After surrendering turnovers and trailing at the half, the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-2, 3-1) made the proper adjustments to spur a comeback victory over Maryland.
On Saturday afternoon, the Buckeyes defeated the No. 2 Terrapins (9-3, 3-1) 11-10 in overtime.
In overtime, the Buckeyes got started in a hurry with senior midfielder Jake Withers winning the face-off. It created a quick shot opportunity for Fannell who hit the post, but Pearson was available for the rebound and buried the game-winning shot.
“Jake (Withers) had some adversity during the game and he came through when we needed him the most and Johnny (Pearson) did as well,” senior midfielder JT Blubaugh said. “Those are just two guys doing their jobs (for us).”
The victory pushes the Buckeyes into a tie for first place in the Big Ten alongside the Terrapins.
The first half was a struggle for the Buckeyes as they could not find any rhythm offensively, and it showed with 10 turnovers. During the stretch, OSU fell to a 6-1 deficit, conceding five consecutive goals.
With 7:59 remaining in the second quarter, an acrobatic goal by senior attack Eric Fannell changed the direction of the game. The Buckeyes added two more goals in the quarter to make it 7-4 at halftime. While it was a strong finish to the half, the Buckeyes felt like they could have done better.
“We hadn’t played nearly what we felt like was the half we intended to play,” OSU coach Nick Myers said. “So coming into the third quarter, it was really all about us.”
After making adjustments at the intermission, the Buckeyes carried their momentum into a scoring rush. OSU scored four goals in the third quarter while shutting out the Terrapins. OSU only surrendered four turnovers and limited Maryland’s quality looks on goal.
“We settled down and played much cleaner in the box,” Myers said. “I really felt that was key — getting the momentum back on our side.”
Blubaugh echoed Myers’ comments about the team’s turnaround in the monumental comeback victory.
“I think we just settled down into our game plan and started to really execute,” he said. “Lacrosse is really a game of momentum swings. I think once we got a couple of really positive plays, I think it just rolled on from there.”
After trading a pair of goals early in the fourth quarter, Fannell and senior midfielder Johnny Pearson scored within a two minutes of each other to give OSU a 10-8 lead with 6 minutes remaining.
However, Maryland went on to score two more goals in the final six minutes to tie the game and put heavy pressure on OSU. Maryland had several chances to take the lead in the last minute of regulation, but the Buckeye defense stood strong and forced overtime even when it appeared Maryland would complete the late comeback.
“We’re senior heavy on both sides of the ball and we have a lot of veteran players on the field everywhere,” Blubaugh said. “(Redshirt senior goalie) Tom Carey leading the defense for that huge stop at the end of the fourth quarter was maybe the biggest moment of the game.”
OSU will conclude the regular season next Saturday at 14th-ranked Rutgers.