By Tim Glon
ADA — Ohio Northern outscored Otterbein 7-2 in the final 21 minutes of the game to post a 13-8 Ohio Athletic Conference men's lacrosse victory on Wednesday night at Dial-Roberson Stadium.
The Polar Bears improve to 12-3 overall and are 6-2 in the OAC, while the Cardinals fall to 11-5, 6-2.
Senior Anthony Pavone (Bainbridge/Kenston) had his 12th career hat trick to lead ONU, who had nine different players score goals.
Senior Mitch Groves (Fishers, Ind./Chatard) broke a 6-all tie, scoring an unassisted goal with 6:08 left in the third quarter.
Junior Samuel Neff (Gainesville, Va./Trinity Christian) made it 8-6 with a goal just five seconds ahead of the third quarter buzzer.
Sophomore Joe O'Connell (Fishers, Ind.) scored 1:16 into the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 9-6.
Otterbein scored just 1:05 later to pull within 9-7, but freshman Ethan Falsone (Orchard Park, N.Y.) scored his first career goal to make it 10-7 with 11:38 left in the game.
Freshman Ben Gawronski (Dublin/Scioto) scored with 6:08 left to put ONU ahead 11-7.
Otterbein pulled within 11-8 with a goal just 13 seconds later.
Pavone completed his hat trick with the final two goals of the game, scoring at 3:12 and with 34 seconds left, to seal the victory.
Ohio Northern out shot Otterbein 40-28. OU won 17-of-24 face offs and had a 41-36 advantage in ground balls.
Groves had six ground balls, junior Javon Smith (Baltimore, Md./Dulaney) had three gound balls and four caused turnovers and senior Alex Pizarro (Boonsboro, Md.) had 10 saves in goal to lead the ONU defense.
The Polar Bears will wrap up their regular season on Saturday with a 7 pm road game at John Carroll.
ONU could clinch a spot in next week's 4-team OAC Tournament with a victory at JCU.