COLUMBUS, Ohio – After the Buckeyes downed two Top 10 teams last week, four members of the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team have been recognized as Big Ten Players of the Week. Eric Fannell was named B1G Offensive Player of the Week, Tre Leclaire was tabbed Freshman of the Week, Ben Randall was named B1G Defensive Player of the Week and Jake Withers was honored as B1G Specialist of the Week. The wins – over No. 10 Towson on the road Wednesday and over No. 1 Denver at home Sunday - moved the Buckeyes to 9-0 this season and into the Top 5 in the national rankings.
Fannell, a senior from St. Catherine’s, Ontario, had eight points, with four goals and four assists, in the two games combined. At Towson Wednesday, Fannell notched the gamewinner, breaking a 3-3 tie just 1:55 into the fourth quarter. Against No. 1 Denver, Fannell had a hat trick, career-high four assists and career-best seven points. He has at least one point in all eight games he has played this year. Fannell leads the Buckeyes with 17 assists and 30 points, ranking first in the Big Ten with 2.13 assists per game and fourth with 3.75 points per game. He has already notched career highs for assists and points.
Randall, a native of Mason, Ohio, was the leader on the Buckeye defense that allowed just 10 goals in two games against Top 10 opponents last week. He had five groundballs at Towson as the Buckeyes held the Tigers to three goals and then had three groundballs and two caused turnovers vs. Denver, limiting the Pioneers to two goals through the first three quarters in a 16-7 win. Randall, in his first year as a Buckeye, has started all nine games and has 23 groundballs and seven caused turnovers. The Buckeyes are first in the Big Ten and third nationally in team defense, holding opponents to 6.67 goals a game.
Withers, facing two of the Top 3 faceoff units in the NCAA this season, won 21-of-37 of his faceoffs and had 10 groundballs in the Buckeyes’ two wins last week. At Towson, he was 11-2 with six groundballs, winning all four faceoffs he took in the fourth quarter as the Buckeyes broke a 3-3 tie and went on to win 6-3. Against No. 1 Denver, the native of Peterborough, Ontario, won 10 faceoffs and had four groundballs. On the year, Withers is seventh nationally in faceoff winning percentage (.641) and is 19th with 6.33 groundballs a game. He has won 98-of-153 draws and has a team-best 57 groundballs.
Leclaire, from Surrey, British Columbia, had six goals and eight points last week in the Buckeyes’ two wins combined. At Towson, he sealed the victory with a goal with 2:39 remaining for a 6-3 Buckeye lead and had three groundballs in the game. Against No. 1 Denver, Leclaire had a career-high five goals, two assists and seven points and picked up a groundball. On the year, Leclaire leads the Buckeyes and is fourth in the Big Ten with 18 goals, ranking second on the squad with 24 points. He is sixth in the B1G with 2.0 goals per game and has at least one point in each of his first nine games as a Buckeye, with a goal in all but one contest (and multiple goals in six outings).
The No. 4-ranked Buckeyes return to action when they face No. 2 Notre Dame at 2 p.m. Saturday in South Bend, Ind. The game will be available through ACC Network Extra.
The Future is Bright