staff, May 16, 2015

In the NCAA Championship quarterfinals, the Ohio State men's lacrosse team lost to No. 4-seed Denver, 15-13, Saturday afternoon at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo. The loss ends the No. 12-ranked Buckeyes' season, with the squad 12-7 on the year. The No. 3-ranked Pioneers advance to the NCAA semifinals in Philadelphia. The game marked Ohio State's third NCAA quarterfinal appearance in program history.

Each team had a big quarter in the first half. Ohio State led 6-1 after the first stanza before Denver outscored the Buckeyes 5-1 in the second quarter, putting the Buckeyes up 7-6 at halftime. The Pioneers scored the first four goals of the third quarter to tie the game and take the lead, but Ohio State scored twice in the final 1:30 of the quarter to draw within one (10-9). The Pioneers scored four of the first five goals of the fourth quarter to pull away 14-10. Ohio State outscored Denver 3-1 over the final 8:06 to pull within two with 27 seconds left, but could not get closer.

Senior Jesse King led the Buckeyes with a career-high six assists and nine points against Denver, the ninth game in program history with six or more assists. His first quarter assist was the 200th point of his career. King concludes his collegiate career fourth in program history with 208 points and 119 goals, ranking fifth with 89 assists.

Senior Turner Evans had three assists and four points in the game, while junior Carter Brown and sophomore John Kelly each had two goals and an assist for three points. Freshman Colin Chell scored twice. Sophomore Jake Withers won a career-high 15 faceoffs vs. Denver.

Ohio State led 6-1 after the first 15 minutes, with King playing a part in five of the Buckeyes' opening six goals. King set up Chell at 13:42 and the Pioneers tied the game at 12:06. Ohio State then scored five times in less than eight minutes. Kelly scored on a long shot at 10:32 to put the Buckeyes in the lead. King then scored off an assist from Evans at 6:35 and set up Carter Brown, who scored at 4:37. King scored back-to-back at 3:50 (assisted by Brown) and then tallied off a pass from Kelly at 2:59. Shots were 13-4 in favor of Ohio State in the quarter. The Buckeyes won 6-of-8 faceoffs in the stanza, with Withers earning all six for the Scarlet and Gray.

After the Buckeyes' Brown scored (assisted by King) at 12:25, the Pioneers scored the last five goals of the second quarter to make it a one-goal game at the end of the first half, with the Buckeyes leading 7-6. Shots were 9-7 in favor of the Pioneers in the stanza. Denver ended the Buckeyes' six-goal run with a tally at 9:10, adding a score a minute later. The Pioneers then tallied at 6:51, 6:30 and 3:38.

Denver scored the first four goals of the third quarter, part of a nine-goal run, to extend the lead to 10-7. The first score came at 14:24, followed by additional goals at 10:49, 6:28 and 5:32. The Buckeyes then found the back of the net twice in the final 90 seconds. Evans set up Chell at 1:30 before sophomore JT Blubaugh set up classmate Johnny Pearson with 36 seconds left in the quarter to make it a one-goal game (10-9). Ohio State outshot Denver, 11-8, in the quarter, with the DU goalie making six saves.

Denver's Sean Cannizzaro scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter 26 seconds apart to push the lead to 12-9. King set up Withers for a goal at 12:03 – his first of the season and second of his career. Connor Cannizaro answered at 9:20 before a Buckeye man-up goal from senior David Planning, assisted by King. Denver's Erik Adamson tallied with the man advantage at 3:04. Ohio State scored two goals in the last minute, with a goal awarded to Kelly, assisted by Evans, with 51 seconds left and Evans earning a goal of his own, assisted by King, with 27 seconds remaining. Ohio State had 11 shots in the quarter, with DU attempting nine.

For the game, Ohio State outshot Denver, 42-30. Tom Carey had five saves for the Buckeyes, while Denver goalie Ryan LaPlante made 13 stops.

Ohio State had the advantage in faceoffs (17-15) and Denver was ahead in groundballs (26-25). Withers won 15-of-29 draws, a career high, and had six groundballs to lead the Buckeyes. Ohio State had five caused turnovers, with senior Evan Mulchrone and freshman Erik Evans each forcing two.