If you follow Big Ten lacrosse and I told you Ohio State, the nation’s highest scoring offense, would score three quick goals in the first seven minutes for a 3-0 advantage, you probably wouldn’t believe they would be held to only four more for the entire match. On a cold, blustery day in front of over 4,100 boisterous fans on Youth Lacrosse Day, the Knights heated up after as slow start and buried their conference rivals 18-7. The win moves Rutgers to 9-1, their best start since 1956 (this isn’t a typo), when the team finished with a 9-1 record. Ohio State drops to 6-3 on the season.
After falling behind in the first seven minutes 3-nil, the Knights settled down defensively. The offense finally came to life with five minutes left in the quarter, scoring two goals in 30 seconds, the first by Zakary Franckowiak and the second on a man-up situation by Eric Civetti with Buckeye goalie Skylar Wahlund getting caught in no-man’s land. Rutgers got a big lift as Jonathan Dugenio returned as face-off specialist after exiting last week’s game in concussion protocol and winning all six in the opening frame.
Rutgers would knot the score at 3 before Ohio State ended a 15-minute scoring drought to take a 4-3 advantage. The Knights would take their first lead of the game 5-4 on a goal by Mitch Bartolo. The Buckeyes would knot the score back up at 5 on a goal by Scott White. Rutgers would then go on to score the final three goals of the half, the 8th by Ryan Gallagher off of a beautiful feed by Ross Scott with one tick left coming out of a timeout. This was the back-breaking goal that left Ohio State goalie Wahlund and the Buckeyes visibly frustrated as they headed to the locker room trailing 8-5 in a game they had lead 3-0.
Rutgers dominated the quarter, outscoring Ohio Sate 4-1. Two goals by Bartolo and one each by Brian Cameron and Shane Knobloch grew the lead to 12-6. Once Rutgers was able to run their high speed Nascar transition game, Ohio State was just not able to match the level of speed and intensity.
The spin and the goal! Knobloch scores his second goal of the game pic.twitter.com/6nocjyyy8l— Rutgers Men's LAX (@RUmlax) March 27, 2022
Colby Smith scored in the first minute to pull the Buckeyes within 5 goals. This seventh goal of the match would be Ohio State’s final, with Rutgers putting on a defensive and offensive clinic, adding goals by Ronan Jacoby, Tommy Coyne, Nick Teresky, Bartolo, and two by Scott.
After a slow start to the game, goalie Colin Kirst got into that special zone fans know so well where Ohio State just could not get anything past him. Kirst would finish with 12 saves, eight of those coming in the 2nd half.
Bartolo would log four goals and Scott would tally seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) for an offense that is absolutely humming right now.
FINAL: @RUmlax 18, @OhioStateMLAX 7— Inside Lacrosse (@Inside_Lacrosse) March 27, 2022
Ross Scott’s seven points (4G, 3A) propel No. 7 Rutgers to 9-1 with an emphatic win to begin Big Ten play.
IL Scoreboard: https://t.co/57X3i1Yggu
After Ohio State’s impressive non-conference victories, including a rout of North Carolina, I was expecting a back and forth tight affair. With the Buckeyes quickly up 3-0, I thought Rutgers was in serious trouble but as we have seen with a coach Brecht squad, give them some life, and they step on the gas. There were points in the second half where Ohio State looked lethargic and out of gas trying to keep up with the Knight’s fast paced offense. In the 4th quarter, Rutgers was able to impose their will and bury a top-ten squad.
“Ohio State is a good team, they’re ranked in the top-10 for a reason. From start to finish, our defense was lights out. Jaryd Jean-Felix did an amazing job, Jonathan Dugenio did a great job facing off. When you’re getting stops on the defense end and winning the face-off battle, that helped us rally from the early slow start. I really like this team, they’re very mature, they had a great week of practice and they’ve been getting better each week. They did a good job gathering themselves and playing well offensively, in transition and in the specialty unit.”
Head Coach Brian Brecht
“We had a really good game plan coming in. We strung together some good practices this week and were really dialed in. It was a great team effort. We played defense well as unit in holding them to seven goals. It’s been a great season so far, and now we’re focused one game at a time, every week matters here in the Big Ten as we look to keep it rolling. ”
Defenseman Jaryd Jean-Felix
Rutgers (9-1) will remain home next weekend to face Johns Hopkins (5-5), receiving votes in the media poll, on Sunday night at 7 p.m., broadcast on the Big Ten Network.