No. 17 Ohio State took an early lead by means of a 5-0 run and forced No. 5 Maryland men’s lacrosse to play catch-up Friday night. The Terps trailed by three heading into the fourth quarter, and slowly reduced the deficit just one with five minutes remaining.
Neither offense scored over the next three minutes, and right when Ohio State’s defense relaxed, junior attackman Daniel Kelly struck. Maryland’s leading scorer caught the ball at the top of the attacking zone and immediately rifled in his fourth goal of the game to knot the score at 11.
The Buckeyes let the clock run out in an attempt take the final shot of the game, but defensemen Brett Makar and Ajax Zappitello smothered Ohio State’s attackers and forced a poor shot attempt.
It did not take long for the Terps to end things in overtime, as freshman attackman Braden Erksa roped around the net and whipped the ball into the back of the net at the 3:08 mark.
Maryland is now 2-1 in overtime and 7-3 overall after defeating Ohio State, 12-11, on Friday night.
“Started slow, but, you know, the guys kept battling,” head coach John Tillman said. “A lot to work on, lots to improve upon, but just felt like we played more like Maryland today. Regardless of the outcome, just felt like we played harder, you know, and just a lot grittier.”
Ohio State sophomore Matthew Fritz won the first two faceoffs of the game, and it paid dividends. Freshman midfielder Dillion Magee took what Maryland’s defense gave him and fired off a clean shot in the middle of the attacking zone, and it deflected off freshman goalie Brian Ruppel and into the net for the first score of the game.
Then, Ohio State senior attackman Colby Smith had a wide open shot and canned it, giving the Buckeyes an early 2-0 lead.
Kelly single-handedly dragged Maryland out of this hole, however, rattling in two smooth side-arm shots.
The Terps’ defense repaid the favor over the next 12 minutes, stumping six consecutive Ohio State possessions.
Sophomore attackman Ed Shean tacked on one more goal before the first quarter came to an end, though, to give the Buckeyes a one-goal lead headed into the second quarter.
Ohio State dominated the second frame, outscoring the Terps, 6-3.
The Buckeyes capitalized on a controversial penalty against sophomore midfielder Dante Trader Jr., which resulted in a man-up opportunity, for their first goal of the quarter. Graduate midfielder scored two of the Ohio State’s next three goals, spinning past Trader on the second.
The Terps began to fight back in the final minutes of the quarter. Attackmen Zach Whittier, Owen Murphy and Ryan Siracusa each tallied a goal, but two goals from Shean kept Maryland outside of striking distance.
The Terps recorded three more shot attempts than the Buckeyes in the first half, but eight turnovers deflated most of their offensive efforts.
“The whole mindset at halftime was good,” Tillman said. “Let’s clean some things up, let’s play smarter ... There was a lot of time left, we just needed to play better.”
Zappitello scored his second goal of the season to open up the third quarter and it could not have come at a more crucial time. Zappitello scooped up a blocked shot, sprinted into the attacking zone and flung the ball past senior goalie Skylar Wahlund to cut Ohio State’s lead to three.
Sophomore attackman Eric Spanos and Whittier each recorded goals in the third quarter, but they were evenly matched by Ohio State’s star attackman Jack Myers and Shean.
Down by three entering the final frame, the Terps needed perfection on both ends in the fourth quarter.
Maryland forced an extra period with three unanswered goals in the fourth quarter, and then got the job done in overtime, ultimately defeating the Buckeyes, 12-11.
Three things to know
1. The Terps had no answer for Shean. The sophomore entered the day with 19 goals on the season and left with 24. He scored four goals in the first half and was the primary reason why the Buckeyes controlled the game from the get-go. Maryland star defenseman Brett Makar lined up against Myers for much of the game, which left room for Shean to dominate.
“I thought he was super opportunistic,” Tillman said. “He did a good job at attacking some approaches and when he had opportunities [he] canned them.”
2. Luke Wierman was back to dominating faceoffs. Wierman entered Friday night’s game on a cold streak but returned to his usual self against Ohio State. The Buckeyes won the first two faceoffs, but Wierman secured 19 of the next 24. Ohio State’s offense was rolling for much of the game, but Wierman’s dominance stifled what could have been 15-goal game for the Buckeyes.
3. Maryland refused to give up. With their Big Ten lives on the line, the Terps kept fighting. Maryland trailed by five in the second quarter and four after halftime, but dug deep and flashed its championship pedigree. The Terps overpowered Ohio State in the second half, tallying seven goals and shutting out the Buckeyes in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“I felt like the guys stuck together and that was the thing I’m most proud of,” Tillman said. “It got hard. It wasn’t easy, and the guys just kept grinding.”