The No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes men’s lacrosse team held off a furious comeback from Hofstra Saturday to win 9-7 in Columbus. With the win, the Buckeyes move to 3-0 on the young season.
Despite strong play from faceoff specialist Christian Feliziani in his first two games, Hofstra dominated the circle early, collecting the first two faceoffs on the day. However, the faceoffs were about the only touches that Hofstra had in the first quarter. After a turnover, Ohio State got the ball on attack and settled its offense, leading to a score from sophomore midfielder Tre Leclaire for his seventh goal of the season. Hofstra took the ensuing faceoff down for two quick shots against Ohio State goalie Matthew Smidt, but the Buckeyes were able to clear and, after a saved shot and turnover by Hofstra, score on a shot in transition from sophomore midfielder Ryan Terefenko midway through the first quarter.
Feliziani won the ensuing faceoff and the Ohio State attack held the ball on offense, nearly earning a shot clock violation. Leclaire then scored his second of the game on a man-up opportunity after a slashing penalty on Hofstra, assisted by junior attackman Gale Thorpe. Senior attackman Colin Chell added to the Buckeyes’ lead, scoring again just 12 seconds later on an assist from Leclaire. After another turnover from Hofstra, Thorpe scored the final goal of the quarter, putting Ohio State up 5-0 heading into the second.
Hofstra started to claw back in the second quarter. After exchanging several possessions, Hofstra scored its first goal of the game on a shot from Jimmy Yanes. They won the ensuing faceoff and connected on another goal from Ryan Tierney to pull within three. The Buckeyes finally recouped near the end of the quarter with another Thorpe score, but a man-up goal by Hofstra with 43 seconds remaining in the half narrowed Ohio State’s lead to 6-3 at the break.
Freshman attackman J.T. Bugliosi opened scoring for the Buckeyes in the second half, connecting on a shot with 9:21 remaining in the third. After nearly six more minutes without a goal, things started to get tight as Hofstra scored two to close the third and cut Ohio State’s lead to two heading into the final quarter of play.
Hofstra wasn’t done yet, as they found the back of the net just 23 seconds into the quarter to pull within one. After trading possessions and shots on both sides, a goal from senior midfielder John Kelly finally gave the Buckeyes some breathing room with 5:38 remaining in the game. Chell added to the lead two minutes later to put the Buckeyes up 9-6 heading into the final three minutes. Hofstra managed one more goal with 49 seconds left, but the comeback ultimately fell short.
Leclaire, Chell and Thorpe led Ohio State with two goals apiece, with six Buckeyes scoring in all. Overall shots were 19-18 in favor of Hofstra, but Ohio State’s Smidt had 12 saves to Hofstra’s Jack Concannon’s 9. Feliziani finished the day going 8-for-16 on faceoffs. Senior defenseman Erik Evans led the Buckeyes in groundballs, collecting four of Ohio State’s 28.
Next up, Ohio State is scheduled to face Jacksonville on the road Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. ET.