For all the Ohio State football fans who plan to head to Ohio Stadium at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday for the Spring Game, set that alarm clock a little earlier because there is a doubleheader across the Olentangy.
The OSU men’s lacrosse team will be pitted against Fairfield, Conn., in the fourth annual Showdown in the ‘Shoe at 11 a.m. Saturday. The matchup is a crucial Eastern College Athletic Conference contest, and a win for OSU would go a long way toward making the conference tournament. Only four teams will make the tournament.
Both OSU and Fairfield sit at 2-2 in ECAC conference play, leaving both teams tied for third place, one game back from 3-2 Loyola, Md.
Playing in the Shoe has done a lot for lacrosse in the Midwest, according to senior captain Bryce Woodson, who will play for his fourth and final time in Ohio Stadium.
“I think it’s huge for a sport that is growing in the region,” Woodson, a middle fielder, said to ohiostatebuckeyes.com. “It brings a lot of people out and builds a lot of awareness about the sport.”
Coach Nick Myers agreed with Woodson, saying the event has tremendous worth to the lacrosse team at OSU.
“(Athletic director) Gene Smith and (football) coach (Jim) Tressel have really made it happy for us to get our program in there, and sharing this really neat venue with our football program,” Myers said. “For our kids to get in there, to soak in the tradition and be around literally thousands of Buckeye fans is unique to them.”
Senior goal keeper Ryan Keneally also enters in his fourth year of playing in the ‘Shoe, but says the excitement has not diminished.
“It has been a great opportunity for us (the seniors),” Keneally said. “It is just awesome to play in Ohio Stadium.”
Even with such a large stage to play on, Myers does not plan to divert any attention from the team’s opponent, Fairfield, which give up little more than seven goals per game and have six players with points in the double-digits.
Myers says he is aware of the ability Fairfield has, and the weight of the game in terms of ECAC league play.
“Right now we are just focused on Fairfield,” Myers said. “They’re great defensively, and offensively they share the ball and have some great shooters. We’re going to have to go out and play Buckeye lacrosse for 60 minutes in the most historic venue there is.”
Myers, however, is not the only Buckeye focusing on the task at hand.
“Sunday (win against Air Force) was a good step but we have two big games we’ve got to win,” Keneally said. “It’s getting to be playoff time, so it’s in the crunch.”
The game will also be televised on the Big Ten Network before the Spring Game is broadcast.