JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nick Mariano scored the game-winning goal with seven seconds left in overtime to give UMass men’s lacrosse a 12-11 victory over No. 14/9 Ohio State at the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic in Jacksonville, Fla., on Sunday evening. Mariano tallied four times in the game while Matt Whippen joined Mariano in earning a hat trick with three goals.
Carter Brown, Reegan Comeault and Adam Trombley totaled three goals each for the Buckeyes. Turner Evans led all players with six points earned through a goal and five assists. Greg Dutton notched nine saves in net for Ohio State.
For his final goal of the day, Mariano sprinted from behind the net around the right post from 10 yards away and fired by Dutton into the near side as the UMass bench erupted into celebration with 7.9 seconds remaining on the EverBank Stadium scoreboard. His four tallies on the night give Mariano a team-leading six goals on the season through two contests.
The victory over Ohio State, picked as the 14th-best team in the country by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) and No. 9 via Inside Lacrosse’s media poll, gives the Minutemen their 56th win over a nationally ranked opponent in head coach Greg Cannella’s 20-year tenure as the program leader.
Oliveri provided back-to-back saves prior to Mariano’s goal to keep Ohio State from pulling off the comeback. After the Buckeyes earned the only faceoff taken during overtime on a violation by Calvello, Comeault followed with a shot at Oliveri with two minutes, 59 seconds left in the period. Oliveri was able to deflect the try away from the net, but Adam Trombley scooped up the loose ball for OSU to retain possession at the 2:51 mark.
Eleven seconds later, Trombley fired a chance of his own at Oliveri, but the redshirt-sophomore goalie was able to block it in front for the final stop of his 13-save performance.
To force overtime, Ohio State netted four goals in the final quarter of regulation after they entered the fourth trailing UMass, 8-7.
George used his second of the day to push the Minutemen lead to 9-7 only 56 seconds into the last frame of regulation and Mariano secured his hat trick only one minute, 40 seconds further into the stanza to give the Minutemen a 10-7 advantage.
Ohio State responded with two tallies of their own to turn the three-goal UMass lead into a 10-9 margin with 7:18 left on the clock as Trombley netted both conversions for the Buckeyes.
After Izzo recorded his only goal at the 6:20 mark to extend UMass’ hold to 11-9, Trombley added his third straight tally for Ohio State with 4:29 to play before Comeault evened the game at 11 with 2:38 remaining in regulation.
Prior to Izzo, George and Mariano spearheading the offensive effort in the fourth and overtime, Whippen set the tone for the Minutemen with a goal in each of the opening three quarters.
For his first tally, Whippen dodged to his right by an Ohio State defender from the left side of the field, shifted toward the middle and fired a shot inside the far post to put UMass up, 1-0 only one minute, 58 seconds into competition.
The Minutemen doubled their lead as Mariano sprinted from X around the left post and employed a jump-shot as he turned to face the goal at the 3:36 mark of the first.
OSU rallied with back-to-back goals to even the game at 2-2, including one with 34 seconds remaining in the first quarter from Comeault that put the Buckeyes on the scoreboard. David Planning had the tying one only 58 seconds into the second quarter
Whippen was unassisted in putting UMass in front 3-2 at the 11:08 mark of the second while Mariano bear Dutton with a low shot in transition following a feed from Izzo to make it 4-2 for the Minutemen, who were the designated visitors in the neutral site contest.
OSU again rallied to knot it at four apiece with consecutive goals from Evans and Comeault, but George used an athletic play to send the Minutemen into the halftime break with a 5-4 lead. George ran from the right of the OSU goal into the center and fought off a Buckeye defender to earn his first tally of the day.
Sokol started scoring during the third quarter only 41 seconds in with a strike from distance to make it 6-4 UMass. Whippen facilitated the next tally as he rushed to his left toward the post before he flipped the play back to Mooney in the center for Mooney to convert with 12:48 left in the frame.
Brown brought Ohio State within 7-5 of UMass before Whippen struck for his third tally. The North Chelmsford, Mass., native went over the top of two Buckeye defenders to secure his third of the game. It marked his second career hat trick and first since he had a career day against Army with five goals on Feb. 10, 2013.
Fastbreak play put two more on the scoreboard for OSU in the span of 10 seconds during the final minute of the third to whittle another three-goal Massachusetts advantage down to 8-7 entering the fourth. Brown had both, scoring with 24 and 14 seconds left.
Total shots were tied, 34-34 between the sides while groundballs favored UMass, 35-28 overall, including an 11-2 advantage in the fourth quarter. The Minutemen turned the ball over 20 times to 13 for Ohio State.
Massachusetts finished 14-for-18 on clears. The squad struggled with moving the ball ahead in the third, only converting three of their six opportunities, but were successful during the final five clearing attempts spread over the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Minutemen did not score on their only extra-man opportunity of the game while the UMass defense held the Buckeyes EMO unit to an 0-for-5 performance.
The Minutemen return to Massachusetts to host in-state foe Harvard (0-0) in the home opener at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. on Garber Field.