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Buckeye lacrosse Elite 8 bound again after 6-4 win over visiting Loyola

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COLUMBUS -- The No. 3-ranked Ohio State men’s lacrosse team defeated No. 13/10 Loyola, 7-4, Sunday in Ohio Stadium in the opening round of the NCAA Championship. The Buckeyes (14-4), the tournament’s No. 3 seed, advance to the quarterfinals, where they will take on Duke at noon Saturday in Hempstead, N.Y.

The Buckeyes led the Greyhounds 2-0 after the first quarter and 3-2 at halftime. Ohio State, which led by one or two from midway through the first quarter, pulled ahead by two with 4:11 left in the third quarter and made the lead stand. Ohio State shut out Loyola for the final 23:48 for the victory. Buckeye senior goalie Tom Carey made 12 saves in the win. Junior Ben Randall, who had three groundballs and a caused turnover, led the defensive unit which limited Loyola to nearly nine goals under its season average. Buckeye leading scorer Tre Leclaire had a game-high three goals and points.

Ohio State is 14-4 on the year and finishes its home slate 10-1, including 6-0 in Ohio Stadium. It is tied for the second-most wins in a single season in program history. The Buckeyes will be making their fourth NCAA quarterfinal appearance, and third in five years (2008, 13, 15). The game will be the third NCAA contest between the Buckeyes and Blue Devils; Duke won in the quarterfinals in 2008 and Ohio State won in the first round in 2015.

Sunday in Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes scored the only two goals of the opening quarter, with Leclaire tallying unassisted at 8:09 and sophomore Logan Maccani finding junior Colin Chell for a goal at 3:44. Shots were 10-6 in favor of Loyola in the quarter and Carey made three stops for the Buckeyes.

Loyola scored the first goal of the second quarter at 11:49. The Buckeyes answered with a man-up goal at 10:23, with senior Eric Fannell finding classmate Austin Shanks inside for the tally. At 7:01 the Greyhounds made it a one-goal game with a goal from Jared Mintzlaff. Ohio State had eight shots, with Loyola attempting 16, and Carey made six saves.

Ohio State pushed the lead to two twice in the third quarter, with Loyola answering. At 12:37 senior John Kelly set up Fannell for a goal and 4-2 Buckeye lead, but the Greyhounds drew within one at 10:29. Just over a minute later Leclaire scored off a pass from sophomore Jack Jasinski to put the Buckeyes up 5-3 at 9:21. Loyola scored 33 seconds later for a 5-4 game at 8:48. Leclaire scored the final goal of the quarter at 4:11, giving Ohio State a two-goal edge for the fifth time. The teams combined for 14 shots in the stanza, with the Greyhounds ahead, 8-6.

The lone goal of the fourth quarter came with nine seconds remaining, with Jasinski breaking through a doubleteam to score with the goalie out of the crease. Loyola attempted 10 shots in the quarter, with Carey making three saves. Ohio State had two shots in the quarter.

Loyola outshot the Buckeyes, 44-22, in the game. Carey notched 12 saves for the Buckeyes, his eighth game with double-digit stops this season, and fifth in the last six games. He has a 7.98 goals-against average and .546 save percentage this year.

Ohio State’s Jake Withers won 8-of-15 faceoffs and had five groundballs. On the year, he has won 235-of-353 (.666) and has a team-high 131 groundballs. Loyola edged the Buckeyes in groundballs, 24-23.

Leclaire leads the Buckeyes with 44 goals and 58 points this season, tying for sixth in program history for single-season goals and setting the program rookie goal scoring record. It was his eighth game this year with three or more goals, including in each of the last four games, and he has five of the Buckeyes’ gamewinning goals. Fannell, who had a goal and an assist in the game, is first with 27 helpers and second with 56 points.

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