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April 25, 2000

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team returns to action at 1 p.m. Saturday when it faces off against No. 1 Virginia at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes enter the game with an overall record of 6-6 and 2-2 in the GWLL. Virginia is 10-1 on the season and just won its second straight ACC Tournament championship.

Last Weekend
On Friday, John Cummings (Fr., Baltimore, Md./Loyola) and Buddy Lange (Sr., Annadale, N.J./North Huntedon) each scored four goals to lead Ohio State to a 9-8 victory over Denver. The Pioneers took an early lead on a Chad Wittman goal, but the Buckeyes answered right back with a goal from Lange. Denver scored three unanswered goals for a 4-1 lead at the 12-minute mark of the second quarter. Ohio State then took control, scoring five of the next six goals. The Buckeyes finally took the lead at the 10:46 mark in the third quarter on a Cummings goal. The two teams battled back and forth throughout the third and fourth quarters. With the game knotted at 8-8, Cummings netted his fourth goal of the afternoon with 39 seconds remaining to give the Buckeyes the victory. Buckeye goalie Mike Abeles (Sr., Westfield, N.J./Westfield) went the distance and finished with 11 saves.

On Sunday, for the second straight game Cummings recorded six points to lead Ohio State to a 17-6 victory over Air Force. The Buckeyes dominated the first half, scoring 13 unanswered goals. Cummings led the charge with four of his six points in the first quarter. In the second half, Denver saw more time on the offensive end. The Falcons outscored the Buckeyes 6-4 in the second half, including four straight in the fourth quarter. Ohio State used a balanced attack of 10 scorers, including five with multiple goals. Abeles played 36 minutes and recorded two saves, while Ben Kochalski (So., Worthington, Ohio/Thomas Worthington) played the last 24 minutes and finished with five saves.

Buckeyes Come Alive in the First Half
The 13 goals scored by the Buckeyes against Air Force is the most in a half this season. It also breaks the trend of opponents outscoring Ohio State in the first half.

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.

Scouting Virginia
Virginia enters Saturday’s game with a 10-1 record, a No. 1 ranking in both polls and their second straight ACC Tournament title. The Cavaliers bring a 10-game winning streak into the game this weekend, the nation’s longest at the moment. UVa is by five all-ACC selections. Leading the group is senior attackman Drew McKnight, who currently leads the ACC in scoring with 46 points and in assists with 22. Joining him is last season’s ACC Rookie of the Year, Conor Gill, who is currently third on the team in goals with 18 and is third in the ACC in points with 44. Jay Jalbert another all-ACC selection is second on the team in goals with 22. In goal the Cavaliers are led by Derek Kenney who has recorded 79 saves and a save percentage of .506.

Virginia Coach Starsia
One of the most respected names in his profession, eighth-year Virginia head coach Dom Starsia has ushered in a new “golden age” of Cavalier lacrosse. After leading Virginia to the NCAA finals twice before, Starsia guided the Cavaliers to their first national championship in 27 years with a thrilling 12-10 victory over Syracuse in 1999. He owns a seven-year record of 89-28 at UVa (.760 winning percentage). His 89 victories are the second-most in school history. He has earned ACC Coach of the Year accolades three times, most recently in 1999. During Starsia’s Cavalier coaching tenure, Virginia has produced 41 All-Americans (nine first-team, nine second-team, nine third-team and 14 honorable mention choices), 28 All-ACC selections, four ACC Rookies of the Year and two ACC Players of the Year. While at Brown, Starsia developed five first-team All Americans, 20 Ivy League first-team players, four Ivy League Players of the Year, and three Ivy League Rookies of the Year. He had never seen a lacrosse game before entering Brown as a student in 1970. Showing natural talent for the game, however, he became one of the best defensemen in Brown history. Starsia was a third-team All-American at Brown in 1973 and 1974 and was first-team All-Ivy and All-New England those same two years. He captained the Bears in 1974 and played in two NCAA playoff games plus the North-South game.

The Series
Ohio State and Virginia have met on the lacrosse field two times. Virginia leads the series 2-0. Last season the Cavaliers dominated the Buckeyes in a 21-0 drubbing in Charlottesville.

Reunions All Around
Sophomore defender Mark Koontz an Upper Arlington native leads the pack of reunions as he returns to Columbus and goes up against former teammates Mark Engle and Jeff Sobota. Eight former St. Paul’s players will make appearances in the game on Saturday. Collis and Sandy Boyce, Pat Tracy, John DiCamillo and Toby Mink will reunite with former teammates Conor Gill, Trey Whitty and Richard Reid.

The Freshmen Are On Fire
The freshmen are contributing to the offense, having scored 59 of the team’s 112 goals. Pat Myers (Fr., Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) is first on the team in goals and first in total points with 20 and 29, respectively. Curtis Smith is right behind with 23 points, 10 goals and 13 assists. Buckeye rookies have scored 109 of the 186 total points on the season.

Cummings On A Roll
Freshman John Cummings came alive last weekend scoring his first points on the season. He scored 12 points in the two games off eight goals and four assists. He scored the game-winning goal with 39 seconds remaining against Denver. Cummings earned his first start against Denver.

Player of the Week
For the first time this season an Ohio State player earned GWLL Player of the Week honors. John Cummings who scored 12 points against Denver and Air Force was given the honor for the week of April 16-22.

Abeles Has Probably Made His Move
Senior goalie Mike Abeles moved into sixth place on the career saves list with his 17-save performance against Stony Brook. He now has 499 career saves. He needs 38 more saves to move into the fifth spot currently occupied by his dad, Jon Abeles, with 537.

Lange Only One Behind
Senior Buddy Lange dropped to the second spot on the team in the goals category with 19. If he ties or regains the lead he 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 is highlighted in the NCAA individual statistics this week. Goalie Mike Abeles is ranked in two categories. He moved up to third in save percentage with 178 saves, good enough for a .647 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 two categories. OSU is No. 4 for man-advantage offense, connecting on 22 of 47 extra-man opportunities. The Buckeyes are also tied with Hofstra in the No. 14 spot for scoring defense. Ohio State has allowed opponents only 105 goals, an average of 8.75 per game.

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 476-372. Leading the way for OSU are freshman Anthony Kelly and senior Jon Torpey with 45 and 40, respectively. The Buckeyes have 17 other players with double-figures in the groundball category.

Second In the GWLL
With a record of 2-2 in conference action the Buckeyes will finish in a tie with Butler and possibly Denver for second place. Notre Dame won the championship outright with a perfect 4-0 record in league play. Denver could join Ohio State and Butler in a tie if they beat Air Force on May 6.

Good Omen
The Buckeyes have faced two opponents in the same week three times this season. Ohio State is 2-1 in those series. The Buckeyes defeated both VMI and Vermont and split with Fairfield and Stony Brook. Last weekend the Buckeyes defeated Denver and Air Force. The Buckeyes will not face two opponents the rest of the season.

First Half Not So Bad, Anymore
Ohio State has been leading or tied at the half seven times this season. The Buckeyes are now outscoring their opponents in the first half 55-54.

Second Half Still Ahead
Ohio State has outscored its opponents in the second half, 57-52. The Buckeyes started this trend early in the season outscoring Radford and Butler in the second half, 11-3 and 4-2, respectively.

Five More Goals
The Buckeyes have scored 112 goals this season, only five short of last season’s total of 117. Ohio State has averaged 9.33 goals per game this season.

O’Connor Out for the Season
Mickey O’Connor (Jr., Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) 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/St. Ignatius) who had knee surgery on March 24 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered during a preseason practice.