May 12, 2004
The No. 8 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (12-3, 5-0/1st GWLL) travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the second week in a row, as the squad opens the 2004 NCAA Championship against the No. 6-ranked and No. 8-seed North Carolina Tar Heels (9-4, 2-1 ACC). The squads will face off at 1 p.m. Saturday at Fetzer Field (Grass/5,700) in Chapel Hill, N.C. Gates will open at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Ohio State and North Carolina met last weekend in Chapel Hill to close out the regular season, with UNC posting a 12-6 win.
To The Winner Goes …
The winner of the game between Ohio State and North Carolina will advance to the quarterfinals to face the winner of the No. 1-seed Johns Hopkins vs. Providence game on Saturday, May 22 in Charlottesville, Va. The semifinal and final rounds will be held May 29 and May 31 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
This marks the second year in a row and the second time in program history the Buckeyes have earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. The squad was the winner of the Great Western Lacrosse League title in both 2003 and 2004, clinching the league’s automatic bid into the tournament.
Last Year in the NCAAs
The Buckeyes lost to No. 3-seed Maryland, 8-5, in the opening round of the NCAA tournament last season in College Park, Md. Ohio State trailed, 4-1, at the end of the first half and gave up the first two goal of the second to give the Terps a 6-1 lead. The Buckeyes then mounted a comeback, scoring four consecutive goals, to cut Maryland’s lead to one (6-5) with 2:49 remaining. OSU could get no closer, however, as Maryland scored with 1:29 left to regain its two-goal edge and ended the scoring with 16 seconds remaining.
Just a Week Ago
Ohio State and North Carolina met last Saturday in Chapel Hill, with the Tar Heels recording a 12-6 victory. The loss stopped an 11-game winning streak for the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes trailed by one (6-5) at halftime, but were outscored, 6-1, in the second half. OSU was held scoreless from the 7:54 mark of the second quarter until the 3:31 mark of the fourth quarter, a stretch of 34:23. The Buckeyes got on the board first, as Kyle Olson tallied at 12:44, before UNC’s Bryant Will tied the game at one with 7:14 remaining. The score remained tied until Shaun Lyons scored twice, at 2:34 and :05, to put the Buckeyes ahead, 3-1, at the end of the first. The Tar Heels tied the game with two goals in under two minutes early in the second quarter, as Jed Prossner scored at 14:44, followed by a Will goal at 13:18. OSU’s Gary Bining scored a man-up goal, assisted by Anthony Gilardi, at 8:18 to put OSU ahead, 4-3. Andrew Bender followed with a goal, set up by Craig Nolan, 24 seconds later. The Tar Heels then closed out the scoring with three goals, including a man-up tally with 1:12 remaining, to go into halftime with a 6-5 lead. The Tar Heels dominated the second half, scoring five consecutive goals, with two in the third (by Will and Lance Zimmerman) and three in the fourth, by Prossner (at 13:22), Zimmerman (6:49) and Ryan Blair (at 4:17). Bender scored the Buckeyes’ sixth goal with 3:31 remaining in the game, but Blair ended the scoring with a goal with 2:41 left. Buckeye senior goalie Tony Russo had a season-high 18 saves while playing all 60 minutes in net. Paul Spellman made nine saves for UNC.
The Series – OSU vs. UNC
Ohio State trails the all-time series with North Carolina, 10-0, including 7-0 in Chapel Hill. The teams have met in four of the last five seasons, with three of those games played in Chapel Hill. The two games prior to UNC’s 12-6 win last weekend each were decided by one goal, including a triple-overtime UNC victory in 2002.
The OSU-UNC Series Date OSU-UNC Site 5/8/04 6-12 A 3/12/03 8-9 H 2/16/02 12-13 3OT A 3/18/00 8-13 A 4/29/98 5-18 H 3/21/95 3-20 A 3/25/89 1-29 N 3/24/72 7-8 A 3/23/68 7-9 A 3/22/65 5-8 A
Ohio State head coach Joe Breschi will face his alma mater again Saturday. Breschi, who played for the Tar Heels from 1987-90, was a two-time All-ACC selection, as well as a first team All-American in 1990 and an honorable mention All-America selection in 1989. Breschi, UNC’s captain as a senior, was named to the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary Men’s Lacrosse Team in 2002. In addition, Breschi spent two seasons as an assistant coach at North Carolina. The squad captured two ACC titles and a national championship, posting a 28-3 record, during his tenure.
Vs. the ACC
Ohio State recorded its first win over a current Atlantic Coast Conference team when it defeated Duke, 16-9, earlier this season. All-time, the Buckeyes are 1-5 vs. Duke, 0-10 vs. UNC, 0-4 vs. Maryland and 0-4 vs. Virginia.
Scouting the Tar Heels
North Carolina, the No. 8 seed in the NCAA championship, is making its first postseason appearance in the national tournament since 1998 and its 21st overall. The squad has appeared in five championship games, winning titles in 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1991. The squad is 9-4 on the year and went 2-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. UNC is coming off two wins last week, as it beat Limestone, 17-8, and OSU, 12-6. As a team, North Carolina is averaging 11.42 goals scored a game, while allowing 8.51 goals an outing. The squad has converted 47.4 percent of its man-up chances and has won 65.6 percent of its faceoffs. Jed Prossner leads UNC with 37 goals and 50 points. Bryant Will is first in assists with 16, while Mike McCall is second in goals with 25 and in points with 32. Scott Falatach is second in assists (14) and third in points (30). Kevin Frew is first with 117 groundballs and has won 65.6 percent (187-285) of his faceoffs. In goal, Paul Spellman has started 12 games and played in 13, with an 8.15 goals-against average and a .604 save percentage. John Haus, a 1983 graduate of North Carolina, is in his fourth year at the helm of his alma mater. He is 30-21 at UNC and overall.
Sharing the Honor
Buckeye senior goalie Tony Russo and senior defenseman Greg Bice were named co-GWLL Player of the Year after leading the Buckeyes to the outright league title. It was the second player of the year honor for Russo. The duo also was named first team All-GWLL. Russo was a first-team selection last season and a second-team choice in 2002. The first-team honor was Bice’s third consecutive.
Buckeye senior attack Anthony Gilardi and senior midfielder Shaun Lyons were named First Team All-GWLL. Junior midfielder Tom Randisi and junior defenseman Peter Frantz were second-team all-league honorees. Gilardi was a second-team choice in 2002, while Randisi garnered his second consecutive second-team honor.
At the Helm
For the second year in a row, and third time in his career, Buckeye head coach Joe Breschi was named GWLL Coach of the Year. Breschi was named the league’s coach of the year in 2003 and 1999, after leading the squad to a tri-league title in 2003 and a co-championship last season.
The Buckeyes beat Fairfield (10-7) May 1 to improve to 5-0 in the Great Western Lacrosse League and win the outright conference championship. It is the first outright title for the squad under head coach Joe Breschi; the squad was co-champion in 1999 and tri-champion in 2003.
In the Rankings
Ohio State fell to No. 8 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll following its loss to North Carolina. A new Geico/STX Coaches Poll has not been released; OSU held down the No. 6 spot in the May 6 poll. North Carolina improved to No. 6 in the media ranking and was No. 7 in the coaches poll.
With the Best
Ohio State is fifth in the nation in team defense, allowing just 7.13 goals a game. The defense is led by senior goalie Tony Russo, who is third in the nation with a 6.84 goals-against average. The key defenders for the Buckeyes this season include Greg Bice, Peter Frantz, Brian Yontz, Mike McKenna, Matt Cafarelli, Jeff Schneider, Chris Brown and John Dauro. The squad has allowed more than nine goals just twice this season (in the 13-12 overtime win over Hobart and in the 12-6 loss to UNC).
The Buckeyes are sixth in the nation in scoring margin, as they have outscored their opponents by 3.27 goals a game this season. The squad is averaging 10.4 goals a game to rank 14th in the nation, while giving up just 7.13 an outing to rank fifth.
Buckeye head coach Joe Breschi is one win shy of tying the Ohio State record for coaching victories (60) held by Paul Hartman (1961-66). Breschi is 59-37 (.615) at the helm for OSU.
Rising the Charts
Senior Anthony Gilardi, who leads the Buckeyes in assists (24) and points (41) this season, now has 131 career points to rank 13th in program history. Gilardi’s 57 career assists rank seventh (tied) in OSU annals.
Senior Tony Russo made 12 saves against Fairfield May 1 to become Ohio State’s all-time leader in career saves. After posting a season-high 18 saves against North Carolina, Russo now has 638 saves as a Buckeye. He passed the previous mark of 610 set by Jim Hartnett from 1979-81.
Ohio State had its 11-game winning streak stopped in the loss to the Tar Heels. The stretch was the Buckeyes’ longest since they won 13 in a row during the 1978 season. Ohio State had not lost since falling in double overtime to UMBC March 7.
Raising the Bar
Ohio State’s 12 wins on the year are the most since the 1988 squad posted 12 victories and are tied for the fourth-most in a single season in program history. The 1965 Buckeye team holds the record with 15 wins in a season, while the 1966 and 1978 editions had 14 wins each. It is a career best for seventh-year head coach Joe Breschi, whose 1999 team won 10 games. This is the fourth season with at least nine wins under Breschi.
With The Best
The Buckeyes are tied with Navy, Maryland and Villanova for the national lead with 12 wins on the year. OSU is tied for fifth in the country in winning percentage (12-3, 80 percent).
Buckeye goalie Tony Russo is nationally ranked in two categories. He is third in the nation with a career-best goals-against average of 6.84 and ranks sixth in save percentage (.618).
Senior Anthony Gilardi has a career-best and team-high 24 assists this season. Entering the year, he had 33 total assists in the last three seasons, with a then-career best 14 as a sophomore in 2002. Gilardi is 16th in the nation, averaging 1.6 assists a game.
Senior Anthony Gilardi extended his scoring streak to 13 with an assist against North Carolina. Gilardi is the only Buckeye with at least one point in every game this year, with four two-point, two three-point, three four-point, one five point and one six-point performance.
Shaun Lyons is on an nine-game goal-scoring streak and has at least one goal in all but two games this season. Lyons has one four-goal performance, as well as three three-goal outings. He is first on the team with a career-best 23 goals and ranks second in points with 31. He had six goals and eight points total in his first three years as a Buckeye.
A Career Year
Buckeye junior captain Tom Randisi has posted career highs in goals (20) and points (26) this season and has tied his career high in assists (6). Randisi topped his previous career marks of 12 goals and 18 points, both set as a freshman in 2002.
When It’s Close
Ohio State has outscored its opponents in all four quarters this season. The goal margin is 15 in both the first (39-24) and second (41-26) quarters and is 14 in the fourth (40-26). In the third, however, OSU has outscored its opponents by just four goals (34-30).
The Groundball Battle
After the graduation of Anthony Kelly, who led the Buckeyes in groundballs each of the last four seasons, the Buckeyes will have a new winner of the Most Groundballs in a Season Award this year. Seniors Greg Bice and Josh Lesko lead the way with 63 and 52 groundballs, respectively. The marks are career bests for both.
Buckeye junior Tom Randisi leads the squad with six man-up goals this season and recorded the team’s lone man-down goal of the year in the win over Hobart.
Getting the Job Done
Sophomore Gary Bining has four goals this season, with all four coming in man-up situations. His four tallies have come on just seven shots (57.1 percent). Bining also has three assists for a career-best seven points on the year.
With the Advantage
Ohio State has converted 35.3 percent of its man-up opportunities this season to rank 16th in the nation. The squad has scored 18 goals on 51 chances, including a 1-for-2 performance against North Carolina in its last time out. Tom Randisi is first with six man-up goals, Gary Bining has four, Kyle Olson and Craig Nolan have three each and Anthony Gilardi has two.
Have a Year
Senior Ryan Laffey has career highs in points, assists and goals this season. He has nine goals, 10 assists and 19 points on the year, surpassing his previous bests of eight tallies (2002), two assists (2002 and 2003) and 10 points (2002).
Buckeye junior Kyle Olson, who transferred from Syracuse prior to this year, is second on the team with 22 goals and ranks third with 29 points. He has had a four-goal game, as well as three three-goal outings and a six-point (3-3) performance. In 29 games in two years at Syracuse, Olson recorded six goals and one assist.
Anthony Gilardi has a team-best 15-game scoring streak this season, with at least a point in every game. Shaun Lyons extended his scoring streak to nine (14-5-19) with two goals against North Carolina. Kyle Olson moved his streak to seven after a goal against North Carolina. He has 13-5-18 totals during the stretch. Craig Nolan is on a five-game (7-3-10) scoring streak. Gary Bining has a goal in each of the last two games, while Ryan Laffey has an assist in his last two outings.
It’s a Team Game
In the Buckeyes’ 14 games this season, seven players have led the squad or been tied for the team lead in points in a single game. Anthony Gilardi leads the way, as he has led the squad (or tied) in points in six games. Gilardi is followed by Shaun Lyons with four and Tom Randisi and Ben Wolff with three each. Kyle Olson and Andrew Bender each led the squad twice and Ryan Laffey was first on the team in points in a game once.
The Buckeyes scored three fourth-quarter goals to force overtime and then won in the first overtime session against Denver, marking the squad’s third fourth-quarter comeback of the season. The squad scored seven goals in the fourth quarter to come back from an 11-4 deficit late in the third quarter in its overtime win over Hobart and rallied from a 7-4 fourth-quarter deficit to beat Notre Dame, 9-8.
This season, seven Buckeyes have posted double-digits in goals. Shaun Lyons is first with 23, followed by Kyle Olson with 22, Tom Randisi with 20, Ben Wolff with 19, Anthony Gilardi with 17, Craig Nolan with 12 and Andrew Bender with 10. In all, 17 Buckeyes have scored at least one goal this season.
Seven Buckeyes have scored a game-winning goal this season. Anthony Gilardi is first with three, while Kyle Olson, Ryan Laffey and Craig Nolan each have two and Shaun Lyons, Ben Wolff and Andrew Bender each have one.
Have a Game
Anthony Gilardi (at Hobart), Kyle Olson (vs. Butler), Tom Randisi (at Notre Dame) and Shaun Lyons (at Navy) each have scored a team season-high four goals in a game this season. Gilardi had a team season-best five assists vs. Air Force, while Olson marked a season high for the Buckeyes with six points against Duke and Gilardi tied that mark vs. the Falcons.
A Look Back
Last year, the Buckeyes had one of the most outstanding years in program history. The squad shared the Great Western Lacrosse League title and earned the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The appearance in the national tourney was the first in program history. The squad ended the year 9-5 overall and 4-1 in the GWLL.
Buckeye senior defenseman Greg Bice was named to Face-Off Yearbook’s Division I Preseason All-America second team, while senior goalie Tony Russo earned honorable mention preseason All-America accolades. Each earned STX/USILA All-America honorable mention accolades last season.
Five Buckeyes were selected by a vote of their teammates to serve as captains for the squad this season – senior defensemen Greg Bice and Matt Cafarelli, senior attack Anthony Gilardi, senior goalie Tony Russo and junior midfielder Tom Randisi.
Break It Down
This season, the Buckeyes’ roster contains nine seniors, nine juniors, 15 sophomores and 22 freshmen. The roster contains 17 players from Ohio, 10 from New York, eight from Maryland, three from Pennsylvania, two each from Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, British Columbia and New Jersey and one each from New Hampshire, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts and Michigan.