COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team will celebrate and honor its most successful class in program history on Saturday while at the same time looking to punch a ticket to the 2018 Big Ten Tournament. The No. 19 Buckeyes tangle with No. 9 Rutgers at 4 p.m. in a game that can be seen on BTN. Mike Monaco and Greg Bice will have the call.
ABOUT THE BUCKEYES
– Ohio State is 7-6 on the year and 2-2 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes are coming off their biggest win of the year, a 12-10 triumph at then-No. 1 Maryland on Sunday in College Park.
– The Buckeyes returned to the national polls this week, checking in at No. 19 in both the Nike Lacrosse/USILA Coaches Poll and Maverik/Inside Lacrosse Media Poll.
– The offense last week against the Terps was keyed by junior Jack Jasinski, who matched his career high with seven points on two goals and five assists. Jasinski now has 25 points on the season and is the team’s second leading scorer.
– Sophomore Tre Leclaire, who scored once last week, has 24 goals and 10 assists and is just one point shy of reaching 100 for his career. He’s on pace to be the second fastest player to reach the 100-point milestone.
– Freshman midfielder Jackson Reid is third on the team in scoring with 23 points (18 goals, five assists) with at least one point in 10 straight games. He had a hat trick at Maryland last week, including the go-ahead goal early in the fourth quarter to break a 9-9 tie.
– A key to the Buckeyes’ offensive efficiency last Sunday was the play of freshman Justin Inacio in the face-off X. Inacio won 16 of 27 draws, including 10 in a row during a span in the second and third quarters. He was named this week’s Big Ten Specialist of the Week.
– Goalie Josh Kirson, a redshirt freshman, made nine saves in his fifth career start and was especially stout in the second half, stopping seven shots.
– Defensive midfielder’s Ryan Terefenko and Logan Maccani have combined for 54 ground balls, 13 caused turnovers and helped the Buckeyes become the nation’s No. 1 clearing team (194 of 206, .941).
– The close defensive unit of Ben Randall, Erik Evans and Matt Borges will be starting their 34th consecutive game together on Saturday. Last week, Evans and Randall were taken in the Major League Lacrosse Draft (Randall went in the second round to Charlotte, Evans in the sixth to Atlanta).
– Ranked No. 9 in this week’s USILA Coaches Poll, Rutgers (9-4, 2-2) is coming off an 11-8 win over Penn State last Sunday night at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway.
-The Scarlet Knights’ offense is led by three players who already have over 30 points this season: Jules Heningburg (31G, 31A, 65 points), Kieran Mullins (30G, 17A, 47 points) and Christian Mazzone (26G, 9A, 35 points). Heningburg’s 2.62 points per game is tied for third in the league while his 5.00 points per game is second.
– On defense, Michael Rexrode was a third-team All-American last year and has nine caused turnovers on the year. Goalie Max Edelmann checks in with a 9.29 goals-against average, 129 saves and .516 save percentage.
– Alex Schoen is the primary face-off specialist, winning exactly 50 percent of the draws that he’s taken this year (52-of-106).
HISTORY WITH THE SCARLET KNIGHTS
– In the Big Ten era, the home team has won every game between Ohio State and Rutgers. In 2015, the Scarlet Knights topped the Buckeyes 17-10 in Piscataway and Ohio State returned the favor in 2016, winning 12-10 in Columbus. Last year, Mullins scored in overtime to give RU a 12-11 victory.
– Saturday will be the 11th all-time meeting between Ohio State and Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have won eight of those games. Prior to the start of Big Ten lacrosse, the two teams met from 1996 through 1999, 1992-93 and in 1953.
A FEW NOTES ON THE CLASS OF 2018
– With a 42-26 record since the start of the 2015 season, this year’s class is the winningest in program history. It topped the previous record of 41 wins set by last year’s seniors.
– The group has been part of two NCAA quarterfinal teams, an NCAA Final Four/national finalist squad and played in two Big Ten Tournament championship games.
– This year’s class has defeated the nation’s No. 1-ranked team in back to back seasons.
– It is the fourth straight class to finish its career unbeaten against That Team Up North.
– Standouts off the field, this class has totaled more than 60 academic honors and volunteered more than 300 hours in the community.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
– The winner of Saturday’s game between Ohio State and Rutgers clinches a spot in the 2018 Big Ten Tournament, which takes place May 3-5 in Ann Arbor, Mich.
– After his two-goal, five-assist game at Maryland last Sunday, Jack Jasinski took home three major awards: Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, Inside Lacrosse Player of the Week and US Lacrosse Player of the Week. The seven points by Jasinski matched his career high (he also had seven last year in a regular season win over Johns Hopkins) and the five assists set a new career high. It’s the third most assists in single-game program history. He currently has points in 10 straight games with multiple points coming in six of those contests.
– Jackson Reid is this week’s Big Ten Freshman of the Week after scoring three goals — including the go-ahead tally in the fourth quarter — last Sunday at Maryland. He is on a 10-game point scoring streak and has nine points (6G, 3A) in his last three games.
– Justin Inacio earned Specialist of the Week honors after winning 17-of-26 face-offs against the Terps. The top freshmen face-off specialist in the Big Ten, he’s won 46 draws over the last three weeks and 101 on the season. His .571 percentage ranks 24th nationally and second among freshmen.
– Senior Ben Randall was named to the list of 25 nominees for the 2018 Tewaaraton Award, which annually honors the top male and female college lacrosse player in the United States. A first-team All-American last year, Randall currently leads the team with 13 caused turnovers and is a key piece of a Buckeye unit that is No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring defense (8.92 goals/game).
THIS AND THAT
– Following his five-point performance at Maryland (4G, 1A), senior Colin Chell is five away from 100 in his career.
– Leclaire has 23 multi-point games in his 34-game career.
– In its seven wins this year, Ohio State has outscored its opponents 24-10 in the first quarter.
– Four players on Ohio State’s roster have played in 60 or more career games.