Nothing was going to stop Erin Wellner and Johns Hopkins from beating Ohio State. Not even a broken stick.
Wellner, who broke part of her stick in the middle of the game, scored the winning goal with 23 seconds left to give the No. 17 Blue Jays the 11-10 victory over No. 13 Ohio State on a blustery afternoon at Homewood Field.
"Basically, I just closed my eyes and I shot it," Wellner said. "It was a lucky shot."
Wellner's goal capped a wild second half in which the Buckeyes scored five consecutive goals to overcome a two-goal deficit before Hopkins recovered.
Regina Oliver brought the Buckeyes within a goal at 6-5 when she scored four minutes into the second half, and Megan Mirick ran the ball in from midfield and beat Blue Jays goalie Jen McDonald to tie the score at 6.
Mirick added another tally three minutes later, when she took a pass from Oliver and beat McDonald to the lower left corner, giving Ohio State (7-2, 1-1) its first lead. Lauren Cochran also scored before Hopkins coach Janine Tucker called a timeout.
"We told the team that the game was far from over and we needed to make sure that we made better decisions with the ball and that we cleared the ball better," Tucker said. "Ohio State took us a little bit out of our clear."
Clearing problems continued for Hopkins after the timeout, when Ohio State junior Tracey Bounds (Ellicott City and Mt. Hebron) stole the ball from McDonald and beat her with a bounce shot with 10:54 left, pushing the Buckeyes' lead to 9-6.
Then, with the well-represented Ohio State contingent at its loudest point, Hopkins made a run of its own.
Blue Jays midfielder Kate Barcomb scored Hopkins' first goal in 22:46, narrowing the deficit to 9-7. Sophomore Heidi Pearce scored her third goal of the game a minute later, and junior attack Liz Holland beat goalkeeper Erin Forquer to the right on a free-position opportunity to tie the game at 9 with 6:39 to go.
Hopkins' Christy Peterson kept the Blue Jays' surge alive after an Ohio State timeout, giving the Blue Jays (7-4, 4-2) their first lead since the 20:42 mark when she put in a bounce shot to make the score 10-9 with less than five minutes left.
"We got a little sloppy and let the lead slip away, but one thing that's indicative of our team is they're not going to give up without a good fight," Tucker said.
But the Buckeyes weren't finished, either. McDonald stopped two close-range shots by Mirick in the final two minutes. However, Oliver stole a clearing pass and found Mirick in front of the net for her fifth goal of the game, tying the game at 10 with 47 seconds left.
The Blue Jays won the subsequent draw, and Wellner (three assists) scored the game-winner off a free position.
Wellner's goal spoiled the homecoming of 11 Buckeyes who hail from Maryland, including Bounds and Alexia Vogler (Ellicott City and Centennial), who had a goal and an assist. It was Ohio State's first American Lacrosse Conference loss this season.
Hopkins will face off against Maryland next Saturday at Homewood Field. The Buckeyes beat the defending national champion and ninth-ranked Terrapins, 12-11, on March 31 in College Park.
"It gives us a tremendous amount of confidence going into next week," Tucker said. "This is a really good team we just played, and we were thrilled to get out of here with a win."
Ohio State 4 6 -- 10
Johns Hopkins 6 5 -- 11
Goals: OSU--Mirick 5, Bounds 2, Cochran, Oliver, Vogler; JHU--Pearce 3, Barcomb 2, Peterson 2, Burnett, Holland, Larrimore, Wellner. Assists: OSU--Oliver 2, Vogler; JHU--Wellner 3, Peterson, Burnett. Saves: OSU--Forquer 11; JHU--McDonald 16.