No. 9 Rutgers falls on road to No. 19 Ohio State
Thanks to Michigan beating Penn State earlier in the day, the Rutgers men's lacrosse team was not playing for its life on Saturday afternoon against Ohio State.
But, the No. 9 Scarlet Knights (9-5, 2-3) didn't exactly put forth an inspiring performance, as they were easily put away by the Buckeyes (8-6, 3-2) to the tune of a 10-7 scoreline.
The story of the day was the discrepancy at the faceoff X. A week after going 0-for-10 in the second half against the Nittany Lions, Rutgers failed to win the first 13 against Ohio State, which included all nine in the first half.
And despite the performance in the first half, the Knights were down just 4-3 at halftime. It's reasonable to expect an average performance in the second half would have led to a more favorable result.
But Buckeye Justin Inacio would not cool off, winning the first four in the third quarter, which led to 4 straight Ohio State goals to push the score to 8-3.
After that eighth goal, Rutgers finally won its first faceoff of the game and senior midfielder Christian Mazzone scored to make it 8-4.
Senior faceoff specialist Alex Schoen would win the first faceoff of the fourth quarter for the Knights, leading to sophomore attacker Kieran Mullins's goal that made the score 8-5 and put a scare in the Buckeyes.
But with its back against the wall and needing a win to keep its season alive, Ohio State responded with 2 goals in the next 3 minutes to go up 10-5 and put to rest any thoughts Rutgers had of a comeback.
Senior attacker and captain Jules Heningburg added on 2 goals late to give him another 4-point game and push his total to a Big Ten-leading 69 on the season.
The Knights will now be the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament and will face No. 1 seed Maryland on Thursday night in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Rutgers fell to the then-No. 1 overall Terps by a score of 11-10 earlier in the season in College Park and would likely need a win on Thursday to keep its hopes alive for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Winning the Big Ten Tournament would give the Knights an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.