May 1, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team fell to Air Force, 14-7, in the ECAC Tournament semifinals Thursday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. The loss ends the season for the Buckeyes (6-8), while the Falcons advance to the tournament final, where they will take on Fairfield at 5 p.m. Saturday in Columbus.

“We struggled at the start and weren’t able to really get into our game,” Nick Myers, Ohio State head coach, said. “Air Force is a good team with a strong offense and they were able to keep the pressure on and break open the game early in the second half. I’m proud of the men and the way they fought hard and didn’t give up, but we just couldn’t quite get back even. It’s tough to see the season end, especially for these seniors.”

The teams combined for seven goals in the first quarter, with Ohio State ahead, 4-3, after the first 15 minutes. Mike Crampton scored for Air Force just 45 seconds into the game but Ohio State scored the next two goals, with junior Jesse King scoring unassisted at 10:32 and senior Michael Italiano tallying 50 seconds later. The Falcons scored the next two goals to tie the game and take the lead (3-2) at 7:51. With 3:12 left in the quarter Buckeye sophomore Carter Brown came around the cage and scored to tie the game at 3 and junior David Planning found sophomore Ryan Hunter in front for a goal with three seconds left for a 4-3 Buckeye lead. Shots were 9-6 in favor of Air Force in the quarter, with Buckeye senior goalie Scott Spencer making three saves.

The Falcons scored the first three goals of the second quarter to regain the lead and push the advantage to two, with goals at 14:30, 12:18 and 7:35. Buckeye junior Rick Lewis fed Hunter just outside the crease for a goal at 2:45, making it a one-goal game (6-5) at halftime. Air Force had seven shots in the quarter, with the Buckeyes attempting four.

Air Force opened the second half with five goals in a row to take control of the game with an 11-5 lead at 5:04. The Falcons started the quarter man-up and converted with a goal from Christopher Allen at 14:36, followed by a man-up goal by Crampton at 12:43. Erik Smith scored unassisted at 10:48 and the Falcons scored twice in 10 seconds at 5:14 and 5:04. King ended the Falcons’ run with a goal while drawing a pushing penalty at 2:58. The Falcons had an 11-6 advantage heading into the fourth quarter and outshot the Buckeyes in the stanza, 11-8.

Air Force scored the first goal of the fourth quarter before King was able to battle and score on a behind-the-back shot that went off a defender at 11:51. The Falcons scored the game’s final two goals at 10:48 and 4:07 for the 14-7 final. Ohio State outshot Air Force, 12-7, in the quarter, with the Falcons’ goalie making six saves.

The Falcons led in shots, 34-30. Spencer had seven saves in the contest while playing all 60 minutes. Two Air Force goalies combined for 12 saves, with each playing a half.

Air Force had the advantage in faceoffs (15-7) and groundballs (31-22). Italiano led the Buckeyes with five groundballs, while sophomore Robby Haus and King each had three. The Buckeyes had nine caused turnovers, with junior Evan Mulchrone causing four and senior Dominic Imbordino causing two.

Game Notes
• The game ended the career for 10 Buckeye seniors – Darius Bowling, Nick Diegel, Greg Dutton, Dominic Imbordino, Italiano, Steve Knezick, Joe Meurer, Jake Sharick, Spencer and Adam Trombley.
• Tewaaraton nominee King ends the year as the Buckeyes’ leader in goals (29), assists (22) and points (51), his second 50-point season in a row. He extended his point streak to 36 games with a hat trick, with 69 goals, 51 assists and 120 points in the stretch. King has 131 points as a Buckeye to rank `17th all-time.
• Meurer and Italiano each played in 61 games for the Scarlet and Gray, tying for the fourth-most games played since 2000 (and just two back of the leader since that time).
• Mulchrone had the first game with four caused turnovers for the Buckeyes since Meurer April 6, 2013, tying for the most since 2000.
• Lewis had the first assist of his Buckeye career.
• The Falcons had a Buckeye opponent season high 14 goals in the game. Ohio State allowed 8.57 goals a game on the year, holding opponents to seven goals or less in seven games.
• The Buckeyes were 9-for-9 on clears vs. Air Force and 225-of-245 for the year (.918).
• Hunter had two goals in the game and ends the year with 15 goals to rank third on the team, with all 18 of his points coming in the last six games.
• Brown was second on the team with 22 goals and 34 points and had a point in all but one game, ending the season on a nine-game point streak and eight-game goal-scoring streak.
• Freshman Jake Withers had a team-high 64 groundballs during the year, with Haus, who tied Mulchrone for the team lead with 16 caused turnovers, second with 35.