Ohio State Suffers 7-5 Loss at No. 14/17 Fairfield to Close Regular Season
April 26, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team ended the regular season with a 7-5 loss on the road at No. 14/17 Fairfield Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes, with a 3-1 record in ECAC Lacrosse League play, end conference play as tri-champions with Air Force and Fairfield. It is the first conference title for the Buckeyes in the ECAC and the program’s first share of a crown since 2008 when the team competed in the Great Western Lacrosse League.
Ohio State (6-7, 3-1 ECAC), which had its four-game winning streak ended, returns home to host the ECAC Tournament this week. The semifinals will be at 5 and 8 p.m. Thursday, with the final at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Buckeyes will be joined in the tournament by Air Force (3-1 ECAC), Fairfield (3-1 ECAC) and Michigan (1-3 ECAC), with the top three seeds announced Monday. UM will be the No. 4 seed, with the others based on tiebreakers. The winner receives the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
The Buckeyes trailed Fairfield 2-1 after the first quarter. Buckeye junior leading scorer Jesse King, a Tewaaraton Award nominee, opened the scoring at 12:37 with an unassisted tally. The Stags responded with back-to-back goals in 21 seconds, as Alex Cramer tied the game at 9:56 and TJ Neubauer put Fairfield ahead at 9:25. Shots were 8-5 in favor of the Buckeyes in the quarter, with each team’s goalie making two saves.
In the second quarter, Neubauer scored his second of the game at 12:06 and Colin McLinden gave the Stags a three-goal lead (4-1) at 10:03. Buckeye close defenseman Chris Mahoney cut the deficit to two, picking up the groundball after a turnover, clearing the ball and scoring on the fast break at 6:46. Fairfield outshot Ohio State, 7-3, in the quarter and Fairfield’s goalie made three saves, with senior Scott Spencer stopping one shot for Ohio State.
Ohio State cut the lead to one (4-3) at 13:12 of the third quarter when sophomore Carter Brown found classmate Ryan Hunter for a goal. The Stags responded at 9:46 to go back ahead by two (5-3) but Buckeye freshman John Kelly scored with 3:17 left for a one-goal game heading into the fourth quarter. The teams combined for just six shots in the quarter, with Fairfield outshooting the Buckeyes, 6-3. Spencer had four saves in the stanza for the Buckeyes.
The Stags scored twice in the first 1:53 of the fourth quarter to push their advantage to three (7-4). Eric Warden tallied at 14:07, followed by a goal from Dave Fleming at 13:07. Brown scored for the Buckeyes at 4:45 to make it a two-goal game, but Ohio State could get no closer. Ohio State outshot Fairfield, 13-7, in the quarter and each goalie made two stops.
For the game, Ohio State outshot Fairfield, 28-25. Spencer, starting his sixth game in a row, made nine saves in all 60 minutes. He has a 7.35 goals-against average this season, with a .567 save percentage, along with a 4-2 ledger. Fairfield goalie Jack Murphy made eight saves for the win.
Fairfield had the advantage in groundballs (31-20) and faceoffs (9-7). Buckeye freshman Jake Withers won 7-of-16 draws and had two groundballs. Senior Dominic Imbordino and sophomore Robby Haus each had a team-high four groundballs, with Haus and senior Joe Meurer each causing two turnovers.