In what may a be a turning point of the season, the #5-6 University of Denver lacrosse team shook off a very sluggish start and scored nine unanswered goals to blast the #18-19 Ohio State Buckeyes, 12-7, before a sellout crowd of 2,607 at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium on a sunny St. Patrick’s Day afternoon. The win was a measure of revenge for the Pios, who lost to OSU last year, 16-7 in Columbus, Ohio.
Down 5-3 to the Buckeyes with 1:16 remaining in the first half, things were looking a bit grim for the Pioneers, who had struggled with Ohio State’s perfect five goals on five shots on DU goalie Josh Matte to that point. Matte had started in place of struggling junior Alex Ready in the Pioneer net, and was struggling himself with no saves. The Pioneers looked a bit listless and unfocused.
Suddenly, DU senior midfielder Trevor Baptiste started the DU comeback with a 15 yard strike from an Ethan Walker feed, followed quickly by a face-off win and Colton Jackson’s 12 yard step-down blast to the upper corner of the net to tie the game at five each with 12 seconds left in first half. The Pioneers went into half time with a renewed spring in their collective step, and came out with all guns blazing in the third quarter, scoring seven more unanswered goals over the third and fourth quarters to blow open the game. The Pioneers goal barrage chased OSU starting goalie Matt Smidt in the fourth quarter, as he was replaced by Josh Kilson for the final nine minutes.
A relentless DU defensive effort led to 15 OSU turnovers, keeping the Bucks off the scoreboard for over 26 minutes of playing time from the late first quarter until a couple of late fourth quarter OSU goals made the final score 12-7.
The Pioneers spread around the scoring, as Baptiste, Jackson, Colin Rutan, Connor Donahue and Sean Mayle each had a pair of goals for the Pioneers, while Walker and Riley Curtis each chipped in with single markers for DU. Austin French had four assists to lead the Pioneers in that category.
The Buckeyes (5-3) were led by J.T. Bugliosi, who had two goals.
The Pioneers (5-2) will play Towson (Md.) State University next Saturday at Barton.
Photo Credit: Tom McCaffery