Today marks the official beginning of summer for most Ohio State students, while championship season continues for many of Ohio State's spring sports teams. This week we have updates on the lacrosse teams, which just concluded their regular seasons, the softball team, which nearly doubled its conference wins this week, and the men's tennis team, which gears up for an NCAA Tournament run.
Both lacrosse teams wrapped up regular season play with tough losses to top-25 opponents. The men fell at No. 14 Fairfield 7-5 and the women dropped an 8-7 decision to No. 22 Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
In men's action, goalie Scott Spencer was again strong with nine saves. Jesse King, Chris Mahoney, Ryan Hunter and John Kellyall scored goals in the loss. Next up for the men is the ECAC tournament in Columbus this weekend. The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will face Air Force on Thursday. If the Buckeyes advance to Saturday's final, they will take on the winner of Fairfield and Michigan. The winner of the tournament will earn an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
Sophomore Cian Dabrowski carried the offensive load with three goals and an assist, her fifth hat trick of the season. Jennifer Porretto chipped in with a pair of goals and an assist, while Cara Facchina had a goal and an assist. Tori DeScenza was again excellent in net with 12 saves. The Lady Buckeyes now gear up for the ALC tournament, where they are the No. 2 seed and will face seventh-seeded Michigan in the first round.
The softball team had an excellent week, going 5-0 in sweeps of Penn State and No. 25 Northwestern. Coming into the week, the Lady Buckeyes were 6-9 in Big Ten play: they now sit at 11-9 and sixth in the conference.
Against Penn State the story was pitching. Starting pitchers Shelby Hursh and Olivia O'Reilly each held Penn State to one run in a pair of 3-1 victories. O'Reilly continued the strong effort against Northwestern, leading the Buckeyes to knock off the Wildcats 3-1 last Friday. Cammi Prantl's two-run homer turned out to be the eventual game-winner.
In the final two games of the series Ohio State's bats came to life. In game one, the Buckeyes rallied from a 7-6 deficit in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-run double by Prantl before O'Reilly recorded a save in the seventh for the 8-7 win.
In the series finale, a pair of seniors carried the Bucks in their last home game. Leesa Graham and Evelyn Carrillo combined for five hits and five RBI in the 7-4 victory. Shelby Hursh earned the victory on the mound.
Next up for Ohio State is a three-game series at Iowa to close out the regular season this weekend, before traveling to Chicago for the B1G Tournament next Thursday.
The men's tennis team captured their eighth Big Ten Tournament Championship in nine years this past weekend, defeating Michigan State (4-2), Northwestern (4-0) and Illinois (4-2) en route to victory.
The Buckeyes were announced as the No. 3 overall seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, so they will serve as hosts for first and second round games. Ohio State opens up with Bryant on May 9 and would face the winner of Wake Forest and Louisville on May 10 in the second round. The winner of the Columbus regional will move on to Athens, Georgia for the NCAA Championships that will take place May 15-20.
Is this the year the Buckeyes finally capture the NCAA Outdoor Championship? It remains to be seen, but they figure to have as good of a chance as anyone.