Looking to rebound from a triple overtime loss to Johns Hopkins, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team is set to travel to Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday to take on the Massachusetts Minutemen in the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic.
Playing at Homewood Field for the first time since 2001, OSU was unable to come away with the win against Johns Hopkins after senior attackman Brandon Benn scored 59 seconds into the third overtime to help the Blue Jays escape with the victory.
OSU coach Nick Myers said despite the loss, he liked the resiliency his players showed, which is something the team can build upon moving forward.
“Our men fought hard,” Myers said Wednesday. “When that enthusiasm, that fight and energy is there, that is something we can look at and say is going to carry us until we get the schemes and the play to where we want it to be.”
Coming off a 7-8 record in 2013, UMass got its season underway last weekend when it traveled to Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y., to take on Army.
Led by a pair of two-goal performances from junior attackman Grant Whiteway and freshman attackman Nick Mariano, the Minutemen were able to hold off the Black Knights and walk away victorious, 6-5.
OSU senior defenseman Joe Meurer, who caused one turnover in the loss to Johns Hopkins, said as far as defensively, OSU is not worried about who is on the other side of the field, but it is more focused on playing its own game and growing together as a unit.
“We’re continuing to build chemistry with our defense,” Meurer said. “It all goes back to our approaches on guys, playing loud, and playing with our sticks up to generate a lot of turnovers.”
Offensively, the Buckeyes are likely to search for more weapons alongside junior midfielder Jesse King, who led the team in scoring against Johns Hopkins with a career-high five goals and also added an assist.
However, OSU will have to do that against a UMass defense that has been ranked in the top 25 for three consecutive years.
Myers said one of the things that has to improve for the Buckeyes if they are going to find that production this week is their extra-man opportunities, where OSU went 0-4 last Sunday.
“We haven’t proven that we can score on a routine basis without Jesse in that group,” Myers said. “It’s something that we’ve focused on this week in practice and are expecting to see more of this weekend. It’s an area of focus for us.”
Senior defenseman Dominic Imbordino said if the Buckeyes stick to their schemes, they can come away this weekend with the win.
“It’s more about us right now,” Imbordino said. “If we play the way we know we can … if we keep building the foundation, we are going to be OK.”
Game time is set for Sunday at 9 p.m.