The last time the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team faced the Duke Blue Devils was Feb. 5, 2011.
Since then, Duke has earned back-to-back national titles, while OSU missed out on the NCAA Tournament altogether last season.
The Buckeyes are set to head to North Carolina to face the Blue Devils in the team’s final preseason exhibition Saturday, a challenge coach Nick Myers said his team recognizes and is prepared for.
“We’re going to go against some of the best in the country with our schedule, there’s no doubt about that,” Myers said. “I think our men have worked really hard in the offseason. We understand what’s in front of us.”
Duke, which has won three championships in the last five years, brings talent, speed and consistency to the field. But the Buckeyes are ready and excited for the challenge, said team captain and Big Ten Player to Watch Jesse King.
“We go out here every day, and we might not be the most talented lacrosse players in the country, but we work our butts off. I don’t think there are any teams in the country that will work us off the ground, moving the ball and just being simple, doing things easily and preparing properly,” the senior midfielder said. “We really focused on just getting into the best shape that we possibly could.”
Senior midfielder and team captain David Planning, who scored against Hill Academy in a scrimmage last week, said he and his team plan to ride on the momentum of that 11-4 win against Duke this weekend.
“They’re returning national champions. They’ve got a lot of great players, obviously, and a great coach,” Planning said. “So we’re excited to get down there and do the same thing we did, play our best and keep getting better.”
This week, press conferences focused heavily on the Buckeyes’ upcoming inaugural Big Ten season. But Myers said those games won’t come until mid-season, and the team plans to first concentrate on its immediate opponents, starting with Duke this weekend.
“It’s an exhibition, so we’ll get an opportunity to get a look at a number of guys. There’s still some areas we’re trying to sure up in terms of exactly who we are, but any time you play a defending national champion, it sets a great bar,” Myers said. “It’ll give us a great sense of what it’s like to be on the road, we’ll have a lot of takeaways.”
The Buckeyes’ game against the two-time defending national champion Blue Devils is set for Saturday in Durham, N.C.