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Ohio State tops Johns Hopkins in Big Ten semi-finals

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The Buckeyes will face Maryland Saturday in the finals.

The seventh-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes men’s lacrosse team earned a 15-13 win over Johns Hopkins in the first round of the Big Ten conference tournament Thursday in Columbus. Ohio State, the two-seed in the tournament, never trailed the three-seed Blue Jays.

Ohio State opened up scoring with a 3-0 run in the opening minutes of the first quarter, with freshman midfielder Tre Leclaire starting things off for the Buckeyes. Senior midfielders Jake Withers and Tyler Pfister followed up to complete the run. Hopkins added a goal of their own midway through the quarter, but Leclaire found the back of the net once more to keep Ohio State’s lead to three. After another goal by the Blue Jays, Leclaire completed his first-quarter hat trick to bring the Buckeyes’ lead to 5-2.

Leclaire kept his hot streak through the second quarter, adding his fourth goal of the game 54 seconds into play. Johns Hopkins hit a shot to keep the margin to three before the Buckeyes broke out on goals by Pfister, senior midfielder Johnny Pearson and yet another by Leclaire. Ohio State traded goals with the Blue Jays to close out the half, with senior midfielder J.T. Blubaugh adding his first goal of the game to bring the Buckeyes; lead to 10-5 at the half.

Things evened out somewhat for the Blue Jays in the second half. While junior attackman Colin Chell scored the opening goal of the half, and senior attackman Eric Fannell added one of his own after a Hopkins score, the Blue Jays went on a 4-0 run through the start of the third quarter to narrow the Buckeyes’ lead to 13-10.

But Ohio State did not relinquish their lead, as Leclaire scored his sixth goal of the day early in the final quarter. Senior attackman Austin Shanks followed up with his first goal of the game. Sophomore attackman Jack Jasinski sealed the game for the Buckeyes, scoring Ohio State’s final goal midway through the fourth quarter.

Leclaire led the team in scoring with six goals on the day. Pfister had two goals of his own, and nine Buckeyes scored in total. Fannell led the team in assists with three on the day.

Senior goalie Tom Carey had five saves on 18 shots on goal. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, had seven saves on 22 shots. Overall shots were 34-30 in favor of Johns Hopkins.

Withers won 20-of-31 faceoff attempts on the day. He also led the team in groundballs, picking up 11 of the Buckeyes’ 37.

Next up, the Buckeyes face one-seeded Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament finals.