Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor
The No. 17 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team fell to No. 16 Fairfield University in a Eastern College Athletic Conference semifinal game in Denver.
The loss comes four days after the Buckeyes won against Fairfield, 8-3, in their last game of the regular season.
OSU coach Nick Myers was visibly upset at the post-game conference as he gave his opening statement.
“Certainly a disappointment for our men,” Myers said. “We struggled to get in rhythm early, found it late in the second half, but ultimately fell short.”
The Buckeyes’ stars failed to align under the lights at Peter Barton Lacrosse stadium in a game that featured OSU’s ECAC Player of the Year in junior attack Logan Schuss and the ECAC Goalie of the Year in senior Charlie Cipriano for the Stags.
Cipriano ended the game with 14 saves, stopping a shot with 3:45 to play that led to the game-winning goal.
“I think it was good returning our starting defensemen from last year,” Cipriano said. “They’ll fight, they’ll grind it out the entire game.”
The Buckeyes jumped out to a quick start with a goal off the hidden-ball trick by freshman midfielder Jesse King that caught Cipriano staring toward the other side of the field. The Stags matched the three goals they posted against OSU five days ago in the first nine minutes of play. The first quarter ended with the Stags completing a 5-goal streak, making the score 5-1 heading into the second quarter.
King and freshman midfielder David Planning helped the Buckeyes find their rhythm in the second quarter. Both players scored a goal, making the score 5-3 before half.
OSU sophomore attack Adam Trombley cut the score to 5-4 early in the third quarter, but two goals by Fairfield gave the Stags a comfortable lead, 7-4. The Stags are undefeated (11-0) when they score at least seven goals this season.
But the Buckeyes answered in the fourth quarter.
After two straight goals by the Buckeyes to make it 7-6, Schuss tied the game with 7:50 left in the fourth. The goal continued his streak, marking 45-consecutive games with a point, but the Stags held off the Buckeyes.
In the end, Fairfield junior attacker Sam Snow tallied the game-winning goal for the Stags with 2:49 left in regulation. The game ended, 8-7.
The Stags showed experience from the coaching staff. Their game-plan consisted of long possessions and found success in man-to-man and zone defenses. The different looks on defense caused the Buckeyes to force bad passes and ultimately turnovers.
“I’m happy that we found the win today,” said Fairfield coach Andy Copeland. “We, as a program, have a knack for playing some ugly lacrosse down the stretch and I hope that we can really tighten that up.”
The Buckeyes must play the “waiting game” to see if they make it to the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The team might be given an at-large bid based on their RPI and strength of schedule.
The NCAA Tournament begins May 26 in Foxborough, Mass.