COLUMBUS, Ohio — Figuring out how to get its scorers loose proved to be a tough task for the Loyola Maryland men's lacrosse team Sunday in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Ohio Stadium.
The play of Ohio State goalkeeper Tom Carey had a lot to do with that.
The Greyhounds, who had scored in double digits in all but one game this season, outshot third-seeded Ohio State 44-22 but lost, 7-4.
Loyola finished the season 10-6 while the Buckeyes improved to 14-4 and will play Duke at noon Saturday in the second round.
"I think we got a lot of good looks," sophomore attacker Pat Spencer said. "We just didn't bury them today. Most of the games we bury them, but today we ran into a hot goaltender."
Spencer has been at the center of much of the Greyhounds' offense all year after producing 27 goals and 55 assists during the regular season.
Against the Buckeyes, he was held to one goal as Carey made 12 saves.
Tre Leclaire, meanwhile, scored three goals including a pair in the third quarter, for Ohio State. His score with 4:11 left in the quarter gave the Buckeyes a 6-4 lead.
"I thought both teams really came out here and battled, and while we're not happy with the result, I felt whoever came out of this game was going to battle-tested for the next round," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "They'll be ready for the next one based on today. The first thing you do after a game like this is thank your seniors.
"We really try to push the ball in transition and he made some very good saves early on. I don't think we're going to pull the reins back on our guys, but after [Carey] stuffed us a couple times, we just didn't want them getting into an up-and-down game. But I don't think they did anything we weren't prepared for today. We got some pretty good looks in transition and I'd have a hard time telling them not to take those looks."
The Buckeyes led 2-0 heading into the second quarter after getting goals from Leclaire with 8:09 to go in the first quarter and Colin Chell with 3:44 left in the period.
The Greyhounds cut their deficit to 2-1 with 11:49 left in the second quarter when Romar Dennis picked up a rebound after a shot by Zack Sirico and scored.
After a goal by Ohio State's Austin Shanks made it 3-1 with 10:23 to go before halftime, Loyola's Jared Mintzlaff cut it to 3-2 with 7:01 left in the second quarter.
Both teams seemed on the verge of getting untracked early in the third quarter, but the Greyhounds never were able to get over the hump.
The Buckeyes made it 4-2 with 12:37 left in the period on a goal by Eric Fannell.
Then with 10:29 to go in the third, Spencer scored his only goal on a wrap-around from 8 yards out.
Ohio State answered with 9:21 to go in the third when Leclaire scored off a pass from Jack Jasinski from 9 yards out for a 5-3 lead.
The Greyhounds cut it to 5-4 with 8:48 left in the third on a wrap-around goal by Sirico.
Jasinski added a goal with 12 seconds left to complete the scoring for the Buckeyes.
"Our defense the past couple games has been jelling together and working together, and we knew it was going to be a battle and a physical game," senior defenseman Jack Carrigan said. "We made the plays we could and stopped them when we could. Leclaire's a very versatile player. He's a big, powerful guy, but it's not just one guy, [Ohio State has] a very strong offense."