Hydrated off the field, hungry on it.
That’s how senior midfielder Rick Lewis said he and the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team can survive two games in five days. And after a narrow loss to Detroit on Saturday, the team is looking to rediscover “Buckeye lacrosse” by forgiving its mistakes, but not forgetting them, coach Nick Myers said.
For Myers, “Buckeye lacrosse” means “not taking the first shot, but the best shot,” and encompasses details both small and large, on and off the field, that contribute to the team’s successes.
“It starts with toughness, both mentally and physically,” Myers said. “It’s a focus on fundamentals, discipline, playing together … It’s energy, it’s enthusiasm, it’s our sideline.”
Myers said the “we not me” approach is crucial, and his players strive to emulate it.
Jesse King, who brought his point streak to 37 games with a goal against the Titans, said he contributes to “Buckeye lacrosse” with flexibility on the field, avoiding a one-dimensional role.
“I’m just trying to do whatever coach wants me to do,” the senior midfielder said. “If that means picking up loose balls, playing defense as much as I can, or being the playmaker, I’m fine with that. It’s the end result, which is that win, that we’re working on for Tuesday night.”
Senior midfielder David Planning said he agrees with the “we not me” attitude. He added his personal goals align with the team’s, and that he enjoys playing on the road, no matter the outcome.
“On the road, it’s a more ‘up against the wall’ kinda feeling,” Planning said. “It can be a great feeling when you come out and play well, or it can be a really alienating feeling when you don’t play well.”
The team got a taste of that alienation against Detroit through inconsistency, Myers said.
“We played in spurts,” he said. “There were some flashes of who we are … We understand mistakes are going to happen, but we need to be much more disciplined.”
Detroit struck early in the game, shutting out the Buckeyes, 2-0, in the first quarter, but OSU rallied in the second, outscoring the Titans, 4-1, and gaining the lead at the half.
Planning and junior attackman Carter Brown each tallied two goals and two assists for the Buckeyes, but despite its fourth-quarter resurgence, OSU narrowly succumbed to its season’s first challenge, falling to Detroit, 9-8 on Saturday.
And while no team enjoys opening its season with a loss, King said the Buckeyes accepted the defeat with disappointment, but not capitulation.
“We’re trying not to dwell on it,” King said. “We’re learning from our mistakes, really working on tightening things up … Come Tuesday, we’ll be a completely different team.”
Myers recognizes the team’s focus during practices both leading up to and following its first game, but pushes the men to continually evolve their skills in order to take home a win this week, Planning said.
“Coach has told us he’s going to challenge us,” Planning said. “Preparation each week is going to be crucial to each team we play.”
Senior captain Evan Mulchrone, said he agrees that while the team strives to ultimately bring home a Big Ten Championship, its focus must first remain on what’s in front of them in order to accomplish that long-term goal.
“With the Hill Academy, the only thing we were focused on was playing the Hill Academy,” Mulchrone said of the Buckeyes scrimmage on Jan. 24. “When we were playing Duke, the only thing we were focused on was playing Duke. It all starts with us.”
And for Myers, it all starts with “60 minutes of consistent Buckeye lacrosse,” which the team eagerly seeks to revive.
“This is a group that’s hungry,” Myers said.”We’ve moved on … And for our men, now the hardest thing is just waiting to get back on the field.”
The Buckeyes are set to make that return to the field and chase their first victory against Robert Morris on Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.