Ohio State Falls to Air Force in ECAC Tournament Semifinals

COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State fell to Air Force, 14-7, in the ECAC Tournament semifinals Thursday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. The loss ends the season for the Buckeyes (6-8), while the Falcons advance to the tournament final, where they will take on Fairfield at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in Columbus.

"We struggled at the start and weren't able to really get into our game," Nick Myers, Ohio State head coach, said. "Air Force is a good team with a strong offense and they were able to keep the pressure on and break open the game early in the second half. I'm proud of the men and the way they fought hard and didn't give up, but we just couldn't quite get back even. It's tough to see the season end, especially for these seniors."

The teams combined for seven goals in the first quarter, with Ohio State ahead, 4-3, after the first 15 minutes. Mike Crampton scored for Air Force just 45 seconds into the game but Ohio State scored the next two goals, with junior Jesse King scoring unassisted at 10:32 and senior Michael Italiano tallying 50 seconds later. The Falcons scored the next two goals to tie the game and take the lead (3-2) at 7:51. With 3:12 left in the quarter Buckeye sophomore Carter Brown came around the cage and scored to tie the game at 3 and junior David Planning found sophomore Ryan Hunter in front for a goal with three seconds left for a 4-3 Buckeye lead. Shots were 9-6 in favor of Air Force in the quarter, with Buckeye senior goalie Scott Spencer making three saves.

The Falcons scored the first three goals of the second quarter to regain the lead and push the advantage to two, with goals at 14:30, 12:18 and 7:35. Buckeye junior Rick Lewis fed Hunter just outside the crease for a goal at 2:45, making it a one-goal game (6-5) at halftime. Air Force had seven shots in the quarter, with the Buckeyes attempting four.

Air Force opened the second half with five goals in a row to take control of the game with an 11-5 lead at 5:04. The Falcons started the quarter man-up and converted with a goal from Christopher Allen at 14:36, followed by a man-up goal by Crampton at 12:43. Erik Smith scored unassisted at 10:48 and the Falcons scored twice in 10 seconds at 5:14 and 5:04. King ended the Falcons' run with a goal while drawing a pushing penalty at 2:58. The Falcons had an 11-6 advantage heading into the fourth quarter and outshot the Buckeyes in the stanza, 11-8.

Air Force scored the first goal of the fourth quarter before King was able to battle and score on a behind-the-back shot that went off a defender at 11:51. The Falcons scored the game's final two goals at 10:48 and 4:07 for the 14-7 final. Ohio State outshot Air Force, 12-7, in the quarter, with the Falcons' goalie making six saves.

The Falcons led in shots, 34-30. Spencer had seven saves in the contest while playing all 60 minutes. Two Air Force goalies combined for 12 saves, with each playing a half.

Air Force had the advantage in faceoffs (15-7) and groundballs (31-22). Italiano led the Buckeyes with five groundballs, while sophomore Robby Haus and King each had three. The Buckeyes had nine caused turnovers, with junior Evan Mulchrone causing four and senior Dominic Imbordino causing two.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio A strong second-half performance carried the third-seeded Air Force lacrosse team to a 14-7 victory over second-seed host Ohio State Thursday evening in the semifinals of the ECAC Tournament. With the win, the Falcons improve to 9-5 on the season, while the Buckeyes finish the year with a 6-8 mark.

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