Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
It was a hard day shooting for the No. 12 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team, which struggled to find the back of the net in its first loss of the season to No. 5 Denver Saturday.
Despite outshooting the Pioneers 38-30, the Buckeyes lost, 10-9, snapping a four-game win streak to start the year.
The shots from OSU, said coach Nick Myers, rarely challenged the goalie, something he credited to the Pioneers’ defense.
“We felt like we had a plan and credit Denver for playing a great zone and their goalies playing really well,” Myers said. “We struggled to break the seal and couldn’t get the extra goal we needed.”
Offensively, the game started slow, with neither squad being able to find the back of the net for almost the first seven minutes. The action, though, would pick up, as OSU (4-1) and Denver would score twice before the end of the game’s first period.
Goals from OSU freshman attacker Carter Brown, senior attacker Logan Schuss and junior midfielder Michael Italiano in the second quarter gave the Buckeyes a 5-3 lead with about five minutes to play in the first half.
From that point on, though, Denver would command the rest of the game.
Scoring the next five goals, and seven of the game’s final eleven, the Pioneers kept the contest out of the Buckeyes’ reach until the very last minutes.
A goal from sophomore midfielder Jesse King goal with just more than a minute remaining pulled OSU within one score with the hopes of sending the game into overtime.
On the ensuing faceoff, senior midfielder Trey Wilkes won the ball and gave the Buckeyes possession in the last minute.
But OSU could not capitalize as a shot from King sailed high and allowed Denver to run out the remainder of the clock.
Italiano, who tallied two goals Saturday, was disappointed in the loss, but admitted Denver’s defense was the difference in the game.
“We had the game plan to get the ball, get down there and try to get the goal,” Italiano said regarding OSU’s last series to try and tie the contest. “We didn’t get the look we wanted, credit Denver’s defense. They showed up today and got the stop and the win.”
Denver swapped out two goal keepers, one in each half, who combined for 18 saves on the day, stifling a previously hot OSU offense.
Senior midfielder Dominique Alexander said he thinks the Buckeyes’ poor shooting day had more to do with the goalies’ ability than an off-day for OSU’s offense.
“Sometimes you play a hot goalie, or two hot goalies in their case,” Alexander said. “We’ve got good shooters on our team and I have confidence in any one of those guys.”
The Buckeyes are set to travel to Charlottesville, Va., to take on No. 9 Virginia on March 16 at 3 p.m. They will then head to Notre Dame, Ind., to face the No. 3 Fighting Irish on March 20.