This past week, the Buckeyes traveled to Tucson, AZ to compete in the National Collegiate Club Championship after earning their bid via another Great Lakes division championship.
As the fifth seed, the Buckeyes opened up play against 12th-seeded Virginia Tech. Wanting to start off on the right foot, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 9-2 halftime lead and never looked back, with the final score being 17-5. Sophomore Drew Wilson led the scoring with 6 goals, senior Youssef Azzazy added 5 goals, sophomore Lance Bockbrader had a hat trick, and the junior trio of Robert DiSalle, Jake Good, and Alex Puthoff each contribute single goals. Senior Ryan Shepard had 8 saves and sophomore Alex Rabe had 3 saves in the win.
In the quarterfinals, the Buckeyes were matched up against an experienced Cal Golden Bears team. After keeping it close for the first few minutes, the experience and depth of Cal proved too much for the Buckeyes to handle, falling 3-15. Sophomore Lance Bockbrader led the way with 2 goals and senior Nick Hallett added one more. Shepard had 9 saves and Rabe had 1 save in the loss. This loss would send the Buckeyes to the 5th through 8th semifinal round.
The Buckeyes’ next opponent would be the Tritons of UC San Diego. A closely contested game led to a 4-4 halftime score. In the third quarter, the Buckeyes would jump out to a 7-5 lead but could not hold on, and fell 7-11 to the Tritons. Bockbrader again led the way with a hat trick, and Azzazy, DiSalle, Hallett, and Puthoff all added single goals. Shepard had 7 saves to anchor the defense in the contest. To end the tournament, the Buckeyes would be competing in the 7th place contest.
In what is becoming a yearly tradition for the Buckeyes, their final game of Nationals would be against their biggest rival, the University of Michigan. A back and forth game would end 9-9 after four quarters, sending the rivalry to overtime. Fatigue became a factor and neither team was able to score in the first two overtime periods, and then graduate student Drace Penley hit the game winner on the first possession of the third overtime period to end the game. Penley had 4 goals in the win, Alex Puthoff and junior Jake Good both chipped in two, and Wilson and Bockbrader each had one. Senior Ryan Shepard capped off his career with 15 saves to earn Player of the Game honors.
The 7th place finish marks the third top 10 finish for the Buckeyes, finishing fifth in 2014 and sixth in 2017.