Ohio State Dominates Towson on Both Ends
|Ohio State will play in its first NCAA tournament quarterfinal since 2008 after beating Towson 16-6 in the first round on Sunday.|
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Paced by six points from Logan Schuss and five by Jesse King, the third-ranked Ohio State men's lacrosse team downed Towson, 16-6, in the first round of NCAA tournament action Sunday afternoon in front of 2,358 fans at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes (13-3) advance to face Cornell in the quarterfinals at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md.
Ohio State moved its winning streak to seven and is now 13-3 on the year. Towson ends its season with a 10-8 record. The Buckeyes are competing in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008 and will play in the quarterfinals for the first time since that campaign.
Saturday in Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes trailed early (2-1) vs. Towson but they outscored the Tigers 7-2 before halftime to head into the lockerroom with an 8-4 lead after the opening 30 minutes. The Buckeyes scored four goals, while limiting Towson to one tally, in both the third and fourth quarters en route to the win.
Against Towson, Schuss had three goals and three assists, while King had four goals and a helper. Senior Dominique Alexander (1g, 3a), sophomore David Planning (2g, 2a) and freshman Carter Brown (3g, 1a) all had four points in the win. In all, nine Buckeyes had at least one point. Senior Trey Wilkes won 18-of-23 faceoffs, part of a 19-for-24 day from the Buckeyes, and had a team-best seven groundballs, followed by junior Michael Italiano with six. Ten Buckeyes had two groundballs against Towson.
Towson led 2-1 in the first quarter, opening the scoring at 14:13. Schuss tied the game at 1 at 9:16 but a Towson goal from Andrew Hodgson with 5:37 left put the Tigers back ahead. Ohio State then scored the next four goals to take the lead, with three in the final 1:45 of the first quarter. Schuss set up King at 1:45 and then found Brown with 29 seconds left for Ohio State's first lead of the game (3-2). King scored, assisted by Alexander, as time expired in the quarter for a 4-2 Buckeye advantage.
The Buckeyes led 8-4 at halftime. Alexander found King for a goal 51 seconds into the second quarter. Towson's Hodgson stopped the Buckeye run with a goal at 13:31 but the Buckeyes scored three of the final four goals of the quarter, as King (at 11:32) and Alexander (at 5:40) scored unassisted and Brown set up Turner Evans with 35 seconds left in the half.
Ohio State scored the first three goals of the third quarter to extend the advantage to 11-4. Planning found Schuss at 13:24 and King connected with Brown on a man-up goal at 6:49. Planning assisted on Schuss' third goal of the game with 5:05 left in the third stanza. Towson ended Ohio State's second four-goal run of the day with a goal with 2:52 remaining, but Alexander set up King with four seconds remaining for Ohio State's third goal of the game in the final minute of a quarter.
The Buckeyes tallied the first three goals of the fourth quarter, part of a third four-goal run, to take a 10-goal lead (15-5). Schuss assisted on a goal from senior Nick Liddil at 12:32 and Evans set up Brown at 11:20. Alexander and Planning combined for a goal with 8:23 left. Towson found the back of the net with 5:26 left for a 15-6 game. With one minute remaining, Ohio State senior Mark Crawford assisted on a goal from freshman Kacy Kapinos with Ohio State man-up, marking the first point for Crawford in his Buckeye career and the first tally for Kapinos as a Buckeye.
The Buckeyes dominated the game in every statistical category, coming out on top in shots (40-23), groundballs (34-23) and faceoffs (19-5). Ohio State's Greg Dutton made seven saves in 57:21 of action, allowing six goals, with junior Scott Spencer not facing a shot in the final 2:39. Wilkes won 18-of-23 faceoffs, matching his career high for faceoff wins in a game. He has won 169-of289 (.585) on the year.
Schuss moved his Ohio State career goals record to 145 and is second in Buckeye history with 234 points, with at least one point in all 61 collegiate games. He leads the Buckeyes with 43 goals, 26 assists and 69 points, the eight-highest single-season total in program history. In the Buckeyes' three postseason games, Schuss, the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, has 15 points.
King is second for the Buckeyes with 30 goals, 22 assists and 52 points. He has 10 goals and 16 points in the Buckeyes' three postseason games, with five or more points in each game. His four goals vs. Towson matched his career high, set vs. Loyola in the ECAC semifinals May 2.
During its seven-game winning streak, Ohio State is averaging 13.71 goals a game, allowing 8.29 a game. The Buckeyes are now 11-0 this season when scoring 10 or more goals. The squad has outscored opponents, 98-53, in the second half this year.
Nick Myers, Ohio State head coach
On the win
"We're thankful to get the win at home in front of our home crowd. It was a very exciting day for this program to host our first playoff NCAA game."
On the switch to zone defense
"It was something we've been doing all year. We practice man-to-man and zone. We thought zone gave us the best advantage today."
On preparing for Thomas DeNapoli
"We talked about defending him with seven (defenders) all week. We kept him off the board, a good scorer like that is not kept off the board often."
On facing Cornell in the quarterfinals
"Cornell has been at the top of the rankings all year. They have a great coaching staff and they have a lot of top players too. We have our hands full but we'll continue to focus on us. We'll rest tonight and get right back to work tomorrow and focus on the next challenge."
Joe Meurer, Ohio State junior defenseman
On facing the team based in his hometown
"I was a little inspired but at the end of the day, we were focusing on the task at hand. We knew one of the biggest keys coming into the game would be to match their offense; they have a reputation of being a mentally and physically tough team."
Greg Dutton, Ohio State junior goalkeeper
On the Buckeyes' defense
"I thought our zone worked great and we did a great job of rotating. We had scouted them all week so we knew they were going to try to pop up the crease. It was an overall team effort."
On facing Cornell next
"We haven't really focused on them yet. I'm sure we'll look at film and figure out what we have to do, come up with a game plan and focus on that all week."
Jesse King, Ohio State sophomore midfielder
On the offense working together
"In the first quarter we struggled. We weren't really playing our game. Once we started setting up our offenses, we started clicking like we usually do."
On the contributions from many players
"We have Logan [Schuss] out there and he draws a lot of attention. That makes it a lot easier for the rest of us to find open spots or seams. Other guys are now stepping up and becoming bigger threats so that opens him [Schuss] up as well."
Logan Schuss, Ohio State senior attackman
On the offensive strategy
"It's just letting the game come to us. We do test the goalie when we can and test the defense. But we let the game come to us by moving the ball around and finding those good matchups."
On winning at home
"This was our first home game for the NCAA tournament and to be able to play in front of our screaming fans was great. It was also a great welcome to the freshmen who played in the Shoe for the first time today."
On the dynamic of the team
"We're definitely feeding off each other. It's a great feeling when you can go into a game and know that it's not one guy doing at all. You have six to seven guys who are scoring."
Dominique Alexander, Ohio State senior midfielder
On the importance of winning faceoffs
"The faceoff is really crucial. To get the possessions the way we were getting them got us into a nice little rhythm."
On the Buckeyes' momentum in the game
"Anytime you score a goal, you notice a momentum shift in your favor. We just stuck to our game plan and shots starting falling for us."
On winning at home in the Shoe
"It means a lot to play a home game in the Shoe. We are truly honored to play there and we want to thank everyone who made that happen. As seniors, we didn't want to go out with a loss at home. The whole team bought into that mentality and we worked to have a win for our fans."
Shawn Nadelen, Towson head coach
On the game
"Ohio State played a terrific game, a game worthy of what they were seeded and what we expected to see. Congratulations and terrific effort on their part. It was a game we knew we had to prepare a lot for. It's tough when you come out in an NCAA game and don't really execute what you worked hard on."
On Towson's season as a whole
"I'm extremely proud of our team this year, of how they competed from the start through the finish. We didn't start strong this season, but we finished strong. I'm proud of our guys, believing in themselves and putting in the effort to get us here and putting Towson back in the conversations as a top team in the nation."
On facing the Buckeyes' zone defense
"We've seen a lot of zone, especially the last three-four games we've played so we weren't overly concerned with it. We just made a couple of bad decisions and took some bad shots. We didn't really do a great job earning any possession time either."
Andrew Hodgson, Towson junior midfielder
On facing Ohio State's defense
"It was pretty passive zone just moving the ball around quickly. Shots from the outside didn't go as well. It was frustrating moving the ball around and working the defense and then coming up short with a bad shot or missing the cage. We just came up short with poor shot opportunities and also great defensive plays by them [Ohio State]."