March 9, 2018
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lacrosse is back in Ohio Stadium and it starts with a bang. Ohio State, winners of five of its first six games, hosts a 2017 NCAA Final Four rematch against Towson (2-3) on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be carried live on BTN with Mike Monaco handing the play by play duties and former Buckeye All-American Greg Bice (2001-04) as the color analyst.
ABOUT THE BUCKEYES
• Ohio State improved to 5-1 on the season with an 8-7 come-from-behind victory over Detroit Mercy last Sunday in the final game of the Midwest Lacrosse Classic in Pontiac, Mich.
• Lukas Buckley and Gale Thorpe each scored twice, which Thorpe getting what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 3:52 mark of the fourth quarter. Buckley netted four goals last weekend (two each in games vs. Marquette and Detroit), the back to back multi-goal games of his career.
• Five different players already have produced double figure points this year, led by sophomore Tre Leclaire, who has team highs in both goals (12) and assists (six). Thorpe is next in line with 11 points (6G, 5A), followed by a trio of players with 10 points — Jackson Reid (9G, 1A), Jack Jasinski (7G, 3A) and John Kelly (7G, 3A).
• On the defensive end of the field, the Buckeyes rank No. 12 nationally and No. 2 in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing an average of 8.00 goals/game. The trio of close defensemen Matt Borges, Ben Randall and Erik Evans have combined to pick up 40 ground balls and cause 17 turnovers.
• Three different players — Freddy Freibott, Ryan Terefenko and Matt Borges — have picked up at least 15 ground balls so far this season. Freibott’s 23 ground balls are the most in the conference among non face-off specialists.
• At the face-off X, the tandem of freshman Justin Inacio and sophomore Christian Feliziani have split the 130 face-offs almost evenly. Feliziani is 42-of-66 (.636) while Inacio is 37-of-62 (.597). They rank No. 3 and No. 4 in the Big Ten, respectively.
• Senior Matthew Smidt has made nine or more save in the cage in four of the last five games and is averaging 10.0 saves/game. His 7.89 goals-against average ranks 14th nationally and No. 2 in the Big Ten.
• The Tigers are 2-3 on the season follow last Saturday’s 8-6 victory at home against UMBC. Towson’s other win in 2018 is over Mount St. Mary’s.
• Jon Mazza leads the offense with 12 goals and six assists thus far while Timmy Monahan has added seven goals and four assists. Brendan Sunday (7G, 1A) and Jean-Luc Chetner (4G, 4A) each have eight points.
• Face-off specialist Alex Woodall is winning nearly 70 percent of his draws (72-of-105) while goalie’s Josh Miller and Shane Brennan have split time nearly equally in the cage.
HISTORY WITH THE TIGERS
• If history is any indication, fans can expect a close game on Saturday — three of the last four meetings between the teams have been decided by one goal, including the NCAA semifinals last May at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
• The Buckeyes and Tigers met twice last season with Ohio State winning both contests. Ohio State won 6-3 on March 15 at TU’s Johnny Unitas Stadium with a three-goal spurt in the fourth quarter to break a 3-3 tie.
• At the NCAA semifinals last May, the Buckeyes punched their ticket to the national championship game by overcoming an 8-3 third-quarter deficit by scoring eight of the game’s final 10 goals and making a defensive stop on the final possession of the game for a 11-10 triumph.
• The last time the two teams met in Ohio Stadium, Towson’s Ian Kirby scored with 34 seconds remaining in overtime to give the No. 10-ranked Tigers a 10-9 victory.
• The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with Towson 5-3 and are 1-1 against the Tigers in Columbus. In the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the third-seeded Buckeyes topped Towson 16-6 at The `Shoe.
• Ohio State is the only school in the country with two face-off specialists who rank in the top 25 nationally in win percentage. Feliziani is No. 11 (.636) while Inacio is No. 25 (.597).
• With a several events scheduled to take place on Ohio State’s campus this weekend, lacrosse fans are advised to park for FREE in the lots surrounding Ohio Stadium. CLICK HERE for a parking map.
• Tickets will be sold outside of Gate 14.
PROMOTIONS ON TAP
• Faculty/Staff Appreciation: Discounted ticket for Ohio State faculty/staff with BuckID
• Soles for Souls Shoe Drive: Fans can drop off shoes at the marketing table to be distributed internationally this summer.
• Leclaire is 17 points shy of 100 in his career. Over 27 games, the sophomore from British Columbia has 61 goals and 22 assists.
• Colin Chell, a senior who has started 46 career games, is 13 points away from 100 in his 56-game career (63G, 24A).
• Freibott needs just five ground balls to reach 100 in his career. After collecting just 14 in his first two seasons combined, Freibott has 81 in the last 27 games (3.0 per game).
• Senior captain Erik Evans will be making his 43rd consecutive start on Saturday.
TEWAARATON WATCH LIST
• Leclaire and Ben Randall, who both earned All-American honors in 2017, are members of the 2018 Tewaaraton Watch List, announced last week by the Tewaaraton Foundation.
• The list will be trimmed to 25 nominees in late April. In May, five finalists will be announced and invited to the Tewaaraton Award Ceremony, where the winners will be announced.
• Randall is currently tied for the team lead with six caused turnovers while Leclaire has a team-best 18 points (12G, 6A).
PAIR OF SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATES
• Ohio State is one of just two schools nationally to have multiple Senior CLASS Award candidates: John Kelly and Colin Chell.
• Both Chell and Kelly are Academic All-Big Ten honorees and OSU Scholar-Athletes who were voted as team captains prior to the start of the season.
• To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
BUCKEYES ON NATIONAL TV
• Saturday’s game is the first of two this season for the Scarlet and Gray on BTN. Ohio State’s regular season finale versus Rutgers is also included in the networks coverage plans.
• Follow next Saturday’s game at Denver, Ohio State will have three consecutive games on ESPNU: home contests versus Notre Dame and Penn State followed by a game at Johns Hopkins.
• In all, the Buckeyes have seven games this year on national television — four on ESPNU, two on BTN and one on CBS Sports Network. That’s as many national TV appearances as any program in the country.
BIG TEN AWARD WINNERS
• Ohio State has had at one weekly Big Ten award winner in four of five weeks this season.
• Most recently, Matt Borges was selected as the Defensive Player of the Week after picking up 10 ground balls and causing four turnovers in games last weekend against No. 18 Marquette and Detroit.
• On Feb. 20, Ryan Terefenko was selected as the Defensive Player of the Week while Jackson Reid was the Freshman of the Week on Feb. 13 following a four-goal performance against Boston University. Christian Feliziani started the season as the Specialist of the Week on Feb. 5.
A DIVERSE ROSTER
• Ohio State’s 2018 roster is represented by 15 different states and two provinces of Canada, making it one of the most diverse in all of college lacrosse.
• The Buckeyes’ 2018 recruiting class that signed in November includes players from seven different states.
THIS AND THAT
• Ohio State has outscored its opponents 20-8 so far this season in the first quarter and 15-8 in the fourth quarter.
• Over the past three seasons, Ohio State is 14-4 inside of Ohio Stadium, including a perfect 6-0 record last year.
• The Buckeyes rank No. 1 nationally in clearing percentage, successfully converting 96 of its 99 attempts (.970).
• Ohio State’s face-off duo of Inacio and Feliziani have won at least 50 percent of the total draws in all seven games this season.
• Thorpe has scored at least one point in five consecutive games with multiple points in four of those contests.