March 31, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After Irish sophomore M Brian Hubschmann (Short Hills, N.J./Delbarton H.S.) scored with 28 seconds remaining to tie the score 8-8, Buckeye sophomore A Ben Wolff responded with the game winner with just 12 seconds to go in the contest to send 17th-ranked Ohio State over #13 Notre Dame 9-8 in men’s lacrosse action Wednesday at Moose Krause Stadium. The Irish (2-4, 0-1 GWLL) were up 3-0 early and held a 7-3 advantage with one minute left in the third period before the Buckeyes (6-2, 1-0 GWLL) scored five straight goals. The game was the Great Western Lacrosse League opener for both teams, two of the conference’s tri-champions in 2003.
After Hubschmann’s goal, OSU senior M Josh Lesko and Irish junior M Craig Bishko (West Islip, N.Y./West Islip H.S.) faced off. The ball squirted towards the Buckeyes’ box and both teams were battling for it when Notre Dame was called for a loose-ball push, thus awarding possession to Ohio State. The Buckeyes brought the ball down the right side and senior M Ryan Laffey deked away from a defender and found Wolff open in front of the goal. The sophomore then beat Notre Dame senior G Stewart Crosland (Bethesda, Md./Landon School) from a yard away for his 12th goal of the season, extending OSU’s winning streak to five games.
A game of momentum, the final two goals marked the only time a team did not put together at least three scores in a row. Ohio State’s late surge began late in the third quarter, when it took advantage of a failed clear by the Irish (one of only three on the day). Senior A Anthony Gilardi hit junior M Tom Randisi, who scored from the far left wing for the first Buckeye goal in nearly 29 minutes.
After holding the Buckeyes to just four goals through the first 45 minutes of play, Notre Dame would surrender five goals (while finding the net just once) in the final period. Randisi made the Irish pay for a pair of penalties early in the fourth quarter, notching two man-up goals. The first came after Notre Dame sophomore M Drew Peters (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon H.S.) was called for an illegal body check 1:47 into the final stanza, as junior M Jason Bloom fed Randisi at the top of the circle. Following a slashing penalty on Irish junior LSM Chris Richez (Freeport, N.Y./Freeport H.S.) with 10:22 left, Randisi took a pass from sophomore M Gary Bining and tallied his fourth goal — and fifth point — of the day, again from the top of the circle. Randisi has 14 goals on the season.
After a save by All-American senior G Tony Russo, OSU successfully cleared the ball and senior M Shaun Lyons scored an unassisted goal to tie the game 7-7 with 7:30 left in the contest. Lesko won the ensuing faceoff and the Buckeyes held possession for the next three minutes, taking three off-target shots before Laffey connected on a solo effort from the far right wing for his fourth goal of the year to put OSU ahead 8-7 with 4:27 to go.
Irish junior M Frank Matarazzo (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Bergen Catholic H.S.) was victorious on the ensuing faceoff, setting up a four-minute offensive barrage by Notre Dame in which the ball never left the Buckeyes’ side of the field. In that span, the Irish took 11 shots, picked up six ground balls, denied two Ohio State clearing attempts, and forced the Buckeyes into calling a pair of timeouts. The Ohio State defense, ranked third in Division I and first in the GWLL, was effective until an illegal body check by senior D Matt Cafarelli gave Notre Dame, which boasts the top EMO unit in the conference and the fifth-best in the country, a man-up chance with 39 seconds left. On the right wing, Hubschmann moved left toward the center of the field then suddenly reversed his motion, pivoted and dove toward the goal, firing a shot past Russo into the lower-left corner of the goal for Notre Dame’s fourth man-up tally of the game.
The Irish were led offensively by a trio of players with three points each. Hubschmann and senior A Dan Berger (Phoenix, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.) both had two goals and an assist, while sophomore All-American A Pat Walsh (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh H.S.) scored once and registered two assists, including one on a beautiful cross-field, behind-the-back pass that found Berger right in front of the goal early in the third to put Notre Dame up 7-3.
It was the fourth time in six games this season that Berger had three points, while also being the 18th multiple-goal game of his career. He has 14 points (11 goals, three assists) on the year. Hubschmann, who shares the team lead with 12 goals in ’04 (to go along with seven assists), has had multiple points in every game but one in 2004 after accomplishing that feat just once a year ago. He also took 12 shots, the most attempted by an Irish player in a contest this season. Walsh, the GWLL’s leading scorer who ranked fourth nationally heading into the week, continued his streak of accounting for at least one goal and at least three points in every game this season. He has tallied multiple points in 18 of 20 career games and leads Notre Dame with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 2004.
Senior A Matt Howell (Huntington, N.Y./Huntington H.S.) scored twice for his fourth multiple-goal performance of the season. He has a goal in 14 of the 15 games in which he has played over the last two campaigns (while accounting for six assists in his only goalless contest).
Irish senior M Steve Clagett (Chesapeake Beach, Md./DeMatha Catholic H.S.) scored for the third game in a row after not registering a point in the opening three contests.
No one other than Randisi scored more than once for the Buckeyes, though Laffey (1 G, 1 A), Gilardi (1 G, 1 A), and Bining (2 A) each had two points.
Notre Dame outshot Ohio State 43-33 and held a 43-34 advantage in ground balls, losing for the first time this season when gathering more loose balls than the opponent. Clagett led the Irish with seven ground balls, matching his career high and posting the top performance by a Notre Dame player in a single game this season. Senior D Brennan Creaney (Baltimore, Md./Loyola Blakefield H.S.) doubled his previous season high with six ground balls, while Peters and sophomore M Matt Ryan (Ridley Park, Pa./Ridley H.S.) had four each. Peters had corralled just three through the first five games of 2004.
Lesko, who took every faceoff and won 12 of 19 (.632), led OSU with seven ground balls, while senior All-American D Greg Bice added six and Randisi had four.
Bishko was effective at the faceoff X for the Irish, winning five of the 10 draws he took.
Both teams scored four times on man-up chances. The Buckeyes had five opportunities, while the Irish had seven.
Both Russo and Crosland ended the contest with 11 saves.
Freshman D Joey Rallo (Cockeysville, Md./Boys’ Latin H.S.) became the first Notre Dame rookie to start a contest this season, opening the game on the Irish defensive unit. He finished with two ground balls.
Notre Dame scored the first three goals of the game, but OSU answered with three tallies in 1:11 to tie the game at 3-3 just 20 seconds into the second quarter. The Irish then scored four straight extending over the next 28:47. Crosland had seven saves in that stretch.
The Irish allowed Ohio State to successfully clear the ball just 10 times in 19 attempts (.526).
The win puts Ohio State atop the GWLL standings. A season ago, the Buckeyes, the Irish, and Denver all finished with 4-1 records in conference action, but OSU gained the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship via tiebreaker policy, making its first-ever appearance in the postseason.
The Buckeyes snapped a seven-game losing streak at Notre Dame, winning there for the first time since 1988, the year Moose Krause Stadium opened. Following an 11-5 loss in Columbus a year ago, the Irish have dropped back-to-back contests with the Buckeyes for the first time since 1988-89.
Notre Dame was playing its sixth ranked opponent in as many games this season.
The Irish will return to action on Sunday at 1 p.m. (EST), playing host to Dartmouth at Moose Krause Stadium. The Big Green is 5-1 this season and receiving votes in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll.