The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team made history Saturday.
The No. 3-seeded Buckeyes took down Duke in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, 16-11, to advance to the first Final Four in program history.
Ohio State jumped out to a 9-4 halftime lead and never looked back against the Blue Devils, who have won three national championships since 2010. Eric Fannell led the way with 5 goals for the Buckeyes, while Jack Jasinski, J.T. Blubaugh and Johnny Pearson had 2 goals apiece.
The program has been building toward this achievement in recent seasons under coach Nick Myers. The Buckeyes made it to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2013 and 2015 but weren’t able to take the last step to the Final Four. The 2016 season saw the Buckeyes take a step back with a 7-8 record, but it didn’t take long in 2017 to realize this group could be special.
Ohio State opened this season with an 8-0 record heading into a showdown against then-No. 1 Denver. The Buckeyes took apart the Pioneers in a 16-7 victory, legitimizing the team’s undefeated start against lesser competition.
Ohio State went on to beat Johns Hopkins, Michigan and Maryland in conference play, further solidifying its case as one of the nation’s best teams.
In the NCAA Tournament, the Buckeyes opened with a 7-4 win against Loyola (Md.) to advance to the quarterfinals. They ran into a hot Duke team that had just beaten Johns Hopkins 19-6, but the Buckeyes got the job done.
Now it’s off to Boston, where Ohio State will face on May 27 the winner of a quarterfinal match between Towson and No. 2 seed Syracuse. Ohio State hasn’t played Syracuse this season, but beat Towson 6-3 on March 15.
A win in the semifinals would not only move the Buckeyes into the national championship game but also set a program record for wins in a season. The current mark of 15, which Ohio State just tied, has stood since 1965.