By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Crusaders raced out to a quick lead to start Saturday afternoon Ohio Athletic Conference men's lacrosse match against Ohio Northern University, but a plethora of penalties called against Capital University allowed the Polar Bears to cash in on extra scoring opportunities. One final defensive stand at the end of the game by ONU sealed an 11-10 victory for the guests in the regular season finale.
Capital (9-6, 5-3 OAC) collected more than 10 minutes of penalties with two non-releasable calls going against the Crusaders in the game. That led to nine extra-man opportunities for the Polar Bear on which four they converted. This swing of momentum led to the Polar Bears erasing a four-goal lead that Capital took out of the first quarter.
Bernlohr Stadium had the home side on its feet when it opened the game with five unanswered goals to begin the contest. Junior Ryan Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) began the scoring with a rocket shot from the right wing 1:14 into the contest and less than one minute later sophomore C.J. Hughes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills) joined him in the scoring column.
Brennan O'Callaghan (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) then scored twice to double up Capital's lead. His first came from an entry from the left side of the attacking zone when he finished a close-range shot off. His second came from a feed by junior Barrett Naugle (Champion, Pa./Greensburg Central) which he sniped above the goaltender's left shoulder.
Hughes scored once again to add to the run, but the first of Ohio Northern's man-up goals got the guests on the board and made the score 5-1 heading into the first break.
Just before the end of the quarter, Naugle was whistled for a cross check penalty that kept him in the box for two minutes. Just over a minute into the penalty, ONU's Nicholas Groves fed into a stretch of six consecutive scores. Capital killed off the remainder of the non-releasable penalty, but Patrick Moran and Anthony Pavone added even-strength goals a little more than one minute apart from one another to make a one-goal game.
Capital was then hit with its third non-releasable penalty of the game when Nick Bonsignore was flagged for an illegal body check, which Cameron Marous scored on 1:02 into the penalty.
Despite the three full-time penalties, Capital never surrendered more than one goal in any of them.
Shane Olsen and O'Callaghan swapped goals toward the end of the half, which fed a stretch of nearly four minutes in which Ohio Northern showed a slew of fake attempts and wide shots, which led to a 6-6 tie going into halftime.
Ohio Northern notched the first two goals of the second half less than one minute from one another before Hughes helped Cap battle back into it with his third goal of the game. O'Callaghan fed Hughes a bounce pass from behind the cage and Hughes sent it home to make for an 8-7 score.
ONU responded, but then Capital took advantage on a man-up chance. Adam Rieger tossed a well-timed and placed pass to senior Teddy Crites (Waukee, Iowa/Waukee) for the tally to keep the game a one-goal affair. However, another Capital penalty gave Ohio Northern yet another man-up opportunity and the Polar Bears converted when Marous scored with 1:27 remaining in the quarter.
O'Callaghan scored his fourth goal of the game after the clock surpassed the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter, which induced a game of keep-away in an effort to kill the clock. With the score 11-10, Capital had multiple chances at the end of the game but Crites slung his shot high and O'Callaghan had his point-blank shot denied, leaving 44 seconds left on the clock. Junior Christopher Yeager then caused a timely turnover behind the Capital cage, which Connor Ryan picked up and launched upfield with 13 seconds to go, however, the Crusaders were unable to get the last shot off as the Ohio Northern defense made one final stand to cause an errant pass to end the game.
O'Callaghan led the Crusaders with four goals and an assist, while Hughes ended the day with three scores. Senior goaltender Cole Palmby (Delaware, Ohio/Delaware) made nine saves compared to his counterpart, Alex Pizarro, who made 10.
Bonsignore led the defensive front with seven ground balls and one caused turnover.
Sophomore Tyler Faig (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) won 13-of-23 faceoffs on the X for Cap.
Despite the loss, Capital has still found a place in the OAC Men's Lacrosse Tournament. Otterbein University lost to John Carroll University on Saturday afternoon, leaving the Crusaders and Cardinals in a tie for the final of four playoff spots. Because Capital defeated the Cardinals in their regular season matchup, Capital earns the spot based on the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Capital will serve as the No. 4 seed in the upcoming tournament and will face an opening-round contest with John Carroll in University Heights, Ohio. That game will be played on Wednesday, May 2 at Don Schula Stadium. The time will be announced later. Please visit athletics.capital.edu for more information.