May 2: The Quest for the Title Begins at John Carroll

Pictured: C.J. Hughes (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)
Pictured: C.J. Hughes (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)

By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 2018 Ohio Athletic Conference Men's Lacrosse Tournament is set to begin on Wednesday, May 2, which earmarks the day the Crusaders begins its quest for its first conference title. Capital University will begin that journey with a road trip to University Heights, Ohio where top-seed John Carroll University awaits in a rematch of last year's OAC Semifinals.


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THE WHEN AND WHERE

No. 4 seeded Capital University will play No. 1 seed John Carroll University on Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. from inside Don Shula Stadium (University Heights, Ohio).

Don Shula Stadium
1 John Carroll Boulevard, University Heights, Ohio, 44118

HOW WE GOT HERE

Capital enters this matchup as the number four seed behind a 9-6 overall record and 5-3 OAC ledger. The Crusaders won four straight contests leading up the regular season finale which they lost to Ohio Northern University, 11-10. All four of those wins prior were by double digits and three of those games the Crusaders scored more than 20 goals.

All of Capital's losses have been by four or fewer goals and three have been a single goal, including its last two.

Capital is led by the league's leading goal scorer, senior attackman Brennan O'Callaghan. He has scored 65 goals and tallied 22 assists (87 points). Last week he was named OAC Offensive Player of the Week and broke the Capital single-game scoring record with eight goals against Wilmington College. Next on the scoring sheet is sophomore C.J. Hughes with his 47 goals and 20 helpers.

On the defensive end, Cole Palmby will man the posts behind a 9.80 goals-against average, 129 saves, and .500 save percentage. In front of him awaits sophomore defenseman Connor Ryan with 44 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers, and long stick midfielder Nick Bonsignore who has 19 caused turnovers and 41 ground balls. Possessions begin with sophomore faceoff specialist Tyler Faig, who is 171-for-330 (.518) on the X marking the third-most wins and fourth-best faceoff percentage in the OAC.

THE OPPONENT - JOHN CARROLL

The Blue Streaks enter this week with an 11-4 overall record and a 7-1 OAC mark as regular season champions. They have won their last four games including a regular season finale win over Otterbein University, 12-4, and an impressive 9-7 road victory over Ohio Northern University. Two of their four wins were with 20-plus goals. They have won six of their last seven with their lone loss coming in double overtime to Baldwin Wallace University, 12-11.

Skyler Blake is the team's leading scorer with 39 goals and 18 points (57 points) though Brendan Whitty is close behind with 33 goals and 55 points. He does have the edge with 22 assists to lead the team. Defenseman Clayton Karam leads the team and is second in the OAC with 41 caused turnovers and has a vast lead in the category over the next nearest teammate. He also has a team-best 80 ground balls, double that of the next Blue Streak and fifth-most in the OAC. Between the pipes, Jacob Betz has allowed 82 goals, made 83 saves, and possesses a 7.48 goals-against average while saving 50.3 percentage of shots taken against him.

On the X a pair of Blue Streaks share the responsibility of getting things going. Josh Plarr and Braden Kaib even split reps on the faceoff, though Plarr has the higher win percentage. Plarr is 98-for-172 (.570) while Kaib is 83-for-168 (.494).

TEAM COMPARISON

CAP

 

JCU

221

GOALS

209

109

ASSISTS

151

330

POINTS

360

488

GB

485

224

TO

259

162

CT

153

200-404 (.495)

FO (%)

188-365 (.515)

59/48:00

PEN/MIN

52/44:30

19-59

MAN UP

29-61

136

GOALS ALL.

112

147

SAVES

121

 

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Capital and John Carroll met on March 24 at Don Shula Stadium and the Blue Streaks came away with a 13-9 victory. JCU logged the first five goals, shutting out Capital in the first quarter. Capital came back with three to open the second quarter, but the Blue Streaks responded with three of their own. Cap picked up one goal on its opponent in the third but was never able to get any closer than three goals. Brennan O'Callaghan scored four times for Capital while Logan Calhoun tallied a hat trick in both the goal and assist column for JCU.

THE HISTORY

The Crusaders and Blue Streaks have met eight times dating back to the 2014 season. John Carroll holds the series advantage, 6-2, and has won the last five matchups. They have met three times in the OAC Tournament with two wins going to JCU. These two teams met in the OAC Championship last year, where the Blue Streaks defeated Capital, 11-8, at Don Shula Stadium. Capital has yet to beat JCU in Don Shula Stadium in four tries. The last time Capital defeated JCU was in the 2015 OAC Tournament semifinals by a score of 8-6 en route to the Crusaders' first OAC championship appearance.

ADMISSION INFORMATION

Single Event - $8

Seniors (62) / Military  - $6

OAC Students - Free

Non-OAC Students - $3

OAC Lifetime Passes will be honored for all championships (regular-season passes will not)