A somber Ohio State lacrosse team made its way out of Ohio Stadium after suffering a stunning 7-6 defeat to Towson in the final seconds of overtime Saturday.
After giving up three straight goals to the Tigers (3-3) in the first period, the No. 14 Buckeyes (5-2) scored five goals in a row and held Towson scoreless for two quarters to take a commanding lead.
The Buckeyes had seemingly secured the win against the Tigers until an illegal body check from Ohio State sophomore defenseman Jeff Henrick in the final minutes of the fourth period aided Towson, giving it a chance to score with a man-up. The Tigers converted, tying the game late.
“We’ve got to play with a little bit more discipline, you know, too many penalties is something that we’ll have to look at. But at the end of the day I thought we did enough down there to put us in a position to be successful,” Ohio State head coach Nick Myers said.
In recent seasons, Ohio State’s matchups against the Tigers have typically been decided by a single goal. Saturday’s game was no different.
In overtime, the two teams went shot-for-shot, both unable to crack the 6-6 tie. In the final seconds of the extra period, Towson junior midfielder Jon Mazza dove to escape the Ohio State defense and rattled off a close-range shot past senior goalie Matthew Smidt with seven seconds left on the clock.
Despite the loss, the Buckeyes dominated much of the stat sheet. The Ohio State offense kept Towson redshirt freshman goalie Shane Brennan busy, attempting a season-high 40 shots and going 11-of-17 in the faceoff x. The Buckeyes also collected 25 groundballs to Towson’s 20, and forced 12 turnovers.
Brennan made a career-high 16 saves, seven of which were made in the game’s final 35 minutes, to keep the Tigers in the game while a tight defense stifled Ohio State’s offense in the extra period.
In the wake of their defeat, the Buckeyes said they weren’t going to dwell on the result, and were choosing instead to turn their attention to next week’s matchup against No. 4 Denver.
“This week in practice, it’ll be turning the page on a disappointing loss and getting focused on another big game and another great opportunity in a chance to compete with Denver,” Myers said.
From the standpoint of an Ohio State player, a loss in the team’s first game of the season in Ohio Stadium meant even more.
“Too much history has gone down on that field to lose like that,” junior attack Jack Jasinski said. “We didn’t hold up our end of the bargain today, but we’re going to get back to work next week and try and rectify it and make it right. We’re just looking forward to Denver now.”
The Buckeyes travel west to Denver Saturday to play the Pioneers at 3 p.m.