Nov. 9, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - No. 2 seed Ohio State defeated No. 3 seed Northwestern, 1-0, on Friday in the Big Ten Men's Soccer Championship semifinals at Old College Field. Ohio State improves to 13-3-4, while Northwestern falls to 12-4-3. Ohio State will face the winner of the Michigan State/Indiana semifinal in the finals on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Ohio State had an early flurry in the 12th minute. Xavier Balc had a free kick from 30 yards out that Northwestern's Justin Pines deflected over the goal. On the ensuing corner kick, OSU's Roger Espinoza had a powerful shot from 10 yards out, but a Wildcat defender blocked it before Pines gathered it in.
Northwestern quickly responded with a counter attack as David Roth had a shot from 15 yards out on the left side go just wide right. In the 27th minute, NU's Mark Blades had a shot from 12 yards out, but it went high. In the 29th minute, OSU's Andrew Magill had a one-timer fly just wide right. NU's Carl Pett had the best scoring chance of the half in the final 10 seconds, but OSU's Casey Latchem made a fine save.
Early in the second half, NU's Tyler Voigt had a shot from the right corner of the box fly just outside the left post. In the 53rd minute, Espinoza had a shot from 30 yards out stopped by Pines. The ball deflected to the ground, allowing Eamon O'Neill an opportunity, but his rebound attempt dribbled outside the right post.
Ohio State finally broke the stalemate at 53:02 on a goal from Balc. He received a pass from O'Neill and slotted a shot into the bottom right corner from eight yards out. With 14:42 left in the half, Pett had a chance to tie the score, but Latchem made a diving stop on his attempt from five yards out. Two minutes later, NU's Matt Eliason had a shot deflect off a Buckeye defender and off the crossbar. Northwestern had another opportunity in the 81st minute, but Latchem made a diving stop on a 20-yard shot from Piero Bellizzi.
Northwestern had a 17-13 advantage in shots and 5-3 advantage in corner kicks. Latchem had six saves in recording a shutout, while Pines made three stops.