Who would have expected this?
After dropping their final two games of the regular season to sixth-ranked Maryland and very much unranked Rutgers, the third-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes men’s lacrosse team beat number two seed Maryland in the first round of the first ever Big Ten men’s lacrosse tournament.
The Buckeyes defeated the Terps 9-6 Thursday at what was essentially a home game for Maryland, hosted at their own stadium in College Park.
Ohio State rallied with a six unanswered goals in the second half, including five in the fourth quarter, to come back from a 5-3 deficit. Five Buckeyes scored in the game, four of them twice. With the win, they improve to 11-5 on the season while Maryland drops to 12-3.
Ohio State and Maryland have two of the best defenses in college lacrosse, and the Buckeyes will need that defensive intensity again if they want to steal the Big Ten crown, and the tournament bid that comes with it.
The 14th-ranked Buckeyes will face 16th-ranked John’s Hopkins Saturday at 8 p.m. at Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland. The game will also be broadcast live on BTN. The Buckeyes defeated the Blue Jays in a close 15-12 matchup in the regular season.
Johns Hopkins, the number one seed, entered the tournament with a 3-1 conference record. Earlier in the day Thursdsay, they defeated Penn State, the four seed, 14-9.
The NCAA tournament is scheduled to begin May 8 at Drexel University in Philadelphia, with the selection show taking place Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. There, the committee will select the final 18-team field. Ten teams will earn automatic bids by winning their conference tournaments (most of which are being played this weekend), while the remaining eight will be at-large bids. The winner of the Big Ten tournament will earn one of these automatic bids.
Maryland still has a chance to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament, but with only eight at-large bids available, it is likely that Ohio State will have to win the conference in order to make it to the postseason.