May 4, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio– The No. 5/7-ranked Ohio State men’s lacrosse team defeated No. 9/10-ranked Johns Hopkins, 15-13, Thursday night to advance to its second Big Ten Tournament Championship game.
The No. 2 seed Buckeyes, now 13-3 on the year, will take on No. 1 seed and No. 1 ranked Maryland (11-3) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Columbus. The winner will receive the Big Ten’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State fell to the Blue Jays in the 2015 tournament final.
Leading the charge for the Buckeyes in the semifinals was freshman Tre Leclaire and his career-high six goals. Senior Eric Fannell had four points on a goal and three assists, while Jake Withers won a career-high tying 20 faceoffs and had 11 groundballs. In all, 11 Buckeyes picked up at least one point in the game.
— Ohio State Men’s LAX (@OhioState_MLAX) May 5, 2017
Ohio State got off to a hot start, scoring two goals in the first two minutes to take an early 2-0 lead. Leclaire scored to get things going and Withers scored his fourth of the year 32 seconds later. Senior Tyler Pfister followed with a goal of his own to give Ohio State a 3-0 lead 4:30 into the first quarter. That first frame would end with a score of 5-2; Johns Hopkins and Leclaire traded goals in the final eight minutes.
After scoring four of the first five goals in the second quarter, Ohio State went up 9-3 for its largest lead of the game at 3:56. Leclaire had two of those four goals with Pfister and senior Johnny Pearson accounting for the others; the Big Ten Freshman of the Year tied his previous career high of five goals with more than three minutes to spare until halftime. In the final 2:48 of the half, senior JT Blubaugh scored for the Buckeyes, sandwiched by two Blue Jays goals. The Buckeyes carried a 10-5 lead into halftime, the third time this season they have scored at least 10 goals in the first half this year.
Junior Colin Chell opened the second half with goal number 18 on the year, which was quickly answered by the Blue Jays. Fannell’s 26th goal of the season put the Buckeyes up 12-6 at 9:51, but Johns Hopkins scored three times in the final 3:11 of the third quarter to pull within three. The Blue Jays’ scored a fourth straight goal to start the fourth quarter and make the score 12-10, but they were unable to get closer than two the rest of the way.
Leclaire’s sixth goal of the evening put Ohio State up 13-10 at 12:26 of the final quarter and senior Austin Shanks followed with a goal to put his team up 14-10. Johns Hopkins scored three of the final four goals of the night, but the Buckeyes closed out held on for the 15-13 win to advance to Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game. Jack Jasinski had the last Buckeyes’ goal, his 11th of the year.
The Buckeyes were outshot, 34-30, in the game. Tom Carey made five saves for the Buckeyes and the Blue Jays’ goalie made seven stops.
Withers won 20-of-31 faceoffs in the game and had 11 groundballs, matching his season high and one shy of his career best set in 2016. The 20 faceoff wins tied the career best he had at Michigan April 15. On the year, Withers has won 214-of-315 facoffs (.679) and has a team high and career-best 116 groundballs.
Noting the Buckeyes
Leclaire’s six goals were the most for a Buckeye since David Planning had a six-goal game at Duke in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Leclaire leads the Buckeyes with 38 goals and is second in points with 51. He has four games with four or more goals this season and four games with six+ points.
Fannell had his eighth game with four or more points and his second straight with a goal, three assists and four points. He has a team-high 26 assists and 52 points on the year.
Ohio State was 1-for-1 on extra man chances and is 25-for-50 (.500) this season. Leclaire, Pearson and Shanks are tied for first with six EMO goals each.
Pearson, who ranks third on the squad with 22 goals, is on a five-game goal and point streak (8g, 3a, 11p) and Blubaugh has a goal in each of his last four games. Pfister, who had his first two-goal game of the year, has six points in the last four games combined, with at least one point in each.
Chell notched his 10th multiple-point game of the season with a goal and an assist. He is third on the team with 30 points.
Ohio State improved to 9-0 at home this season with the win.
The Buckeyes defeated Maryland, their opponent in the Big Ten Tournament final, in overtime in the regular season, 11-10, April 22 in Columbus.