The No. 9 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team will travel to Hampstead, New York to play Hofstra on Saturday at noon. Ohio State comes in as one of three teams undefeated in the Inside Lacrosse Top 25, while Hofstra, usually a powerhouse, poses a threat as a potential underdog team.
Ohio State (5-0) attempts to come back to Columbus next week following back-to-back road games. The Buckeyes are coming off a 13-9 win against Marquette and are going for its third-straight road win against Hofstra.
“Two months into the season, it’s real easy to get complacent, it’s easy to get on that autopilot feeling, but we challenge each other as a coaching staff, and it’s no different for our captains,” Ohio State head coach Nick Myers said.
Myers said the team is hoping to remain consistent moving forward throughout the season.
Ohio State is currently No. 9 in the Inside Lacrosse poll, with the only other two unbeaten teams, Towson and Cornell, ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively.
Hofstra (2-3) comes in on a three-game losing streak.after starting the season with two straight wins, suffering its worst loss last week against Georgetown University, losing 14-6.
“They are a team right now that are two goals away from being a 4-1 team, they’ve been in tough battles. Talented, very well coached, gritty and we have no doubt we will get their best stuff on Saturday,” Myers said.
The Pride has junior attacker Ryan Tierney, who has scored 14 goals in his five games this season. Tierney leads the team in goals and points, with 16, and is coming off a hat trick this past week.
Sophomore midfielder Justin Inacio won Big Ten honors this week, being named Big Ten Specialist of the Week for the second-straight week after his strong performance in faceoffs. Inacio won 18-of-25 faceoffs against Marquette, helping the Buckeyes win the game 13-9.
“I like to highlight that whole faceoff unit, Christian Feliziani, Carter Kisler, Anthony Ameo, these guys have worked for months as a unit,” Myers said.
Inacio has dominated the faceoff play this season, winning 63.9 percent of his faceoffs and has picked up 54 ground balls this year, leading the Big Ten in ground balls on the season.
“When you have a guy that is having success like that on game day, you gotta look inside the work week,” Myers said.
Hofstra’s faceoff specialist is sophomore midfielder Brian Herber. Herber has won 53.4 percent of his faceoffs, while also picking up 20 ground balls, a team high this season.
“When you look at Hofstra, their goalie and faceoff play, they’re both over 50 percent right now, one of the first opponents that are over 50 percent in both areas” Myers said. “We’re going to have a great challenge, and we are certainly going to count on Justin and that unit.”
The Buckeyes offense may be the key to a victory, as they have scored at least 11 goals in every game and average 13.8 goals per game, while Hofstra is coming off a loss which saw the Pride only tallied six goals. However, Hofstra allows 9.6 goals per game, so its defense has been a consistent piece for them this season.
“They play with a chip on their shoulder,” junior defense Jeff Henrick said. “I think they are a hot and cold team, and if you let them run away with it, they will.”
Ohio State takes on Hofstra at James M. Shuart Stadium at noon Saturday.