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Men’s Lacrosse: Second half rally not enough as No. 15 Buckeyes lose 17-12 to No. 19 Pioneers

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The No. 15 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team remains winless on the road, as it suffered a 17-12 defeat against No. 19 Denver Sunday. Credit: Zachary Rilley | Photo Editor

The No. 15 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team remains winless on the road, as it suffered a 17-12 defeat against No. 19 Denver Sunday.

Despite a third quarter rally and hat tricks from both senior attack Colby Smith and graduate midfielder Kyle Borda, the Buckeyes (4-4) could not overcome an eight-score deficit against the Pioneers (4-3) and their combined 12-goal attack duo at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

Led by head coach Bill Tierney, the Pioneers are now 8-5 at home versus Ohio State. The Buckeyes struggled to stop Denver’s quick attack early, including senior attack JJ Sillstrop who scored three times in the first quarter.

After picking up a ground ball, Sillstrop capitalized with his first goal of the game to kick off the scoring just over two minutes into the matchup. Sillstrop had four points in the previous meeting against the Buckeyes in March 2022.

Smith was assisted by freshman midfielder Dillon Magee for his third goal of the season at 7:39. Smith repeated a hat trick as he did in the matchup against Denver last year.

The second quarter played out similar to the first. The Pioneer’s outscored the Buckeyes 7-3 and Denver junior midfielder Stephen Avery had four of those goals.

Magee, Smith and freshman attack Matt Caputo were the three goal-scorers heading into halftime. Caputo is coming off one of the best games of his college career — a first-half hat trick against Detroit Mercy Tuesday.

Just 19 seconds into the second half, Sillstrop found the net for the fourth time Sunday. Avery mimicked him with his fifth of the game, assisted by senior attack Richie Connell.

The rest of the third quarter was sparked by Smith’s third goal of the game. This began a four-goal run for the Buckeyes, cutting the Pioneer’s lead to four after they led by as many as eight goals.

Avery put a stop to Ohio State’s momentum with his sixth goal on the day at 2:58 in the third quarter. Avery had only 12 goals in his career coming into the matchup.

Caputo and Borda continued Ohio State’s third-quarter climb before Avery responded again with a score with four seconds left until the final quarter.

Starting off strong, the Pioneers tallied three goals before Borda scored his own hat trick in the matchup and 12th goal of the season with 1:42 remaining.

Senior attack Jack Myers found the net with 1:26 left in the fourth quarter. This marks Myers’ first goal since the Buckeyes faced No. 1 Virginia Feb. 25.

Ohio State shot seven times on goal in the fourth quarter, but could only get two to fall, despite Pioneers junior goalkeeper Malcolm Kleban’s 44.4 save percentage.

The Buckeyes will try to get back in the win column against Big Ten foe No. 6 Rutgers at Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium March 26 at 7 p.m. The game will be available on Big Ten Network.

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