COLLEGE PARK, Md. - In the semifinals of the 2015 Big Ten Men's Lacrosse Tournament, No. 14-ranked Ohio State scored six of the game's final seven goals to come back from a 5-3 deficit and defeat No. 6-ranked Maryland (12-3), 9-6, Thursday night at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. Ohio State, the tournament's No. 3 seed, improves to 11-5 overall and will take on No. 1 seed Johns Hopkins (8-6) at 8 p.m. Saturday in the inaugural B1G Tournament championship game. BTN will televise the championship from College Park, Md., with the winner earning the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
"It's exciting to get the win and earn a chance to compete for the first Big Ten Tournament championship," Nick Myers, Ohio State head coach, said. "I thought we played a full 60 minutes of Buckeye lacrosse tonight. It was a total team effort and the men stuck to the game plan. We will rest up and be ready for a tough test vs. Johns Hopkins Saturday."
The teams combined for just five goals in the first half, with the Terps carrying a 3-2 lead into halftime. Buckeye senior Jesse King opened the scoring at 12:35 with a man-up goal before a three-goal Maryland run. The Terps' Matt Rambo scored an EMO goal at 10:43 to tie the game and Maryland then went ahead at 9:19 on a goal from Joe Locascio. Shots were 8-6 in favor of Ohio State in the first quarter and Buckeye goalie Tom Carey made the only save.
In the second quarter, LoCascio scored at 4:02 for a 3-1 Maryland advantage. With time winding down, Buckeye senior Turner Evans drove to the front of the net and scored on a low shot to cut the Terps' lead to one (3-2) with 38 seconds left in the half. Ohio State had nine shots in the quarter, holding Maryland to three, as Carey made two saves.
Each team scored twice in the third quarter, with Maryland outshooting the Buckeyes 6-3, and Carey stopping three shots. After the Buckeyes were able to hold Maryland scoreless on a two-minute man-up chance, Buckeye junior Carter Brown tied the game at three at 7:53, but Maryland answered with back-to-back goals at 5:10 and 4:20 to push ahead 5-3. With just one second left in the quarter, Buckeye senior David Planning took a pass from sophomore John Kelly and his shot got through, again making it a one-goal game (5-4).
Ohio State scored twice in the first 3:13 of the quarter to tie the game and take the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter. Evans tallied at 12:27 before King set up Planning for a goal at 11:47, putting Ohio State ahead 6-5. The Buckeyes maintained their one-goal edge until King found freshman Colin Chell for two goals in a little more than a minute, as Chell scored from just outside the crease at 4:54 and 3:33 for an 8-5 Buckeye advantage. With the Terps' cage empty, Brown put the Buckeyes up by four (9-5). Maryland's Bryan Cole scored the game's final goal with 25 seconds left in regulation for the 9-6 final. Each team had seven shots in the fourth quarter, with Carey making two saves, including a point-blank stop soon after the Buckeyes had taken the lead.
Ohio State outshot Maryland, 27-22, in the game. Carey had eight saves in 59:56. Senior Kevin Duffy closed out the game and did not face a shot. Maryland's Kyle Bernlohr had three saves in all 60 minutes. Carey has started all 16 games for the Buckeyes this season and has an 8.34 goals-against average and .537 save percentage.
The Buckeyes won 11-of-17 faceoffs vs. Maryland, with graduate student Christopher May taking all 17 for Ohio State. Ohio State won the groundball battle, 25-16, led by May with five and Chell with three. On the year, May has won 179-of-287 faceoffs (.624) and picked up a team-best 121 groundballs.
King, who ended the game with a team-best three assists and four points, is the Buckeyes' leading scorer with 62 points this season, including a team-best 36 goals and 26 assists, all career highs. The Tewaaraton Award nominee has four or more points in 12 games on the year.
Brown, Chell, Evans and Planning all had two goals for the Buckeyes in the win. Brown is second on the squad with 30 goals and 46 points (with 12 multiple point games), and Chell and Planning are tied for third with 17 goals each. Planning has two goals in four of his last five games and Chell had his seventh multiple-goal game of the season. Evans has eight goals and marked his third multiple point game this season.
Ohio State last played in a conference tournament championship game in 2013 when it claimed the ECAC title, notching the first postseason tournament win in program history.