Venus Williams, right, hugs opponent and sister Serena Williams after defeating Serena in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., Monday, March 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Crystal Chatham)INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — One sister is rusty, just beginning a comeback after having a baby. The other is rejuvenated at 37, back in the world’s top 10.An unwanted rivalry with roots going back 20 years had its latest chapter Monday night at the BNP Paribas Open, with Venus Williams beating sister Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4 in the third round for her first win over her younger sibling since 2014.It was their earliest meeting since a 17-year-old Venus beat 16-year-old Serena in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. They played Monday night for the first time since last year’s Australian Open final, when a pregnant Serena won her 23rd Grand Slam title.“That’s going to be a huge story, maybe the story of the year,” men’s No. 1 Roger Federer said of Serena’s comeback. “Hopefully, she decides to play a lot and enjoy herself in the process and get back to who knows how high? It almost doesn’t matter, but it would just be amazing to see her do it now.”But this night belonged to Aunt Venus.She closed out the 1 ½-hour match on her second match point when Serena’s forehand service return sailed long. It was one of Serena’s 41 unforced errors, including 17 on the forehand side.“I’m just lucky that I’ve played more matches than her right now,” Venus said on court afterward. “She just came roaring back. I had chances for the match to be over, but it wasn’t.”Venus broke Serena at love in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead in the first set. She emphatically closed out the 36-minute set with back-to-back aces that clocked 108 mph and 120 mph.“I definitely know her well, but she definitely played a little bit better than she normally does,” Serena said. “She served very consistently. She just did everything great.”Venus raced out to leads of 3-0 and 5-2 in the second set. Serena’s shot went wide to set up her sister’s first match point. But Serena cracked a backhand winner down the line for deuce. Venus’ forehand was long and she double-faulted away the game to make it 5-3.Serena held to trail 5-4 with an ace and a clean winner.Venus faced two break points in the next game, but got bailed out on Serena’s consecutive forehand errors to get to deuce. Venus hung on from there to end their 29th meeting.“Missing shots that I never miss, and so close,” Serena said. “At least they’re in the margin. I’m getting there. It’s not exactly where I want to be, but I’ll get there eventually.”Serena still owns a 17-12 advantage overall, although Venus evened their WTA Tour head-to-head meetings at 7-7.“I really abhor every time we play, but I do enjoy the battle when I’m out there,” Serena said last weekend. “It’s just afterwards I don’t like it as much.”It was obvious at the net when they greeted each other with a one-arm hug and neither smiled. Venus did her usual victory pirouette, but still didn’t smile.A stone-faced Serena exited the court to cheers, pointing her right index finger in the air.Serena was back on the WTA Tour for the first time since ending a 14-month absence during which she gave birth to daughter Alexis Jr. and married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who sat courtside.“It’s good that I don’t have to say that this is the best tennis I have ever played and I lost,” Serena said. “My room for improvement is incredible.”Typically, the sisters wouldn’t meet until the later rounds of a tournament. But 36-year-old Serena was unseeded in this event. Venus is seeded eighth.Serena won her first two matches, while Venus received a first-round bye and won her opening match.“I think she’s going to be speeding back to the seedings and to winning tournaments sooner than later,” Venus said.The Indian Wells match was 17 years in the making.The sisters were supposed to play each other in the desert in 2001. A packed stadium awaited their semifinal but shortly before the match was to begin Venus withdrew with a right knee injury.Serena went on to play Kim Clijsters in the final. Venus and her father Richard were greeted with boos as they made their way to their seats, with some fans believing Richard had been behind Venus’ withdrawal.Richard Williams said he heard racial slurs from the crowd and he paused to shake his fist at them. Serena was booed throughout the final before she beat Clijsters in three sets for her second title in the desert.After that, the sisters boycotted Indian Wells for 14 years. Serena came back in 2015 only to withdraw with a knee injury before her semifinal, and Venus followed the next year.Both sisters have been greeted warmly by fans each time they’ve played here since that turbulent time.“It never crossed my mind,” Venus said.
Hot Takedown More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (June 23, 2015), we discuss the knockout stages of the women’s World Cup, preview the NBA draft and discuss Alex Rodriguez’s monster season. What do the stats say about his place in history, and how big is the asterisk? Plus, our Significant Digit of the week: Ronda Rousey’s speedy victories.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above.Below are some links to what we discuss on this week’s show:Allison McCann on the winners and losers of the WWC group stage.This World Cup may be proving that there’s more parity in women’s soccer than we thought.Kate Fagan’s dispatch from Edmonton, Alberta, after the U.S. women defeated Colombia.FiveThirtyEight ranks the top 50 players in the NBA draft.Nylon Calculus wonders if there’s a simpler way to evaluate rising basketball talent.FanGraphs evaluates A-Rod’s career and what to make of his recent resurgence.Significant Digit: The 1:42 differential between Ronda Rousey’s fastest win and her next opponent’s. Video Excerpt: How Big Is A-Rod’s Asterisk? If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.
Then-sophomore forward Claudia Kepler (24) fields a puck Nov. 11, 2014 during a game against Mercyhurst at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost, 3-0.Credit: Lantern File PhotoAfter a disappointing series sweep on the road against St. Cloud State, the Ohio State women’s ice hockey team (5-9-0) is preparing to travel to Vermont for a post-Thanksgiving holiday series against Boston University and Vermont.The Buckeyes are set to take part in the first-ever Windjammer Classic, a four-team invitational hosted by the Catamounts featuring three regional powers in Cornell, Boston University and Vermont. OSU will be the only team representing the Western Collegiate Hockey Association over the weekend.“I’m excited,” senior defender Cara Zubko said. “We’ve got lots of parents coming out to see us because it’s a cool place to go visit and it’s going to be fun. We’ve played out of conference before but never a tournament like this where we play two different teams in a weekend, so that’ll be fun.”Road tiltOn Saturday, OSU is slated to face Vermont for the first time in program history. The Catamounts (3-11) are losers of two straight and will face Cornell after the Buckeyes.On Sunday, the OSU will complete the series against the Boston University Terriers (10-6-0) winners of four straight and seven of their last nine. They are led by sophomore forward Rebecca Leslie, whose 21 points rank 11th in the nation.This marks the first time the Buckeyes travel to a Hockey East invitational tournament, and they recognize the special opportunity it represents.“Our league is a tough one to play in, so we definitely want to see where we compare to other leagues,” junior forward Claudia Kepler said. “We play against the top teams all the time so we want to see where we’re at against the other top teams around.”Despite the festive nature of the tournament, the team is still focused on improving its play, especially after a self-described “step back” against St. Cloud State last weekend.“I think as a staff we were pretty disappointed in how they showed up and prepared this past weekend,” coach Jenny Potter said. “No doubt in my mind that they have bought in and are working hard, it’s just the little things that make the biggest difference.”Potter lamented her team’s focus before last weekend’s series, but she remained optimistic that with another good week of practice it will be more prepared for two tough out-of-conference opponents.“We have to stay disciplined,” Potter said. “I think our team learned some lessons this past weekend. Sometimes you’ve got to learn the hard way.”HousekeepingDiscipline was the main focus at practice early in the week, as the Buckeyes allowed three power-play goals in five chances on Sunday. However, despite taking the most penalties in the WCHA, the team is more concerned with its lack of goal scoring.“We didn’t execute as well as we could have,” Kepler said. “I think together as a whole we all need to pick it up. There were a lot of chances to knock in some pucks on Saturday. We should have had four or five”As the team slips further back in the WCHA standings, its skaters are looking at this weekend as an opportunity to turn the page on the next portion of its season.“I think a couple out-of-conference games this weekend will be a good change-up for us,” Zubko said. “Play some different teams and a different style. Maybe we’ll come back with it figured out a little bit.”In addition to the program’s lessons learned after a disappointing loss, there is feeling that the short holiday week coupled with a tournament might serve to shake up the team’s mood before its final home series of the calendar year.“I’m really excited,” Zubko said. “We get to spend Thanksgiving together as a team with our coaches. Probably out of my four years this one of the trips I’m most excited about.”And the coaching staff is confident that the sweep against St. Cloud served as an adequate lesson in team preparedness.“I believe that any team you play there’s something to be learned and maybe something to be applauded,” Potter said. “So hopefully we learned our lesson and are ready for the upcoming game.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to drop the puck against Vermont at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Boston University at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
With its regular season finale win over Michigan, No. 6 Ohio State is “about as much of a lock as you can get” to play in the BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl, according to an expert. All that’s left to determine is its opponent. No. 5 Wisconsin will likely earn a berth to the Rose Bowl by way of the Big Ten’s tiebreaker rule. Wisconsin (11-1), OSU (11-1) and No. 8 Michigan State (11-1) finished the regular season tied atop the Big Ten standings. Wisconsin will likely get the nod because it is ranked highest in the BCS among the three teams. Michigan State would find itself on the outside looking in on the BCS. The Buckeyes’ opponent will likely be a team from the SEC and will be decided this weekend based on what happens in the SEC Championship game between No. 1 Auburn and No. 19 South Carolina, said Jerry Palm, BCS expert for CBS Sports. Palm said if undefeated Auburn wins, then OSU would likely play No. 7 Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Arkansas (10-2) earned that consideration by beating then-No. 5 LSU Saturday, 31-23. If South Carolina upsets the nation’s top team, it would win the SEC and earn an automatic bid to the Sugar Bowl. If Auburn loses, it would slide to the Orange Bowl, Palm said. “I like Auburn” in the SEC title game, Palm said. “There’s no reason not to. They have the best player in the country who touches the ball every single play.” The player Palm referred to is Cameron Newton, the Tigers quarterback and favorite to land the Heisman Trophy. Newton was declared eligible to play by the NCAA on Wednesday after an investigation concluded that Newton did not know his father tried to auction the quarterback to whichever school would provide cash on top of a scholarship. Both possible opponents to the Bucks would provide interesting sub-plots to the game at the Louisiana Superdome. Ryan Mallett, a former transfer from Michigan, has thrown 30 touchdown passes and compiled a 170.53 quarterback rating for the Razorbacks. A win for South Carolina on Saturday would mean an intriguing coaching matchup between Jim Tressel and Steve Spurrier. The “Old Ball Coach” and “The Senator” are on the opposite ends of the personality spectrum and would add plenty of colorful contrast to the Jan. 4 game. Also at stake would be the criticism Tressel and the Buckeyes can’t beat SEC teams in bowl games. OSU has not beaten a team from the SEC in a bowl game since the inception of the BCS in 1998. Most notably, the Buckeyes lost consecutive national championship games in 2007 and 2008 to Florida and LSU, respectively. According to ESPN.com’s projections, Wisconsin will likely take on No. 3 TCU in the Rose Bowl, barring an upset of Auburn or No. 2 Oregon. The Rose Bowl is required to take the champion of the Pac-10 unless that team is selected to the BCS Championship Game. Oregon could lose its likely spot in the National Championship only if it loses Saturday to rival Oregon State on the road.
The Ohio State men’s golf team will be looking to improve on last season’s fourth place Big Ten finish when it tees off at the Northern Intercollegiate Golf Tournament in Sugar Grove, Ill.First round play begins Friday, and the squad is looking to make its mark against the field of 15 teams who are scheduled to compete on the par 72 course at Rich Harvest Farms.Five players will be featured in the Buckeyes’ lineup competing for a team score, and one will be competing individually.Juniors Boo Timko and Grant Weaver, both of whom have been named to the 2013-2014 Big Ten Men’s Golfers to Watch List, will bring experience to the table, while newcomer Frederik Hammer, a freshman from Rungsted, Denmark, will be competing in the first collegiate tournament of his career.Rounding out the five are sophomores Tee-K Kelly and Michael Bernard, who are both entering the tournament with the momentum of strong freshman seasons, and sophomore Max Rosenthal will be competing as an individual.The tournament is set to consist of mostly non-conference teams, with Indiana being the only other Big Ten member competing. OSU finished in a fourth-place tie with the Hoosiers at the 2013 Big Ten Championships.The team are scheduled for three, 18-hole rounds Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the 7,236-yard course, with tee times beginning at 8 a.m.
Then-freshman D’Angelo Russell drives to the lane during a game against Minnesota in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. Russell announces his decision to enter the NBA Draft Wednesday.Credit: Mark Batke / Lantern photographerAfter reports surfaced Wednesday evening that Ohio State men’s basketball guard D’Angelo Russell decided to enter the NBA draft following his freshman season, Russell made it official Thursday.Speculation had run rampant for the majority of the season after the Louisville, Ky., product quickly emerged as one of the top guards in the country. He ended up winning the inaugural Jerry West Award for the nation’s top shooting guard after posting 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5 assists per game.Russell waited until just a few days before the April 26 deadline to announce his decision. He said this was entirely because of the pressure of the life-changing choice.“It was tough,” Russell said at a Thursday press conference at the Schottenstein Center. “Knowing you have the opportunity to be a pro while knowing you have the opportunity to come back and get a free education and play under coach Matta and his coaching staff, it’s a tough decision.“It’s hard to leave my brothers, and this coaching staff. I really wanted to take the time to think about my decision and the process I have to go through to be the best player I want to be.”OSU coach Thad Matta said despite any assumptions that his job was to keep Russell in Columbus, he had a large influence in pushing the guard out the door.“The other night, we sat down (with Russell and his father, Antonio), and I started the meeting with the two, and I said, ‘Hey look, I think you need to go.’ I could see the relief on his face, like ‘Oh God, thank you,’” Matta said.Matta said the clarity of how successful Russell will be at the next level was his main reason for encouraging him to leave.“As sad as I am to see him leave our program, I’m excited, because I feel in my gut … I think he has a future at the next level that’s going to be something special,” he said.Russell, according to his father, Antonio Russell, and Matta, was not brought in as a one-and-done candidate, but rather on a two-year plan.“From the first time they recruited us, coach always said he could be one and done, and I said to coach, ‘I would like him to do two or more,’” Antonio Russell said. “And he always said it from the first day, ‘He could be one and done.’ And I said, ‘I’d like him to do two years.’”D’Angelo Russell said, with the thought of weighing his professional prospects seemingly at least a year away, it enabled him to focus solely on improving himself as a player.“I knew coming in here, I was two years. I was on next year’s draft boards. Coming in, just playing games, not worrying about anything … it made things easier for me,” D’Angelo Russell said.Though considered mainly a shooting guard, D’Angelo Russell served as the primary ball-handler last season when senior guard Shannon Scott rested. D’Angelo Russell said he has never considered himself a point guard at any level — but he has never considered himself being labeled as anything else, either.“When people ask me what position I want to be, I just want to be a basketball player,” D’Angelo Russell said.While D’Angelo Russell ended up being OSU’s first one-and-done player since Byron Mullens in 2009, Matta said it only took him one season to form his legacy at the school.“I want to hang his jersey in the rafters some day, because I think he’s one of the greatest to ever play the game at Ohio State, and he was only here for eight months,” Matta said.While it will remain to be seen if D’Angelo Russell’s No. 0 will ever hang in the rafters alongside the current four Buckeyes immortalized, the guard said he will always remember what his time in Columbus meant to him.“Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. I’ll never forget that.”
Junior relief pitcher Seth Kinker delivers a 1-1 pitch to UNCG sophomore second baseman Austin Embler in the top of the sixth inning Credit: Edward Sutelan | Lantern ReporterIt was clear last season that the Ohio State baseball team had Michigan’s number after going 5-0 against their rivals for the first time in school history. This season, it seems the tables have turned as the Wolverines took two out of three from the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor, Michigan.Over the course of the weekend, OSU (18-29, 6-12) scored six runs and 22 hits, while surrendering 13 runs and 21 hits to No. 17 Michigan (35-11,11-7). Though the hits were leaning in the Buckeyes’ favor, they struck out a total of 40 times over the three-game series. The pair of losses to the Wolverines puts the Buckeyes in a tough spot in the Big Ten standings, falling two games behind Michigan State for the No. 8 spot in the standings, leaving them currently on the outside looking in for the 2017 Big Ten tournament.Game 1The Buckeyes could manage only seven hits in a dominant all-around performance by Michigan junior starting pitcher Oliver Jaskie in Friday’s 6-0 loss to the Wolverines.For five innings of this game, OSU stayed within striking distance, trailing just 1-0 heading into the sixth inning.With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, things began to unravel for OSU redshirt senior starting pitcher Jake Post. A walk and a double put a pair in scoring position for senior center fielder Johnny Slater. Slater, owning the game’s only RBI to that point, tripled to right field, scoring both runners and pushing his team ahead 3-0.The next batter was senior catcher Harrison Wenson who launched a two-run home run, putting the Wolverines up to a commanding 5-0 lead and sending Post to the bench.An RBI double from junior first baseman Jake Bivens in the eighth extended Michigan’s lead to 6-0, providing their starter with a comfortable cushion heading into the ninth.The Buckeyes were able to load the bases in the ninth with two outs against Jaskie, but a groundout to third base sent the Wolverines home happy with a 6-0 victory in Game 1.Jaskie gave the Wolverines all they could ask for on Friday night, delivering a complete-game shutout, holding the Buckeyes to just seven hits and one walk with 14 strikeouts. Only freshman right fielder Dominic Canzone was able to put up multiple hits against the third-year starting pitcher.Game 2Canzone continued his hot hitting into Saturday’s game, but his bat was not enough to propel his team to a win as the Buckeyes fell 5-2 to the Wolverines. With two on and two out in the top of the third inning, Canzone drove in the Buckeyes’ first run of the series with an RBI single to left-center field, giving his team their first lead of the series. But the Wolverines quickly tied the game up with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning.The next inning, the Wolverines took the lead on an RBI double from junior third baseman Drew Lugbauer.The score remained at 2-1 until the bottom of the eighth inning when Michigan capitalized on a series of defensive mistakes. With one out and two runners aboard, sophomore designated hitter Nick Poirier singled to left field to drive in one run, but a fielding error by the left fielder allowed a second run to come around and score. Another fielding error by the second baseman later in the inning allowed Michigan’s fifth run to score.The Buckeyes made one last effort to get on the board in the top of the ninth when sophomore designated hitter Andrew Fishel drove in a run on an RBI double, but the team’s rally fell short in its 5-2 loss.The bats of OSU’s offense were again largely held in check by the opposing starting pitcher, as Michigan junior starting pitcher Alec Rennard struck out eight batters, and allowed just one run on five hits and one walk over seven innings of work.Game 3Making his first career start, junior pitcher Seth Kinker held the Wolverines in check and redshirt senior designated hitter Zach Ratcliff provided the runs in OSU’s 4-2 win over Michigan on Sunday.The game was kept scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning when an infield single and squeeze bunt managed to push a pair of runs home for the Wolverines and give them the 2-0 lead.But the next inning, Ratcliff came up to the plate with the bases loaded, and for the second time this season, he cashed in a grand slam over the left field wall. The last time he hit a grand slam was on April 5 when he sent a game-tying round-tripper over the left field wall in OSU’s eventual 9-8 victory over Kent State.Making his first career start, Kinker kept the Wolverine bats at bay for much of the game, limiting them to just four runs on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts over six innings of work. He had steadily become familiar with making extended outings on Sundays, previously setting a career-high in innings pitched on April 23, and going 4.1 innings in relief last Sunday against Nebraska.Redshirt junior starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer, making only his second appearance since March 25 (elbow tendinitis), notched his first career save with three shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out three batters.The Buckeyes will return home against Bowling Green on Tuesday and Ball State on Wednesday, before heading back out on the road to face Iowa next weekend. Their game against Bowling Green is scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.
Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell shoots a shot during the Buckeyes’ game against Washington on Nov. 19. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorThough Ohio State’s students went home for break, many athletes continued their seasons. This is a roundup of news that happened involving Ohio State teams and athletes.Women’s basketball continues win streak with Michigan victoryThe No. 10 Ohio State women’s basketball team responded from a 69-60 road loss to No. 16 Duke by rattling off an eight-game win streak. It capped off the stretch with a 78-71 road overtime win against No. 23 Michigan Sunday afternoon.Preseason All-American guard Kelsey Mitchell helped spark the run and earned conference player of the weeks honors Monday for the third time this season. She has not scored less than 21 points in her past seven games, which includes a 37-point performance against Michigan and a 31-point, nine-assist, seven-rebound showing against Cincinnati.Senior guards Linnae Harper and Sierra Calhoun also have consistently performed well during the win streak. Calhoun scored in double figures in seven of the past eight games and Harper has not scored less than 10 points the entire season.Ohio State’s schedule gets tougher in the next couple of weeks. The Buckeyes have a rematch against Michigan in Columbus on Jan. 16, then go on the road for matchups with No. 11 Maryland on Jan. 22 and No. 18 Iowa on Jan. 25.Ohio State women’s tennis player Francesca Di Lorenzo goes proAfter two years of college, Francesca Di Lorenzo determined she was ready for another challenge.Ohio State sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo prepares to return a serve Credit: OSU AthleticsThe two-time singles All-American, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and one-time doubles All-American decided to forgo her remaining college years and pursue a professional tennis career.“I could not figure out why it was so challenging to simply turn pro and commit to something I have been dreaming about since I was 10,” Di Lorenzo said in a letter addressed to Ohio State on Dec. 18. “After taking the fall off and thinking about this grueling decision nonstop every day, I was finally able to understand why it was so difficult for me. Ohio State has given me everything I could have possibly imagined.”A New Albany, Ohio, native, Di Lorenzo went 74-7 in singles competition and holds the best career singles win percentage in program history (.917). She also holds the program record for career doubles win percentage (.887) for going 55-7 with a partner. Ohio State women’s tennis head coach Melissa Schaub called Di Lorenzo the “most successful player in program history.”Di Lorenzo is ranked 303rd internationally in singles and 356th in doubles by WTA Tennis.Former Ohio State forward Natalie Spooner to represent Canada in Winter OlympicsThe only 100-goal scorer in the history of the Ohio State women’s hockey program, former forward Natalie Spooner, was selected to play for Canada in the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be held in February in PyeongChang, South Korea. This will be the second Olympic Games for Spooner, who played for Canada in 2014. She will be looking to win her second gold medal in the Olympics.“It’s humbling, not just for us coaches, but for the players as well, to look up and see her picture in our rink representing both Canada and the Buckeyes,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said in a statement. “All of us here with Ohio State women’s ice hockey wish her well and, as a Canadian myself, we hope she brings home the gold.”Spooner ranks second in program history in both points (163) and power-play shots (33). As a senior, she was one of the 10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, which is given to the top collegiate women’s hockey player.Ohio State wrestling team dominates, as expectedThe No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team entered the season with sky-high expectations and has lived up to its lofty goals. It has dominated every dual meet, won both meets at the Thanksgiving Throwdown and won the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational team title.That reign of supremacy continued into the past weekend. On the road, the Buckeyes decimated Maryland 45-3 and took down No. 17 Rutgers 29-11. Top-ranked 125-pound wrestler Nathan Tomasello returned from an injury that kept him out of the first two months of the season, with a technical fall win against the Terrapins. He did not wrestle against Rutgers.Ohio State has multiple matches against highly ranked opponents left on its regular-season schedule. It will take on No. 7 Iowa, which is undefeated, on Jan. 21, and faces No. 1 Penn State in a battle of the top two teams in wrestling on Feb. 3.Ohio State ranked No. 8 in men’s lacrosse preseason pollOhio State followed up its NCAA championship-runner-up season with its highest preseason ranking by Inside Lacrosse since 2014. The Buckeyes came in at No. 8 in the preseason rankings. They are ranked behind No. 4 Maryland, which beat Ohio State to win the 2017 NCAA championship, and No. 7 Rutgers. Fellow Big Ten teams Johns Hopkins and Penn State are also ranked in the top 25 at No. 11 and No. 13, respectively.Ohio State will take on eight teams ranked in the top 25, including four at home. It will also play against Duke, the top team in the rankings, in an exhibition before the season opener on Jan. 27.Sophomore attack/midfielder Tre Leclaire, sophomore midfielder Ryan Terefenko and senior defense Ben Randall were also named to Inside Lacrosse’s preseason All-American team.Ohio State will kick off its season with a game at Cleveland State on Feb. 3.
Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith talks to junior wide receiver Eric Glover-Williams prior to fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.The firing of Ohio State wide receiver’s coach and recruiting coordinator Zach Smith has left a void on head coach Urban Meyer’s coaching staff that needs to be filled in short order, with the season’s first game on Sept. 1.Smith was fired following a domestic violence civil protection order filed by his ex-wife. According to the police report from an incident in 2009 filed by the department in Gainesville, Florida, he “grabbed the victim by the t-shirt, picked her up and threw her into the bedroom wall.”While Meyer did not confirm Smith’s predecessor at the 2018 Big Ten Media Days, offensive quality control coach Brian Hartline appears to be one of the top candidates for the position.“That decision will be made later in the week,” Meyer said. “Any speculation up to that point is certainly that.” An ex-Buckeye wide receiver from 2006 to 2008, Hartline joined Meyer’s staff last season, and while no decision has been made, Meyer said that he has loved what Hartline brought to the team in his current position.“He’s got potential to be an excellent coach,” Meyer said. “[He is a] wonderful guy who works his tail off, so Brian Hartline is a very important part of our staff.”Whoever takes over in place of Smith will be handed a receiving core consisting of redshirt senior Johnnie Dixon, senior Terry McLaurin, juniors Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor, as well as redshirt senior H-back Parris Campbell and junior H-back K.J. Hill.Campbell said he had a “devastating” reaction to Smith’s firing, and that with it being this close to the season made it even harder. But Campbell said he’d stand by Meyer’s new hire no matter what, and if that ends up being Hartline, he would welcome that. “He brings something different to the table just because he has experience at the next level,” Campbell said. “He’s been with us for two years now, and he’s developed a relationship with all of the guys in the room, guys in the room, we love him.” Hartline played in the NFL for seven seasons on both the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns, bringing in 344 career receptions for 4,766 yards and 14 touchdowns. That professional experience is something Meyer said helps him succeed as a coach.“The NFL is instant credibility, especially for a guy that’s a made player,” Meyer said. “The reason he survived nine years, he outworked everybody, it wasn’t because he was a 4.2 40 [yard dash] guy or some specimen athletically, so I have a lot of respect for him, and so do our players.”Meyer said he should have a decision within the week, and that he will be looking at many aspects for selecting Smith’s replacement, including scouting — an area in which Hartline lacks experience.“I weigh everything,” Meyer said. “Job No. 1 is not to coach your receivers, it would be to bring in quality student-athletes. That’s the No. 1 job of a position coach in college at Ohio State.”