Feb. 19, 2012

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team opened its ECAC Lacrosse League slate with a 10-9 victory over No. 5-ranked Denver Sunday in the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Buckeyes trailed by two three times in the game and were down 8-6 with 2:29 left in the third quarter. A four-goal Ohio State run, with two goals in the final 21 seconds of the third quarter and two tallies in the first 2:53 of the fourth, led the Scarlet and Gray to victory. The Buckeyes are now 3-0 on the season. The game was Denver’s first of the year, with the loss standing as the Pioneers’ first league defeat since the 2009 campaign.

Junior Logan Schuss led Ohio State with five goals and points, with classmate Dominique Alexander scoring twice and adding two assists for a four-point game. Sophomore Tyler Frederick had a goal and two assists, with all three points on the Buckeyes’ final three goals. In the cage, sophomore transfer Scott Spencer had eight saves in his first collegiate start. Sophomore Shawn Kaplanwon nine faceoffs for Ohio State.

“It was a great collective team effort,” Nick Myers, Ohio State head coach, said. “I’m proud of the way we stepped up defensively. Scott Spencercame in and played a great game and the defense came together in front of him. The men stuck to the game plan and we were able to get the league win.”

Schuss scored early in the first quarter, assisted by Jesse King. Denver then scored three in a row, including two goals in a five-second span, for a 3-1 advantage. Jeremy Noble tallied at 8:24 and Wes Berg followed at 8:19 before Mark Matthews added the third goal at 6:38. Ohio State cut the lead to one (3-2) when Alexander scored unassisted at 3:47.

Denver maintained its lead until 6:17 of the second quarter when the Buckeyes deadlocked the score after Alexander found Schuss at 6:17. The Pioneers scored twice in the final 54 seconds for a 5-3 halftime lead. Cameron Flint tallied unassisted at the 54 mark and Eric Law had the final goal with just four seconds left in the half.

The teams were scoreless in the third quarter until combining for eight goals in the last 7:20. Schuss started the scoring spree when he tallied off a pass from Michael Italianoat 7:20, drawing Ohio State within one (5-4), and King followed with a man-up goal to tie the game for the second time. Denver outscored the Buckeyes 3-1 over the next two-plus minutes to regain a two-goal advantage (8-6). Matthews scored following the faceoff after King’s goal but Schuss answered at 3:44. Denver’s Berg and Law scored 25 seconds apart (2:54 and 2:29) for the Pioneers’ two-goal lead. Ohio State then went on a four-goal run to take the lead for the first time since the opening quarter.

With 21 seconds left in the third Alexander set up Sorensen after a failed Denver clear. The last goal came from Frederick, who scored as he was falling with one second left in the quarter to tie the game at eight. Frederick found Schuss for a goal at 13:35 of the fourth quarter for a 9-8 Ohio State advantage and then set up Alexander at 12:07. Ohio State held off the Pioneers for a good part of the quarter, including a possession in the offensive zone for more than four minutes. Denver cut the lead to one (10-9) on Alex Demopoulos’ tally with 1:46 left, but the Buckeyes were able to hang on for the victory. Spencer had four saves in the quarter.

Denver outshot Ohio State in the game, 29-26. Spencer, in his first start for the Buckeyes, had eight saves. Jamie Faus had four stops in the Pioneer cage.

The Buckeyes won 12-of-22 faceoffs, led by Kaplan who was 9-for-15. Joe Meurer was 2-for-4 and Darius Bowlingwas 1-for-3.

Next week, the Ohio State lacrosse programs will play a doubleheader in Columbus. The 18th-ranked women’s team, who is off to a 4-0 start to the season, will take on Brown at 11 a.m., followed by a men’s game between the Buckeyes and UMass at 1 p.m. The games are scheduled for Ohio Stadium but could be moved inside Woody Hayes Athletic Center in the event of unplayable weather and/or field conditions. Fans are encouraged to pre-purchase tickets to the men’s game to ensure a spot should the game be moved inside.