COLUMBUS, Ohio The No. 9/13 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team lost its regular-season finale to No. 12/7 Notre Dame, 17-12, Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field in South Bend, Ind. The Buckeyes, who end their winning streak at five, fall to 9-4 on the year and drop their first league contest this season. The Irish, who have won their last 18 games at home, move their winning streak to four and improve to 11-2 this season. Both teams finish Great Western Lacrosse League play 4-1 and will share the regular-season title with Denver.
The Buckeyes and Irish will return to action in the inaugural GWLL tournament next weekend at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Mich. The Irish will be the No. 1 seed and will take on No. 4 seed Quinnipiac in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday. The Buckeyes will be the No. 2 seed and will face No. 3 Denver at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The championship game will be at noon Sunday, with the winner earning the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Ticket and tournament information is available online at collegelacrosseinmichigan.com.
Senior Kevin Buchanan, the Buckeyes’ leading scorer, led the way for Ohio State with five points, including two goals and three assists. Sophomore James Green had a hat trick and an assist for his second-consecutive four-point game. Senior Chris Friel and junior Peet Poillon each added two goals and junior Joel Dalgarno had a goal and an assist. Senior goalie Stefan Schroder had a season-best 18 saves in the game.
Ohio State held a 5-4 lead at the end of the first quarter on the strength of four unanswered goals. The Irish opened the game with a 3-0 lead on goals by Peter Christman 51 seconds into the quarter, Adam Felicetti at 9:08 and Ryan Hoff at 8:01. Buchanan put the Buckeyes on the board with a goal at 6:40, followed by Dalgarno’s score less than a minute later (5:53). Friel scored back-to-back at 4:29 and 2:23, with Buchanan picking up the assist on his first goal. The Irish ended the Buckeyes’ run on Grant Krebs’ goal at 1:39. Buchanan set up classmate Peter Schell for a goal with six seconds left in the quarter to regain the Buckeye lead (5-4).
Notre Dame outscored the Buckeyes, 4-2, in the second quarter to take an 8-7 lead into halftime. Michael Podgajny scored a man-up goal at 10:42 to tie the game at 5-all. Dalgarno found junior Jeff Ryan for a goal 50 seconds later (9:52) to briefly put the Buckeyes back on top but the Irish went on a three-goal run, including goals by Podgajny at 7:39 and 5:46 sandwiched around a score by Duncan Swezey at 6:45, to take an 8-6 lead. Buchanan set up junior Peet Poillon at 3:53 to cut the ND lead to one. Each team had an opportunity with less than a minute remaining, but neither team could convert, sending the squads into the lockerroom with ND ahead, 8-7.
The Buckeyes trailed, 12-9, at the end of the third quarter. The Irish opened the second half with a three-goal run, on goals by Neal Hicks at 10:51, Swezey at 8:58 and Alex Wharton at 7:56, extending the ND lead to four (11-7). Poillon scored his second of the game at 3:39, followed by a man-up score from Matt Ciambella 45 seconds later (2:54) to maintain ND’s four-goal edge. Sophomore Ryan Lowe set up Green for a goal at 2:19, cutting the lead to three (12-9). The Buckeyes had two man-up chances with 1:31 remaining in the quarter, but were unable to convert.
The Irish outscored the Buckeyes 5-2 in the fourth quarter for the 17-12 final. Green opened the scoring at 11:42 to cut the Irish lead to two (10-12). Zach Brenneman followed with a goal at 9:14, but Green again responded at 8:49 to close the gap to two (13-11). The Irish then scored the next three goals to put the game out of reach, with Grant Krebs tallying at 7:18, Hicks scoring at 5:58 and Hoff scoring man-up at 4:21. Green set up Buchanan for a man-up score at 3:24 to stop the Irish run. Krebs added the final goal of the game at 2:23.
The Irish outshot the Buckeyes, 47-31, in the game. Schroder ended with a season-best 18 saves in 58:29. Sophomore Brandon Freeman played 1:07 while Schroder served a penalty, but did not face a shot. Notre Dame’s Joey Kemp made 12 saves in all 60 minutes.
The Buckeyes were 1-for-3 on extra-man chances, with Notre Dame scoring three times on five opportunities.
The Buckeyes earned a share of the league regular-season title for the first time since 2003. The team last won the outright title in 2004.
Friel had a career-best two goals vs. the Irish and has a career-high three goals this season. He scored two goals in his first three years with the squad combined.
Buchanan, who leads the Buckeyes with a career-best 37 goals and 63 points, now has 162 (90g, 72a) points as a Buckeye, ranking fourth in program history, one behind third-place Craig Cooper (1974-78). Buchanan is on a 42-game scoring streak (86-68-153), has multiple points in each of his last 25 games and is on a 22-game goal-scoring streak. He has at least five points in each of his last seven games. His 63 points this year are tied for eighth (Tim Johnson, 1997) in program history in a single season.
Dalgarno is first on the team with 28 assists and ranks second with 59 points, both career highs. He now has 84 goals, 66 assists and 150 points for the Scarlet and Gray. He is tied for sixth (Bill Rodgers, 1978-81) in program history in points and is seventh in career assists. His 58 points this year rank 11th in program history for a single season.
Poillon extended his scoring streak to 10 and has at least one point in all but one game this year.
Green is on a six-game scoring streak and matched his career highs with three goals and four points vs. the Irish.
With a goal, Ryan extended his scoring streak to 12.
The Buckeyes, who entered the game second nationally in team offense, have scored double-digit goals in each of their last 10 games.