A late push was not enough at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, as the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team fell to No. 2 Notre Dame by a score of 9-8.
OSU junior midfielder Johnny Pearson scored four goals and assisted on one more in the losing effort, which brought the Buckeyes’ record to 5-5 on the season and extended their losing streak to four games.
The Buckeyes were down 7-4 to begin the fourth quarter and 9-6 with less than four minutes left. Two goals, one from Pearson and another from senior attacker Carter Brown, cut the deficit to one with 2:27 remaining in the final period. The Fighting Irish defense clamped down in the remaining time, however, to secure the win and bump their record up to 6-1 on the year.
“I just wish we had a couple more minutes left in that game,” said OSU coach Nick Myers. “We’re getting closer to the 60 minutes that we need … and just ran out of time unfortunately.”
Pearson nearly matched his season total of five goals in the game, giving him nine scores on the year, and led an OSU attack that notched eight goals against the nation’s top defense in preventing goals, Notre Dame.
“Johnny’s a guy that we need that from. We’ve challenged him to step up,” Myers said. “He’s a good range shooter. We felt like today we were going to need to take a few of those shots in order to try and get some goals, and he did a nice job.”
OSU redshirt junior midfielder and co-captain Tyler Pfister also praised the play of his teammate.
“Johnny’s great. He’s got an amazing skill set, and we just want to utilize that more,” he said.
Notre Dame started the scoring after a pushing penalty on OSU freshman midfielder Logan Maccani resulted in a 30-second extra-man opportunity for the Fighting Irish. Sophomore attacker Mikey Wynne capitalized by throwing a strike into the back of the net to give Notre Dame the early lead.
OSU responded with its own man-up goal a few minutes later when junior attacker Austin Shanks scored his 11th goal of the season to tie the game at one.
A pair of goals for the Buckeyes and one more for Notre Dame ended the first quarter with OSU leading by a score of 3-2.
The Scarlet and Gray were aggressive in their shot-taking in the first quarter, holding a 10-4 lead in that category in the period.
Each team scored a goal in the second quarter to give the Scarlet and Gray a 4-3 lead heading into halftime.
Both defenses played extremely well in the second quarter. Notre Dame’s defense caused multiple OSU turnovers, and OSU redshirt junior goalie Tom Carey made five of his 12 saves in the period.
Notre Dame came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter. The defense began to extend itself out more, causing OSU turnovers and not allowing the Buckeyes to attempt many shots.
The Fighting Irish capitalized on the play of their defense, scoring four goals in the period while shutting out OSU to take a 7-4 lead heading into the fourth. Wynne scored his third goal of the game in the period, and preseason first-team All-American senior attacker Matt Kavanagh also scored for the Irish.
“It looked like we were a bit tentative there until we got back into the game and settled in,” Myers said. “It allowed them the chance to make a little run.”
Now staring at a four-game losing streak, the Scarlet and Gray must prepare for the start of Big Ten play next week against Penn State. However, the team is trying to cast the game in a positive light, Pfister said.
“We’re definitely taking steps in the right direction,” Pfister said. “You try to build off the positives and learn from the negatives.”
Myers said the recent string of losses, all of which came against top 20 opponents, is something his team can learn from.
“I think we’ve proven now in these last four or five games, in terms of who we’ve played, that we’re capable of playing with anyone,” he said. “But we got to get over that hump, and being close isn’t good enough.”
OSU’s next game against Penn State is scheduled to begin at noon on April 3 at the ’Shoe.