2009 Season Outlook
Ohio State enters 2009 coming off one of the best seasons in program history after sharing the Great Western Lacrosse League regular-season title and advancing to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals. First-year head coach Nick Myers will lead the Buckeyes, including seven returning starters, into the new campaign looking to reach even greater heights.
The Buckeyes return two starters from an attack that ranked third nationally in team offense a year ago, averaging 13.0 goals a game. Senior captain Joel Dalgarno, an honorable mention All-American in 2008, is coming off a career year when he posted 75 points and ranked in the Top 5 in the NCAA in assists and points per game. He begins his senior campaign third all-time in the Buckeye record book with 166 career points.
Jeff Ryan, a 2007 All-GWLL choice, was fourth on the team last season with 25 goals and 38 points. Mario Ventiquattro played in all 17 games in 2008, recording 19 goals and seven assists for 26 points, including a team-best eight man-up tallies. The Buckeyes were third in the NCAA last year, converting 45.7 percent of its extra-man chances.
New additions to the attack who are expected to make an immediate impact are junior transfers Justin Hayes and Andrew Reinhardt. Hayes, a native of Hudson, Ohio, transferred to Ohio State after two seasons at Herkimer County Community College where he led the NJCAA in scoring with 138 points in 2008 and earned first-team All-America honors. Reinhardt, who also will play in the midfield for the Buckeyes, came to Ohio State after playing at Essex Community College, earning first-team All-America honors after posting 49 goals and 48 assists.
Junior James Green, a second-team All-Great Western Lacrosse League selection in 2008 and member of the 2008 U.S. Under-19 World Championship team, leads the returnees in the midfield. He had 22 goals and 33 points in 2008. Senior Doug Ruhnke, the team’s Most Improved Player a year ago, had eight points while playing in all 17 games, including eight starts, last season. Other returnees expected to contribute include seniors Brian Lalley (15 gp/1g, 1a in 2008) and Corey Bentine (9 gp/1g) and sophomores Mike Pires (9 gp/4g,1a), Jarred Bowman (6 gp) and Zach Boyt (5 gp).
Freshmen Brock Sorensen and Eddie Bambino are expected to make an impact for the team in 2009. Sorensen, from Peterborough, Ontario, was team captain for Team Canada at the World Under-19 Championship and earned a spot on the tournament’s all-world team. Bambino, from Yardley, Pa., and William Penn Charter School, was a three-time All-Inter AC selection.
Senior Nick Carr will be joined by newcomers Stephen Tepsick and Brandon McLean in the faceoff X. Carr won 152-of-336 (.452) draws a year ago in his first season as the Buckeyes’ main faceoff middie. Tepsick, from Huntingtown, Md., and DeMatha High School, was ranked among the top recruits for 2009 by Inside Lacrosse. McLean, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, was the MVP of British Columbia in both 2007 and ’08.
Junior Andrew Stimmel, who played in 15 games a year ago and had three goals and an assist, leads the returnees in the defensive midfield. Sophomores Scott Lathrop, who had two assists and three points while playing in all 17 games a year ago, Bryce Woodson and Dan Bain, who each played in seven games a year ago will be counted on in the defensive midfield, along with TJ Powell, who played in two contests. Tepsick also will see time at defensive middie.
Long Stick Midfield
Junior Connor Anderson, who played in 16 games a year ago, leads the team of returnees at long stick midfield. He is expected to be joined by freshman Keenan Ochwat, a High School All-American from Farmingdale, N.Y. and the 2008 Nassau County Player of the Year, sophomore Conor David (3 games played in 2008) and junior Chris Lowery, who sat out 2008 while recovering from injury.
The Buckeyes return all three starters on defense in senior captain Scott Matthews, a 2008 All-GWLL First Team choice, junior Keith Lovett, a second-team all-conference honoree last season, and junior Scott Foreman. Joining the core trio will be sophomore Matt Kawamoto, who saw action in 12 games as a rookie a year ago, and freshman Joe Bonnani, from Harwood, Md., a High School All-American at St. Mary’s High School and the Baltimore Sun Player of the Year in Ann Arundel County.
Three Buckeyes are expected to fight for the starting spot in the Buckeye goal. Junior Brandon Freeman played in eight games a year ago while serving as the backup to honorable mention All-American senior Stefan Schroder. Peter Collucini is a transfer from Syracuse who started for the Orange for two seasons and was a member of the team’s NCAA title team in 2008. Sophomore Ryan Keneally played behind Schroder and Freeman a year ago but did not see game action.
The Buckeyes’ schedule for 2009 includes six games in Columbus, highlighted by the squad’s game vs. Notre Dame in Ohio Stadium prior to the football team’s spring game April 25. The squad opens the year at home against Detroit-Mercy Feb. 7 before a game at Navy Feb. 14. Three of the next four games will be at home, as Ohio State hosts Bucknell Feb. 21 and Fairfield Feb. 28 before heading to Penn State March 7. The squad will play Robert Morris March 13 under the lights and then go on the road for spring break, with games at UMBC March 21 and Colgate March 24. After opening GWLL play at home vs. Quinnipiac March 28, the team will play its next four games away from Columbus. After a neutral-site matchup against North Carolina April 11 in Baltimore, the team will head to Colorado for conference games with Air Force April 17 and Denver April 19. The regular season ends vs. the Irish in Ohio Stadium.
For the second-consecutive year, the GWLL will hold a tournament in Birmingham, Mich., with the winner earning the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA tourney. The Top 4 teams in the final conference standings will qualify for the tournament.