May 2, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Five members of the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team have been recognized with Big Ten honors, with two player of the year awards and five players on the all-conference first and second teams combined. Senior Jake Withers earned Big Ten Specialist of the Year accolades for the second year in a row and Tre Leclaire was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Senior goalie Tom Carey and senior attackman Eric Fannell joined Withers, a faceoff specialist, on the All-Big Ten First Team, while Leclaire, an attackman, and junior defenseman Ben Randall are both Second Team All-Big Ten.
Withers, from Peterborough, Ontario, ranks third in the NCAA and first in the Big Ten in faceoff winning percentage (.683) and is 11th nationally with 7.0 groundballs per game, tying for the Big Ten lead. He has won 194-of-284 faceoffs on the year, including 13 games with double digit victories, with a league-high 105 groundballs. In Big Ten play, Withers won 82-of-110 of his draws (.745) and had a B1G-best 42 groundballs and 8.4 groundballs per game. As a Buckeye, Withers, a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, has won 59.8 percent of his faceoffs (533-of-891) and has 297 groundballs while playing in 58 games.
A native of Surrey, British Columbia, Leclaire leads the Buckeyes with 32 goals and is second with 45 points. He is fifth in the Big Ten in goals and sixth in goals per game (2.13) while playing in all 15 games. Leclaire, the first Buckeye to earn league rookie of the year honors since Carter Brown, has at least one goal in all but two games this season and a point in all but one of his first 15 games as a Buckeye. He has notched three or more goals in a game five times and has five games with four or more points. In Big Ten games Leclaire had 10 goals and seven assists, ranking sixth (tied) in the Big Ten in points per game with 3.4 a contest.
Carey, from New Canaan, Conn., leads the Big Ten and is fifth in the NCAA in goals-against average (7.00), ranking 10th in the nation with a Big Ten-best .556 save percentage. He was second in the league in goals-against average in conference games (9.42) and had a .530 save percentage. In his three-year career with the Scarlet and Gray, Carey, who was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and USILA All-America choice in 2015, has a 28-18 record, with an 8.72 goals-against average and .523 save percentage.
Fannell, a native of St. Catherine’s, Ontario, has a Buckeye-best 23 assists and 48 points, ranking second with 25 goals. He has a goal in 12 of 14 games played this season, with a point in 13 of 14 outings, including 10 multiple point performances. A two-time USILA Offensive Player of the Week, Fannell is sixth in the Big Ten in points and points per game (3.43), ranking fifth in assists. In Big Ten games only Fannell had 11 goals, six assists and 17 points to rank sixth (tied) among conference players.
Randall, from Mason, Ohio, has started all 15 games at close defense for the Buckeyes in his first year with the squad. He has picked up 34 groundballs and has eight caused turnovers, with two or more groundballs in all but three games. He is the leader of the Buckeye defense that ranks sixth nationally, holding opponents to 7.93 goals a game. Randall has also chipped in three assists, including two in the Buckeyes’ win over Maryland.
In addition, Tyler Pfister, from Upper Arlington, Ohio, was the recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. A team captain for the second straight year, he has played in all 15 games this year, starting 13, and has six goals and four assists for 10 points. A fifth year senior, Pfister has played in 50 career games for the Scarlet and Gray, with 17 goals, 10 assists and 27 points. A five-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Spring 2016 and is currently enrolled in graduate school for sport administration.
No. 5/7 Ohio State (12-3, 3-2 B1G) hosts the Big Ten Tournament in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus this week. The Buckeyes, the No. 2 seed, will take on No. 9/10 ranked and No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, preceded by a 5 p.m. game between No. 1 ranked and seed Maryland and No. 8 Penn State, the No. 4 seed. The championship game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. BTN will televise all three games of the tournament.