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April 19, 2006

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The Facts
The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (5-4, 2-0 GWLL) closes out its regular-season home schedule with two games this week. The Buckeyes will face No. 15/16-ranked Denver (9-4, 2-0 GWLL) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Air Force (7-6, 2-0 GWLL) at noon Sunday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

Ohio State, Denver and Air Force enter the weekend tied for first place in the Great Western Lacrosse League with 2-0 records.

GameTracker, online at ohiostatebuckeyes.com, will have live stats from both games.

Friday is OSU Student Night, with free admission for all Ohio State students with a valid BuckID. The first 250 Ohio State students will receive a free sampler at Raising Cane’s and the first 500 fans will receive an Ohio State key chain. Ohio State students also can register to win an iPod Shuffle and other prizes. Ohio State alumni can purchase tickets for $2 with a valid OSUAA card. The Ohio State spring quarter pep band also will be in attendance.

Sunday, the Buckeye seniors will be honored in a pregame ceremony. It is Youth Jersey Day, with free admission for all children eighth grade and under wearing a lacrosse jersey. It is also a Family Four Pack Day, with four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and four popcorns available for $26. The first 250 fans will receive a free sampler at Raising Cane’s.

At both games, a postgame autograph session is planned.

Thanks for the Memories
Ten Buckeye seniors will be honored in a pregame ceremony Sunday – Andrew Bender, Gary Bining, Jason Bloom, Justin Doran, Drew May, Craig Nolan, Stephen Tittl, Josh Wittenberg, Ben Wolff and Brian Yontz. The group has been a part of two Great Western Lacrosse League titles (2003co, 2004) and the only NCAA tournament appearances in program history (2003, 2004). Entering the weekend, Ohio State has posted a 32-21 ledger over the past three-plus seasons.

Last Time Out
The Buckeyes beat Butler, 14-10, last Friday in Columbus, Ohio, to move their winning streak to five and stay undefeated in league play at 2-0.

Denver won two home games last weekend, downing GWLL opponent Notre Dame, 8-5, last Friday and Bucknell, 11-8, last Sunday.

Air Force was 1-1 at home last weekend, with a 7-6 loss to Bucknell Friday and 9-8 win over Notre Dame Sunday.

The GWLL Picture
Ohio State, Denver and Air Force all enter this weekend tied for first place and 2-0 in the Great Western Lacrosse League. While Ohio State and Denver face off Friday, Air Force will play at Butler, who is 0-2 in the league. Denver will play at Butler Sunday.

Notre Dame (1-2 GWLL) and Quinnipiac (0-3 GWLL) are playing non-conference foes this weekend.

The team that finishes in first place in the GWLL earns the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Two wins by Ohio State this weekend would assure the team of at least a share of the conference title.

A Buckeye Snapshot
Ohio State is 5-4 on the year and 2-0 in the Great Western Lacrosse League. After opening the season 0-4, the Buckeyes have rebounded to win five games in a row.

The Buckeyes are second in the GWLL in goals per game (9.44) and rank second in the league in man-up scoring percentage (.273). Ohio State is allowing 9.55 goals a game.

Freshman Joel Dalgarno has a team-high 18 goals and 28 points. Senior Andrew Bender is second with 27 points and ranks first with 14 assists. Sophomore Kevin Buchanan is second in goals (16) and has 23 points to rank third. Senior Craig Nolan has 15 goals to rank third on the squad. Junior Eric O’Brien has a team-best 25 groundballs this season. In the cage, freshman John Bolen has started the last four games, posting four wins, and has a 7.02 goals-against average and .650 save percentage as a starter. Freshman Nick Carr has won a team-best 51.1 percent of his faceoffs, followed by O’Brien, with a 51 percent winning percentage.

The Ohio State-Denver Series
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Denver, 7-3. After winning the first five games in the series, the Buckeyes are 2-3 vs. the Pioneers in the last five meetings. Last season, the Buckeyes lost, 13-8, in Denver April 22, 2005. Ohio State won the last meeting in Columbus, 9-8 in overtime, April 25, 2004.

In Columbus, the Buckeyes are 5-0 all-time vs. the Pioneers.

A Look at Denver
Denver is 9-4 on the season and 2-0 in the Great Western Lacrosse League with victories over Quinnipiac and Notre Dame. The squad wrapped up its home schedule undefeated (9-0) for the first time in program history with wins over Notre Dame and Bucknell last week. The Pioneers are 0-4 on the road this season.

Denver is the highest-scoring team in the GWLL, averaging 11.15 goals a game, while it allows 7.59 goals a contest to rank second among league teams.

Ryan Zordani has a team-best 16 assists and 31 points this season. Brandon Barcus is first with 23 goals and ranks second with 28 points. Adam Goodwin (19-6-25) and Geoff Snider (19-5-24) also have hit the 20-point mark this season, while Todd Ruport is just behind (12-7-19).

Jeb Hollingworth has started 11 games for the Pioneers in the cage, with an 8.03 goals-against average and .566 save percentage. Austin Konkel has seen action in eight games and started two, with a 6.65 gaa and .636 svpct.

Jamie Munro, a 1989 graduate of Brown, is in his eighth year at Denver and as a collegiate head coach. He has a career mark of 61-57. Last season, he led the squad to a share of the GWLL title.

A Connection
Former Buckeye Jon Torpey, a letterwinner for Ohio State from 1997-00, is in his second season as an assistant coach at Denver. He was a four-year starter and three-year captain for the Buckeyes.

The Ohio State-Air Force Series
The series between the Buckeyes and Falcons is tied at 10, however, the Buckeyes enter the game Sunday on an eight-game winning streak vs. Air Force. The Buckeyes posted a 11-7 victory in Colorado Springs April 24, 2005 and won, 9-2, April 23, 2004, in the last meeting in Columbus.

In Columbus, the Buckeyes are 6-3 all-time vs. Air Force.

A Look at Air Force
After opening the year 0-4, Air Force has gone 7-2 in its last nine games to move its record to 7-6. The Falcons are 2-0 in the GWLL, with wins over Quinnipiac (8-4) and Notre Dame (9-8). Air Force is 6-1 at home this year, with an 0-3 ledger in road games and 1-2 mark in neutral-site contests. Air Force will play at Butler Friday before facing the Buckeyes Sunday.

AFA averages 8.38 goals a game, while allowing 7.68.

The Falcons are led in scoring by Will Meister, who has a team-high 36 points and 24 assists. Kevin Crumrine has 23 goals to rank first for the Falcons, followed by Griffin Nevitt and Conrad Lochocki with 20 each. Justin Pavoni, the reigning GWLL Player of the Week, has started all 13 games in goal for the Falcons, with a 7.91 goals-against average and .581 save percentage.

Fred Acee, a 1963 graduate of Cortland State, is in his ninth year at the helm of the Falcons and is in his 39th season as a collegiate head coach. Acee is 33-80 at AFA and 345-201-1 in his career.

Have a Game
Buckeye senior Andrew Bender had a career-best six points in the win over Butler last Friday, with three goals and three assists. It topped his career high of five points, set twice this season against both Penn State and Brown. The three goals vs. the Bulldogs also tied Bender’s career high, matching the mark vs. Brown earlier this year and against Duke in 2004.

Bender already has career highs in goals (13) and points (27) this season. His 14 assists lead the 2006 squad and are tied for his career best, set last season, when he ranked first on the team.

Bender is on eight-game goal and point streaks and has at least two points in each of the last seven games.

Bender is 17th in the nation in assists per game (1.56).

Three for Six
Three Buckeyes have posted six points in a game this season. Sophomore Kevin Buchanan scored five goals and added an assist for his six points vs. Hobart March 4. Senior Craig Nolan scored six goals against Robert Morris April 8. Senior Andrew Bender had three goals and three assists against Butler April 14.

Before this season, the last time a Buckeye had six points in a game was current assistant coach Anthony Gilardi April 23, 2004 vs. Air Force.

In the Cage
Freshman goalie John Bolen is undefeated in four career starts. After posting 11 saves in his first career start vs. Quinnipiac, he had 13 saves vs. both Brown and Robert Morris before a career-best 15 saves in the win over Butler. Bolen has a 7.02 goals-against average and .650 save percentage as a starter.

Leaders of the League
Six Buckeyes rank among the top players in the GWLL this season.

Buckeyes Joel Dalgarno (3.11) and Andrew Bender (3.00) rank first and second, respectively, in the Great Western Lacrosse League in points per game. Sophomore Kevin Buchanan is ninth (2.56).

Dalgarno is second in goals per game (2.00), followed by third-place Craig Nolan (1.88). Buchanan is seventh in the league (1.78).

Bender ranks third in the conference in assists per game (1.56).

Dalgarno also ranks fourth in man-up goals per game (.33) and ninth in shots per game (5.44).

At the faceoff X, freshman Nick Carr is fifth, winning 51.1 percent of his faceoffs, followed by junior Eric O’Brien in sixth (.510).

Leader of the Pack
Freshman Joel Dalgarno leads the Buckeyes with 18 goals and 28 points this season. He has at least one point in every game on the year and has at least three points in each of his last six outings. Dalgarno tied his career best with a hat trick and five points against Butler in the team’s last time out. He has at least one goal in all but one game and at least one assist in five of the last six outings.

Dalgarno also leads the Buckeyes with three man-up goals and 49 shots on the year.

On a Run
Sophomore Kevin Buchanan has at least one point in each game this season and at least one goal in each of the last seven games.

Buchanan ranks second on the squad with 16 goals and is third with 23 points. He has career highs in goals, assists (7) and points already this season.

W+W+W+W+W
The Buckeyes’ five-game winning streak is the longest since the 2004 squad won 11 consecutive games.

Man Down
The Buckeyes have allowed just one man-up goal in their last four games, stopping 95 percent of their opponent chances (19/20). After holding Quinnipiac scoreless on one chance, the Buckeyes stopped Brown on six chances and Robert Morris on seven opportunities. Against Butler last Friday, Ohio State stopped 5-of-6 Bulldog opportunities.

The Buckeyes rank 13th in the NCAA with a 75.6 percent success rate on man-down defense.

Ben Wolff scored a man-down goal for the Buckeyes in the win over Butler. It was the Buckeyes’ first man-down goal since Tom Randisi tallied at Hobart April 17, 2004.

A Team Effort
In the 14-10 win over Butler last week, 11 of the Buckeyes’ 14 goals were assisted. On the year, the Buckeyes have 51 assists on 85 goals.

Sharp Shooters
The Buckeyes have converted 28.9 percent of their shots, scoring 85 goals on 294 shots. Of their 294 shots this season, 62.9 percent (185) have been on net. Ohio State is 4-0 when outshooting the opponent this season, but 1-4 when being outshot.

Welcome Back
Senior Ben Wolff, the Buckeyes’ leading returning scorer from last season, returned to action against Butler. He had a goal and an assist vs. the Bulldogs, extending his scoring streak to 20-consecutive games.

The First
Freshman Scott Matthews, who has started six games this season, assisted on Craig Nolan’s first goal vs. Butler last week for the first point of his career.

The Rooks
Through the first nine games of the season, 12 Buckeye freshmen have seen action for the Scarlet and Gray – Nick Carr, Scott Fetterolf, Doug Ruhnke, Jake Lecky, Joel Dalgarno, Brian Lalley, Tim Pederson, John Bolen, Mark Ferreri, Scott Matthews, Keith Lovett and Bobby Mehraban. Dalgarno has started all nine Buckeye games, while Matthews has started six contests.

Streaker
Buckeye sophomore Peter Schell enters the weekend on a three-game goal scoring streak and with a goal in five of his last six games. Schell saw action in just two games last season, recording no points.

Scoop It Up
Junior Eric O’Brien tied his career mark with nine groundballs against Butler. O’Brien, who led the Buckeyes with 65 groundballs last season, has a team-best 25 groundballs this campaign.

Last Time Out – OSU 14, Butler 10
Senior Andrew Bender had a career-best six points and freshman goalie John Bolen made 15 saves, leading Ohio State to a 14-10 victory over Great Western Lacrosse League opponent Butler April 14 in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in front in 888 fans.

Bender had three goals and three assists for a game-high and career-best six points. Freshman Joel Dalgarno had five points on three goals and two assists, while senior Craig Nolan also had a hat trick.

The teams combined for seven goals in the first quarter. The Buckeyes took a 2-0 lead less than three minutes into the game. Nolan opened the scoring at 13:05, taking a long pass from Scott Matthews and beating Butler goalie Ryan Kaiser. Bender followed with a goal at 12:18. The teams traded goals the rest of the quarter, with OSU ending the stanza ahead, 4-3. Adam Wade scored a man-down goal for the Bulldogs at 10:44, with Nolan responding, assisted by Bender, at 8:11. Butler’s Pat Hurto tallied at 7:24 and Cliff Smith scored at 5:39, surrounding a goal by Buckeye Peter Schell with 6:12 on the clock.

Ohio State outscored Butler, 5-3, in the second quarter to go into halftime with a 9-6 lead. After Buckeye Ben Wolff put the Buckeyes ahead by two (5-3) with a man-down goal assisted by Josh Funk at 9:46, Butler scored twice in 1:11 to tie the game at 5. Jeremy Sieverts tallied at 8:51, followed by Wade’s man-up goal at 7:40. OSU then went on a three-goal run to go ahead, 8-5. Jason Lutz scored at 6:37, assisted by Bender, and Nolan scored his third goal of the game, with Wolff assisting, at 5:15. Bender closed out the Buckeye run with a goal at 3:39, taking a pass from Dalgarno. Butler ended the Buckeye streak on Pat Hurto’s goal at 2:18 and Kevin Buchanan set up Dalgarno for a goal with 1:15 left on the clock.

Each team scored just once in the third quarter. Dalgarno set up Bender for a man-up goal at 7:03. Butler’s Smith scored with just 45 seconds remaining in the quarter, as the Buckeyes kept the Bulldogs scoreless for 16:33. In the third quarter, Buckeye goalie Bolen made eight saves on nine Butler attempts.

In the fourth quarter, Ohio State outscored the Bulldogs, 4-3. Dalgarno scored twice at 14:36 and 12:11 (assisted by Stephen McKinlay), sandwiched around a Butler goal by Wade. The teams traded goals to close out the game. Bender set up Buchanan with the Buckeyes on a man-up opportunity at 6:39 and Buchanan scored unassisted at 2:15. For Butler, Doug Mathias tallied at 5:57 and Smith completed his hat trick with 1:13 remaining. With four minutes remaining in regulation, the game was halted because of lightening, prompting a 30-minute delay before the game could be completed.

Bolen had a career-best 15 saves in the game. He played 59:20 in the cage. Drew May came in for 40 seconds in the second quarter after Bolen was assessed a penalty, making one save and keeping the Bulldogs off the board. Kaiser started the game for the Bulldogs, making two saves and allowing eight goals in 26:27. Kyle Harer closed out the game, making nine saves and giving up six goals in 33:33. Ohio State outshot Butler, 42-36.

The Buckeyes converted 2-of-6 man-up chances, while Butler was 1-for-6.

Leading the Way
Five senior Buckeyes were selected by a vote of their teammates to serve as captains for the squad this season – midfielders Andrew Bender, Gary Bining and Jason Bloom, attackman Ben Wolff and defenseman Brian Yontz.

Up Next
The Buckeyes will close out Great Western Lacrosse League play when they face Notre Dame at 3 p.m. April 29 in South Bend, Ind.