Nov. 19 between 5:30-6 p.m. on ESPN News.


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