CLEVELAND - Four goals effort from senior captain John Kelly and a momentum-swinging 6-2 third quarter run were enough to lift the No. 8 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (1-0) to a 13-6 season-opening victory over Cleveland State (0-1) on Saturday evening.
THE SHORT STORY
Holding a slim 5-4 lead at halftime, Ohio State put the game away in the third quarter by scoring six times – including three straight in a three minute span late in the stanza. Defensively, the Buckeyes limited Cleveland State to just five second-half shots and won 16 of 22 faceoffs. Kelly’s four goals were a career high while sophomore Tre Leclaire picked up where he left off in 2017, scoring three times while also adding an assist. Senior Hank Bethke also enjoyed a career night, scoring a pair of second-half goals. Single tallies came from Jack Jasinski, Jackson Reid, Colby Smith and Colin Chell.
THE TURNING POINT
Ohio State jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first half but saw Cleveland State grab the momentum back with two goals in the final three minutes of the second quarter. The second of those goal came in transition with just eight seconds remaining in the half, making the score 5-4 at halftime.
On the first possession of the third quarter, however, Jasinski started the second-half rally with a unassisted goal at the 13:42 mark and that was followed three minutes later by Leclaire, who blasted a shot in from approximately 14 yards out. Ohio State would score four more times in the quarter – including a transition goal in which Ryan Terefenko picked up a ground ball on the defensive end, raced down the field and fed Leclaire for his third goal of the game.
NEWS AND NOTES
• Ohio State won its season opener for the eighth time in the last 10 years.
• The game was played in front of a sell-out crowd at the Krenzler Dome on Cleveland State’s campus.
• With a goal and assist, Chell is Ohio State’s active career points leader with 81 (58G, 23A).
• Leclaire had multiple goals in 15 of his 22 career games.
• The Buckeyes’ offense produced 10 or more goals for the 15th time over the past two seasons. The 40 shots were the most since Ohio State had 42 in back to back contests against Jacksonville and Marquette last season.
IN THE FACEOFF X
Freshman Justin Inacio and sophomore Christian Feliziani shared time in the faceoff X and combined to win 16 of 21. Inacio won six of nine while Feliziani was 10 for 12. Those performances helped the Ohio State defense limit Cleveland State to just 19 shots while it forced 15 turnovers and picked up twice as many ground balls. Freddy Freibott, Terefenko and Jackson Reid each scooped up a team-high four ground balls. Senior goalie Matthew Smidt made seven saves on the night to earn his fourth career win.
JUST THE STATS
Shots: Ohio State 40, Cleveland State 19
Ground Balls: Ohio State 36, Cleveland State 18
Faceoffs: Ohio State 16-22, Cleveland State 6-22
Clears: Ohio State 16-17, Cleveland State 18-22
Extra Man: Ohio State 1-3, Cleveland State 0-1
Saves: Cleveland State 9, Ohio State 8
Turnovers: Ohio State 15, Cleveland State 15
Ohio State hosts No. 20 Boston University (1-0) in its home-opener inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center next Saturday, Feb. 10, beginning at noon. The game can be seen live on BuckeyeVision and live stats will be available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.