The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team will play under the bright lights of Ohio Stadium Friday night against No. 20 Michigan in a matchup that players and coaches described as the most important game of the year for reasons beyond even the rivalry.
The Buckeyes (5-6, 0-2 Big Ten), originally kicking off the Spring Game at 11 a.m. Saturday, are now playing a day ahead of schedule due to the possibility of inclement weather.
Ohio State is the proud owner of a 6-0 all-time record against the Wolverines (7-4, 0-2 Big Ten), but Friday will be the first time the Maize and Blue enter the event ranked within the top 20. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, come into the matchup as losers of their last five games.
“I think the rivalry is really hard to put into words. As a Buckeye you learn right away that it’s more than just you. It’s so much bigger than you,” Ohio State head coach Nick Myers said.
The 2018 season has been good to Michigan.This week marked the team’s longest ranked stretch in school history — and for good reason.
Junior midfielder Brent Noseworthy paced the team’s offense this year, averaging just over three goals per game, a statistic that puts him in the top two in the Big Ten conference. Noseworthy, along with freshman attack Kevin Mack will keep the Buckeyes’ hands full and will prove to be critical to try and shut down Friday.
Defensively, Wolverines junior midfielder Nick DeCaprio leads the Big Ten in caused turnovers and is one defenseman the Buckeyes shouldn’t overlook.
Regardless of rankings, statistics and playoff chances, the Ohio State-Michigan game marks the most important game of the year for the team.
“There’s no doubt, and I think that’s been entrenched in our culture for years. We have a countdown clock that runs year-round, it’s something that our men appreciate and understand,” Myers said. “There’s a delicate balance, certainly, in preparing your team, but this one, everything you do you’re putting in just a little more in everything that you do with the understanding of what’s on the line. It’s a full year before you may get that opportunity again. “
Myers said tempering the excitement and emotions from the players has been crucial to keeping focused on the task at hand: beating Michigan.
“It’s a night game for us under the lights in Ohio Stadium against our arch-rival, and I think that’s something our men are really looking forward to and excited about,” he said.
The Buckeyes look to keep their perfect record against the Wolverines at 7 p.m. Friday inside Ohio Stadium.