COLUMBUS, OH – Fifth-ranked and second-seeded Ohio State jumped out to a six-goal first-half lead and held off a furious second-half rally by ninth-ranked and third-seeded Johns Hopkins as Buckeyes slipped past the Blue Jays, 15-13, in the Big Ten Men’s Lacrosse Semifinals at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Thursday night. The win sends the Buckeyes into the Big Ten Championship game, where they will face top-seeded Maryland, which knocked off fourth-seeded Penn State, 8-6, in the other semifinal.
Ohio State (13-3) led 10-5 at the half and 12-6 after scoring two of the first three goals of the second half, but a three-goal Blue Jay run in the final three minutes of the third quarter cut the deficit in half entering the final period. A goal by senior John Crawley at the 3:11 mark got the Blue Jays going and back-to-back strikes by junior Shack Stanwick in an 81-second span quickly made it a three-goal game.
The three-goal run became four just over a minute into the final period when sophomore Robert Kuhn scored in transition off a nice feed from senior Joe Carlini to make it 12-10, but the Buckeyes quickly doubled the lead back to four as Tre Leclaire’s sixth goal of the game and an unassisted goal from Austin Shanks in a 58-second span pushed the margin out to 14-10.
A Stanwick extra-man goal with 8:59 on the clock was answered by Ohio State’s Jack Jasinski just over a minute later to make it 15-11 and that remained the score until the clock dripped under the four-minute mark.
With the Blue Jays (8-6) pressing, it was freshman Cole Williams who struck next as he cut through the slot and went far post off a nifty feed from sophomore Alex Concannon to make it 15-12. That score held until the final 90 seconds, when Stanwick scored in tight off an assist from junior Joel Tinney on a play designed out of a timeout.
Hopkins’ final chance to make it a one-goal game for the first time since the second minute of the game came with just under 40 seconds remaining when Ohio State goalie Tom Carey saved another Williams shot from the slot and the Buckeyes were able to hold on for the victory.
The 8-5 scoring margin in the second half wasn’t quite enough to offset a strong first half for Ohio State, which jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead as three different Buckeyes scored in the first 4:29 to stake OSU to the early three-goal lead.
The three-goal deficit was down to two on two occasions at 3-1 and 4-2 as freshman Forry Smith and senior Crawley sandwiched goals around the second of Leclair’s five first-half goals, but the Buckeyes used a 5-1 run that bridged the first and second quarters to push the 4-2 lead to a 9-3 advantage with just under four minutes remaining in the first half.
Leclaire scored three goals during the 5-1 run, including consecutive goals to jump-start the spree and the final tally in transition after a Blue Jay turnover. A Tyler Pfister strike and an extra-man goal by Johnny Pearson also helped fuel the run.
Hopkins got two of the final three goals of the first half to account for a 10-5 halftime score. An extra-man goal by senior Cody Radziewicz with 2:48 left in the second quarter made it 9-4 before JT Blubaugh and Kyle Marr exchanged tallies in the final 80 seconds to close out the first-half scoring; Marr’s goal came at the buzzer.
Leclaire led the Buckeyes with his six goals and Pfister added a pair, while Eric Fannell added one goal and three assists. Ohio State also got another strong effort on faceoffs from senior Jake Withers, who won 20-of-31 and had a game-high 11 ground balls.
Stanwick matched his career-high with four goals and added one assist, while Crawley (2g), Tinney (1g, 2a), Kyle Marr (1g, 3a), Concannon (3a) and Williams (1g, 1a) all registered multi-goal games.
Johns Hopkins will now wait to learn if it earns an at-large berth to the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The bracket for the tournament will be announced on Sunday, May 7 at 9 pm (ESPNU).
Notes: Stanwick’s first goal was the 1,100th collegiate goal by the eight Stanwick siblings who have played Division I lacrosse • Stanwick also extended his point-scoring streak to 47 games with his five-point effort • The Blue Jays were 3-for-4 on extra-man and are now 26-of-43 (.605) on the year • The game was the 300th for Dave Pietramala as college head coach, including his 260th at Johns Hopkins.