By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – In a rematch of the 2017 Ohio Athletic Conference championship game, Capital University and John Carroll University Men's Lacrosse met once again inside Don Shula Stadium but this time to open the conference slate. The pair of preseason favorites engaged in a dogfight but a strong first quarter by the host Blue Streaks made the difference in a 13-9 Capital loss.
While John Carroll (5-2, 1-0 OAC) kept Capital (3-4, 0-1 OAC) scoreless and went on to score five times in the opening frame, the Crusaders and Blue Streaks were deadlocked in their output from the second quarter on. In each of the final three quarters Capital either matched JCU's offense or surpassed it, but not to the extent to which a comeback could be built.
Outside of faceoffs won, the statistics between the two teams were at least close in proximity to one another in the first quarter. John Carroll executed well and shot with great accuracy with five unanswered goals in the first stanza with all tallies coming from a different Blue Streak player.
Senior Brennan O'Callaghan began a run of three consecutive goals, scoring twice in succession before junior midfielder Barrett Naugle joined in with Cap's third tally. The run was answered by a comparable streak, which began when Skyler Blake scored to make for a 6-3 game. Nick Bonsignore was called for an illegal body check, resulting in an immediate two-minute, non-releasable penalty. JCU took advantage of the opportunity with Colin Corcoran's man-up goal just 14 seconds later. However, JCU would be called for a penalty of its own to nullify their earlier advantage.
Cap outscored JCU in the third quarter, 4-3, and even saw history made for the Purple and White program. Prior to the milestone moment, Carson Paull and C.J. Hughes joined Naugle on the scoring front to get the Crusaders to within three goals with 9:26 remaining in the third. John Carroll responded with two goals, leading up to Brennan O'Callaghan (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) doing someone only one other at Capital did before him by just mere hours.
Just short of hitting 3:00 on the clock in the third, O'Callaghan took advantage of a breakaway opportunity and hit for his 200th career goal. He became the first Capital men's lacrosse player to hit that milestone and joined Kara Hines of the Capital women's lacrosse team to do so, male or female. Ironically, Hines hit 200 career goals earlier that same day against John Carroll at home.
Though the deficit was just four goals entering the final quarter of play, Capital was only able to keep pace with John Carroll. The Blue Streaks scored the first two goals of the period to increase its lead to 13-7. They also held Capital out of the scoring column until late in the quarter when O'Callaghan tallied his fourth goal of the game. Only Talbott Gottwals found the back of the net for the rest of the game.
John Carroll's Logan Calhoun led both sides with six points behind three goals and three assists.
Senior goaltender Cole Palmby made seven saves while his counterpart, Jacob Betz, made six.
The road following the Crusaders' stop in University Heights does not get any easier when they continue their OAC run with a road contest at Otterbein University on Friday, March 30. The rivals will square off at Memorial Stadium in Westerville and begin play at 7 p.m.