PONTIAC, Mich. - Ohio State's defense rose up in the second half and a five-goal spurt on the offensive side of the ball equaled an 8-7 victory for the No. 4 Buckeyes over Detroit Mercy on Sunday at Wisner Field in Pontiac, Mich. in the final game of the Midwest Lacrosse Classic.
THE SHORT STORY
Trailing 6-3 early in the third period, Ohio State scored five straight goals over a nearly 21-minute stretch in the third and fourth quarters. The scores came from five different players as the Buckeyes took their first lead of the game (7-6) on a John Kelly score and got what proved to be the winning goal at the 3:52 mark of the fourth quarter by Gale Thorpe.
Detroit Mercy cut the Ohio State lead to 8-7 with 3:17 to play, but from there Ohio State's defense controlled play. The Buckeyes won the ensuing face-off, and after UDM gained possession following a save, Erik Evans snuffed out the final Detroit Mercy opportunity when he caused a turnover with the ground ball being scooped up by Ryan Terefenko.
Head coach Nick Myers: "I'm proud of the way our men fought today. Playing three games in seven days on the road is tough and certainly made us a stronger lacrosse family. The ground ball effort by Freddy Freibott and Matt Borges today was incredible and may have been the different in the game. We have a lot of work to do to be the team we aspire to be. We are 5-1 and ready to go home and play our first game at Ohio Stadium next weekend. Rest and a great week of preparation is what we need."
HOW THE GOALS WERE SCORED
The Titans jumped out to a quick 3-0 first quarter lead at the 3:19 mark of the opening 15 minutes, but Ohio State slowly crept back into the game beginning with Jackson Reid's ninth goal of the season at the 11:40 mark of the second quarter. Three minutes later, Thorpe scored the first of his two tallies on the day when he took a pass from Hank Bethke to make the score 3-2 in the favor of UDM. The teams then traded goals over the final six minutes of the first half and the Titans led 5-3 at the break.
Just 20 seconds into the third quarter, Detroit Mercy converted on a man-up to take its second three-goal lead of the day (6-3), but from there Ohio State's offense started its game-altering five-goal rally.
It started with Tre Leclaire finding the back of the net of a 14-yard shot to convert a man-up opportunity at 9:20 of the third quarter. A minute later, Jack Jasinski bounced one past UDM goalie Logan Shamblin. Lukas Buckley completed his two-goal day when he cleaned up a ground ball in front of the cage and tied the game at 6-6 with 7:27 left in the third, which is where the score stood headed to the fourth quarter.
Kelly's go-ahead goal came three minutes into the fourth quarter off a feed from Leclaire, and from there Ohio State's defense did the rest of the work. While the Buckeyes controlled possession on their offensive end thanks to winning 14 of 18 face-offs on the day, Ohio State also forced two fourth-quarter UDM turnovers and goalie Matthew Smidt made several key saves to preserve the lead.
THIS AND THAT
• Ohio State played its third straight one-goal game and its last four contests have been decided by a total of five goals (the Buckeyes are 3-1 in those games).
• Buckey, a redshirt sophomore, had multiple goals in both games this weekend.
• The Buckeyes' starting close defensive unit of Matt Borges, Ben Randall and Erik Evans combined to cause six turnovers and pick up three ground balls.
• Christian Feliziani controlled play in the face-off X all afternoon, winning 11 of the 13 draws that he took - including all five in the second half.
• Ohio State outshot Detroit Mercy 35-24, had a 32-22 edge in ground balls and converted on two of its three extra-man opportunities.
• Freddy Freibott, Matt Borges and Ryan Terefenko combined to scoop up 15 ground balls.
The Buckeyes, who have played four of their first six games away from home, makes its Ohio Stadium debut next weekend when it hosts Towson at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 10. The game will be televised live on BTN.