The 17th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes men’s lacrosse team continued its early season success with a decisive 14-8 win over the Detroit Mercy Titans Saturday in Columbus.
Ohio State started scoring quickly on a goal by sophomore attackman Lukas Buckley just 39 seconds into the game--his second goal of the young season--despite losing the opening faceoff. Detroit Mercy, however, answered less than two minutes later to tie the game early. Senior midfielder John Kelly added to the Buckeyes’ total with 10:53 left in the first quarter, which was followed up with by another score from Buckley midway through the quarter. Then, two quick, man-up goals by freshman midfielder Tre Leclaire and senior midfielder Johnny Pearson, both of which were assisted by junior attackman Colin Chell, put the Buckeyes up by a score of 5-1 late in the first quarter. However, just as Ohio State built on its comfortable lead, the Titans came back with two goals in 1:06 of game time to close the gap to two points. Though the Buckeyes would add another score on another Leclaire goal, Detroit Mercy scored in the final four seconds of the first to close the quarter down 6-4.
The next quarter did not start much better, as Detroit Mercy held Ohio State scoreless for nearly the first 12 minutes of the second. The Titans scored 1:32 into play, then again midway through the quarter to tie the game at six-all, obliterating the once-cozy lead. But the tied score acted as a wakeup call to the Buckeyes, and timely goals by Pearson, senior midfielder Tyler Pfister and senior attackman Eric Fannell closed the half with the Buckeyes up three.
Ohio State opened up the third quarter continuing on their scoring run. Kelly found the back of the net to open the half and put the Buckeyes up four. Then, two goals less than a minute apart by Chell in a man-up situation and Pfister opened up the Buckeyes’ lead. Ohio State’s defense also came to life, holding the Titans scoreless in the half until the 2:07 mark in the third and giving the Buckeyes a 12-7 advantage heading into the final quarter.
The Buckeyes controlled the ball for much of the fourth quarter, though Detroit Mercy led in overall shots on goal by an 8-7 margin. Ohio State added to their lead midway through the quarter on Buckley’s third goal of the game, assisted by Fannell. Sophomore attackman Jack Jasinski finished the Buckeyes’ scoring with 1:48 remaining in the game and, though Ohio State allowed a quick goal by the Titans to close the game, the Buckeyes finished with a strong, six-point win.
While Ohio State was able to control the ball for much of the game, faceoffs remained a question. Senior specialist Jake Withers, who split faceoffs with freshman specialist Christian Feliziani last week, was just 9-for-22 on faceoffs (Feliziani went 1-for-3 in limited time), including going 1-for-10 in the first quarter. Still, Withers picked up three groundballs on the day, becoming just the second player in program history to record 200 career groundballs. Ohio State had an overall 31-23 advantage in groundballs on the day.
Buckley led the Buckeyes in scoring with three goals on the day, while Pearson, Pfister, Leclaire and Kelly each added two. Shots on goal were 25-14 in favor of Ohio State, with senior goalie Tom Carey recording six saves on the day.
After the Titans closed the gap in the second quarter, Ohio State outscored Detroit Mercy 5-2 in the second half. Head coach Nick Myers commented, “I like the physicality we played with today, and the fact we were able to settle into the game in the third quarter.”
Detroit Mercy now falls to 0-1 on the season, and faces Michigan later this week. Ohio State, meanwhile, moves to 2-0 on the season and faces Massachusetts Saturday in Columbus.