Losing its fourth consecutive game, the No. 17 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team was unable to outscore the Loyola Greyhounds in the ECAC conference opener on Saturday.
The Buckeyes had just come off a tough three-game road schedule, losing narrowly to No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 6 Virginia and unranked Albany. The Buckeyes struggled greatly with time of possession, as crucial turnovers and a nearly 2-to-1 ground ball advantage for the Greyhounds hindered OSU.
“We’re not playing a championship brand of lacrosse right now,” OSU coach Nick Myers said after the game. “Credit Loyola — they’re a good team, but we didn’t play anywhere close to 60 minutes of Buckeye lacrosse today.”
The Buckeyes were 8-for-25 in faceoffs, which also contributed to the their scant possessions.
“Loyola is a team that is going to possess the ball,” Myers said. “When you don’t have the ball, your defense plays more than they want to, and ultimately that’s when breakdowns occur.”
Leading the charge for the Greyhounds was senior midfielder Chris Palmer, who scored five goals. Fellow senior attackman Matt Langan also registered a hat trick.
The Greyhounds set the tone early with a three-goal flurry in the first 12 minutes of the game. OSU rallied back in the second period to tie the game, 3-3, with Dominique Alexander scoring first. Alexander led the Buckeyes in scoring with two goals. Palmer was able to notch a goal near the end of the half to put the Greyhounds up, 4-3, at the break.
The Greyhounds began strong in the third period with two goals. OSU freshman midfielder Michael Italiano responded quickly with a goal, but senior midfielder Mike Pires drew a two-minute nonreleasable penalty shortly after, which proved particularly damaging.
The Greyhounds scored two quick goals while the Buckeyes were shorthanded, pushing Loyola up, 9-4.
The Buckeyes were able to claw their way back into the game, bringing the score to 10-9 at the four-minute mark, but were unable to secure the win as the Greyhounds scored two final goals to put away the game.
The Greyhounds star attackman Mike Sawyer was limited to one goal. Loyola managed to shut down the Buckeyes’ leading scorer, sophomore attackman Logan Schuss, who failed to score a goal for the first time in his entire collegiate career of 23 games.
The loss starts the Buckeyes off at 0-1 in the early ECAC conference play, and brings them to an even 5-5 on the season. With the tough four-loss stretch, Myers said, his team simply will look to the future.
“We have to keep working. We can’t focus on what’s been,” Myers said. “Right now we have the whole season in front of us, and this conference is wide open.”
The Buckeyes will face Hobart at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.