The road doesn’t get any easier for the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team.
After dispatching the No. 1 Denver Pioneers last weekend, 16-7, the Buckeyes (9-0) have climbed 13 spots in the top 25 to No. 4 and face No. 2 Notre Dame on Saturday in South Bend, Indiana. OSU has not defeated the Fighting Irish since 2011.
Notre Dame serves as the final non-conference game before the Big Ten season, which has OSU coach Nick Myers focused on fine-tuning the team’s play heading into league play.
“I think for us, it’s matter of us trying to get better,” Myers said. “We have one more non-conference game and then we head into league play. So you wanna use this final opportunity to grow and continue to learn and hopefully play your best lacrosse heading into Big Ten play.”
Notre Dame (4-1) has outscored its opponents 58-40 and averaging 11.6 goals per game. The Buckeyes have a similar resume outscoring their opponents 110-60.
Myers said Notre Dame is a tough team and it’ll take a total team effort to win.
“They’re a team that doesn’t defeat themselves,” he said. “They’re very disciplined and balanced and you’re going to have to play a 60-minute complete game to get out of there with a win, especially with them (at) home. For us, it’s a matter of making certain we do a good job on our end —executing on both the half-field sets and if something is not going our way, kind of weather the storm a little bit to come out with a win.”
In last season’s meeting OSU lost 9-8 to Notre Dame, nearly completing a fourth-quarter comeback. The Fighting Irish took control in the third quarter, outscoring OSU 4-0 and taking a three-goal lead.
The Fighting Irish offense is led by junior attack Mikey Wynee (13 goals, three assists) and sophomore attack Ryder Garnsey (12 goals, 12 assists).
The Buckeyes have been the underdogs for the past two weeks. After defeating Denver, the Buckeyes are drawing national attention as one of the country’s best teams. The Notre Dame game starts a brutal stretch to the end of the season with games against the No. 2, No. 3, No. 17, No. 20, No. 10 and No. 1 teams in the country. OSU senior attack JT Blubaugh said the Buckeyes are excited to face the Irish and prove themselves once again.
“I think when you’re flying under the radar it’s easier to just focus on yourself and practice to make yourself better and not thinking about any outside people,” he said.
Myers said Notre Dame thrives off of unsettled transitions and the key this week will be containing the Irish transition offense.
“We gotta do a good job in unsettled situations and doing a great job on the six-on-six,” he said.