The Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0) emerged victorious over the Cleveland State Vikings (2-5) in Ohio Stadium on Saturday.
The Buckeyes’ leading scorer was freshman midfielder Tre LeClaire with three goals, while junior midfielder Austin Seiple scored twice.
This is the inaugural year of lacrosse at Cleveland State, whose roster is mostly comprised of freshmen.
OSU senior midfielder Jake Withers broke the Buckeye record for ground balls today with 239 ground balls in his career. The record was previously held by Anthony Kelly, who picked up 238 ground balls in the 2000-2003 seasons. Withers said he feels honored to hold the record.
“Anthony Kelly held it and he was a hard-working guy, so it’s a real honor to break the record,” Withers said. “It just shows the good wing guys and the players I’ve played beside these past four years that helped me achieve this goal.”
OSU coach Nick Myers started redshirt senior goalie Tom Carey after not starting him in last week’s games in Milwaukee.
“We got two really good goalies,” Myers said. “It’s been really competitive which isn’t really much different from our roster. Top to bottom, we are getting new competition in those spots. Tom did a really nice job today and we’re excited to get out here with another win.”
LeClaire struck the first goal 13:52 into the game. He said it’s the leadership on the team that has been helping him to grow into the team’s leading goal scorer (13) as a freshman.
“All the seniors (are) making me feel comfortable out there and we’re all clicking as one unit,” LeClaire said.
Right after the goal, Withers scored for the Buckeyes. Then, with 6:59 left in the first quarter, OSU senior attack Austin Shanks scored to extend the Buckeyes lead to 3-0.
Vikings’ midfielder Nick Wendel scored Cleveland State’s first goal with 4:31 left in the first period. But before the end of the quarter, OSU senior attack Johnny Pearson converted on his first goal of the day to build a 4-1 advantage.
The Buckeyes scored two goals in the second quarter, the first coming with 14:16 left in the quarter from LeClaire on with a man up, and redshirt freshman attack Lukas Buckley scored the other with 5:15 remaining in the quarter.
In previous games, OSU’s offense has started slow then exploded in the middle quarters. On Saturday, the scoring was more gradual. Withers said that the team realizes that they can’t get off to slow starts as the competition becomes tougher.
“As a team, the last four or five games have been slow starts,” Withers said. “We’ve been trying to progress through that and that starts on Mondays during our weeks.”
The Buckeyes picked up the intensity more in the third quarter. Cleveland State struggled to score in the second quarter, but were able to find the back of the net twice in the third.
At 12:19 in the third quarter, OSU senior attack JT Blubaugh scored his first goal, giving the Buckeyes a 7-1 lead.
Vikings freshman midfielder Danny Tesler forced a goal in with 11:21 remaining in the quarter, then OSU answered with four straight, starting with junior attack Hank Bethke.
Moments after OSU senior midfielder John Kelly scored, widening the score gap to 9-2, Buckeyes’ junior midfielder Austin Seiple scored his first two goals of the season to extend the lead to nine.
OSU freshman attack Nick Musci scored OSU’s lone goal of the fourth quarter, while Tesler and freshman midfielder Noah Gleeson scored for the Vikings.
The Buckeyes face their stiffest competition yet when they travel to Maryland to face No. 17 Towson on Tuesday. OSU then hosts No. 4 Denver on March 19.