Mario Ventiquattro leads Buckeyes with four points, Brandon Freeman makes eight saves

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team celebrated senior day with an 8-2 victory over Quinnipiac in its Great Western Lacrosse League debut Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. Mario Ventiquattro led the way for the Buckeyes with four points on a goal and three assists while Justin Hayes and Joel Dalgarno netted a goal and assist each.

Junior goalie Brandon Freeman made eight saves and his two goals allowed were the fewest since holding Detroit Mercy to one in the season-opener. The Buckeyes improve to 5-4 (1-0 GWLL) while the Bobcats are 2-6 (0-2 GWLL).

Ohio State built its lead with three first-half goals, all in the opening quarter. The scoring opened for the Buckeyes with 10:54 on the clock, capitalizing on a man-up advantage when Hayes got the team on the board off a pass by Ventiquattro.

The Buckeyes went up 2-0 when Ventiquattro scored unassisted at 8:20, followed by Dalgarno setting up Jeff Ryan with 5:57 left in the first.

The teams played to a scoreless second quarter until Quinnipiac’s Jack Oppenheimer scored off a pass by Todd Kaiser with 35 seconds left before the half to erase the shutout.

Ohio State came flying out of the gates in the second half, scoring three quick goals in the opening four minutes. Dan Bain nabbed a ground ball off the opening faceoff and charged down the field to score five seconds into the quarter. Brock Sorensen was then set up by Doug Ruhnke at 12:15 and Ventiquattro passed the ball over to Eddie Bambino for a goal at 11:41.

Ted Dimond of the Bobcats cut the score to 6-2 at 13:20 of the fourth quarter off an assist by Alex DeAlmeida. But Ohio State responded with two more goals in the remaining minutes for an 8-2 final. Hayes assisted Mike Pires at 12:09 and Dalgarno closed out the scoring off a pass by Ventiquattro at 7:44.

In net for Quinnipiac was Kevin Benzing, who tallied 11 saves.

Overall, the Buckeyes had a 27-24 edge in shots and 27-19 advantage in ground balls. The teams were even on faceoffs at seven apiece. Ohio State was 21-of-24 on clearing attempts and 1-of-3 on extra-man opportunities while holding Quinnipiac to 0-of-3.

Up next, the Buckeyes begin a four-game road swing with their first stop in Louisville, Ky., to face Bellarmine for a GWLL matchup April 4 at 1 p.m.