April 15, 1999
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for today’s game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Stony Brook Seawolves. OSU enters the contest with an overall record of 5-3, 1-1 in the Great Western Lacrosse League. Stony Brook, an independent, sports a 3-4 record.
Ohio State has faced Stony Brook twice in the past with each team winning one. The Seawolves won the first meeting in 1987 while the Buckeyes won the last meeting in 1992.
The head coach for Ohio State is Joe Breschi, who is in his second year at the helm. He has guided the Buckeyes to a 10-10 record throughout his first collegiate head coaching job. The Seawolves are lead by John Espey, a 1973 graduate of Cortland State.
Ohio State and Stony Brook are teams with their eyes on the future. Ohio State features only four seniors, Jon Egan, Kevin Johnson, Fred Koury, and Todd Miller. Stony Brook has only three seniors on their roster, Ken Lorenz, Jim Imhof, and Adam Donaton. Each team prefers a ball control style of offense. Stony Brook is averaging 7.5 goals per game while the Buckeyes are scoring at a 8.1 goal per game clip. The teams have three common opponents on their schedules. Each team has already played Radford with the Buckeyes picking up a win and the Seawolves were beaten. Virginia, and GWLL member Air Force are the two other teams on each’s schedule. Dominic D’Orazio leads Stony Brook in scoring with 11 goals, and 7 assists. Donaton has scooped up a team high 40 ground balls, while John Dobias has seen a majority of action between the pipes. He has a 7.29 GAA and a save percentage of 64.2%.
Ohio State pulled off the biggest win of its history and perhaps the biggest upset in college lacrosse this season in defeating No. 14 Notre Dame 5-4. Down 4-1 midway through the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes faced a gut-check, and they faced it with both physical and mental toughness. Greg Zytkowski put the Buckeyes back in the game at 4-2 with his goal at the 7:01 mark. After trading several possessions, OSU’s Sandy Boyce found the net twice in a span of just seven second to tie the score at 4. Mike Abeles then put the Buckeyes in position to score the game winner with several key saves on Irish shots from point blank range. Ohio State got possession of the ball and held it for the last shot. Kevin Stephan found Buddy Lange for the game winner with just 10.5 second left on the clock. Both Breschi and Athletic Director Andy Geiger called it the biggest win in Ohio State lacrosse history.
With Ohio State’s win over Notre Dame the top of the GWLL got a little more crowded. Should the Buckeyes defeat Denver and Air Force, their two remaining conference games, they would tie for the conference championship with Notre Dame. However, Butler also has to play Denver and Air Force which they will do this weekend. Should the Bulldogs win both of those games, they would also tie for the conference title at 3-1 creating a three way tie for first. Who would then get the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament? There is no set tie-breaker in place, thus leaving that decision up to the NCAA committee. The Buckeyes have a good case to make to the committee having defeated two ranked opponents, Rutgers and Notre Dame. The Irish meanwhile, have only beaten one ranked team, while Butler has games with top-ranked Loyola and No. 5 Virginia left on their schedule. The Buckeyes are looking for their first ever bid to the NCAA tournament. They have never won the GWLL.
GWLL STANDINGS GWLL ALL Notre Dame 3-1 5-5 Ohio State 1-1 5-3 Butler 1-1 4-5 Denver 0-1 2-6 Air Force 0-1 1-8
COMING OFF AN UPSET
A coach’s worst fear after a huge win is having a let down the next time out. Ohio State defeated then-No.23 Rutgers in the season opener to give OSU it’s first ever win over a ranked opponent. The next time out, the Buckeyes fell behind 2-1 to Sacred Heart before coming together and trouncing the Pioneers 14-3.
BY THE NUMBERS
Buddy Lange, last year’s team leader in goals with 17 has already surpassed that amount this year with 18. He also has 3 assists on the year after not recording one all of last year. Sandy Boyce has been on a tear lately. He has scored six goals in his last three games and added three assists. His has connected on eight of fifteen shots for an outstanding shot percentage of 53.3%. Kevin Johnson is leading OSU in assists for the third consecutive year. He has 11 on the year to give him 51 for his career and move him into a tie for tenth place on the all-time assists list. Five Buckeyes have scooped up more than 20 ground balls. They are: John DiCamillo (27), Greg Zytkowski (25), Abeles (25), Jon Torpey (22), and Fred Koury (21). Fifteen Buckeyes have scored goals so far this year, while sixteen have dished out assists.
Here are the probable starters for today’s game, and they are subject to change.
Attack 11 Tim Houston 27 Kevin Johnson 17 Buddy Lange
Midfield 4 Greg Zytkowski 29 Kevin Stephan 3 Fred Koury
Defense 44 Jon Torpey 43 Geoff Omiatek 7 Barry Wilson
Goalie 12 Mike Abeles
Captaining the 1999 Buckeyes are goalie Mike Abeles, midfielder Jon Egan, attacker Kevin Johnson, and defenseman Jon Torpey.
Ohio State is sporting a new look for the helmets this season. They are silver and designed to look more like the helmets worn by the popular football Buckeyes. Buckeye leaves are also being awarded like those in football to those players who make outstanding plays.
JUST FINE IN 1999
Standing at 5-3 with five games remaining, Ohio State has a shot at a 10-win season. The last time an Ohio State team finished with 10 or more wins came in 1988 when they went 12-4 and won the Great Lakes conference championship. Though the games must be played on the field, the numbers look promising. They have a current win streak against their next four opponents, Stony Brook, VMI, Air Force, and Denver, and will be facing Gannon for the first time in school history. The last time the Buckeyes finished with a record above .500 was in 1993.
TEAM OF THE FUTURE?
While Ohio State is enjoying perhaps its best season in recent memory, the best of Ohio State lacrosse is yet to be seen. With only four seniors departing, your goalie returning, a freshman class that has had an immediate impact this year, and a fine batch of recruits headed for Columbus, many in the lacrosse community feel the Buckeyes are the up and coming program in Division I. Wrote Steve Ulrich of the College Lacrosse USA website in his March 15th notes, “Rumblings around the lacrosse community are that the next up-and-comer in Division I men’s lacrosse is Ohio State. The Buckeyes, coached by second-year mentor Joe Breschi, have been able to recruit more successfully than ever in lacrosse hotbeds…” Also, next year will mark the first year for scholarships to be given to the lacrosse program.
OHIO STATE HOME STAND
Ohio State continues its three game homestand with today’s game and Wednesday’s contest against the Keydets from the Virginia Military Institute at 3:30.