Ohio State men’s lacrosse is looking for its first win at Ohio Stadium this season Saturday.
The No. 19 Buckeyes (3-2) seek to rebound from a one-goal loss to then-No. 10 Cornell against Hofstra (3-2) at a critical point in the season.
“They’re a good team with a couple of good wins that has played some tough competition,” Ohio State head coach Nick Myers said. “Right now our focus is twofold: continuing to get better as a ball club, and also understanding the urgency at this point in the season coming off a loss at home.”
The Pride rank No. 23 in Division I with 66 goals scored on the season for an average of 13.2 goals per game.
The Hofstra offense is led by senior attackman Ryan Tierney, who is No. 13 in the country with 26 points, scoring 16 goals and adding 10 assists. Tierney scored three goals and four assists in the most recent win against Long Island.
“Ryan is a coach’s son. He’s got a ton of talent and he’s a natural scorer,” Myers said. “He’s very capable of taking over a game and being the guy that goes after it, he’s going to find ways to get involved, it will be a great challenge.”
The Pride offense also has a trio of impressive freshman contributing. Midfielder Justin Sykes is second on the team with 10 points, scoring six goals and four assists. Attackman Sam Lutfi is tied for third on the team with nine points. Attackman Ryan Sheridan is second on the team in goals with seven.
Junior midfielder James Philbin has contributed six goals and three assists, tying him for third on the team in points with Lutfi.
“Hofstra is a really tough team, they’re in the CAA, a really blue-collar team with tough middies and a very good attackman that we’re aware of,” senior midfielder Ryan Terefenko said.
Redshirt junior goalie Bobby Casey is No. 17 in the country with a goals-against average of 9.28. Casey has made 44 saves in the first five games while allowing 46 goals.
Both teams are tied at No. 21 in Division I in scoring defense, with 50 goals allowed in five games for an average of 10 goals per game.
The Pride defense is led by senior defenseman Eric Wenz, who has caused seven turnovers and picked up 14 groundballs. Senior long stick midfielder Michael Altmann helps lead the defense, with five forced turnovers with 22 groundballs on the season.
“Hofstra’s defense is stingy, they do a really good job of playing together with a couple of guys that really jump out as playmakers,” Myers said.
The faceoff matchup will be key on Saturday. Hofstra junior midfielder Brian Herber ranks No. 10 in the nation, winning 63.9 percent of his faceoffs. Herber has also picked up 46 groundballs with an assist on the season.
Taking faceoffs for Ohio State will be junior midfielder Justin Inacio, who won a school and Big Ten record 30 faceoffs against Cornell this past Sunday. It was two wins shy of an NCAA record.
Inacio was named Specialist of the Week in the Big Ten, and in two games, Inacio has won 74.6 percent of faceoffs with 16 groundballs.
“We talk about facing off with 10, it’s not necessarily Justin versus him, it’s a team effort. Wing play is a big part of it and taking care of the ball post win,” Myers said.
Senior attackman Tre Leclaire was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his six-goal, two-assist performance against Cornell. Leclaire is tied for the team lead in points with sophomore Jack Myers at 25, and is No. 10 in Division I in goals per game with 3.8.
Junior attackman Jackson Reid scored three goals against Cornell, and has 18 points so far in the season. Junior midfielder Griffin Hughes added a goal and two assists, for a season total of 11 points.
Terefenko has made an impact from the short stick midfield position, contributing two goals and three assists with a team-leading 21 groundballs.
Ohio State plays Hofstra at Ohio Stadium at noon on Saturday.