Courtesy of OSU athletic department
hat perhaps was expected to be an easy win for the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team Saturday might have proved more challenging than originally thought.
The Buckeyes (9-3, 4-2) had to overcome a halftime deficit to earn a 10-9 victory at Air Force Saturday, which stumbled into the contest with a 1-4 Eastern College Athletic Conference record.
Now on a three-game winning streak, OSU has secured a playoff spot by guaranteeing at least a top-four finish in the ECAC. The Buckeyes are tied for third in the ECAC standings heading into their regular season finale Saturday.
No matter what happens during the final weekend of the season, OSU will be joined by Loyola (Md.), Denver and Fairfield in the conference tournament, since Fairfield clinched its playoff spot Saturday with a 10-9 overtime victory at Denver.
OSU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead Saturday against Air Force (6-7, 1-5), but let the Falcons climb their way back into the game, finishing the first quarter tied at four. The Falcons, though, took a one-point lead into halftime, 7-6, before conceding three straight goals in the third quarter and falling behind for good.
Co-captain and senior attacker Logan Schuss continued his run of good form, scoring four goals for the Buckeyes, including the series of three in the third quarter, and added one assist. It was his third consecutive game where he scored at least five points, bringing his career total moves to 216, 11 back of second place on the Buckeyes’ all-time points list.
Co-captain and senior midfielder Dominique Alexander added a career-high five points, including two goals, and senior midfielder Trey Wilkes won 15 of 21 faceoffs.
Having missed the last two games due to injury, junior goalkeeper Greg Dutton made his return for OSU in outstanding fashion on Saturday with a career-high 15 saves against the Falcons.
The losses to Denver and Loyola earlier in the year mean that the Buckeyes will finish third in the ECAC with a win over Fairfield Saturday but will drop to fourth with a loss.
The Buckeyes are set to close the regular season and celebrate their Senior Day at home against Fairfield on Saturday at 1 p.m.