By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
WESTERVILLE, Ohio – In another edition of one of the best rivalries in the Midwest, the Capital University and Otterbein University men's lacrosse teams took to the turf in a showdown at Memorial Stadium. Capital's luck took a turn for the worse in the second quarter, but a tremendous turnaround was sparked by Brennan O'Callaghan in the third. A six-goal turnaround was the perfect medication to the Crusaders' halftime deficit and helped guide CU to a 15-13 win on Friday night.
Capital (4-4, 1-1 OAC) trailed the Cardinals 8-5 after the completion of the first half. The Crusaders made a loud statement at the start of the third quarter when just nine seconds after the clock started ticking senior Brennan O'Callaghan (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) scored the first of four goals in the frame. Thirty-one seconds later the clock stopped again when sophomore C.J. Hughes roped a lamp-lighter into the Otterbein cage straight off a feed from Josh Glaser in transition. Capital scored a third straight goal when Luke Wyatt wound up and delivered a game-tying rocket just after the 12-minute mark of the third.
Otterbein's Chandler Swartz took advantage of a Capital penalty with a man-up goal, but O'Callaghan promptly responded with back-to-back goals. His second, a wrap-around shot that he began with an attack from behind the Otterbein goal, gave Capital its first lead since the latter stages of the first quarter, 10-9.
O'Callaghan was not done. After Teddy Crites and Otterbein's Jake Grundey swapped goals, O'Callaghan and Crites teamed up for another tally. While on the man-up opportunity, Crites cradled the ball from behind the cage. O'Callaghan emphatically called for the pass to come his way and when he received the ball he buried it in the low, far-side corner to give Cap a 12-10 advantage. A Josh Glaser goal with 24 seconds remaining gave CU a three-goal lead. Otterbein goaltender Matt Niemi faced 15 shots in the third without making a single save.
Capital outscored Otterbein 8-2 in the third quarter, which followed up Otterbein's 6-2 outburst in the second. While the home crowd felt good going into halftime with an 8-5 advantage, Capital turned the tide and carried a 13-10 lead into the final frame.
Otterbein attempted to replicate Capital's pace early in the fourth quarter and outshot the Crusaders 9-1 in the early minutes, but senior goalie Cole Palmby (Delaware, Ohio/Delaware) came up with multiple saves to turn down the Cardinals' attack and quiet the raucous crowd. Though Otterbein struck three times in the fourth, sophomore C.J. Hughes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) scored twice to keep a modest advantage. From there, Palmby made two more key saves to keep the Cardinals at bay.
Faceoffs were split down the middle with 16 of the game's 32 going to Capital's Tyler Faig. Capital also held advantages in ground balls (29-21), man-up goals (3-2) and fewer turnovers (13-12). The Crusaders turned down the Cardinals five times while the hosts were on the man-up opportunity.
O'Callaghan finished the game with six goals and one assist after taking a game-high 17 shots. He now has a team-leading 25 goals on the season.
Hughes also finished with a hat trick plus one assist and two ground balls. Glaser scored twice, as did Luke Wyatt. Teddy Crites (Waukee, Iowa/Waukee) had a four-point day behind one goal and three assists.
Also on the stat sheet was Johnathan Mundell who scored a goal and took a cross-checking penalty that led to a Glaser man-up tally.
Palmby finished the game with 14 saves on 27 shots faced. He also eclipsed 500 saves in his career and now has 511 through three-plus seasons at Capital.
Joe Sanfillipo and Chandler Swartz each scored three goals and posted an assist to lead the Cardinals.
The win gives Capital its first Ohio Athletic Conference victory of the season and gets them back on track for its next opponent, Grove City College (Pa.), which it will face on Wednesday, April 4. Game time in Grove City is set for 7 p.m.