April 18, 2014

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Ohio State Lacrosse This Week
The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (5-6, 2-0 ECAC), which has won its last three games and four of its last five, hosts Air Force (8-3, 3-0 ECAC), winner of six games in a row, in its final regular season home game of 2014. The Buckeyes and Falcons will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

What’s At Stake
A win by the Buckeyes over Air Force Saturday would clinch at least a share of the ECAC regular-season title for Ohio State (2-0 ECAC), while a win by the Falcons (3-0 ECAC) would give them the outright league regular-season title. Both teams have wins over Bellarmine and Michigan, while Air Force topped Fairfield last week, 16-8. The Buckeyes wrap up the conference schedule on the road against the Stags next week.

Follow Along
The game between Ohio State and Fairfield will be streamed online through the Buckeye Vision subscription package on Links for tv/video, audio and live stats (when applicable) are also on the Buckeye lacrosse gameday page:, with in-game updates on Twitter @OhioState_MLAX.

Thank You Seniors
Saturday marks Senior Day for the Ohio State Men’s Lacrosse Class of 2014. The group includes: Darius Bowling, Nick Diegel, Greg Dutton, Dominic Imbordino, Michael Italiano, Steve Knezick, Joe Meurer, Jake Sharick, Scott Spencer and Adam Trombley.

The members of the Class of 2014 have left their mark on the Ohio State program throughout their careers – on the field, in the classroom and in the community. The group has been a part of 34 wins over the last four years, helped the 2013 squad to the ECAC Tournament title and a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals and qualified for the ECAC tournament all four years. These Buckeyes have combined for seven league weekly honors, three all-conference nods, two ECAC All-Tournament Team honors, an All-American selection and four preseason All-America accolades. Academically, they have garnered 14 Ohio State Scholar-Athlete accolades and five Academic All-Big Ten awards. The seniors have been active in the community, volunteering nearly 400 hours throughout their careers, involved with everything from reading to elementary school students to volunteering with the World War II Honor Flight.

ECAC Tourney Two Weeks Away
Ohio State will host the 2014 ECAC Tournament, with the semifinals at 5 and 8 p.m. May 1 and the championship May 3 in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. Tickets for the tournament are now on sale:

Ohio State will be joined in the tournament by Air Force, Fairfield and Michigan. Final seeds will be determined after the conclusion of league play. The winner of the tournament receives the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

Scholar-Athletes Abound
Twenty-one members of the men’s lacrosse program were honored Monday at this year’s Department of Athletics’ Scholar-Athlete Dinner: Lucas Bailey, Ryan Borcherding, Carter Brown, Nick Diegel, Kevin Duffy, Turner Evans, Sean Giampietro, Robby Haus, Kacy Kapinos, Gordie Koerber, Rick Lewis, Joe Meurer, Evan Mulchrone, Johnny Pearson, Tyler Pfister, Jake Sharick, Danny Simonetti, Scott Spencer, Cameron Stephens, Brian Ward and Jake Withers. In addition, 2013 senior Logan Schuss was a finalist for the Big Ten Medal of Honor and 2013 senior Dominique Alexander was the recipient of the Corwin Fergus scholarship for postgraduate studies.

Buckeye Bio
Ohio State has won its last three games, including a 15-6 win over Michigan Saturday, and has 43 goals in the three games combined. The squad is averaging 9.91 goals a game and is allowing 8.45 to rank 11th nationally in scoring defense. The squad has converted 11-of-36 (.306) man-up chances and is 20-for-32 (.625) on man-down defense. The Buckeyes are 184-for-198 (.929) on clears, ranking second nationally.

Junior Jesse King leads the Buckeyes with 24 goals, 21 assists and 45 points and is first in the ECAC with 4.50 points per game, ranking seventh nationally. Sophomore Carter Brown is second with 18 goals and 28 points and fourth with 10 assists. Junior Turner Evans is second with 16 helpers and third with 27 points, tying classmate Reegan Comeault for fourth with 11 goals each. Comeault is third with 11 assists and fourth with 22 points and junior David Planning has scored 12 goals to rank third. Senior goalie Scott Spencer has started the last four games and has a 7.80 goals-against average and .525 save percentage. Senior Greg Dutton started the first six games and has 54 saves and freshman Nick Doyle made nine saves vs. Bellarmine March 21 in his first career start. Freshman Jake Withers is first with 53 groundballs and leads the team with 89 faceoff wins, winning 51.7 percent of his draws. Sophomore Robby Haus is second with 26 groundballs and leads the team with 13 caused turnovers, with senior Dominic Imbordino third in groundballs (25) and second in caused turnovers (12).

Buckeyes vs. Falcons
Ohio State and Air Force have met during the regular season each year since 1988, with Ohio State 17-10 in those games. The series dates to a 1967 win by the Buckeyes, who fell to Air Force in 1972 in the second meeting. In Columbus, Ohio State is 12-3 vs. Air Force, with a 14-4 victory over the Falcons in the 2012 Showdown in the Shoe. Last year, the Buckeyes won on the road, 10-9, their fifth win in a row vs. Air Force.

Falcon Facts
Air Force enters the weekend 8-3 overall and 3-0 in the ECAC. The team is on a six-game winning streak and is coming off a 16-8 win over Fairfield last week at home. The Falcons average 12.55 goals per game and are allowing 8.82 per contest, ranking ninth in the NCAA in scoring offense and 14th in scoring defense.

Mike Crampton is eighth in the NCAA in points per game (4.45) and sixth in goals per game 3.0), with a team-high 33 goals and 49 points in 11 games. Tommy McKee is second in goals (25) and points (33), while Keith Dreyer is first with 19 assists and third with 31 points. In all, six Falcons have double-digit goals this year. Bryan Price is first with 41 groundballs, with Erik Smith and Kyle O’Brien tied for second with 40 each. Smith has won 48-of-82 (.585) faceoffs and Price has won 85-of-171 (.497). Doug Gouchoe has started seven games and played in all 11, posting a 5-3 ledger, with a 9.62 goals-against average and .466 save percentage. Brett Dadiego has played in nine games, starting four, with a 3-0 ledger, 7.64 gaa and .509 sv%.

The Last Time – Ohio State 10, Air Force 9
Behind 15 saves from Greg Dutton and five-point games from Logan Schuss and Dominique Alexander, No. 12-ranked Ohio State defeated Air Force, 10-9, April 20, 2013 in Falcon Stadium. After the teams ended the first quarter tied at 4, Air Force outscored the Buckeyes 3-2 in the second quarter to carry a 7-6 lead into halftime. In the third quarter, Schuss scored three times and the Buckeyes shut out the Falcons to gain a 9-7 lead. Air Force scored early in the fourth to make it a one-goal game but Turner Evans tallied with 6:48 left for a 10-8 Buckeye advantage. Air Force again drew within one with a tally in the last minute, but Dutton stopped the final Falcon attempt and Ohio State held on for the conference win. Schuss had four goals and an assist for five points and Alexander had two goals and three assists for a career-high five-point game. Trey Wilkes won 15-of-21 faceoffs and Dutton made a career-high 15 saves in the game, including six stops in the third quarter as Ohio State pulled ahead.

A Look at the ECAC
Just two games remain in the 2014 ECAC schedule – Air Force at Ohio State Saturday and Ohio State at Fairfield the following Saturday (April 26). Air Force is in first with a 3-0 record in conference play, with Ohio State 2-0 and Fairfield 2-1 (with its loss to Air Force), with all three teams posting wins over Bellarmine and Michigan. Michigan ended its conference slate 1-3 and will be the No. 4 seed in the tournament, while Bellarmine was 0-4 and eliminated from the conference tourney. An Air Force win this week would give the Falcons the outright title, while Ohio State winning would give the Buckeyes at least a share of the crown and a chance at the outright title with a win at Fairfield.

Last Time Out – Ohio State Beats Michigan, 15-6
In the 2014 Showdown in the Shoe, Ohio State defeated Michigan, 15-6, on a beautiful day in Ohio Stadium Saturday. The Buckeyes, led by Jesse King with five goals and six points, scored 10 unanswered goals, shutting out the Wolverines for the final 35:24, en route to the win. The announced attendance was 17,641, with more than 31,000 fans in the stands by the end of the game, which preceded the Ohio State football spring game.

The Buckeyes scored the first goal but trailed 3-2 after the first quarter. The Wolverines took a three-goal lead (5-2) at 13:27 of the second quarter but Ohio State responded with a three-goal run for a five-all game at 10:48. The Wolverines again pushed ahead (6-5) at 5:24 before a goal from Ohio State with 1:40 left before halftime deadlocked the score at 6. Ohio State took its first lead since early in the first quarter 1:40 into the third quarter and scored five more times before the end of the stanza for a 12-6 lead after 45 minutes. The Buckeyes added three goals in the fourth, continuing to shut out the Wolverines, for the 15-6 final. King matched his career high with five goals, while sophomore Ryan Hunter had a career-high four goals. Junior Turner Evans had four points on two goals and two assists, while sophomore Carter Brown had a hat trick and junior Reegan Comeault had three assists. Freshman Jake Withers won 16 faceoffs for the Buckeyes and shared the team lead with Michael Italiano with six groundballs each. Senior goalie Scott Spencer made nine saves in the win.

Spencer and Withers Honored
Senior goalie Scott Spencer and freshman midfielder Jake Withers were both recognized by the ECAC for their play in the Buckeyes’ 15-6 win over Michigan. Spencer was named ECAC Defensive Player of the Week, while Withers was tabbed as the league’s co-rookie of the week.

Spencer had nine saves and allowed just six goals while playing all 60 minutes against the Wolverines. He shut out Michigan for the final 35:24, stopping the last six shots he faced, including four in the fourth quarter to keep UM off the scoreboard in the second half. He also picked up two groundballs in the victory. Spencer has started the last four games for the Buckeyes and is 3-1, with a 7.80 goals-against average and .525 save percentage.

Withers, a native of Peterborough, Ontario, won 16-of-25 faceoffs and had six groundballs in the victory over Michigan. After winning just 2-of-6 draws in the first quarter, Withers claimed 14-of-19 (.737) the rest of the way, going 6-2 in the second quarter, 4-3 in the third and 4-0 in the fourth. This year, Withers has won 89-of-172 (.517) faceoffs and has a team-high 53 groundballs. This is the fourth weekly award for Withers this season, as he was also named rookie of the week Feb. 24 (co) and March 31 and received specialist of the week honors March 24.

Tewaaraton Candidate King Posts 21 Points in Last Three Games Combined
Junior midfielder Jesse King has a team-high 24 goals, 21 assists and 45 points, ranking first in the ECAC and seventh in the NCAA in points per game (4.50), second in the league and 13th nationally in assists per game (2.10) and third among conference players in goals per game (2.40). King has 21 points in his last three games combined, with nine goals and 12 assists in the stretch. He had his second five-goal game of the season Saturday vs. Michigan, adding an assist for six points. Against Jacksonville March 29, King had a then-career high seven points, with a hat trick and four assists. He followed that with a goal and seven assists for a career-best eight points at Delaware April 6. The seven assists were the most for a Buckeye since Joel Dalgarno had a program-record eight in 2009 and was the fourth seven-assist game for a Buckeye all-time. King has six games with six or more points this season.

King is on a 33-game point streak, with 64 goals, 50 assists and 114 points, in the stretch and is on a 20-game assist streak (37 assists). His first-quarter assist at Hofstra March 8 was the 100th point of his Buckeye career and he now has 125 points, on 72 goals and 53 assists, to rank 19th in school history. His 21 assists this year are just two shy of the career-high 23 he had as a sophomore last season and he is eight goals behind the 24 he had in 2013. He had a career-high 55 points a season ago.

Meurer Senior CLASS Top 10 Finalist; Vote4Joe
Senior defenseman Joe Meurer is one of 10 finalists for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 20 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote daily through May 12; Ohio State fans can vote for Meurer by visiting Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2014 NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Baltimore May 24-26. Vote4Joe here:

Meurer has started all 11 games for the Buckeyes this season at close defense and has 11 groundballs and eight caused turnovers, helping Ohio State rank 11th nationally in team defense (8.45 goals allowed per game). A team captain for 2014, Meurer has played in 58 career games for the Scarlet and Gray and has 101 groundballs and 40 caused turnovers, along with two goals and 10 faceoff wins and was a First Team All-ECAC and USILA Honorable Mention All-American in 2013. He was drafted by the Florida Launch in the second round of the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft with the 10th overall pick, the second-highest pick in Ohio State history. A finance major, he is a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and will be a three-time Academic All-Big Ten choice who is on pace to graduate this spring.

Noting the Buckeyes
As a team …
• The Buckeyes’ attendance of 17,641 at the Showdown in the Shoe Saturday was the highest for a single game in Division I men’s lacrosse this season and nearly 7,000 more than the second-place game (Army at Navy last Saturday; 10,774).
• The game vs. Air Force is the Buckeyes’ third in Ohio Stadium this year. The team lost to Penn State in The Shoe, 11-8, March 1 before the 15-6 win over Michigan Saturday.
• Ohio State is 11th in the NCAA in scoring defense, giving up 8.45 goals a game, and has allowed seven or less goals in five of the last nine games.
• Five of the six teams the Buckeyes have lost to this season were ranked in the Top 20 in the Inside Lacrosse poll released Monday – No. 3 Denver, No. 5 Johns Hopkins, No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 11 Hofstra and No. 20 UMass. Four were listed in this week’s USILA rankings as well – No. 3 Denver, No. 6 Johns Hopkins, No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 12 (tied) Hofstra, with UMass and Penn State receiving votes. Ohio State is receiving votes in the Inside Lacrosse poll this week.
• The Buckeyes were 13-for-15 on clear attempts vs. Michigan and are now 184-for-198 on the year, ranking second nationally in clearing percentage (.929). Loyola is first in the NCAA at .940.
• Ohio State scored a season-high 15 goals in back-to-back games, with a 15-9 win at Delaware April 6 and a 15-6 victory over Michigan Saturday. The squad has scored double-digit goals in four of the last five games, winning all four. On the year, Ohio State is averaging 9.91 goals per game.
• The Buckeyes have 76 assists on 109 goals this season (69.7 percent) and are 14th nationally in assists per game (6.91). Against Michigan, nine of the team’s 15 goals were assisted.
• Ohio State had a season-high 49 shots vs. Michigan Saturday and now average 33.0 shots per game this year. The squad has scored on 30 percent of its attempts this season, ranking 18th nationally in shooting percentage. Carter Brown is second in the ECAC and 14th in the NCAA, scoring on 46.2 percent of his shots (18 goals, 39 shots).
• As a team, the Buckeyes have 73 caused turnovers this season, while their opponents have 48. Robby Haus is first with 13, while Dominic Imbordino has 12, Evan Mulchrone has nine, Joe Meurer has eight and Chris Mahoney has seven.
• Ohio State won the groundball battle against Michigan, 33-16, Saturday. The Buckeyes are 5-0 this season when recording more groundballs than their opponent.

Individually …
• Sophomore Ryan Hunter has eight goals and 11 points in his last three games combined, marking the first points of his Buckeye career. After scoring twice and adding an assist vs. Jacksonville March 29, he had a two goal, two assist day at Delaware in his first career start. He scored four goals in the win over Michigan Saturday, picked up four groundballs and had a caused turnover.
• Junior Reegan Comeault has at least one point in all 11 games this season, including three assists vs. Michigan for just the second multiple-assist game of his Buckeye career. He has a career-high 22 points this year, with 11 goals and 11 assists, both career highs. Comeault has two or more points in five games this season and is eighth in the ECAC with 1.00 assists per game this year.
• Sophomore Carter Brown has at least one goal in nine of 11 games on the year (including a hat trick vs. Michigan) and has been held off the scoresheet completely just one time. Brown has 18 goals and 28 points to rank second on the team and is fourth with 10 assists. Brown is in the top 10 in the ECAC in points (10th/2.55), goals (10th/1.64) and assists (10th/.91) per game this year.
• Junior Turner Evans had a four-point day, with two goals and two assists, vs. Michigan. He is eighth in the ECAC in points per game (2.70) and fourth in the league with 1.60 assists per outing. Evans ranks third on the team with 27 points, is second with a career-high 16 assists and tied for fourth with 11 goals.
• Senior Scott Spencer has started the last four games and has a 7.80 goals-against average, a mark that ranks first in the ECAC, but he has not played in enough games to qualify for the official NCAA statistics. He has a .525 save percentage, standing first among league goalies.
• Senior Michael Italiano had a season-high six groundballs in the win over Michigan. It was his fourth game with multiple groundballs this year.
• Senior Rick Lewis scored the first goal of his Buckeye career March 21 vs. Bellarmine and now has four on the year, with at least one in each of the last three games.
• Freshman J.T. Blubaugh had his first assist as a Buckeye Saturday against the Wolverines. He leads the Buckeye rookies with six goals and seven points this season, playing in all 11 games.
• Defenseman Robby Haus, who is first on the team with 13 caused turnovers and second with 26 groundballs while starting all 11 games, had the first assist of his Ohio State career Saturday vs. Michigan, picking off a Michigan pass on a clear and setting up Jesse King for a goal.
• Junior David Planning did not score a goal for just the fourth time this season vs. Michigan, picking up an assist vs. the Wolverines. He has a point in all but three games this season and is third on the team with 12 goals, ranking fifth with 17 points.