Video: OSU Soccer Wins Dramatic PK Shootout

Penalties are the most dramatic way to end a soccer game, everyone knows, but what happened Thursday night at Ohio State was beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The Buckeyes and Akron needed 15 rounds of spot kicks to settle their NCAA tournament first-round game, with OSU emerging victorious.

"It was just getting to the point where something had to happen or we're going to be out here all night."

That's what Ohio State men's soccer co-captain Zach Mason said he was thinking as penalty kicks between the Buckeyes and rival Akron stretched on during last night's NCAA first-round tournament game in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Each team had four made PKs after the usual five round shootout, resulting in sudden death. Both teams made in the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th rounds -- with OSU shooting second each time, the season on the line -- before OSU goalkeeper Alex Ivanov denied Sean Sepe in round 12. Up stepped Ohio State first-team All-Big Ten defender Liam Doyle with the game on his foot -- and he was stopped by Akron's Jake Fenlason.

Each team then made in rounds 13 and 14 before Ivanov stopped up again, stopping Robby Dambrot -- the son of Akron basketball coach Keith Dambrot. From there, Mason finished things off, scoring to the right side of the net to give Ohio State the 13-12 penalties win after the teams were tied at 1-1 after 110 minutes of play.

"I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't the pressure of losing the game, so knowing if I made it, we won, it's excitement to be able to have the chance to help your team go through to the next round," Mason said. "It's relieving (to make it) and then it's just euphoria after that. I don't even know ... I couldn't even think. I was just so excited."

The teams reset the penalty order after the first 10 shots, and Mason was moved up a spot to take the 15th and deciding penalty.

Ivanov, a Lowe's Senior CLASS award finalist, made three saves in the shootout after making four in regulation and OT.

"I think this result is what being a Buckeye is all about," he said. "We battled to the end. We believed we could do it. It took 15 PKs, but we persevered and we did it."

Akron scored first in the 31st minute when Adam Najem scored on a penalty kick, but Akron transfer Kyle Culbertson equalized for OSU in the 67' when he got on the end of a Liam Doyle set piece and scored a sliding goal near the right post.

Both teams hit the woodwork in the final minutes of regulation and OSU (9-7-5) had some great chances in the second overtime but Fenlason stood tall on a shot by Marcus McCrary and Danny Jenson shot high.

Then came penalties. And more penalties. And, finally, a winner.

"It was a fantastic college soccer game," said OSU head coach John Bluem, the Big Ten Coach of the Year. "It was great to be part of it, but much better to win and advance, and these guys deserve it. They've been a great group since last January when we started laying down some goals for ourselves as a team."

OSU next plays top overall seed Notre Dame in the round of 32 on Sunday.


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