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Feb. 23, 2005

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The Facts
The No. 17 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (0-1, 0-0 GWLL) will open its home schedule with a game against No. 7 and 2004 NCAA runner-up Navy (1-0, 0-0 Patriot League) at noon Saturday at North Turf Field in Columbus, Ohio.

The OSU-Navy game is the first game of a double header with the Buckeye women’s lacrosse team, who will take on Duquesne 30 minutes after the men’s game ends.

Because of the Ohio high school wrestling championships in the Schottenstein Center Saturday, fans coming to the lacrosse games should enter the parking lots off of Olentangy River Road and find parking around the Woody Hayes Athletics Center and enter on the northwest side of the field.

In the rankings
Ohio State held down the No. 17 spot in the Inside Lacrosse media poll released Feb. 21 (the first media rankings of the year). Navy is ranked 7th in the poll.

In the preseason coaches poll released by Face-Off Yearbook and Inside Lacrosse, OSU was ranked 14th and Navy was fourth.

Last Time Out
Ohio State lost at Penn State, 9-7, Feb. 19 while Navy defeated Providence, 9-2, Feb. 19 at Branford High School in Branford, Conn.

A Look at Ohio State
Ohio State is 0-1 on the year after falling in its season opener on the road at Penn State last week. The team is coming off one of the best seasons in program history, after qualifying for the 2004 NCAA Championship, posting a 12-4 record and winning the outright Great Western Lacrosse League title with a 5-0 ledger. The season was highlighted be an 11-game winning streak, the longest for the program since 1978.

Last season, the Buckeyes ended the year sixth in the nation, allowing 7.5 goals a game, and were 16th in scoring offense (10.13).

Ohio State returns 33 letterwinners from the 2004 squad, including four starters. Among the returnees are All-GWLL honorees Tom Randisi, who was third on the 2004 squad with 20 goals, and defenseman Peter Frantz. Kyle Olson, who was second on the team with 31 points last season, and Ben Wolff, who was fourth with 27 points, also return to the Buckeye roster.

Leading the Way
Redshirt junior Jason Bloom, redshirt senior John Dauro, senior Peter Frantz and senior Tom Randisi are serving as captains for the Buckeyes this season. Randisi is in his second season as a captain for the squad.

The Series
The series between the Buckeyes and Midshipmen is tied, 1-all. Ohio State lost the first meeting, 13-10, in Columbus Feb. 22, 2003 before posting a 12-9 victory Feb. 28, 2004 in Annapolis, Md., last season.

Against the Mids
Buckeye senior Kyle Olson, junior Andrew Bender, senior Tom Randisi and junior Ben Wolff each have two career goals against Navy. Olson has a team-best three points against the Mids.

The Patriot League
Navy is in its second season as a member of the Patriot League. They are joined in the league by Colgate, Army, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Lafayette and Lehigh. OSU is 3-4 all-time against current Patriot League schools (2-0 vs. Army, 0-2 vs. Bucknell, 1-1 vs. Navy). OSU will end the 2005 regular season with a game against Army May 7.

A Look at Navy
No. 7 Navy is 1-0 in the 2005 season after opening its campaign with a 9-2 win over Providence Feb. 19. The squad was 15-3 last year and advanced to the NCAA championship game before falling to Syracuse, 14-13. In their first year in the Patriot League, the Mids went 7-0 in conference play to win the title. The squad returns 27 letterwinners, including six starters, from that team.

Among the Mids’ returnees is junior goalie Matt Russell, who was a first team All-American last year and won the Kelley Award as the nation’s top goalie.

Three Navy players – senior midfielder Graham Gill, senior defenseman Mitch Hendler and Russell – have been named to the 2005 Tewaaraton Award watch list. The award is given annually to the top player in the nation.

Richie Meade, a 1976 graduate of North Carolina, is in his 11th year at the helm of the Mids. He has a 77-57 mark at the school and a 104-80 ledger in 15 years as a collegiate coach.

A Look Back – OSU 12, at Navy 9
Shaun Lyons scored four goals and added an assist to lead then-No. 17 Ohio State to a 12-9 victory over No. 18 Navy Feb. 28, 2004 in Annapolis, Md.

Kyle Olson, with two goals and an assist, and Anthony Gilardi, on a goal and team-best two assists, each had three points in the win. Andrew Bender and Ben Wolff chipped in two goals each. Tom Randisi also tallied and Craig Nolan posted an assist. Senior goalie Tony Russo had 10 saves to record the win.

Navy opened the scoring with a goal by Adam Reel at 9:53 of the first quarter. Lyons tied the game just under six minutes later before Navy scored twice in 40 seconds to regain the lead, 3-1. Bender cut the Mids’ edge to one (3-2) with a goal, assisted by Gilardi, with no time left on the clock.

Ohio State outscored Navy in the second quarter, 5-2. Lyons tied the game at three 49 seconds into the second. Billy Looney again gave Navy the lead with a score at 9:24, but the Buckeyes posted back-to-back goals by Olson and Wolff at 5:45 and 3:37, respectively, to tie the game and give OSU its first lead of the game. Ian Dingman retied the score with a goal at 3:06, but Randisi (assisted by Gilardi at 2:01) and Lyons (with a helper from Nolan with 46 seconds remaining) ended the scoring in the second to send OSU into halftime with a 7-5 edge.

OSU continued its offensive output in the third quarter, scoring four goals while holding Navy to just one. Gilardi, Olson and Bender (assisted by Olson) scored at 11:28, 9:44 and 6:06, respectively, to put the Buckeyes up, 10-5. Navy’s Ben Bailey and OSU’s Wolff traded goals toward the end of the quarter to make the score 11-6 in favor of OSU at the end of three.

The Buckeyes were outscored, 3-1, in the final quarter, but held on for the win. Navy’s Jon Birsner scored a minute into the quarter. Lyons ended the scoring for the Buckeyes with a goal with 5:51 remaining and the Mids’ Ben Horn and Graham Gill scored at 5:01 and 2:42, respectively, to end the scoring for the 12-9 final.

Closing In
Buckeye head coach Joe Breschi is one win shy of tying the Ohio State record for coaching victories (60) held by Paul Hartman (1961-66). Breschi is 59-39 at the helm for OSU.

Open It Up
Ohio State is opening its home schedule against Navy Saturday. The squad is looking to stop a two-game losing streak in home openers after losing to Penn State last season and Navy in 2003.

The Buckeyes’ last win in a home opener was against VMI March 2, 2002 (19-0).

A Look Back – OSU at PSU
No. 14 Ohio State fell in its 2005 season opener to No. 21 Penn State Feb. 19 at Holuba Hall in State College, Pa. Ohio State held a 6-3 lead at halftime, but was outscored 6-1 in the second half. Josh Wittenberg had a goal and an assist for a team-high two points. Freshman Bill Curry made 16 saves in his first game as a Buckeye.

Ohio State jumped out to a 3-0 lead less than eight minutes into the game, before PSU answered with three consecutive goals to end the first quarter tied at 3. Justin Doran got the Buckeyes on the board with 11:12 left on the clock. Gary Bining added a man-up goal three minutes later before Andrew Bender scored at 6:37. The Nittany Lions then scored two goals in 10 seconds, as Will Jones tallied at 4:53, followed by a Greg Gurenlian score at 4:43. PSU’s Will Cutler ended the scoring in the quarter with a man-up goal with 36 seconds left on the clock. Penn State outshot the Buckeyes in the quarter, 8-7.

Ohio State scored the only three goals of the second quarter. Wittenberg scored with 9:05 on the clock, followed by a Craig Nolan man-up score, assisted by Jason Bloom, at 5:12. Ben Wolff, with Wittenberg assisting, added his first goal of the year with 2:22 left in the half. The Buckeyes had 12 shots in the period, while Curry stopped all eight Nittany Lion shots on net. Penn State outshot the Buckeyes in the quarter, 13-7.

The Nittany Lions scored the next five goals to take an 8-6 lead. Patrick Heim started the PSU rally with a goal 47 seconds into the second half. Will Jones scored his second of the game with 5:04 remaining in the third quarter, followed by a Nate Whitaker goal 10 seconds later. Whitaker (at 12:08) and Heim (a man-up goal at 11:19) added goals early in the fourth quarter before Kyle Olson ended the PSU streak with a man-up goal with 4:30 remaining to draw OSU within one (8-7). Tom Randisi had the assist on the goal. Whitaker completed his hat trick and ended the scoring with a goal with 2:58 left on the clock. Each team had seven shots in the final stanza.

Converting
Ohio State was 3-for-4 on man-up chances against Penn State. The squad ranked 16th in the nation in man-up offense last season, converting 33.3 percent of its chances.

Firsts
Junior Justin Doran marked the first start of his Buckeye career against Penn State. He got OSU on the board with his first career goal in the first quarter.

Junior Josh Wittenberg had a goal and an assist vs. the Nittany Lions, the first multiple-point game of his Buckeye career. He ended last season with two goals in eight games.

Wearing the Scarlet and Gray
Four freshmen saw their first collegiate action in OSU’s loss at Penn State – goalie Bill Curry, defenseman Ricky Pages and midfielders Kevin Buchanan and Josh Funk.

Curry started in net for OSU, making 16 saves in all 60 minutes. Buchanan had a shot and a groundball against the Nittany Lions.

Keep It Up
Senior Kyle Olson scored at Penn State to extend his scoring streak to nine, with 16-5-21 totals during the stretch, dating back to the game againt Duke April 3, 2004. He led the Buckeyes with 24 goals last season.

A Team Effort
Against Penn State, seven Buckeyes – Josh Wittenberg, Andrew Bender, Kyle Olson, Ben Wolff, Justin Doran, Craig Nolan and Gary Bining – scored a goal in the game, while three others – Tom Randisi, Jason Bloom and Bryan Keane – added assists. Wittenberg, with a goal and an assist, was the only Buckeye with multiple points.

No. 11 Honored
Buckeye senior midfielder Tom Randisi was a Face-Off Yearbook Division I Preseason All-America honorable mention choice.

Randisi, from Towson, Md., is a two-time All-GWLL second-team selection. He has started 43-of-44 games as a Buckeye and has 60 career points, including 43 goals. Last season, Randisi posted 20 goals and 26 points.

Coming Up
Ohio State returns to action with a game at UMBC March 5. The Buckeyes and Retrievers will meet at 1 p.m. in Baltimore, Md., on the Johns Hopkins campus. The game will be televised live by WMAR Channel 2 in Baltimore and shown tape-delayed by ESPNU at 1 p.m. March 6.

After the game at UMBC, the Buckeyes will play their next two games at home, with a matchup with Hobart at noon March 12 and a game against Quinnipiac at noon March 19. Following those two games, OSU hits the road for its next three contests (at Brown, Duke and Butler).