COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 18th-ranked Ohio State men’s lacrosse team heads west this weekend for a date with No. 6 Denver. The Buckeyes (5-2) and Pioneers (4-2) meet Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (1 p.m. MT) at Denver’s Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.
ABOUT THE BUCKEYES
– Ohio State played its fourth consecutive one-goal game last weekend, falling in overtime at Ohio Stadium to Towson, 7-6.
– Jack Jasinski scored a team-high two goals against the Tigers and now has nine on the season, to go along with three assists for 12 points, tied for the second highest on the team. Gale Thorpe also has 12 points (7G, 5A) and has scored in each of the last five games.
– Sophomore Tre Leclaire, a member of the Tewaaraton Award Watch List, is first on the team and 10th in the Big Ten in scoring with 19 points (13G, 6A). He has at least one point in 13 of the last 14 games dating back to last season.
– The other double digit point scorers so far this season are freshman Jackson Reid (9G, 2A) and senior captain John Kelly (8G, 3A).
– The close defensive unit of Erik Evans, Ben Randall and Matt Borges have started each of the last 28 games since the start of the 2017 season. Ohio State ranks No. 8 nationally in scoring defense, giving up an average of just 7.86 goals/game.
– The Buckeyes also rank No. 11 nationally in face-off win percentage and ground balls thanks in part to its short stick defensive midfielders and long stick midfielders that include Ryan Terefenko (16 GB, 3G, 3A), Freddy Freibott (24 GB) and Logan Maccani (14 GB, 1G, 2A).
– In the face-off X, sophomore Christian Feliziani ranks 10th nationally winning .638 of his draws (52-of-83). Freshman Justin Inacio has taken 62 face-offs, winning 37 (.596). Ohio State has won 50 percent or better of total face-offs in all seven games thus far.
– Senior goalie Matthew Smidt has played all 428:49 through seven games with a 7.70 goals-against average, 63 saves and .534 save percentage. He ranks 10th in the country in goals-against average.
– Ranked No. 6 in this week’s USILA/Nike Lacrosse Coaches Poll, Denver is 4-2 on the season following last week’s 11-9 setback against No. 4 Notre Dame.
– The Pioneers own wins this year over Air Force, Cleveland State, Furman and North Carolina with losses to the Irish and Duke.
– Denver face-off specialist Trevor Baptiste, a Tewaaraton Award finalist last season, is second nationally, winning .754 of his face-offs this year. Teammate Ethan Walker is No. 2 in the country in goals per game (3.67).
– The Pioneers have the nation’s 13th-highest scoring offense, averaging 12.00 goals/game with at least 10 goals in five of six games.
HISTORY WITH THE PIONEERS
– Ohio State and Denver have met every season since 1997 with Ohio State holding a 15-11 edge in the series.
– Last year in Columbus, the No. 18 Buckeyes knocked off No. 1 Denver 16-7 at Ohio Stadium behind a seven-point effort from Leclaire (5G, 2A). The Buckeyes jumped out to an 11-1 third quarter lead and held Denver scoreless for nearly 40 minutes.
– The Buckeyes’ last win at Denver came in 2009, a 16-10 triumph when both Ohio State and Denver were members of the Great Western Lacrosse League.
– In 2015, Ohio State and Denver met twice – once in the regular season (a 13-11 Ohio State win in Columbus) and again in the NCAA Quarterfinals (a 15-13 win for Denver inside Sports Authority Field at Mile High).
– Five of the last eight meetings between Ohio State and Denver have been decided by two or less goals.
RANKED AGAINST RANKED
– Saturday will mark Ohio State’s third game this year against an opponent ranked in either the USILA/Nike Lacrosse Coaches Poll or the Inside Lacrosse/Maverik Media Poll.
– Five of the Buckeyes’ seven remaining opponents are ranked in this week’s USILA/Nike Lacrosse Coaches Poll.
– Ohio State is No. 18 this week in the USIA/Nike Lacrosse Coaches poll, the fifth straight week that it’s appeared in the poll. The Buckeyes are also No. 19 in the Inside Lacrosse/Maverik Media Poll.
– The Buckeyes have six regular season wins over the past two years against ranked opponents.
IN THE FACE-OFF X
– Despite graduating All-American Jake Withers, who won 614 face-offs in his career, the Buckeyes haven’t missed a beat in the face-off X this year thanks to the play of sophomore Christian Feliziani and freshman Justin Inacio.
– Feliziani has won 10 or more face-offs three times this years – including back to back games against Detroit Mercy and Towson – and has been over 50 percent in the X in every game that he’s played.
– Inacio has four games this year with eight or more face-off wins. He won a career-high nine draws in back to back games against Jacksonville and Marquette.
– As a tandem, Feliziani and Inacio are winning .620 percent of their face-offs, good for third in the Big Ten and No. 11 nationally.
– Through seven games last season, Withers and the Buckeyes had a .613 face-off win percentage.
THE SLED DOGS
– Ohio State’s long stick defensive midfielders and short stick midfielders – aka the “Sled Dogs” – have contributed on both ends of the field this year.
– Three of them – Ryan Terefenko, Freddy Freibott and Logan Maccani – already have 14 or more ground balls on the season. Freibott leads the group with 24 and is four shy of 100 in his career.
– The group has also combined for 15 caused turnovers.
– With their help, Ohio State currently ranked 11th nationally – and first in the Big Ten – in ground balls per game (31.4/game).
ON THE ROAD
– Ohio State started its 2018 schedule with four of its first six games away from home, winning three.
– Over the last two years, the Buckeyes are 9-5 in road or neutral site games.
– Colin Chell, Ohio State’s active career scoring leader, is 12 points shy of 100 in his 57-game career.
– Tre Leclaire has 84 points in 28 career games (3.0 points/game).
THIS AND THAT
– Ohio State’s offense has produced 30 or more shots in five of seven games.
– The Buckeyes rank No. 1 nationally in clearing percentage, converting on 109-of-112 opportunities (.973).
– Ohio State is ranked No. 8 in the nation in scoring defense and has allowed nine or fewer goals six times already this season.
– Nearly half (48) of the Buckeyes 102 total points this year have been scored by freshmen or sophomores.
– The Buckeyes have outscored opponents by 10 goals in the first quarter (21-11) and five in the fourth quarter (16-11).