April 10, 2002
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The No. 13 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (6-3, 0-0 GWLL) opens conference play in the Great Western Lacrosse League at noon Saturday against Fairfield (4-4, 2-1 GWLL) in Fairfield, Conn.
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 13 this week in both the STX/USILA coaches poll and the Inside Lacrosse ratings. Fairfield is not ranked in either poll.
A Look at the Fairfield Stags
Fairfield is 4-4 on the season, including a mark of 2-1 in GWLL play. In the conference, the Stags topped Butler at home, 11-7, and beat Denver in double overtime on the road, 12-11. The squad is coming off an 8-5 loss at Air Force.
Individually, the Stags are led by Matt Buecker, who has a team-best 23 goals and five assists for 28 points. Rob Scipioni leads the team with 14 assists and ranks second with 22 points. Rory McCarthy also has reached the 20-point mark, with nine goals and 11 assists. In net, C.J. Kemp has started every game. He has a goals-against average of 10.06 and a save percentage of 56.2.
At The Helm
Ted Spencer, a four-year lacrosse letterwinner at UMass-Amherst, is in his seventh season as the head coach of the Stags. Prior to joining the stags, he spent time as an assistant at both Brown and Yale. Spencer carries a career and school mark of 53-46 into the game with the Buckeyes.
Joining the Crowd
Fairfield is the most recent addition to the Great Western Lacrosse League. The team spent time as a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and then played one year as an independent (2000), before becoming a member of the GWLL last season (2001). The squad was 3-2 in the conference last year, good for a second-place finish. The Series
The Buckeyes are 2-0 all-time vs. Fairfield, winning once in Fairfield and once in Columbus.
The Previous Meetings: Date W/L Score H/A 4/21/01 W 11-10 H 4/15/00 W 9-8 A
The Last Meeting
Last season, the Buckeyes topped Fairfield, 11-10, in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Buckeyes led at halftime, 5-3, and scored three unanswered goals in the third period to go up, 8-3. Fairfield responded with four goals to cut OSU’s lead to one (8-7). OSU then replaced starting goalie Tony Russo with Jon Miller to start the fourth quarter. Miller made a number of saves to preserve OSU’s one-goal lead before the Stags tied the game with 7:40 remaining. Lewis Ratcliff responded for the Buckeyes, scoring 1:10 later to put OSU back on top, 11-10. The Stags controlled the ball for the last 45 seconds and took the final shot with 3.6 left, but Miller came up with the save to give OSU the victory.
Will the Trend Continue?
The first two games between the Buckeyes and Stags both were decided by one goal.
IN the Rankings
The NCAA released the third edition of the 2002 national rankings Tuesday (through games of April 7) and the Buckeyes were ranked in almost every category.
On offense, Curtis Smith is tied for eighth in goals-per-game (3.11) and 11th (tied) in points-per-game (3.89). Mike Norton is tied for sixth in the nation with 2.11 assists per game. Anthony Gilardi is 17th with 2.56 goals per game.
On the Draw
The Buckeyes have two of the top face-off men in the country, while the team is fourth in face-off win percentage (.597). Anthony Kelly is eighth, winning 60.0 percent of his draws, while Josh Lesko is 11th (.597).
Between the Pipes
Buckeye goalie Tony Russo ranks sixth in the nation in save percentage (.615) and is 17th in goals-against average (8.25).
It’s a Team Thing
As a team, Ohio State is ranked in a number of areas. The squad is fifth in the nation in scoring margin, outscoring its opponents by 4.63. OSU is fourth in scoring offense (12.44) and is 14th in scoring defense (8.11). The team also is ranked sixth in man-up offense (.463) and 10th in win percentage (.667).
Leaders of the Pack
Ohio State’s offense is spearheaded by the trio of Curtis Smith, Anthony Gilardi and Mike Norton. They lead the team with 35, 32 and 29 points, respectively. Smith holds the team lead in goals with 28, while Norton leads the squad in assists with 19. Gilardi is second in goals (23) and assists (nine).
The Buckeyes had a six-game winning streak stopped with their loss to Johns Hopkins. After losing their first games of the season to North Carolina and Georgetown, Ohio State had gone on to defeat VMI, Quinnipiac, Drexel, Army, Manhattan and Delaware consecutively. Of those six wins, four were away from Columbus.
Three in a Row?
Junior Anthony Kelly won the Buckeyes’ award for most groundballs in a season in his first two seasons with the squad. This season, he leads the team with 50. The next-highest total is 35, recorded by Josh Lesko. Kelly is the first player at Ohio State to win the groundball award in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.
The Buckeyes are outshooting their opponents, 356-296, this season. The squad has been accurate with its shots, scoring on 31.5 percent of the attempts. The Buckeyes have held opponents to goals on just 24.7 percent of their shot attempts. Curtis Smith leads the team with 62 shots this season.
A+ for Accuracy
Curtis Smith, who leads the Buckeyes with 57 shots this season, has scored on 45.2 percent of his attempts. Smith has a team-best 28 goals so far this season. He has led the team in goal scoring in a game four times outright this season and has shared the scoring lead in two other outings.
Curtis Smith has scored 14 goals in his last four games combined, an average of 3.5 goals per game. Of his 28 goals this season, 50 percent have been scored in the last four outings, including a career-best six against Delaware.
The Time to Watch the Buckeyes
The second quarter has been the Buckeyes’ best this season. The squad has scored 41 goals in the stanza while allowing 19. It is the only quarter Ohio State has tallied more than 30 goals.
The Rest of the Game
Ohio State has tallied 29 goals in the first period, jumping out to quick leads on its opponents. Buckeye opponents have scored 15 goals in the opening stanza. In the third quarter, Ohio State has scored 26 times, but has tallied just 16 goals in the fourth.
Curtis Smith has scored at least two goals in eight of the Buckeyes’ nine games this season. He scored six against Delaware, four against North Carolina, Georgetown and Manhattan, three at Army and two against VMI, Quinnipiac and Drexel. His only single-goal game was vs. Johns Hopkins.
Ahead of Schedule
Junior Mike Norton has 19 assists this season in nine games, just two short of his career high of 21 recorded in 14 games last season. He has a career-best 10 goals, surpassing his total of eight in each of his first two seasons.
It’s Been a While
Senior Mark Engel scored against Delaware, his first goal since his freshman season. He has five points this season, tying his career best, after not recording a point in his sophomore or junior years.
Closing It Out
The game against Johns Hopkins marked the last non-conference game for the Buckeyes this season. The squad will end the regular season with games against its five Great Western Lacrosse League opponents – Fairfield, Denver, Air Force, Butler and Notre Dame.
3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3…
Ohio State has been led by a hat trick scorer in seven of its eight games. Curtis Smith scored six goals against Delaware, four against North Carolina, Georgetown and Manhattan and three against Army. Anthony Gilardi scored three vs. Army and three vs. Johns Hopkins. Ryan Laffey and Lance Vitt each tallied three in the win over VMI, while Mike Norton turned the trick vs. Drexel. The lone game where no Buckeye hit for a hat trick was against Quinnipiac, where four Buckeyes scored twice,
The Buckeyes have been efficient on extra-man offense this season, scoring on 19-of-41 (46.3) opportunities. In the season opener against North Carolina, the squad was a perfect 4-for-4. On extra-man defense, the squad has been outstanding, stopping 31-of-46 (67.4 percent) opponent chances.
Moving To the Top
Sophomore Anthony Gilardi has 32 points this season after leading the Buckeyes with three goals against Johns Hopkins. For the year, he has 23 goals and nine assists. As a freshman last season, Gilardi had 17 points, on eight goals and nine assists, in 12 games.
Scoop It Up
Josh Lesko led the Buckeyes with seven groundballs against the JHU Blue Jays. His season high is 13, recorded against Army. Lesko is second on the team with 35 groundballs this season.
At The Helm
Joe Breschi, a 1990 graduate of North Carolina, is in his fifth season at the helm of the Buckeyes. A standout player for the Tar Heels, he was a two-time All-ACC selection, a two-time All-America honoree and a North-South All-Star Game participant in 1990. Breschi was a member of the U.S. National Team in 1994 and 1998. Prior to coming to Ohio State, Breschi served as an assistant coach at Brown (1993-97) and at UNC, his alma mater (1991-92). His career record stands at 35-27.
In nine games this season, sophomore Ryan Laffey has seven points, on six goals and an assist. Laffey saw action in nine games last season, posting one goal and one assist.
Freshman Tom Randisi is fifth on the team, and first among rookies, in scoring this season. He has started all nine games, recording seven goals, five assists and 12 points.
This season, 21 Buckeyes have recorded at least one point, with 20 posting at least one goal.
The captains this season, as voted by the squad, are Pete Dillon, John DiCamillo, Mark Marion and Kevin Stephan. Dillon and Stephan are in their second seasons as captains.
LIGHT IT UP
This season, the Buckeyes will play host to two night games. Ohio State will face off against Denver at 7 p.m. April 19 and Butler at 7 p.m. April 27.
On The Road
Ohio State is 4-2 away from Columbus this season, including one neutral site match.
Four of the Buckeyes games this season have been decided by two or less goals. The team is 2-1 in one-goal games and lost its only two-goal games.
Get To It
The Buckeyes have scooped up 406 groundballs this season, while allowing their opponents 268. Ohio State is averaging 45.1 groundballs per game this season.
What a Month!
The Buckeyes were undefeated in the month of March, going a perfect 6-0. Four of those wins came away from Columbus.
Home Sweet Home
Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium opened its doors in Fall 1999. Since then it has been home to the Ohio State men’s and women’s soccer teams in the fall and the men’s and women’s lacrosse and track teams in the spring. The stadium is one of the finest collegiate lacrosse facilities in the nation. The playing surface is Kentucky bluegrass. Since last season, construction was completed on an elevated grandstand-with seating available for an additional 8,000 spectators-concourse level and a working press box. Surrounded by a wrought iron fence with brick piers, the stadium also houses locker rooms and offices for the men’s and women’s soccer, men’s tennis, men’s and women’s lacrosse, field hockey and softball programs.
The Buckeyes return to Columbus for three consecutive games. The squad plays host to Denver at 7 p.m. Friday, April 19 and to Air Force at noon Sunday, April 21. The team wraps up its home schedule at 7 p.m. April 27 vs. Butler.