The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team’s regular-season opener might turn out to be its most exciting game of the whole season.
In what many thought would be a relatively easy win for the Buckeyes on Saturday, OSU had to go down to the final few seconds to win the game against Furman.
With four seconds left on the clock in the final quarter, OSU junior midfielder John Kelly took a pass from junior attacker Austin Shanks and threw a bouncing ball into the net while falling down to give the Buckeyes (1-0) an 8-7 road victory over the Paladins.
Furman (0-1) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after junior midfielder Hil Blaze won the opening faceoff and ran the length of the field to put in an early goal for the Paladins only 11 seconds into the game.
After another Furman goal put OSU in an early 2-0 hole, junior attacker J.T. Blubaugh scored the first goal of the season for the Buckeyes to cut the score to 2-1.
The Scarlet and Gray dominated the remainder of the second half. Shanks scored early in the second quarter to extend his goal and point streaks to 25 games dating back to last year, and junior midfielder Johnny Pearson scored two unassisted goals in the second quarter to give the Buckeyes a 4-2 lead heading into halftime.
OSU’s defense was able to clamp down in the first half after allowing the two early goals, as Furman finished with only eight shots attempted in the first half, compared to OSU’s 24.
Junior midfielder Jake Withers dominated faceoffs for the majority of the game for OSU. After winning the opening faceoff, the Paladins were unable to win another one until early in the fourth quarter. This gave the Buckeyes a crucial advantage in time of possession for the entire game.
Though Furman did not have as many opportunities as OSU, the Paladins were able to capitalize on the greater percentage of their shots. Furman scored seven goals on just 19 shots, as compared to the Buckeyes’ eight goals on 38 attempted shots.
With a 7-5 lead and less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Scarlet and Gray seemingly had the game put away. However, two quick goals by Furman, including one by sophomore attacker Jonah Moore, tied the game at 7-7 with only 33 seconds left on the clock.
OSU coach Nick Myers called a timeout with 15 seconds to go after Withers won the faceoff and sophomore attacker Colin Chell scooped up the ground ball. The final play saw Shanks pass the ball to a cutting Kelly, who won the game for the Buckeyes.
The Scarlet and Gray’s gameplan to get everyone involved on offense turned out to be successful on Saturday. Seven different Buckeyes scored a goal, with only Pearson scoring multiple times. This will certainly be a point of emphasis for OSU as it continues in the season.
OSU is next scheduled to square off against Detroit in the its home opener next Saturday at noon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.