JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The No. 5 University of Denver men’s lacrosse team fell 10-9 to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday afternoon at EverBank Field, home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, in the first game of the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic, hosted by Jacksonville University. The loss drops the Pioneers to 0-1, 0-1 ECAC while the Buckeyes improve to 3-0, 1-0 in the ECAC.
“All the credit needs to go to Ohio State because they did a great job of shutting us down and being smart with the ball,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “Although we’re young on defense, our offensive veterans are going to have to carry us in games like this. This was a great learning experience for us.”
Seniors Mark Matthews (Oshawa, Ontario) and Alex Demopoulos (Canton, Conn.), along with freshman Wes Berg (New Westminster, B.C.) led the Pioneers with three points. Matthews and Berg both scored two goals apiece and added two assists, while Demopoulos finished with one goal and two assists.
Also scoring for the Pioneers was junior Eric Law (Centennial, Colo.) with two goals, while junior Cameron Flint (Georgetown, Ontario) and sophomore Jeremy Noble (Orangeville, Ontario) both netted a goal apiece. Junior Chase Carraro (Louisville, Ky.) finished 10-of-20 from the face-off and grabbed a team-high seven groundballs.
Sophomore Jamie Faus (Lakeville, Conn.) recorded his first loss of the season, making four saves.
Logan Schuss led the Buckeyes with five goals, while goalkeeper Scott Spencer made eight saves.
Ohio State opened the scoring with 12:19 on the clock in the first quarter off a goal from Schuss. The Pioneers answered with three straight goals from Noble, Berg and Matthews to take a 3-1 advantage with 6:38 left to play in the first quarter.
OSU’s Dominique Alexander made it 3-2 with 3:47 left to play and then Schuss made it 3-3 with 6:17 left in the second quarter. Flint and Law answered to put the Pioneers up by two as Flint scored with 54 seconds remaining and Law with four seconds before the half.
The Buckeyes used two third quarter goals to tie the game with 4:25 left to play, but Matthews answered with an unassisted goal just seconds later to give DU the 6-5 advantage. Schuss tied the game with 3:44 left to play and the Pioneers answered once again with back-to-back goals to take an 8-6 lead.
OSU scored two goals in the final seconds of the third quarter to tie the game for the fifth time and then opened the fourth quarter with a goal from Schuss at the 13:35 mark to give the Buckeyes their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. Alexander put OSU up by two with 12:07 left to play off a pass from Tyler Frederick.
The Buckeyes played solid defense and made good work of making the most of their possessions down the stretch. The Pioneers answered with a goal from Demopoulos with 1:46 remaining in the game, and had a chance to tie the game, but a costly turnover put the game out of reach.
Denver returns home to host the DU Face-Off Classic at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, Feb. 26. Air Force opens against Robert Morris at 11 a.m. on Saturday and the Pioneers will face Michigan at 1:30 p.m. All games will be available via Live Stats and a Live Blog will also be available at DenverPioneers.com.