Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer
After a challenging three-game road trip that matched the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team against two then-top 10 teams, the Buckeyes return home for another staunch test against the defending national champions, No. 5 Loyola (Md.).
Taking two games out of three, with wins over then-No. 9 Virginia and Bellarmine and a loss to then-No. 3 Notre Dame, the Buckeyes hope to improve on their 6-2 record this year against the Greyhounds.
Senior midfielder Dominique Alexander said he was pleased with the results on the road but said he wished things had gone differently against Notre Dame.
“Obviously we would have liked to get the win at Notre Dame and had a better effort,” Alexander said. “But we bounced back and got the win at Bellarmine, which is a conference win, which helped us a lot.”
On the year, Loyola is averaging nearly 12 goals per game and will likely look to push the ball against the stout OSU defense. Led by junior goalkeeper Greg Dutton, the Buckeyes are allowing about eight goals per contest.
Sophomore midfielder Jesse King said he believes OSU is capable of matching the Greyhounds offense considering its big performances against Marquette, Detroit and Virginia this season.
“We’ve been working on our scheme all week, and coach has been putting a lot of pressure on the offense,” King said. “Just because we had one off game doesn’t mean we won’t be able to come back out and score 18 like we did earlier this year.”
Coach Nick Myers said he thinks his squad will be prepared for the Greyhounds’ style of play.
“I think the key to them is you have to make sure you defend the first 15 to 20 seconds over the midfield line. They’re as good as anybody at early offense and transition,” Myers said. “They get a lot of goals that way, so if you turn the ball over and don’t do a great job defending the early offense they can score in bunches.”
OSU lost the only matchup between the teams last year, falling to the Greyhounds, 8-7, in Baltimore.
After splitting its first two Eastern College Athletic Conference games of the season, OSU looks to close the gap at the top of the conference with a win against the league-leading Greyhounds. The game is the second of six straight ECAC matchups to end the season for the Buckeyes.
Alexander hopes a win against Loyola and the recent victory against Bellarmine will be enough to spring OSU into a postseason run.
“We want to get this win and go to 2-1,” Alexander said. “Start building from there and get some steam as we start rolling into the playoffs.”
The Buckeyes are set to take on Loyola on Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 1:30 p.m.