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May 27, 2017

JT Blubaugh

Tom Carey

Tre Leclaire

Nick Myers

Boston, Massachusetts

THE MODERATOR: Coach, your opening thoughts on the game?

COACH MYERS: I appreciate that. Just extremely proud. I think that specific to the game, we got in at halftime and really just needed to take a hard look at ourselves and settle down. I think we've been in that situation before. We've been in a lot of different situations this season. We just chatted and said, listen, we're good to close the gap in the third and win it in the fourth. It just felt like that was a calming sense across the locker room. We all looked at each other like, yeah, we can do that.

We kind of chipped away at the third quarter. Talked about settling down offensively. We felt like when we did, we'd have the opportunity to kind of make them work a bit more and use Jake to an advantage. We felt like that really came to fruition in the second half.

Big picture, it hasn't obviously sunk in. We want to finish the deal, but being here championship weekend, the hosts here at Foxboro have been amazing. We're grateful for that. On behalf of our administration, Gene Smith, Dean (Inaudible), Ohio State, we're just really thankful for the opportunity to compete for a National Championship on Monday.

Q. Tre, you guys had two separate four-goal runs in the second half after being down 7-3 and even 8-3 with that first Towson goal. What went through your guys' minds in the locker room at halftime? Was it just all composure to keep composed?
TRE LECLAIRE: Like Coach said, in the first half we felt a little rushed. We felt like we needed to do something. We came out in the second half, and we said we each need to calm down, take a deep breath and run our offense, and it worked.

Q. Tom, you seemed like in the first half after a couple of those Towson goals you kind of tried to fire up your defense. What did you see from them in the second half that they got so much better?
TOM CAREY: I think Towson is a great team, and we had to come out firing. I thought we did. There were a few schemes that I felt like that we could have handled better. So just communicating through those things. But I thought the guys in front of me and across the whole field did a great job today, and that probably shows in the score.

Q. JT, Tre kind of mentioned you felt rushed early. Was there anything else that was kind of contributing to the eight turnovers that you had in the first half, and just the out of syncness of the offense?
JT BLUBAUGH: I think it's a big stage, and there are a lot of guys that hadn't been in that situation. I think to a degree there were a little bit of nerves, but we always talk about really weathering the storm. When we're down and not in rhythm, like you said, just stack plays on top of each other, and whatever happens next. If you can't score, you can't get a four-goal deficit back in one play. You go one at a time, and that's what we did.

Q. JT, that tenth goal you guys scored had a little bit of a timeout because the refs were obviously reviewing the goal. In that huddle, what was the discussion going on?
JT BLUBAUGH: Yeah, so I wasn't aware that there was replay in Lacrosse. That was new for us, I think. That's never happened. But we were pretty certain we scored the goal, and the conversation was just what's the next play that we're going to make to win this game?

Q. Tre, how did you approach Towson's defense? Because they are very physical. They throw great checks that create a lot of turnovers. But you guys did a pretty good job of keeping the ball and taking the opportunities that they gave you. Did you have to change anything that you were going to do going into it?
TRE LECLAIRE: In the first half, I think I was rushing it a lot and causing double teams and running into turnovers. Halftime just took a deep breath and just looked back and we just have to play our game. I just came out there and just took my opportunities when I had them, and ended up being -- yeah. Credit to their defense, they're a great team. They've got two D-middies that were running the whole game. We knew in the third and fourth they were going to get tired because they were the only guys running defense, so we took that to our advantage.

Q. JT, Tom, can you guys talk about your experience as seniors, and talk about your other seniors that you guys played with?
TOM CAREY: Sure. I think we saw it today and we talked about it all week, staying in the moment. I think as you get older in the program you start to understand how crucial that is. I think we did a pretty good job of passing it down. That obviously starts with our team, Coach Myers and the other coaches just passing that on to the captains and throughout the entire team. I think that was huge for us today, and I think that really helped.

JT BLUBAUGH: Yeah, we talk about it all the time, how much we care about each other and how that kind of lifts us through what you just saw. A four-point deficit, easy to walk in the locker room and throw the gloves down and whatever. But we stuck together because we love each other. We're a family. Not just the senior class, but the whole team. Throughout this whole run I've just been asking all the underclassmen and everyone, just give me another week. Before we went out after halftime, I said give me two more days, and they did. It's so special. I don't know what I'm going to say halftime on Monday because it's the last one. Got me all the way to the finish line, and that's just, you know, I can't thank them enough. We're ready to go and excited for Monday.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.

Q. Coach, with your midfield, before JT and Johnny, the midfield got one goal and two assists, and that was pretty much from the D and defensive midfield and Withers. What was your game plan going through to attack that Towson midfield? Was it going to be the offense running through the attacks like you saw maybe on film against Syracuse and Penn State?
COACH MYERS: Yeah, listen, Towson had a great year, and I should have mentioned that in my opening statement. They've had a remarkable run. Coach and the staff have done an amazing job with that group. And defensively they're as stout as anyone in the country. What we wanted to do is try to be disruptive. In some ways I think we disrupted ourselves. The sub-game, the face-off game, we got a goal on it early, which kind of entices you to do it more. But ultimately what it did is put us in early possessions and quick possessions. I think that was problematic as the game went on. Tre pressed a little bit, Jasinski pressed a little bit. These are younger guys that if it works, great; if it doesn't, you're back playing defense. We just felt if we could keep their face-off or maybe some of their offensive middies in the field and be disruptive without letting them settle into their defensive front, that would be a positive. In some cases it was. But coming out of the third quarter, we really need to give our defense a break. So we backed off on that a little bit, and needed to establish a little more rhythm and tempo.

Q. Championship weekend is obviously new for your program, and no matter who wins the next game, you're going up against another coach that's pretty familiar with the quick turnaround of one day in between the two games. How well prepared do you think your team is for making the quick change with the stakes so high as well?
COACH MYERS: We've done it twice this year. So this will be our third time playing on two days' rest. We scheduled the Midwest Classic, played a challenging Marquette team on Friday, and turned around with Bellarmine Sunday and played Maryland in the Big Ten championship after playing Hopkins on a Thursday. Our men very familiar with what that feels like. It's not easy. But at the end of the day, this team is unique in that they really focus. We're not going to talk about the stage and the moment. We're just going to talk about what we need to do tonight. Right now they need a great stretch, they need to shower, and we're going to have business as usual. So the experience thing is what it is. In my mind it's a little bit overrated. We wouldn't be here today talking if we were having that conversation. So for our manage, we'll say we're chasing our best Lacrosse. Told them that before the game. We're looking to get our best stuff when it matters most, and that's what we're going to be chasing on Monday.

Q. You lost the face-off battle in the first half, and Jake comes out and wins a couple against Woodall, and Woodall gets hurt in the second half. How important was that second half face-off battle to really changing the tide in this game and giving you guys some momentum there?
COACH MYERS: I think it was significant. Jake, looking at the stats here, five for five in the fourth quarter, five for eight in the third, and we only lost three face-offs in the second half. So Jake's been the kind of guy that's been carrying us in that sense all year. And that's what I told them at halftime: We've got Jake, Tommy's seeing the ball well. We just got to chip away at this. The team had a lot of confidence that if we did that, we were going to get right back in it. In the third quarter there was probably a seven- or eight-minute period of time where I thought we had the ball the entire time. Once we can settle in and establish that, that's where I think our men get a lot of confidence.

Credit to Jake, credit to his wings for just being able to get the ball down on our offense.

Q. This might be a little bit of a stretch, but at all did this game kind of bring back any memories of your 19 goals from the summer? Kind of a team getting out to a hot start, and doing a lot of things well, and you guys kind of having to settle into what you do again and working your way back into it and eventually take over late?
COACH MYERS: I appreciate the question. Certainly not helping my stress level as a young coach. But, no, you know, I think as a coach you evolve. I've got a great coaching staff and great senior leadership. I think this team has been seasoned in a lot of different ways, so you go back to that Maryland game we had in the regular season, and we were down 7-2 against a pretty tough Maryland team. We came back and won that game in overtime.

So I think that you can reflect with your group on, hey, we've been here in this situation. We know what we need to do. That was a very similar game to what we had today. We were just out of sync in the first half offensively. Putting too much pressure on our D. So I think in your mind as a coach, you just need to go to bed at night and have that checklist, okay, if this happens, what do we need to do here. We thought about going with the ten-man, we thought about pressing with short sticks. We thought about doing a couple things that if we hadn't scored early in the third quarter we wouldn't need to have done to create tempo. But because we scored a couple goals early, we just stayed with our original game plan, which was ideal.

Q. You already mentioned familiarity with playing with one day's rest, and you'll probably have familiarity with Denver or with Maryland. Is that an advantage for you guys, or do you look at it as an advantage for playing these teams once or twice already?
COACH MYERS: Not really, no. I think bottom line is they're very familiar with us. We're familiar with them. Welcome all-comers. I thought, we're going to get somebody, a great team. Both coaches have done a remarkable job coaching in the Big Ten (indiscernible). But Coach Tierney has been amazing to me as a young coach. We've been playing Denver as long as I've been part of Ohio State. 14 years, 15 years we've been playing against Denver and Coach Brown. So have a lot of respect for those coaches, those staffs and their players.

We've got to get out of here and be treated to a really good game. It's going to happen. For us, it's going to be kind of diving back into the scouting reports that you had. In Maryland, obviously, we played twice. So you have a really good sense of some of their keys. At the same time, you have to make sure you focus on yourselves as well.

Q. Coach, can you talk about Lukas Buckley? He starts the game second line middy. At some point in the second half you put him into the first line of attack. You initiate a lot behind the cage, and the offense seemed to be moving well with him on the field. Can you talk about him, when you kind of rejiggered the offense later as the game progressed?
COACH MYERS: Yeah, absolutely, he's a huge Pats fan, so I thought if I put him in in the stadium, something good might happen. No, I'm kidding. He's been a red-shirt freshman, he's played mid attack. He's played midfield and been a hybrid for us. And having the flexibility -- and I have to give Coach Ross a lot of credit with Jack Jasinski, Buckley, Chell, you've got three players that we've interchanged the last six to eight weeks at both back and midfield. And Jack I felt was pressing a little bit. He had four or five turnovers. He was doing some good things but we needed to settle him down. So we put Lukas in. I thought one of the big plays of the game was when Lukas scored that penalty, and dodged really hard through the penalty. We came in, scored them a man up. Tre took that outside shot, but it was a toughness play. He got to the middle of the field, put his shoulders down. A big kid in a big moment like that decides to be bold, you just couldn't be prouder. That's what we say the Buckeyes do. And I was so happy for him and for the team. You know, one other guy I want to mention too that I think is getting overlooked is Johnny Kelly. He's a guy, if you watched today, Ryan Terefenko has been our warrior defensive midfield for us all year. And Johnny Kelly two weeks ago was asked to play a position he hadn't played all year. He started in a different spot for three years, and we don't win that game today without Johnny Kelly. Efforts like that, when you get players to make decisions and put the team in front of everything else this time of year makes you incredibly proud as a coach. So excited, and looking forward to Monday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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