HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. –Ohio State senior attackman Eric Fannell scored five goals and added two assists to lead the No. 3 Buckeyes to a 16-11 win over sixth-ranked Duke in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinals at Hofstra University Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Devils concluded the 2017 season with a 13-5 record and a 15th NCAA quarterfinal appearance. Ohio State (15-4) advances to its first NCAA men’s lacrosse semifinal in program history.
“We certainly want to tip our caps to Ohio State for an outstanding effort this afternoon,” said head coach John Danowski. “Their physicality was something we were aware of, but they won individual battles against us today.”
The first quarter was low scoring with Ohio State using a tally in the final eight seconds to take a 2-1 lead after 15 minutes of action. Justin Guterding had the lone score for the Blue Devils in the opening period.
“When they went ahead 2-1 at the end of the first quarter, that’s something that we kind of live by,” Danowski said. “With seven or eight seconds left a guy is going to go with no consequence. We didn’t slide, we left Tommy [Zenker] alone. To me that was the beginning of maybe the light bulb went off for them in to say we can run past these guys.”
Guterding finished his afternoon with two goals and two assists. The four points pushed his season total to 97 (51 goals & 46 assists), tied for second most in a Duke season with Matt Danowski’s performance in 2008.
He will return in 2018 ranked sixth in Duke history with 238 career points.
The scoring pace picked up in the second quarter as the two teams combined for 10 goals in the 15 minutes. The Buckeyes tacked on two more in the first 2:23 of the period before Duke responded with a pair of its own in a span of 1:22 to pull within one at 4-3 with 10:25 left in the quarter.
“The team has played hard all year, but today skill wise was disappointing,” Danowski said. “The guys kind of relaxed after the third quarter and continued to play hard, but I thought overall they played tight.”
Ohio State, needing to stop the Blue Devils’ momentum, capitalized on consecutive penalties by Duke to jumpstart a 5-1 run to end the half. Five different Buckeyes scored in the spurt to send the No. 3 seed into the
locker room with a 9-4 advantage.
Jack Bruckner got into the scoring column in the opening minutes of the third quarter, diving his way to a goal on man-up offense. With Duke pulling within four, 9-5, Ohio State responded with four straight to open up its largest advantage of the afternoon 13-5 after three quarters.
The senior attackman finished his day with three goals and an assist after being held without a point in the first half. He completes his stellar career with 146 goals and 196 points to rank tied for eighth in goals and 15th in points in Duke history.
Duke started to chip away at the Buckeyes’ lead in the fourth quarter, scoring twice in the first 54 seconds. Sean Cerrone put one on the board just 21 seconds into the period and rookie Joey Manown added one to make it 13-7.
The Blue Devils tried to ride that wave of momentum, but the eight-goal deficit at the end of the third proved to be too much to overcome.
Jack Jasinski provided two goals and two assists in the Buckeyes’ winning effort as Duke held leading scorer Tre Leclaire to just one goal.
Duke outshot the Buckeyes 45-31 and won the ground ball battle 34-29. Kyle Rowe went 12-of-28 faceoffs and picked up five ground balls, while Jake Withers won 17-of-28 draws with 11 ground balls.
In goal, Danny Fowler made seven saves for Duke. Tom Carey had 11 saves, including five in the fourth quarter, for Ohio State.
Story Credit: Duke