Pilots impress in win over No. 25 Ohio State
The defending Big 10 regular season champion Ohio State Buckeyes stepped onto Merlo Field on Friday night looking for their first win of the season, but the Pilots had other plans. They attacked the Ohio State goal for 90 minutes and after two second half goals, took the game by a score of 2-0.
With the win, the Pilots improve to 2-1 on the season while the Buckeyes move to 0-3 on the year.
The Pilots erased any notions that they were an underdog early on after holding the Buckeyes to just one shot and taking seven of their own in the first half. The half ended in a draw but freshman forward Benji Michel came the closest to a goal when he narrowly missed the open net after getting by the Ohio State keeper.
In the 67th minute freshman midfielder Gio Magaña-Rivera scored his first collegiate goal and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Magaña-Rivera headed straight for the fans pumping his fists, teammates following closely behind.
“I just went straight to the student section, it was something emotional for me,” Magaña-Rivera said. “We have the best fans in the nation and I just had to go straight over there.”
The rest of the team joined him in celebration next to a jam packed, loud student section.
Head coach Nick Carlin-Voigt was impressed with Magaña-Rivera’s night and mentioned that his goal wasn’t his only contribution to the game.
“It wasn’t just the goal scoring, it was the amount of ground that he covered. It was how he was transitioning,” Carlin-Voigt said. “Big time players step up in big time moments and the whole team stepped up big tonight.”
Just 10 minutes later, junior forward Erik Edwardson sealed the deal for the Pilots when he rebounded a shot that hit off of the post and fired it into the back of the net to put the Pilots up by two with just 14 minutes left to play.
The Pilots would hold their lead through the final whistle and take down the Ohio State Buckeyes who sit just outside of the top 25 in the nation. Edwardson and the rest of the Pilots hope that the rest of Division I soccer takes notice.
“I hope they say that we’re serious,” Edwardson said. “We have such a talented group, we’re here to win every game and we know that we have the guys to do it.”
The Pilots didn’t just win the game, they won on the stats sheet as well, taking more shots than the Buckeyes and controlling the ball on offense. It was a statement win for the program, but Carlin-Voigt knows that the team is capable of producing more of the same.
“You saw us just starting to scratch our full potential tonight,” Carlin-Voigt said. “We can play with anyone when we show up. We were the better team tonight and we absolutely deserved to win that game.”
The Pilots next game will take place on Sunday Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. against San Jose State.