ADA, Ohio – C.J. Hughes and Brennan O'Callaghan ensured passage to the upcoming conference tournament by scored eight of the team's 12 goals in Capital University Men's Lacrosse's 12-8 victory at Ohio Northern University. Capital closed out its regular season with a victory at Dial-Roberson Stadium, which also helped them claim the third seed in next week's OAC Tournament.
Capital's fifth straight win marks their longest winning streak of the season and at no more perfect time than heading into the OAC Men's Lacrosse Tournament. The Crusaders finish the regular season 6-2 in conference play. The tournament will kick off on Tuesday night due to Baldwin Wallace University earning the two seed in both men's and women's lacrosse. Capital, as the three seed, will head to Berea to play the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday night. Game time will be announced later.
The three-headed monster of freshman C.J. Hughes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills), sophomore Ryan Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) and junior Brennan O'Callaghan (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) accounted for more than 90 percent of Capital offense, and alone matched the entire Ohio Northern team's offensive output. For the eighth time this season and for the fifth consecutive game, O'Callaghan scored four or more goals in a game. For Hughes, it marked the seventh time he had reached that height in a single contest.
Through one quarter, the match looked like it was going to be a runaway after the Purple and White jumped out to a 7-1 lead after the first quarter ended. Hughes and Rampi scored Capital's first two goals and those came just 30 seconds apart. After O'Callaghan equaled his teammates, Hughes took advantage of an ONU penalty and scored on the man-up. O'Callaghan added to that 29 seconds later with his second goal, preceding the Polar Bears' first tally of the game.
With a seven-goal lead heading into the final minutes of the first half, Ohio Northern rattled off three consecutive goals, all by different players, to close out the first half. That miniature run got the hosts back into the game and jumpstarted a defensive battled that lasted throughout the course of the game. After 14 goals were scored between the two teams through the opening two quarters, only six were scored the rest of the way, three by each team.
Ohio Northern came as close as two goals from Capital after posting another three-goal run that bridged the third and fourth quarters. However, Capital iced the game when senior Jeff Simmons (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) and O'Callaghan scored goals 17 seconds apart from one another to build a comfortable lead with 3:58 to go.
Junior goaltender Cole Palmby (Delaware, Ohio/Olentangy) did his part by making 11 saves on 19 shots against, and grabbed one ground ball as well. Freshman Tyler Faig (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) was better than 50 percent on the 'X', winning 12-of-23 faceoffs on the day. On the defensive side, senior Ryan Maloney (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne) had a team-high three caused turnovers and four ground balls.
O'Callaghan and Hughes finished the game with four goals and two assists, each. Rampi had three goals and one assist on the day, as well as a team-best five ground balls.
Capital also overcame 21 turnovers and 10 minutes of penalty time that stemmed from 11 flags thrown against them.