Coming off four consecutive wins, Notre Dame seems like an intimidating opponent, but the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team doesn’t agree.
“I don’t think it’s intimidating,” said Lauren Sterner, a senior midfielder. “I think it gives us a lot more drive to want to beat them and together, as a team, to make up for all those losses we’ve had in the past.”
OSU’s loss against Penn State on Saturday made apparent the improvements they must make in order to beat Notre Dame.
“We just have to play the whole game,” said coach Sue Stimmel. “We started off well against Penn State. We played a great first half and then got a little bit complacent because we were up, and they jumped out on us and took advantage of that and it was hard to get back into it.”
Redshirt junior Brittney Zerhusen echoed her coach’s sentiment.
“We’re working a lot on the draw and just finishing up the entire 60 minutes of the game—we’re working really hard on that—and pretty much putting all the small details together in order to bring out a big win against Notre Dame,” Zerhusen said.
The Fighting Irish have only allowed a total of 10 goals during their past three games, but the Buckeyes think they have what it takes to break Notre Dame’s defense.
“With our offense, we are able to score a lot of goals,” Stimmel said. “It would concern me a little bit more if that was a weakness area, but that’s probably our strongest area is putting up goals, so it’ll be a good battle.”
Sterner points out that Notre Dame has a “specific ride that they do,” but that the OSU players can handle it if they “keep composure and possession of the ball.”
“We tend to move the ball a lot and look for the open girls all around so we’re going to just stick to our game plan and just wear down their defense,” Zerhusen said.
Zerhusen said that how the team works together during the game will decide the outcome.
“I think for the most part we’ve all been working really well as a unit for the season, and it can only get better as we move on,” she said. “All of us are learning to work as a team instead of individually both offensively and defensively.”
Stimmel views the game as a challenge, but a challenge that her team has the ability to overcome.
“We had a good game with them last year,” she said. “We were tied at halftime and kind of let it slip away in the end, so I think that we all know that we can beat Notre Dame.”
The teams square off Thursday at 5 p.m. at Jesse Owens Stadium.