Columbus, Ohio – No. 3 Ohio State held No. 17 Towson to two goals in the second half en route to a 16-6 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday afternoon at Ohio State.
Towson (10-8) scored two of the first three goals before Ohio State (12-4) asserted itself, scoring four straight goals and holding an 8-4 lead at halftime. The Buckeyes’ defense improved in the second half, holding Towson scoreless for 14:46 over the second and third quarters and for 12:27 over the third and fourth quarters.
Junior Andrew Hodgson led the Tigers with a hat trick, while senior Matt Hughes posted two goals for the second straight game. Logan Schuss had a game-high six points on three goals and three assists for Ohio State. Senior Andrew Wascavage made eight saves for the Tigers, while Greg Dutton stopped seven shots for the Buckeyes.
“I want to commend Ohio State on an excellent game today,” said Head Coach Shawn Nadelen. “That said, we can’t make as many mistakes as we did today, we can’t allow them so many opportunities as far as possession times. They are a very balanced team and a very dangerous offense.
“I’m extremely proud of our team this year, and how they competed from the start to the finish. We didn’t start strong, but we finished strong. We were one of 16 teams to play in the NCAA tournament. A lot of people didn’t give us a chance, but our guys believed in themselves and put in the effort to get us to this point, back into the conversation as being a top team in the country.”
The Tigers won the opening face-off and worked the ball quickly down into the Buckeyes’ defensive zone. Sophomore Greg Cuccinello moved down the left side of the field and passed to Hughes who was waiting right in front of the cage. Hughes continued his stellar end-of-season play, posting the game’s first goal at 14:13.
Just under five minutes later, Schuss equalized for OSU unassisted at 9:16. The Tigers got strong play from their defense in the first quarter, particularly sophomore JoJo Ostrander and junior Jordan Fortmann. A caused turnover by Ostrander late in the third quarter led to a goal from Hodgson, off a feed from sophomore Justin Mabus, that gave Towson a 2-1 lead at 5:37 in the first quarter.
OSU’s King knotted the score at 2-2 with under two minutes remaining in the first quarter, and Carter Brown gave the Buckeyes the lead with 29 seconds left in the quarter, 3-2. Ohio State picked up a controversial David Planning goal as time expired on the first frame to hold a 4-2 advantage.
A series of quick passes led to King’s second goal for the Buckeyes at 14:09 in the second, but Towson’s Hodgson answered with his second of the game at 13:31 to inch the Tigers closer, 5-3. King’s third goal and a fast break tally from Dominique Alexander at 5:40 pushed the Buckeyes’ margin to four, 7-3. Hodgson then notched his second hat trick of the season with 2:06 left in the half. But confusion over the timer and possession led to another Ohio State goal, and the Buckeyes held an 8-4 advantage at the half.
Ohio State went on a tear in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 8-2 over the two frames. Cuccinello scored a goal at 2:52 in the third quarter and Hughes added his second at 5:26 in the fourth for Towson.
Towson finishes the season at 10-8, 4-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
NOTES: Towson scored first for the eighth time this season (6-1) … Senior Matt Hughes scored two goals for the first straight game … Junior Andrew Hodgson posted his fourth straight multi-goal game and second hat trick of the season … the game marked Towson’s 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2007.
College Men’s Lacrosse: No. 17 Towson 6, No. 3 Ohio State 16
Towson (10-8) 2-2-1-1/6
Ohio State (13-3) 4-4-4-4/16
GOALS: TOW – Hodgson 3, Hughes 2, Cuccinello; OSU – King 4, Schuss 3, Brown 3, Planning 2, Alexander, Evans, Kapinos, Liddil. ASSISTS: TOW – Cuccinello, DeNapoli, Mabus; OSU – Alexander 3, Schuss 3, Planning 2, Brown, Crawford, Evans, King. SAVES: TOW – Wascavage (8, 60:00, 16 GA); OSU – Dutton (7, 60:00, 6 GA).SHOTS: TOW – 23; OSU – 40. GROUND BALLS: TOW – 23; OSU – 34. FACE-OFFS: TOW – 5-24; OSU – 19-24. CLEARS: TOW – 14-16; OSU – 14-15. EMO: TOW – 0-0; OSU 2-4. ATT: 2358.