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May 27, 2017

FOXBORO, Mass. – The No. 3-seeded Ohio State men’s lacrosse team came back from a five-goal third-quarter deficit to top Towson, 11-10, Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. With the win, the Buckeyes advance to the first national championship game in program history and will take on top-seeded Maryland at 1 p.m. Monday on ESPN2.

Ohio State moves to 16-4 on the season, breaking the program record for wins in a single season first set in 1965.

Ohio State 11, Towson 10 – The Short Version
After allowing the first goal of the game, the Buckeyes responded with a pair midway through the first 15 minutes before the Tigers answered late in the first quarter to knot the score at 2-2. Towson then scored five of the six second-quarter goals and used eight Buckeye turnovers to take a 7-3 lead at halftime. The Tigers scored the first goal coming out of the half to make it an 8-3 game but Ohio State scored five of the six goals the rest of the quarter to cut the Towson lead to 9-8 after three quarters. The Buckeyes opened the fourth with a pair of quick goals by Tre Leclaire and JT Blubaugh before Johnny Pearson notched an insurance goal to put Ohio State up 11-9. Towson got one goal back with less than four minutes remaining but the Buckeyes were able to close out the one-goal victory.

Leclaire, a freshman, had a team-high three goals and four points, while seniors Eric Fannell and Austin Shanks each had two goals and an assist for three points. Senior Jake Withers won 15-of-25 faceoffs and had a game-high 10 groundballs. Senior goalie Tom Carey had 10 saves in the Buckeye cage.

In the First Quarter
The Buckeyes fell behind 1-0 less than five minutes into the game but goals from sophomores Jack Jasinski and Logan Maccani in an eight-second span gave Ohio State a 2-1 lead midway through the first quarter. However, Towson answered back with a Jon Mazza goal at the 1:52 mark to knot the score at 2-2 at the end of the first. Carey stopped five shots in the first 15 minutes as Towson held a 10-7 advantage in shots.

In the Second Quarter
Towson’s Joe Seider scored a pair of goals and Ryan Drenner added another in the first three minutes of the second quarter to give the Tigers a 5-2 lead. Leclaire answered with his 46th goal of the season at the 11:21 mark but Drenner responded with his second of the game to regain the three-goal lead with 9:40 remaining in the half. Brian Bolewicki then capped the first-half scoring with a goal off a Mazza assist with 1:20 left to make it a 7-3 Tiger advantage at the midway point. Shots were 15-5 in favor of Towson in the quarter and Carey made four stops.

In the Third Quarter
Seider pushed the Tiger lead to 8-3 at 11:46 of the third but Shanks got the goal right back at 10:34. Leclaire then scored at the 7:19 mark before Shanks added a man-up goal to make it 8-6 at 5:25. A Fannell tally made it a one-goal game at the 4:11 mark and, after a Tyler Young goal for Towson at 2:20, Fannell scored another at 1:50 to make it 9-8 after three quarters of play. The five Buckeye goals in the quarter tied for the most Towson allowed in a quarter all season. Shots were 11-9 in favor of the Buckeyes, with Ohio State holding a 7-3 lead in shots on frame.

In the Fourth Quarter
Leclaire opened the final stanza with his third goal of the game to even the score at 9-9 at the 11:42 mark before Blubaugh gave the Buckeyes the 10-9 lead with a tally at 10:20 (their first lead since the first quarter). Pearson then pushed the Ohio State advantage to 11-9 with 6:10 remaining but Drenner answered with his third of the game to make it an 11-10 contest with less than four minutes left to play. However, the Buckeyes held for the final 3:17 as a Seider shot with 15 seconds remaining sailed wide and Ohio State forced a final turnover to send Ohio State to the first national championship game in program history. Ohio State had 12 shots in the quarter, limiting Towson to six.

Shots and Saves
The Buckeyes were outshot, 40-35, in the game. Carey had 10 saves, his 10th game this season (and seventh in the last eight games) with double-digit saves. Towson’s goalie made six stops.

Faceoffs and Groundballs
Withers won 15 faceoffs, including 10 of 13 in the second half, his 17th game this year with double-digit faceoffs. He has won 267-of-406 faceoffs (.658) on the year. He had 10 groundballs for the ninth time this season and has a career-high 152 on the year. Junior Erik Evans had three groundballs for the Buckeyes. Each team picked up 27 groundballs in the game, with the Buckeyes ahead 17-8 in the second half.

Noting the Buckeyes

  • The Buckeyes were 2-for-2 on man-up chances in the game. Shanks has nine man-up goals this season, tying for second in the NCAA this year. The squad is 30-for-60 (.500) this season.
  • Fannell’s assist was his 30th of the year, tying for 10th in a single season in program history. He now has 66 points this year, the 10th-most for a Buckeye in a year.
  • Leclaire had his ninth game with three or more goals and has a team-best 48 on the year, tying Terry Gilmore for third in a single season in program history, first set in 1979. He has 63 points on the year, tying for 11th in school history.
  • The win was the Buckeyes’ third one-goal win of the year. The team is 3-2 in one-goal games this year.
  • Ohio State and Maryland will meet for the third time this season. Ohio State won the regular season meeting in overtime, 11-10 in Columbus April 22 and the Terps won the Big Ten Tournament championship game, 10-9, in Columbus May 6. The teams met in the 2003 NCAA Tournament (Ohio State’s first NCAA Tournament game), an 8-5 win by Maryland.
  • Ohio State was making its first NCAA semifinal appearance.
  • The Buckeyes won the regular season matchup vs. Towson, 6-3, March 15.