By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second time in program history and first time since 2015, Capital University Men's Lacrosse completed an undefeated Ohio Athletic Conference regular season and won the regular season conference title.
The Crusaders came into Saturday's game with at least a share of the title locked up and the No. 1 seed in next week's OAC Tournament but a 16-10 win over the University of Mount Union sealed the deal for Capital in terms of the outright championship. The win was Capital's 15th in a row.
After a defensive first five minutes of the contest, senior Ryan Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) opened the scoring on Senior Day with a score off a feed from Talbott Gottwals (Columbia, Md./Atholon) at the 9:56 mark. Mount Union tied the game two minutes later but the Crusaders then built a 4-1 lead with another goal from Rampi and scores by Gottwals and CJ Hughes (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills).
Hunter Holt scored for Mount Union with just a minute until the end of the first quarter and Alek Kungle cut Capital's lead to one with 24 seconds left in the quarter. With only five seconds until the horn though, Hughes buried his second of the game to restore a two-goal Capital lead.
The Purple Raiders scored first to open the second quarter but junior Luke Wyatt (Springboro, Ohio/Springboro) nabbed Capital's first of the period two minutes later to start a 3-0 run for the Crusaders. Gottwals and Rampi were the other two scorers on the run and Capital led 8-4 with 8:08 until the half. Mount Union scored to make it 8-5 but Hughes buried his third of the game to complete Capital's first-half scoring. Mount Union's final score of the first came with only 21 second remaining.
In the third, the Crusaders outscored Mount Union 4-1 with Gottwals, Rampi and Hughes all adding to their totals as Capital took a six-goal lead into the final period. Both teams scored three goals each in the final 15 minutes as Capital iced the historic win.
As a team, Capital outshot the Purple Raiders 50-35 and had a 31-28 advantage in ground balls. Capital also had only 14 turnovers to Mount Union's 25.
Rampi tied the Capital single-game record of 10 total points with five goals and five assists while Hughes had five scores and three assists for eight points. Gottwals finished with four goals and an two assists for six points. Senior Barrett Naugle (Champion, Pa./Greensburg Central) recorded two assists and Carter McCormick (Horseheads, N.Y./Horseheads) registered a helper as well.
In goal, senior T.J. Johnson (Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) made eight saves and reached the 200 career saves milestone as just the second player in program history to do so.
As the top seed in the OAC Tournament, the Crusaders will host the semifinals and finals of the four-team tournament. Capital's opponent is still to be determined but the semifinal game will be played on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. in Bernlohr Stadium.