The No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes men’s lacrosse team mounted a glorious comeback against the second-ranked Maryland Terrapins Saturday, earning an 11-10 win in overtime in Columbus and taking over the top-spot in the Big Ten standings.
This season, Maryland has been dominant in conference, boasting a 3-0 record before entering Saturday’s matchup. Previously, Ohio State had held just a 1-6 overall record versus the Terrapins, including a 10-8 loss in College Park last season.
With the win, the Buckeyes improve to 12-2 on the season, including 3-1 in conference play, and are in prime position to earn a No. 1-seed in the Big Ten conference tournament, scheduled for the first week of May.
The Buckeyes got off to a slow start to the afternoon behind some sloppy play in the first half. While Ohio State tied things up early on a goal by senior midfielder J.T. Blubaugh after an early score by Maryland, the Terrapins would score three unanswered goals to close the opening quarter, limiting Ohio State to just two shots in the first quarter.
Though Maryland dominated early on in the second quarter, scoring the first two goals to complete a 5-0 run, the Buckeyes would slow things down on a score by senior attackman Eric Fannell. Maryland would answer, maintaining the Terps’ five-goal lead, but Fannell would respond with his second goal of the game to narrow the margin. Another goal by senior midfielder John Kelly closed the gap to 7-4 in favor of Maryland at the half.
Ohio State truly found their groove after the break, as Fannell scored his third and fourth goals of the game to narrow the Terps’ lead to one. Another third quarter goal by freshman defenseman Jeff Henrick tied things up before fifth-year senior attackman Tyler Pfister found the back of the net, giving the Buckeyes their first lead of the game with 1:06 remaining in the third.
Maryland added a goal to open the final quarter, tying things up 8-8 with 10:16 remaining in the game. The Buckeyes would score the next two on goals by Fannell and senior midfielder Johnny Pearson, but the Terps answered with two goals of their own to close the quarter with a 10-all stalemate.
In typical fashion, senior specialist Jake Withers won the opening faceoff of the four-minute overtime period, After an initial shot by Fannell and groundball recovery by Pearson, Pearson found the back of the net for his second goal of the day to win the game.
Despite a sluggish start, the Ohio State defense truly kicked into gear in the second half, holding the Terps scoreless for more than a quarter as the Buckeye attack went on a 6-0 run.
Fannell led the team with five goals on the day, followed by Pearson’s two-goal performance. In all, six Buckeyes scored against the Terps, though the team totalled just four assists on the day.
After a slow start, senior goalie Tom Carey finished the day with 10 saves on 20 shots on goal. Maryland had six saves on 17 shots on goal. Overall shots were 32-28 in favor of the Terps.
Withers, last week’s Big Ten Specialist of the Week, won 18-of-25 faceoffs, staying consistent with Ohio State’s No. 3 rank in the NCAA in faceoff wins. Withers also led the team in groundballs, picking up 10 of the Buckeyes’ 35.
Next up, the Buckeyes face No. 13 Rutgers in New Jersey before moving on to the conference tournament.