April 18, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team returns to Columbus to take on conference foes Denver and Air Force. The Buckeyes will face off at 4 p.m. Friday and at 1 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be played at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes enter this weekend with a record of 4-6. Denver is 8-3 on the season and 0-1 in the conference, while Air Force is 2-9 and 0-2 in the GWLL.
On Friday, Tim Houston (Sr., Garden City, N.J./Garden City) scored three goals and dished out one assist and Buddy Lange (Sr., Annadale, N.J./North Huntedon) added three goals to lead Ohio State to a 9-8 victory over Fairfield. The Buckeyes came out strong, jumping to a 4-0 lead after the first quarter. Fairfield fought back outscoring Ohio State in the thrid and fourth quarters. Fairfield was led by Mark Beckwith who scored three goals. Buckeye goalie Mike Abeles (Sr., Westfield, N.J.) went the distance and finished with 13 saves.
On Sunday, Kevin Pall scored three goals to lead Stony Brook to a 7-6 win over OSU. The Seawolves took control in the second quarter, scoring four unanswered goals. In the second half, the Buckeyes rallied behind Pat Meyers (Fr., Kennebunk, Maine) to come within one goal. Meyers finished the afternoon with a career-high four goals. Abeles once again was phenomenal in the cage stopping 17 shots, while playing the entire 60 minutes.
Abeles Shines Again
Goalie Mike Abeles posted 30 saves against Fairfield and Stony Brook. He has posted double-figure saves in eight of the 10 games this season. He topped the 20-save mark against Butler and Johns Hopkins with 21 and 28, respectively.
Head Coach Joe Breschi
Joe Breschi is in his third season as head lacrosse coach at Ohio State. Last season Breschi led OSU to a stellar 10-3 finish, marking only the seventh 10-win season in 45 years of Ohio State lacrosse. Late in the season the Buckeyes captured a share of the GWLL title with wins over Notre Dame, Denver and Air Force. Breschi was named the 1999 GWLL Coach of the Year.
Denver enters Friday’s game with a record of 8-3, with wins over No. 14 Penn State, No. 24 Brown, Radford and Villanova. The Pioneers are led by junior attackman Mike Law. Law has recorded 41 points on the season off 27 goals and 14 assists. Denver has split time between two goalies.Brian Berger is leading the pack from the cage with 92 saves and a save percentage of .571, while Jeff Nunziato has 21 saves for a percentage of .600.
Denver Coach Munro
Jamie Munro returns for his second season as the Pioneers’ head coach after guiding the Denver lacrosse team to a 4-8-0 record in his first campaign. Prior to taking the reins of the Pioneer program, Munro spent eight seasons as the top assistant coach at Yale. As the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator from 1991-97, Munro designed an attack that helped the team achieve five top 20 national rankings in eight years and reach the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal in 1992. Yale’s offense averaged 13 goals per game in 1996, leading the team to a 14th ranking in the final NCAA Division I poll. As a player, Munro was a four-year member of the Brown University lacrosse team. At Brown, Munro garnered all-Ivy League honors from 1987-89 and capped his collegiate career by earning all-America status in 1989.
Friday’s game between Ohio State and Denver will mark the fifth time these programs have met on the lacrosse field. Ohio State leads the series 4-0. Last year the Buckeyes defested the Pioneers, 7-5, in Denver.
Scouting Air Force
Air Force enters Sunday’s game with a 2-9 record, with wins over VMI and Manhattan. The Falcons are led by junior John Agnew and seniors Nick Dipoma and Eric Carrano. In goal, Denver is led by Billy Arnold who has recorded 144 saves.
Air Force Coach Acee
With his long and illustrious lacrosse career, which has spanned over three decades, Fred Acee took the helm of the Falcon Lacrosse program in the fall of 1998. Prior to coming to Air Force, Acee has made a name for himself as the head coach at Farmingdale, a two-year college on Long Island. While there, he built the Rams into a national lacrosse powerhouse, capturing National Junior College Athletic Association championships in 1977, 1981 and 1987. In 1994, he was the defensive coach for the world champion United States lacrosse team, assisting Johns Hopkins head coach, Tony Seaman.
Ohio State and Air Force have met on the lacrosse field 14 times. Air Force leads the series 10-4. The Buckeyes beat the Falcons 7-6 in overtime last season in Denver.
O’Connor Out for the Season
Mickey O’Connor (Jr., Severna Park, Md.) will sit out the remainder of the season due to a concussion he suffered against Notre Dame. He joins senior captain and preseason honorable mention All-American selection Greg Zytkowski (Sr., North Olmsted, Ohio) who had knee surgery on March 24 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered during a preseason practice.
Freshmen Are On Fire
The freshmen are contributing to the offense, having scored 43 of the team’s 86 goals. Pat Meyers leads the team in goals and total points with 17 and 22, respectively. Curtis Smith is right behind with 20 points, nine goals and 11 assists. Buckeye rookies have scored 77 of the 141 total points on the season.
Abeles Moving Up
Senior goalie Mike Abeles moved into sixth place on the career saves list with his 17-save perormance against Stony Brook. He now has 486 career saves. He needs 51 more saves to move into the fifth spot currently occupied by his dad, Jon Abeles, with 537.
Lange Hindered-A Little
Senior Buddy Lange is second on the team in goals with 15. He is two goals behind freshman Pat Meyers. If he regains the lead Lange will become the first OSU player to lead the team in goals for three consecutive seasons since two-time All-American Skip Van Bourgondien did it in 1971-72-73.
Buckeyes in the NCAA Rankings
One Buckeye was highlighted in the NCAA individual statistics this week. Goalie Mike Abeles is ranked in two categories. He is fourth in save percentage with 164 saves, good enough for a .648 percentage. He is also first for goalie saves in a game. His career-high 28 saves against Johns Hopkins gives him one more than John Lily of Holy Cross and Pat McGinnis of Maryland. The Buckeyes as a team also are ranked in one category. OSU is No. 15 for man-advantage offense, connecting on 15 of 42 extra-man opportunities.
Ohio State Good on Groundballs
The team who wins the groundball battle, usually wins the war. The Buckeyes are winning the war. Ohio State is beating its opponents in the groundball battle 378-319. Leading the way for OSU are senior Jon Torpey and freshman Anthony Kelly with 38 and 34, respectively. The Buckeyes have 14 other players with double-figures in the groundball category.
The Buckeyes will face two oppoents in the same week for the third time this season and the first at home. Ohio State defeated both VMI and Vermont and split with Fairfield and Stony Brook.
First Half Blues
Ohio State has been leading or tied at the half five times this season. Opponents have outscored the Buckeyes 49-37 in the first half.
Second Half Turnaround
Ohio State has outscored its opponents in the second half, 49-42. The Buckeyes started this trend early in the season outscoring Radford and Butler in the second half, 11-3 and 4-2, respectively.
College Lacrosse USA Honors Ohio State
College Lacrosse USA, the leading website covering NCAA lacrosse, picked Ohio State to repeat as champions in the Great Western Lacrosse League. CLUSA also announced its preseason picks for the all-conference team. Four Buckeyes highlight the list, more than any other school. Among the names on the list are attackman Buddy Lange, midfielder Greg Zytkowski, defender Jon Torpey and goalie Mike Abeles. Abeles was also selected as the preseason Player of the Year. CLUSA also picked Ohio State to be the conference representative to head to the NCAA Tournament. A trip to the tournament would be the first in program history.
Preseason Honors for Two Buckeyes
Greg Zytkowski and Mike Abeles earned preseason honorable mention All-America honors in Face-Off Magazine, one of the leading authorities on college lacrosse. Zytkowski and Abeles are two of four captains of the 2000 Ohio State lacrosse team. Zytkowski a two-time all-Great Western Lacrosse League selection, finished the 1999 season with nine goals and 12 assists. He ranked fourth on the team with 30 ground balls. It marks the second time in as many years that Zytkowski has been named to Face-Off’s preseason All-America team. Abeles also was a first-team all-GWLL pick last season. He posted the sixth-highest save percentage in the nation (.632), and ranked 13th nationally with a 8.80 goals against average. Abeles has started 19 consecutive games in goal for Ohio State entering his senior year.
Tough Task Ahead
Nothing defines the 2000 Ohio State lacrosse team more than its highly competitive schedule. The Buckeyes will face eight teams that are ranked in Face-Off Magazine’s national preseason poll. In fact, OSU will meet more ranked opponents (eight) than unranked opponents (six). Ohio State’s grueling schedule includes No. 1 Virginia, No. 3 Johns Hopkins, No. 5 Duke, No. 10 North Carolina, No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 18 Cornell, No. 21 Butler and No. 27 Fairfield. Ohio State, ranked No. 23 in the preseason poll, also faces the undaunting task of playing nine road games compared to just five home games.
The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team has home field advantage in just three more games during the 2000 season. The Buckeyes will play nine games away from the friendly confines of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU will spend almost a month (3/18-4/16) on the road, playing seven road games in a row.