After losing its first game of the 2015 season, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team is starting to hit its stride.
With senior captain Jesse King leading the way for the Buckeye offense, OSU (2-1) soared to its second-straight win on the season, defeating Delaware 10-3. King had five goals in the takedown of the Blue Hens on Sunday afternoon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
King said the game was a team effort across the field, from offense to defense.
“I just tried to feed off the defense as much as I could, (redshirt-sophomore goalie Tom Carey) had some pretty amazing saves down there and that translates well over to us,” King said. “I just kind of took the game into my own hands, held on to the ball a little bit more, and tried to be a playmaker, while also powering down to the net and getting a good shot.”
OSU’s offense started out the year on a flat note, unable to snag a win in its first game against the Detroit Titans. But the Buckeyes have gained some chemistry in their last two games, posting 20 goals since the season-opening loss.
Coach Nick Myers emphasized the importance of OSU playing a full 60 minutes of “Buckeye lacrosse,” and said he thought his team did well overall.
“I think offensively we are starting to get some chemistry. Each game it’s starting to get better,” Myers said.
The Buckeyes have also rallied in their time of possession so far this season with senior midfielder Christopher May winning 68.8 percent (11-for-16) of the faceoffs against Delaware.
“I think the time of possession was key and that was certainly a big part of our game plan,” Myers said.
King said getting the ball first after the majority of goals was a boost to OSU, and a big problem for its opponent.
“Their offense is going five, 10 minutes not seeing the ball, it helps us and helps our defense to not be as tired, and then we (the offense) are just rolling,” King said. “The motivation and adrenaline just start kicking in.”
The Buckeyes’ success has continued to come from all areas of the field including the defense. OSU snagged 31 of the 48 total ground balls on Sunday, and King said the aggression toward winning the ground balls helped OSU maintain the possession and allowed the team to be successful.
“That’s one thing that we really try to aspire to is winning those ground-ball battles,” King said.
Senior defenseman Evan Mulchrone also harped on the importance of winning the ground balls for the Buckeye defense.
“We pride ourselves on the ground ball game and it’s a key to winning every game and it’s something that we work on early during the week, always grinding and trying to get the ball off the ground,” Mulchrone said.
Carey, who has started the first three games for the Scarlet and Gray said he is comfortable playing behind the Buckeyes’ defense.
“I feel good. We practiced well this week. We are really working, competing and playing well as a unit,” Carey said. “The defense does a great job in front of me and gave up the shots we wanted and I had some saves in there, so it was a good performance.”
Myers said he is confident in his goalie and feels he’s fitting in with the Buckeye defense.
“Tom made his third start and I think he’s getting more comfortable. For Tom right now, he’s part of a seven-man unit and we are starting to come together more defensively. He did his job,” Myers said.
The Buckeyes will look to keep their balanced momentum as they are set to take on Dartmouth on Saturday. Even with the two wins under their belts, coach Myers said he’s still looking for his players to improve with each game.
“We have to get better. We know right now we are a long way from where we want to be. In February, it’s a balance of preparing for your opponent but also trying to get significantly better week-to-week and we’re excited to have a full week now (of practice),” Myers said. “It’s been three games in eight days, so now we can get our legs back, focus on us first and then focus on Dartmouth.”