Through the first seven games of the National Lacrosse League season, former Ohio State attackman Logan Schuss and the Minnesota Swarm were struggling.
With just a 1-6 record, the Swarm was in last place in the National Lacrosse League, and Schuss was trying to adjust to playing in a different league.
“Personally, on my level, I haven’t played up to my standards,” Schuss said. “It’s a pretty fast-paced league, a lot of contact. It’s a lot different than college ball and what I’ve played in the summer.”
Before playing in the NLL, Schuss was a three-time USILA All-American selection at OSU, and left Columbus as the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in points (237) and goals (146).
During his senior season, Schuss captained the Buckeyes en route to a 13-4 record, an ECAC tournament championship and a home playoff win against Towson.
OSU coach Nick Myers said Schuss’s leadership and work ethic were what made him a special player with the Buckeyes.
“Logan was a big part of who we are both on and off the field,” Myers said. “He came to us from Vancouver as a box player but worked really hard to develop himself as a field player. He was one of the few players in our program’s history to be an All-American as both a midfielder and an attackman … Off the field he was a scholar athlete, Academic All-Big Ten, one of our leaders in the community, and someone that really helped elevate this program.”
Senior defenseman Joe Meurer, who played with Schuss for three seasons, said for Schuss, it was more about developing as a team than worrying about individual statistics.
“He’s very passionate about the game,” Meurer said. “He cares so much about not only lacrosse and making us better, but as a program at Ohio State and everything we stand for. I think that’s what made him such a good leader and player.”
Following OSU’s quarterfinal loss to Cornell in the NCAA tournament last season, Schuss stayed in Ohio while he made his Major League Lacrosse debut with the Ohio Machine after being selected 11th overall in the 2013 MLL Draft.
Playing in 11 games for the Machine, Schuss tallied 35 points on 28 goals and seven assists to finish first on the team in scoring (15th in the MLL), despite missing the first three games.
After his rookie campaign, Schuss was named runner-up in the rookie of the year voting, finishing behind former Cornell attackman Rob Pannell.
Schuss attributed his success as a rookie to the short time-span between leaving OSU and entering the MLL.
“I had a pretty successful rookie season with the Machine just because I came straight out of college,” Schuss said. “I finished my last game with Ohio State and six days later, I was playing my first professional game. I didn’t have time to get rusty.”
This winter, following his time with the Machine, Schuss made his debut in with the Swarm after being selected first overall in the 2013 NLL draft.
Schuss said he made the transition quickly to the differences in style between the two leagues.
“Field lacrosse, (played in the MLL), is a really fast-paced game in itself but there are slow breaks and dead-ball situations … the offense’s scheming is a lot longer than it is in box lacrosse,” Schuss said.
“In box lacrosse, once the goalie makes the save and the one team gains possession, you have 30 seconds to get a shot on net,” Schuss said. “So you can just imagine the difference in speed and how you must react.”
Despite playing for Minnesota on the weekends, during the week, Schuss spends his time in Columbus as he works on student teaching.
Teaching at Gahanna Middle School West, Schuss works Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. before traveling out on the weekends and returning Sunday night.
Sometimes traveling as far west as Vancouver, Colorado, and Edmonton, Canada, Schuss said his travel schedule definitely takes a toll on his body.
“On Friday, I go straight from my middle school right to the airport to catch a 5:15 p.m. flight out to wherever I’m playing at,” Schuss said. “It’s been a lot on my plate, but it’s what I’m going to have to do to juggle my job and career.”
Still, even with the limited practice time with the team and hectic travel schedule, as the season has gone on, Schuss has continued to improve.
That improvement was clear two weeks ago as Schuss and the Swarm showed signs of turning their season around during a weekend road series against the Toronto Rock and Philadelphia Wings.
Despite dropping a tough contest to the defending East Division champions in Toronto, Schuss had a career day after he tallied one goal and five assists.
However, Schuss’s encore performance was even better as he netted five goals, including a natural hat trick late in the fourth quarter, and two assists, taking home first star of the game after the Swarm’s dramatic 15-14 win over Philadelphia.
Schuss’ performance gained national attention, as he took home the NLL’s second star of the week. He’s recorded 31 points in nine games with the Swarm
OSU senior defenseman Dominic Imbordino said he isn’t surprised by the success Schuss has had in the NLL lately.
“He is one of the hardest workers I have ever met,” Imbordino said. “(He) just does the right thing all the time.”
Schuss and the Swarm are set to be back in action Saturday as they travel to Buffalo to take on the Buffalo Bandits, leaders of the East Division.
“There’s still a lot of games left in the season,” Schuss said. “It’s a good step in the right direction and I’m excited to get back at it with the team.”