Ohio State’s 10-9 upset of Denver, a Final Four team last year, on Sunday could be traced to the play of an opportunistic offense (10 goals on 14 shots on net), a stingy defensive midfield (two goals for the Pioneers’ starting midfield) and an unrelenting faceoff unit (10-of-20 against junior Chase Carraro, who won 58.2 percent in 2011).
But the most significant factor in the Buckeyes’ win might have been the play of goalkeeper Scott Spencer. Filling in for usual starter Greg Dutton, the sophomore transfer from Division II New York Institute of Technology made eight saves against a potent Pioneers offense.
In hindsight, Spencer’s landing at Ohio State couldn’t have been more timely, according to coach Nick Myers.
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“Last year, we really needed some depth at that position with Greg. Scott came to us, and we had a great meeting last summer, and he’s had a great fall,” Myers said. “He played half of the Bucknell scrimmage a couple of weeks ago and played very well, I thought. He got in some time versus Mercer. He played OK. I think he was disappointed in his play in that game quite frankly. … I think Scott’s just a very level-headed young man. He went into it with the understanding that he didn’t need to do anything spectacular. He just needed to make the saves that we needed him to and clear the ball effectively, and I thought he did both of those things well.”
Dutton, a Timonium native and Calvert Hall graduate, is dealing with a concussion. But if he is cleared by the school’s medical staff, Myers said Dutton will return as the team’s starter.
“Concussions are something you have to be very cautious with, and certainly we’re going to put Greg Dutton’s best interests at the forefront of the decision. [But] Greg Dutton is our starting goalie,” Myers said. “When Greg Dutton is cleared to play, Greg Dutton will be back out there ready to go. But we’ve got a lot of confidence in Scott, who we know is ready to go.”