May 5, 1999
COLUMBUS – The Ohio State mens lacrosse team completed one of the most successful campaigns in school history and as a result are awaiting the NCAA mens lacrosse tournament committees decision on whether they will compete in the tournament for the first time in school history. As co-champions of the Great Western Lacrosse League at 10-3 overall and 3-1 in the conference, the Buckeyes have a strong case to make to the committee.
THE BOTTOM LINE…WINNING
The Buckeyes completed their first 10-win season since the 1988 campaign when the Buckeyes won 12 games. Ohio State also boasts a six game winning streak, currently sixth best in Division I. Ohio State is also one of nine teams currently with 10 or more wins for 1999. For the first time since the 1993 season, the lacrosse Buckeyes finished above the .500 mark. They finished 8-6 that year, though they did finish .500 (6-6) in 1997.
Three of the Buckeyes wins this season came against teams they had not had recent success against. They broke a nine game losing skid against conference rival Notre Dame. In the first game of the year, the Buckeyes defeated Rutgers for the first time ever in their six all-time meetings, and the Buckeyes downed Radford for the first time in three previous games
Ohio State has appeared regularly in the national statistical rankings this season. For games through May 2, that case was no different. The Buckeye defense, a staple of their success this year ranks 15th at 8.85 goals allowed per game. Also along the defensive lines, Ohio States man-advantage defense checks in as the sixth best at 77.6%. For the first this season the man-advantage appeared in the rankings at No. 20 with a 32.6% success rate. The Buckeyes are also tied for seventh in winning percentage at 76.9%.
Kevin Johnson (Penfield, NY), Ohio States leading scorer this year as well as last year, appears in the national rankings for the first time since his sophomore year. He is 17th in assists at 1.77 per game. Mike Abeles continued his solid play between the pipes remaining in the top 10 in save percentage. He is currently eighth at .632. He also stands 16th in goals against with an average of 8.79.
Ohio State has several ties to this years NCAA tournament. The two sites hosting quarterfinal action are Brown University in Providence, R.I., and Towson University in Towson, Md. Buckeye head coach Joe Breschi was an assistant at Brown before coming to Columbus to take over. Assistant coach Jay Stalfort was an all-American goalie for Brown in 1994, as well as being a former assistant. Breschis other assistant, Mark Goers, is a 1995 alumnus of Towson. He was an all-American as well in 1994, and holds the NCAA record for highest face-off percentage in a season at 78.8%. He is also a former Towson assistant. All three Buckeye coaches have been to the NCAA tournament as coaches, and Breschi and Stalfort as players.