The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team lost what is likely its final game of the season Thursday, falling to Johns Hopkins, 6-5, in Ann Arbor in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 8-7 on the season, including 3-3 in conference play, and have all but been eliminated from contention for a spot in the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament.
In a closely contested struggle, neither team was able to find a rhythm on attack as both defenses played lights out for four quarters. The game was also a highly chippy one, which culminated in a massive brawl midway through the fourth quarter and resulted in two players being ejected.
Both teams were held scoreless for most of the first quarter as the defenses came out strong from the start with each forcing turnovers on the attack. Finally, with four minutes remaining in the opening period, sophomore midfielder Tre Leclaire shot an absolute rocket from behind the arc, connecting for the first score of the game and giving the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
Ohio State capitalized on its lead early in on in the second as junior attackman Jack Jasinski scored his 17th goal of the season to put the Buckeyes up two. That’s when the extracurriculars started, with players from each side receiving unsportsmanlike penalties in what would become a very chippy game. Hopkins emerged from the scuffle, profiting off an Ohio State turnover as Kyle Marr put the Blue Jays on the board to narrow the Buckeyes’ lead to one.
Freshman midfielder Jackson Reid, who bore the brunt of Ohio State’s unsportsmanlike penalty, made up for his mistake as he tipped in a goal off a feed from Leclaire. Johns Hopkins answered with 6:15 left in the half on a shot from Joel Tinney, but the Buckeyes bounced back as sophomore defenseman Jeff Henrick scored his first goal of the season, assisted by senior defenseman Erik Evans. As the quarter closed, however, two Ohio State defenders earned penalties, giving the Blue Jays a two-man-up opportunity which they leveraged to close the Buckeyes lead to one heading into the break.
The defenses emerged strong once again in the third, as neither team scored until the 3:14 mark, when Hopkins tied things up at four-all heading into the final 15 minutes.
Ohio State’s attack controlled possession early in the fourth. After a pair of missed shots, the Buckeyes finally found the back of the net on another score from Reid--his 23rd of the season. Ohio State controlled the ball for another possession, but came up empty. During the transition, senior attackman Colin Chell was called for pushing, which somehow turned into an all-out bench-clearing brawl that led to a player on each side getting ejected.
Less than two minutes later, Hopkins scored to tie things up at five-all. Ohio State controlled the next possession, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The Blue Jays were content to hang onto the ball, even earning a shot clock violation with 32 seconds left to give the Buckeyes a shot at the win. Unfortunately, a bad pass gave the ball right back to the Blue Jays and, 13 seconds later, the goal that proved to be the nail in the coffin of Ohio State’s Big Ten Tournament.
Reid’s two goals led the team, with the Buckeyes taking 37 shots to Hopkins’ 17. Freshman specialist Justin Inacio won 11-of-14 faceoffs on the day for Ohio State, and sophomore goalie Josh Kirson had four saves on the day. Ohio State proved dominant on defensive categories, forcing eight turnovers and collecting 28 ground balls to the Blue Jays’ 15.
Johns Hopkins will go on to play Maryland, the top seed in the conference tournament, Saturday in Ann Arbor.