The No. 18 Ohio State women’s lacrosse team is taking its five-game winning streak on the road to New York to face Binghamton and Hofstra this weekend.
After a 10-4 victory against Canisius on Saturday, the Buckeyes moved to a record of 7-1 in their last weekend before the Big Ten opener.
Kelsey Gallagher is coming off a stellar performance, as she led the Buckeyes to victory with three goals against Canisius.
“In that game, our midfield had to do a lot of things we weren’t used to doing, which put us in uncomfortable situations we hadn’t seen before,” the senior midfielder said. “We all had to rise to the occasion, and I was really proud of everyone.”
Binghamton is 4-4 this season with a home record of 3-0. Besides playing Syracuse in their season opener, the Bearcats have not faced a ranked opponent so far this year. Coming off a 9-7 victory over Sacred Heart on Sunday, Binghamton is set to play a top 20 OSU squad on Friday.
Hofstra is 1-5 this season after earning a 13-5 victory over Quinnipiac on Saturday. Last season, OSU defeated Hofstra 12-11 at home. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 4-0.
The Scarlet and Gray, though, are trying not to get too far ahead of themselves, said OSU coach Alexis Venechanos.
“As a staff, we’ve really been focusing on our Friday game,” she said. “They’ve always given us a close matchup, so we need to throw the records out the door and show up to play.”
The Buckeyes have faced both teams before, and the team needs to be ready for anything in the two competitive matches, Gallagher said.
“The offense needs to keep it fresh and new in the attack by staying versatile,” Gallagher said. “Hofstra always is a tough game for us, and Binghamton can always throw us a surprise, so we can’t be complacent.”
Although the Buckeyes are off to a great start to the season, Gallagher said the team realizes there’s a lot more lacrosse left to play, so the upcoming games will be preparation for the tougher schedule ahead.
“Continuing to challenge ourselves to get better each game is definitely key for us,” Gallagher said. “We need to be more prepared for anything the opposing defense throws at us in the attack, and we need to learn to adapt to new situations.”
Preparation is key
Venechanos said the team has been focusing on improving its clearing game and shot percentage over the past few weeks.
“We’ve been seeing the benefits of our focus especially going into this weekend, so we need to continue to improve,” Venechanos said. “We haven’t been playing our best lacrosse yet, so it’s exciting to see we’ve been pretty successful on the field.”
Players are still trying to work on their chemistry in all areas of the field, their coach said.
“Although we’ve been winning, we still don’t feel we’ve been playing our best full games of lacrosse, but if the offense, draw unit and defense are on the same page, we will continue our success,” Venechanos said. “Our defense has really been stepping up by limiting shots and goals, and our attack is putting up double digits in goals.”
On the road
OSU hasn’t had an away game since its trip to California at the end of February, so the Buckeyes will need to adapt to being away from familiar territory. However, the team features 14 New York natives, including Venechanos, so the coach said the players are hopeful that the fans and family on the road will give them the same support they have at home.
“Anytime we travel, we try to control the controllable by limiting distractions and staying focused,” Venechanos said. “We have a lot of players from that area who will want to play solid, so we are going to have to prepare hard and be ready for anything thrown at us.”
OSU is scheduled to play Binghamton on Friday at 5 p.m. in Yorktown, New York, before facing Hofstra on Sunday at noon in Hempstead, New York.
A continuation of the Buckeyes’ road trip is on the docket after the weekend in New York, as they are set to open Big Ten play with a matchup against Michigan in Ann Arbor on April 3.