What looked to be another show of dominance from the No. 6 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team quickly turned into an edge-of-your-seat affair, but the Buckeyes eventually prevailed. After the Buckeyes were initially on pace for a blowout win, Hofstra forced its way back into the game before Ohio State (3-0) held onto its lead to win 9-7 Saturday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“We were prepared for a 60-minute dogfight all week in practice and that’s exactly what we got,” senior defenseman Erik Evans said. “I’m just proud of this group and the adversity we were able to battle through today.”
Ohio State took an early lead soon after the opening faceoff, with sophomore attackman Tre Leclaire scoring his seventh goal of the season just two minutes in.
Minutes later, sophomore midfielder Ryan Terefenko recorded his first goal of the season, putting the Buckeyes up 2-0, after the team capitalized on a swift counterattack following a blocking the shot from Hofstra senior Dylan Alderman.
The momentum kept building for Ohio State, realized in its five-goal lead as the first period drew to a close.
Hofstra recorded its first score of the game seven minutes into the second period when junior attackman Jimmy Yanes ripped a shot past senior Ohio State goalie Matthew Smidt.
Trailing 6-2 after Ryan Tierney scored for Hofstra and Gale Thorpe answered for Ohio State, the Pride capitalized on an extra-man advantage from an unnecessary roughness penalty on LeClaire to cut its deficit in half by the break.
After J.T. Bugliosi score the first goal of the half for Ohio State, Hofstra held the Buckeyes scoreless for the rest of the third period while scoring two more of its own, making the game much closer going into the fourth. Even though the Pride were closing a significant first-period gap, Evans said there were no thoughts about the possibility of an early-season home loss.
“That thought was never going through our heads honestly,” he said. “We always like to think that if we have a lead going into the fourth quarter, we’re going to lock it down and that’s what we take pride in.”
Hofstra scored a quick goal 23 seconds into the fourth period, making the score 7-6 and narrowing its deficit to one goal. Ohio State’s fifth-year senior midfielder John Kelly and senior attack Colin Chell responded accordingly with a definitive stop to Hofstra’s comeback attempt.
Kelly and Chell recorded much-needed goals late in the fourth period, restoring comfort levels and solidifying the Buckeyes’ lead.
Tierney scored the final goal for Hofstra with 49 seconds remaining, but it was too little, too late for the Pride, and the Buckeyes controlled the ball until the clock ran down.
“At the end of the day you’ve got to tip your hat to them,” Evans said. “You live for those close games, that’s what makes it fun.”
Ohio State finished the game with 24 shots and 12 saves while Hofstra ended with 33 total shots and 9 saves.