By Tim Glon
BEXLEY — Ohio Northern held off a late Capital charge to post a 10-9 victory in the semifinals of the 2019 Ohio Athletic Conference Men's Lacrosse Tournament on Tuesday night at Bernlohr Stadium.
The fourth-seeded Polar Bears (13-4 overall) will advance to the OAC Tournament finals for the first time in school history and will play the winner of Wednesday's other semifinal contest between second-seeded Baldwin Wallace and third-seeded John Carroll on Saturday.
The top-seeded Crusaders end their season with a 15-2 record.
ONU struck quickly, as junior Kevin Giles (Williamsburg, Va./Warhill) found the net just 49 seconds into the game and junior Patrick Moran (Austin, Tex./Bowie) scored 53 seconds later to make it 2-0 Polar Bears just 1:42 into the contest.
Moran made it 3-0 off an assist from Giles with 9:22 left in the opening period.
After a pair of goals by CU, Giles made it 4-2 off an assist from senior Anthony Pavone (Bainbridge/Kenston) after 15 minutes of play.
Sophomore Joe O'Connell (Fishers, Ind.) broke a 4-all tie with a goal at the 6:54 mark of the first half.
Pavone scored with .8 of a second left in the half to lead 6-5 at intermission.
"The quick start was hugh for us," ONU head coach Nat St. Laurent said. "I was proud of the way we hung in there and had an answer for each time Capital made a run. If we can continue this intensity and play with confidence, we could have the possibility to make a run in the post season."
The third quarter was a defensive battle, but Ohio Northern extended its lead when junior Cameron Marous (Brecksville) scored with 2:03 left in the period to make it a 7-5 game.
Marous scored a man-up goal at the 11:25 mark to increase the Polar Bear lead to 8-5.
CU quickly answered, but senior Nicholas Groves (Fishers, Ind./Chatard) made it 9-6 Polar Bears with a goal with 7:15 to play in the game.
Capital answered with two goals just 36 seconds apart to pull within 9-8 with 3:21 remaining.
It took just 24 seconds for the Polar Bears to respond, increasing their lead to 10-8 with 2:57 left on a goal by junior Chris DiMarco (Worthington).
The Crusaders got within 10-9 with 52.2 seconds left and won the ensuing faceoff, but the Polar Bears forced a turnover with 10.2 seconds left and ran out the clock to win the game.
Northern outshot Capital 42-32 and senior Alex Pizarro (Boonesboro, Md.) had seven saves in goal for the Polar Bears.