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Feb. 7, 2007

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THE FACTS
The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team will open the regular season against Robert Morris at 2 p.m. Saturday at North Turf Field in Columbus.

Fans attending the game should enter the Woody Hayes Athletic Center complex from Olentangy River Road and use the parking lot that is on the west side of the WHAC and east of Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

THE ROAD OPENER
The Buckeyes will face off against North Carolina at 1 p.m. Feb. 17 in their second game of the year. The game will be held at Calvert Hall College in Baltimore.

SUPPORT THE MICHAEL BRESCHI SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Buckeyes will hit the road to face North Carolina in Baltimore Feb. 17. The night prior to the game (Feb. 16), a Bull and Oyster Roast is planned, with all proceeds going to the Michael Breschi Scholarship Fund. The dinner will be held from 7-11 p.m. at the Parkville (Md.) American Legion Post #183 (2301 Putty Hill Ave.). Tickets to the event, which is open to adults 21 years and older, are $40 a person or $375 for a table of 10.

For more information and/or for a registration form, contact Bryan Kelly (410-891-3019/bkelly@kaig.com) or Chuck Breschi (410-771-0134/cbreschi@finsvcs.com).

A BUCKEYE SNAPSHOT
Ohio State finished the 2006 season 7-6 overall and was 3-2 in the Great Western Lacrosse League to tie for second.

The Buckeyes return their Top 2 scorers from a season ago, as sophomore Joel Dalgarno, the GWLL Newcomer of the Year, and junior Kevin Buchanan, a first-team all-conference selection, tied for the team lead with 41 points each. Buchanan had a team-best 26 goals, followed by Dalgarno with 24. Dalgarno was second on the team with 17 assists, one behind then-senior Andrew Bender.

BUCKEYES VS. COLONIALS
Ohio State and Robert Morris have met each of the last two seasons. Ohio State won, 18-5, April 15, 2005 in Columbus and posted an 11-3 victory April 8, 2006, in Pittsburgh.

OSU VS. THE CAA
Robert Morris is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Buckeyes are 13-4 all-time vs. current members of the CAA. (4-0 vs. Drexel, 3-1 vs. Towson, 2-0 vs. Robert Morris, 2-1 vs. Delaware, 1-0 vs. Sacred Heart and Villanova and 0-2 vs. Hofstra).

THE 2006 MEETING – OHIO STATE 11, ROBERT MORRIS 3
Buckeye Craig Nolan had a career-high six goals as Ohio State downed Robert Morris, 11-3, April 8, 2006 in Moon Township, Pa. Buckeye Joel Dalgarno chipped in a team and career-best four assists, while Andrew Bender had a goal and two assists for three points.

Ohio State led 2-0 after the first quarter. Nolan opened the scoring with a goal, assisted by Jason Bloom, with 11:33 left in the stanza. Jason Lutz then set up Bender for a tally at 6:24.

Robert Morris got on the board less than three minutes into the second quarter, but Ohio State scored three unanswered to go into halftime ahead, 5-1. Dan Mulford scored for the Colonials at 12:42. Nolan then scored twice, set up by Dalgarno at 8:42 and Bender at 6:02. Bloom closed out the half with a man-up goal, assisted by Dalgarno, with 3:06 remaining. Ohio State outshot Robert Morris, 12-5, in the quarter.

Ohio State scored twice to open the second half, as Peter Schell tallied unassisted at 8:52 and Nolan scored with 32 seconds remaining. The Colonials made the score 7-2 at the end of the third quarter with Carlo Sunseri’s goal with two seconds left in the quarter.

The Buckeyes outscored the Colonials, 4-1, in the third quarter for the 11-3 final. Nolan scored at 12:21, followed by Sunseri’s second goal of the game at 11:11. Bender set up Kevin Buchanan’s goal with 10:37 left, followed by Nolan’s goal, assisted by Dalgarno, just 54 seconds later. Dalarno’s fourth assist came on Mat Ballay’s goal with 5:54 left.

Buckeye freshman goalie John Bolen tied his career high with 13 saves. Ohio State outshot Robert Morris, 41-27.

The Buckeye defense held Robert Morris scoreless on seven extra-man opportunities, while Ohio State converted 1-of-4 EMO chances.

BALLAY AND THE COLONIALS
Buckeye junior Mat Ballay has recorded two of his three career goals and three of his six career shots against Robert Morris. He has a goal in each contest vs. the Colonials.

OPEN IT UP
The Buckeyes are 3-6 all-time in home openers under head coach Joe Breschi and are 1-8 under Breschi in overall season openers. Last season, the Buckeyes lost to Penn State in overtime (14-13) March 11, 2006 in their home opener and to North Carolina, 14-5, in Baltimore in their season opener.

BUCKEYES EARN PRESEASON HONORS
Longstick midfielder Ricky Pages was a preseason honorable mention All-America selection and junior attackman Kevin Buchanan joined Pages on the Preseason All-Great Western Lacrosse League team, released by Inside Lacrosse/Face-Off Yearbook for the 2007 season.

Pages, a native of East Rockaway, N.Y., (Lynbrook), was a first team All-GWLL choice last season and co-winner of the Buckeyes’ team defensive MVP award. He played in all 13 games and scored one goal while ranking second on the team with 33 groundballs. In 2005, Pages shared Ohio State’s Outstanding Freshman honor.

Buchanan, from Cockeysville, Md., (Calvert Hall College), was a first team all-conference selection and the Buckeyes’ Offensive MVP last season when he had a team-best 26 goals and tied for the team lead with a career-best 41 points. He had at least one point in every game and at least one goal in each of his last 11 outings. Buchanan, who has started 26-of-27 games for the Buckeyes, is a two-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and shared the team’s Outstanding Freshman award with Pages in 2005.

LEADERS OF THE PACK
Senior midfielders Chris Li and Jason Lutz were selected by their teammates as team captains for the 2007 season.

Li, from Dix Hills, N.Y., (Half Hollow Hills East H.S.), has played in 35 games for the Buckeyes. He was limited to just nine games in 2006 because of injury after playing in all 14 games in 2005. He was the co-winner of the team’s Unsung Hero Award in 2006.

Lutz, a native of Carlisle, Pa. (Carlisle H.S.), has played in 41 games for the Buckeyes and has 20 goals, 10 assists and 30 points in his career. He is a two-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten selection. He started 12-of-13 games last season posting career highs in goals (8), assists (6) and points (14).

THE 2007 OUTLOOK
The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team, which finished last season 7-6 and tied for second in the Great Western Lacrosse League, touts one of the deepest squads in the last three years entering the 2007 campaign.

Under head coach Joe Breschi the squad shared the Great Western League title in 2003, won the title outright in 2004 and rebounded off of a disappointing 2005 season with a tie for second place in 2006. Entering his 10th season with the Buckeyes, Breschi welcomes a talented freshmen class and three experienced transfers to his already solid group of returnees. With a balanced 2007 schedule, Ohio State will be well prepared to again challenge for the league title and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

ON ATTACK
On attack, the Buckeyes will again look to the duo of junior Kevin Buchanan and sophomore Joel Dalgarno, who led the team in goals last season. At Ohio State, Buchanan has started all but one game in his career. In his sophomore campaign, Buchanan earned first team All-GWLL honors at attack and won the team’s Offensive MVP award after notching a career-best 26 goals and 15 assists for 41 points on the season. Dalgarno looks to mirror his success as a rookie in his second season as a Buckeye. As a true freshman, he started all 13 games, scored 24 goals and posted 17 assists and ended the season with 22 groundballs. For his achievement, Dalgarno earned 2006 GWLL) Newcomer of the Year accolades and the team’s Outstanding Freshman honor.

Breschi expects transfers Jeff Ryan and Joe Benson to have an immediate impact on the offense. Ryan, a transfer from Hobart College, notched seven goals, six assists and 16 groundballs as a freshman. Benson comes to Ohio State from Johns Hopkins for his senior season after sitting out 2006 with a torn ACL. As a Blue Jay, Benson had 11 goals, three assists and one groundball. With the depth at this position, Breschi looks to throw in several offensive combinations. Other key players for the Buckeyes are junior Steve McKinlay and sophomores Andrew Pace and Doug Ruhnke, all of whom improved immensely over the offseason. Freshman Patrick Hansen looks to make an impact on the squad in his first collegiate season.

“With returning leading scorers Kevin Buchanan and Joel Dalgarno, the attack position will be solid,” Breschi said. “Adding transfers Jeff Ryan and Joe Benson to the mix should give us outstanding leadership and experience on offense and allow us to throw several different combinations on the field and not lose a step.”

IN THE MIDFIELD
In the midfield will be a mix of senior leaders and athletic underclassmen. Breschi characterizes seniors Jason Lutz, Jon DeCanio, sophomore Brian Lalley and freshman Ryan Lowe as powerful downhill dodgers with good speed and athleticism to shoot on the run.

Lutz will lead Ohio State after scoring a career-high eight goals and recording six assists in 2006. DeCanio played in all 13 games in 2006 and had four goals and three assists on the season. Lalley and Lowe also look to make an impact on the field in the spring.

In addition, junior Mat Ballay will again look to earn time with the best outside shot on the team.

The second group of midfielders will be spearheaded by senior Ben Drake. Drake saw limited action in his junior season, but competed in 10 games as a sophomore when he tallied his first career goal.

Following Drake’s lead will be freshmen James Green, Paul Beery and sophomore Corey Bentine. Junior Peter Schell will help lead the Buckeyes as well. Last season, Schell put 10 of 13 shots on goal in 11 games.

“The second group consists of slick dodgers with solid hands who can penetrate defenses from the wings and X,” Breschi said.

ON DEFENSE
At close defense, senior Tim Pataki and sophomore Scott Matthews return for the Buckeyes after earning the starting position in 2006. Close behind and competing for the third spot on the defense are seniors Jeff Schneider and Wes Kemme after both made outstanding progress in the offseason.

Pataki, who has started his last 18 games, picked up 15 groundballs last season. As a freshman, Matthews won the Paul Hartman Most Improved Player award. He earned starts in 10 of 13 games played and was one of just two freshmen to see action in all Ohio State games. Matthews picked up 21 groundballs and recorded one assist.

Schneider and Kemme both look to help anchor the Buckeye defense in their final campaigns. After earning the team’s Outstanding Freshman award in 2004, Schneider has been a mainstay for Ohio State. As a Buckeye, the senior has started 18 of 41 games played and picked up 56 groundballs in his collegiate career. Kemme has seen time in 10 games and scooped up five groundballs in his sophomore and junior seasons.

“Jeff and Wes will push one another for the third starting spot after each made great progress in the fall,” Breschi said. “Others who will make a push for playing time include Matt Cornell, Scott Foreman and Keith Lovett who is coming off a redshirt season.”

At longstick middie, junior first team All-GWLL selection Ricky Pages will dominate on the wings again and looks to make a name for him on a national level. In 2006, Pages ranked second on the squad with 33 groundballs and shared the team Defensive MVP award. Pages also had six shots on the year and put four on goal.

Several others will battle for the number two position on the wing including, returnees Charlie Billingsley and Tim Pedersen. In addition, freshman Chris Lowery will look to make an impact for the team at the longstick middie position.

A trio of returning veterans is expected to lead the Buckeyes at short-stick midfield this year. Senior captain Chris Li, Josh Funk and Chris Friel put a stranglehold on opponents in the second half of the 2006 season. The 2006 Unsung Hero award co-winner, Li missed part of his junior season with an injury, but scooped up eight groundballs in nine games. Li looks to finish out his final season at Ohio State with the same consistency he showed as a sophomore. Li is joined by juniors Funk and Friel. Funk, co-winner of the Unsung Hero award, and Friel both saw action in all 13 games in 2006. Funk grabbed 20 groundballs while Friel picked up seven.

“Li, Funk and Friel return as major threats on the wing of faceoffs and between the lines in transition,” Breschi said. “Others will push for playing time, especially seniors Jon Blashford and Jeff Buck and freshman Steve Smith.”

All three faceoff specialists return to the Ohio State squad in 2007. Seniors Eric O’Brien and Jon Rydberg will lead the charge for the Buckeyes. Last season, O’Brien won 64-of-128 faceoffs (.500) in 11 games to rank fifth in the GWLL. Rydberg, the 2005 Paul Hartman Most Improved Player award winner, noted his first career goal against Denver last season and collected 12 groundballs. In addition Rydberg won 42 percent of his faceoffs (28-67) in 10 games. Breschi also looks to sophomore Nick Carr to excel this season after suffering from an injury last spring.

IN NET
The battle for the starting spot in the cage Buckeye continues as the Buckeyes have four competition-ready goalies. Sharing the team’s Outstanding Freshman Award, Jon Bolen started eight of nine games in goal and posted a 6-3 record. The freshman goalie set a career high with 15 saves against Butler and had 13-save performances against both Brown and Robert Morris. For the season, Bolen recorded 87 saves, with a .554 save percentage, allowed 70 goals for an 8.53 goals-against average and had 18 groundballs.

Challenging Bolen for the starting lineup are junior transfer Stefan Schroder, freshman Brandon Freeman and junior Bill Curry. Two-time All-American Schroder comes to Ohio State from Onondaga Community College after earning first team honors in 2006 and second team selection in 2005.

“Stefan Schroder joins the Buckeye program with a wealth of experience after winning the national championship at Onondaga Community College,” Breschi said. “Freshman Brandon Freeman has been spectacular as well, making acrobatic saves on a daily basis.”

THE SCHEDULE
After facing one of the toughest schedules in program history in 2006, the 2007 schedule is well balanced to prepare Ohio State for a run at conference and national titles.

The Buckeyes welcome Robert Morris to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to kick off the season Feb. 10 before heading to neutral-site match-ups against North Carolina Feb. 17 in Baltimore and Wagner Feb. 23 in Pittsburgh.

Ohio State then returns home to faceoff against Harvard Feb. 25. Breschi’s squad stays at home for a game against Bucknell March 3 and then travels to challenge Penn State March 10. The team remains on the road for contests against Towson and UMBC before opening conference competition against Quinnipiac on home turf March 31.

From this point out, the Buckeyes play all GWLL members with the exception of a final home game against Army. The team travels most of April, making trips to face Bellarmine, the newest member of the GWLL, Air Force and Denver.

The 2007 season comes to a close with an April 28 match up against conference rival Notre Dame and concludes May 6 as the Buckeyes challenge Army.