Ohio State’s men’s lacrosse team is headed to the NCAA championship game for the first time in program history as the Buckeyes knocked off Towson 11-10 in the semifinals on Saturday.
Trailing the Tigers 8-3 early in the second quarter, the game looked to be potentially out of reach for the Buckeyes. But behind an 8-1 run in the second half, OSU completed a miraculous comeback in the Buckeyes’ first-ever appearance in the semifinals.
Towson (12-5) struck first as senior midfielder Mike Lynch scored the first goal of the game with 10:36 remaining in the first quarter. But the Buckeyes (16-4) found the back of the net twice in eight seconds as sophomore attackman Jack Jasinski and sophomore midfielder Logan Maccani scored a goal apiece to give OSU its first lead of the game.
Late in the first quarter, Towson evened the game up at two when sophomore midfielder Jon Mazza barely slipped the ball over the goal line.
The Tigers opened the game up early in the second quarter as two Towson players – senior attackmen Joe Seider (two goals) and Ryan Drenner – scored three goals in the first four minutes of the period.
OSU freshman attackman Tre Leclaire ended the run with his first goal of the game, but the Tigers scored twice before the end of the quarter to pull ahead 8-3 at halftime.
Towson opened the second half by extending its lead by one goal, but OSU came right back as senior attackman Eric Fannell threw a behind-the-back pass to fellow senior attackman Austin Shanks who finished the highlight-worthy play off with a goal.
That goal gave the Buckeyes life.
Leclaire scored his second goal of the game on a fast break, then Shanks scored his second goal of the game as OSU utilized a man-up advantage. With 4:11 remaining in the third quarter, Fannell ripped a shot, scoring his first goal of the game to pull the Buckeyes within one goal of tying the Tigers.
But Towson senior midfielder Tyler Young ended the Buckeyes run as he scored his 13th goal of the season. OSU ended the season strong, though, as Fannell scored his second goal of the quarter to pull his team within one.
With 11:42 remaining in the final quarter, Leclaire fired a laser past Towson’s goalie to tie the game for the first time since the first quarter.
The Scarlet and Gray rally didn’t end there.
With 10:20 remaining, senior midfielder JT Blubaugh scored, delivering OSU its first advantage since the Buckeyes’ relinquished their 2-1 lead in the first quarter. Just over four minutes later, OSU extended its lead to 11-9 when senior midfielder Johnny Pearson scored his first goal of the game.
Towson pulled within a goal with 3:17 remaining as Drenner scored for the fourth time in Saturday’s game. But that was it for the Tigers as the Buckeyes held on for an 11-10 victory, sending them to the championship game.
Saturday’s game wasn’t the first matchup between these two teams. OSU knocked off Towson 6-3 on March 15.
OSU advanced to the NCAA semifinals with a 7-4 win over Loyola Maryland in the first round and a 16-11 victory against Duke in the quarterfinals. Towson reached the semifinals after upsetting Penn State, 12-8 in the first round, and Syracuse, 10-7 in the quarterfinals.
The Buckeyes will take on the winner of Saturday afternoon’s No. 1 Maryland – No. 5 Denver matchup at 1 p.m. on Monday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.