They said Ohio State had a great defense. Loyola, entering with a top-10 offense averaging 12.93 goals per game, found out that was, indeed, true.
The No. 3-ranked Ohio State men's lacrosse team topped the Greyhounds, 7-4, in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Championship at Ohio Stadium Sunday, thanks to a hat trick from Big Ten Freshman of the Year Tre Leclaire.
The Surrey, British Columbia native put Ohio State on the board with his first goal seven minutes into the game and Leclaire, along with his teammates, had an answer every time Loyola closed the gap.
The Buckeyes took a two-goal lead with 3:44 remaining in the first when junior Colin Chell found the back of the net, beating Loyola goalie Jacob Stover.
Romar Dennis cut the Buckeyes' lead to one with a blast three minutes into the second, but Austin Shanks answered quickly for the Buckeyes, making it 3-1 with his team a man up, nearly a minute later. Loyola would get one more in the second, to again cut Ohio State's lead to one and the teams went to intermission with Ohio State leading 3-2.
Senior Eric Fannell put the Buckeyes back up by two a couple of minutes into the 3rd, but Loyola sophomore phenom Pat Spencer answered two minutes later to once again cut the Buckeye lead to one. Spencer, who entered the game third in the NCAA in scoring at 5.47 points per game, finished with just one point, coming on that goal, Sunday.
Leclaire would tack on two more goals – notching the hat trick – in the third period, with a Zack Sirico goal for the Greyhounds sandwiched in between to complete the scoring for the period.
Here's a look at Leclaire's third of the day:
The 6-4 score would hold for nearly all of the final period until Alabama native Jack Jasinski buried an empty-netter to give Ohio State the 7-4 victory.
Fannell finished with two points – a goal and an assist – while senior goalie Tom Carey was masterful in net, making 12 saves on 16 shots for the Buckeyes.
“Tommy did a great job seeing the ball and I thought he stole a couple, which is big,” Ohio State head coach Nick Myers said after the game.
With the win, Ohio State advances to the NCAA quarterfinals in Hempstead, New York. They'll face Duke Saturday at noon, televised on ESPNU.