The unranked Buckeyes scored three goals each in the third and fourth quarters to stun the top-ranked Terps, 12-10, at Maryland Stadium on Sunday.
The result does not lessen the hurt Ohio State felt after losses to Maryland in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament finals in May 2017, but it does keep the Buckeyes (7-6 overall, 2-2 league) in the hunt for a berth in the 2018 conference tournament and add a quality win to their resume for a potential at-large spot in the NCAA postseason.
“I think this year, we just had a new mindset,” said senior attackman Colin Chell, a Bel Air resident and Boys’ Latin graduate who scored four goals and chipped in an assist for Ohio State. “Last year is last year, and this is a new season. We came to Maryland with one goal, and that was to get the ‘W’ today, which we did. Now we’ve just got to bounce back, go back to Columbus, and prepare for [No. 10] Rutgers.”
The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Terps, who dropped to 10-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big Ten, and suffered their first setback since an 11-10 loss to then-No. 1 Albany on March 10. They also will have to wait until Saturday’s game at No. 7 Johns Hopkins (9-3, 3-1) to see whether they can grab a piece of the regular-season conference championship.
Maryland’s defense, which had surrendered 22 goals in back-to-back wins against No. 11 Penn State and Rutgers, had few answers for the Buckeyes’ Jack Jasinski, who matched his season total with five assists Sunday and added two goals. The junior midfielder frequently used his speed to outrun junior defenseman Curtis Corley, draw a defender or two, and then find an open teammate for a scoring chance — usually in the heart of the Terps defense.
“My role has been the same all year — draw the double [team], make the right play, and move it to where it’s supposed to be,” said Jasinski, who entered the game with 13 goals and five assists. “Today, it just happened to be that we had a lot of guys open in the middle. So the looks were there and guys were putting it away. I don’t get those assists if the guys don’t put the ball in the back of the net. So you’ve got to give a lot of credit to them.”
Maryland coach John Tillman said the defense had prepared for Ohio State to invert a midfielder behind the cage and attack from there.
“It’s funny. They’re not an overly complicated group and haven’t been all year, and they didn’t give us anything different than what we practiced,” he said. “I think we had some communication breakdowns and if you don’t do a good job and you’re not buttoned up, they’re not afraid to jam it in there, and based on last week and what we did, I would jam it in there, too.”
With the score tied at 9 in the early stages of the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes took advantage of a ground ball that took a few fortuitous bounces before getting scooped up by Chell, who fed freshman midfielder Jackson Reid to cap a two-on-one fast break with 12:59 left in the period.
Then senior attackman Hank Bethke converted a centering pass from Jasinski with 6:09 remaining, and Jasinski scored a man-up goal into an empty net with 33 seconds left for a 12-9 lead.
Terps senior midfielder Connor Kelly scored his fourth goal of the game with 22 seconds left to cement the final score.
Despite the loss, Maryland has locked up one of the four spots in the Big Ten tournament and could grab the No. 1 seed in the postseason by defeating Johns Hopkins. Ohio State will join the mix by beating Rutgers (8-4, 1-2) on Saturday, and Chell said the victory over the Terps should lift team morale.
“I think it gives us momentum,” he said. “Last week, we beat Michigan. This week, we played Maryland, beat them, the No. 1 team in the country. So I think it gives us a lot of confidence going back home to play on senior day against Rutgers. It’s a must win for us, and, like I said, the confidence is huge for us.”
Ohio State 4 2 3 3 — 12
Maryland 3 3 2 2 — 10
Goals: O—Chell 4, Reid 3, Jasinski 2, Bethke, Leclaire, Smith; M—Kelly 4, Wisnauskas 2, Bernhardt, DeMaio, DiMillo, Rotanz. Assists: O—Jasinski 5, Buckley, Bugliosi, Chell; M—Bernhardt, Fairman, Kelly. Saves: O—Kirson 9; M—Morris 11.
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