Down by 4, Retrievers rally past Ohio State

8-7 loss in 2 OTs closes tough week for Buckeyes

College Lacrosse

March 08, 2004|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Just six days after its coach's young son died in an accident, the Ohio State men's lacrosse team took the field yesterday at UMBC with emotion permeating every step.

But on a day when it looked at times as if the No. 15 Buckeyes might roll to an easy victory, it was the Retrievers who managed to summon their inner strength and take an 8-7 overtime win before 1,260 at UMBC Stadium.

Down by four early in the fourth quarter, UMBC rallied to score five straight goals, including Corey Warner's game-winner from Andy Gallagher with 41 seconds left in the second overtime.

"This was a very difficult week certainly for Ohio State, but for us also," said UMBC coach Don Zimmerman. "I just think that our guys in the fourth quarter showed the determination that we're going to need to have to be a good team this year."

The accident occurred last Monday in the parking lot of an Ohio preschool when Buckeyes coach Joe Breschi's son Michael, 3, reportedly was struck by an SUV that was backing out of a parking spot.

The boy was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The funeral took place Thursday in Columbus, and both teams observed a moment of silence before the game. Joe Breschi did not accompany the team.

"It has been a long and trying week," said Jay Stalfort, Ohio State's acting head coach. "I think they find some comfort and solace in practicing and getting prepared. All we asked of them was to play hard, and that's what they did. Sure, we would have loved to win the game ... but for them to put forth that effort was unbelievable."

For much of the game, it looked like the Buckeyes (1-2) had the inside track to a win.

UMBC's Pat Muston won 15 of 19 faceoffs, but the error-prone Retrievers (1-1) were unable to capitalize for much of the game due to turnovers and an inability to clear the ball. They also had four shots bound off pipes.

Taking full advantage, Ohio State's Kyle Olson scored three goals, including two during a four-goal spurt that put his team ahead 7-3 with 14:03 left in the fourth quarter.

Seemingly out of it, the Retrievers began to make inroads when freshman Drew Westervelt scored his second goal with 11:16 left.

"We had one goal and that just sparked us," said Gallagher, who finished with two goals and three assists. "We just got it together and started playing. Our defense played exceptionally to keep getting us the ball back."

Gallagher and Brendan Mundorf scored to cut the lead to one, and Franklin Berry's effort with 2:03 left forced overtime.

Both teams had chances in sudden death, with shots by Ohio State's Ryan Laffey and UMBC's Westervelt hitting pipes. The game-winner was set up when the Buckeyes' Shaun Lyons was called for a push with 1:08 left in the second overtime, giving UMBC a man advantage.

Moments later, Gallagher found Warner about 10 yards in front, and the junior, who had been stopped all day by Ohio State goalie Tony Russo, came through.

"I got stuffed by him five times, then I finally put one by him," said Warner. "I knew if I just waited and played my game that it would come."

The win kept the Retrievers from starting 0-2 for the first time since 1998.

Ohio State 2 1 3 1 0 0 - 7

UMBC 2 0 1 4 0 1 - 8

Goals: OSU-Olson 3, Wolff 2, Gilardi, Lyons; UMBC-Gallagher 2, Westervelt 2, Warner 2, Berry, Mundorf. Assists: OSU-Bender 2, Gilardi 2, Laffey, Lyons; UMBC-Gallagher 3, Westervelt 2, Cahill. Saves: OSU-Russo 13; UMBC-Cepelak 9.

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