COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team moved to 2-0 on the season with a 20-2 victory over Mercer Saturday in Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The game was the first in program history for the Bears. Ohio State led 6-0 after the first quarter and 11-2 at halftime. The defense and senior goalie Ryan Keneally shut out the Bears in the second half, while the offense combined for another nine tallies. Sophomore Jeff Tundo led the squad with a career-high six goals and eight points, while classmate Trey Wilkes was a perfect 18-for-18 on faceoffs in the game.
“Our focus today was to get the ball moving,” Nick Myers, Ohio State head coach, said. “We wanted to really have an unselfish approach and I think you saw that out there today. Defensively, we wanted to stay tight; pay attention to detail and concentrate on the little things, like restarts and off-ball play.” The Buckeyes will be back in action at noon Saturday (Feb. 19) when they host No. 3 North Carolina. The game is scheduled to be played outdoors in Ohio Stadium, weather permitting. A final decision on the location will be made closer to game day; check OhioStateBuckeyes.com for the location.
Thirteen Buckeyes had a point in the game. Freshman Tyler Frederick had five points, including four assists, while sophomore Patrick Riffee had a hat trick. Freshman Michael Italiano (1g, 2a) and Justin McGinnis (2g, 1a) and junior Eddie Bambino (2g, 1a) each had three points. Sophomore Dan Wertz had two goals in the win as well.
Ohio State led 6-0 after the opening quarter, with goals from five players, including two from Tundo. Tundo opened the scoring at 10:44 and Frederick set up senior Tyler Dolphin at 9:42. At 8:21 sophomore Nick Liddil found Bambino for a score and Frederick had his second assist of the game on a goal by Wertz at 6:53. Frederick scored off an assist from classmate Michael Italiano with 1:44 left in the quarter and Tundo scored unassisted with 27 seconds remaining. Ohio State outshot Mercer, 17-4, in the quarter.
Ohio State extended the lead to 7-0 55 just seconds into the second quarter when Frederick assisted on a Tundo tally. Mercer’s Cole Branch scored unassisted at 11:20, marking the first goal in program history. The Buckeyes scored the next two goals to lead 9-1, with Tundo scoring at 6:39 and Riffee following, set up by Italiano, at 4:42. Mercer scored its second goal at 3:09, with Branch assisting on a goal by Brett Eisenmann. Tundo set up the final two goals of the half, finding Riffee for a score at 2:12 and Wertz for his second tally with two seconds remaining. Ohio State took 12 shots, holding Mercer to four.
Ohio State shut out Mercer for the second half, scoring nine goals. Ohio State added six goals in the third quarter. Tundo scored twice, 1:56 into the quarter and with one second left in the stanza. Goals also came from Buckeye senior Zach Boyt (at 9:44 set up by Eddie Bambino), McGinnis (assisted by Frederick at 8:23), Riffee, with an assist from junior Scott Morell, at 3:10 and Pires unassisted at 1:23. Shots were 7-5 in favor of Ohio State in the third.
In the fourth McGinnis added his second goal of the game at 12:03, senior Scott Gerland assisted on a Bambino tally at 10:50 and freshman Michael Italiano had his first career goal at 9:22. Each team had seven shots in the quarter.
In the cage sophomore Ryan Brant started and played the first 30 minutes, making two saves. Keneally played the final 30 minutes, with five saves.
Ohio State won the groundball battle, 40-25, led by Wilkes with nine. Freshmen Jake Sharick and Darius Bowling and sophomore Patrick Toohey each had three.
Postgame Notes Tundo’s previous highs were four goals, set April 3, 2010 at Loyola, and five points, recording the next week at Hobart.
Wilkes matched his career high of 18 faceoff wins, first set March 9, 2010 at Robert Morris. He was 100 percent at the X for the first time as a Buckeye. He had a career-best nine groundballs.
Wertz had the first two-goal game of his career.
Buckeyes with their first career goals and points included Riffee, Frederick, McGinnis and Italiano. Gerland and Liddil each had their first career assist.
Bambino’s three points were a personal high. It was his second career multiple-point game (first with two goals) and first since April 4, 2009 vs. Bellarmine.
Ohio State is undefeated inside Woody Hayes Athletic Center, with a 9-0 ledger.
It was the first time the Buckeyes scored 20 goals since a 21-1 win over Detroit Feb. 7, 2009. The 18-goal win was the largest victory since that game vs. the Titans.