In more than one way, it’s been gut check time lately for the No. 18 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team.
Since making waves in the college lacrosse world with their upset against Denver, the Buckeyes have dropped their last two games against Massachusetts and Penn State.
“I think it’s just a reality check,” he said. “It shows how good everybody is in the country this year (and) the fact that we are human and that we’re going to lose and if we’re going to do it, it’s going to be better earlier in the year than later.”
Rather than crumbling under the adversity, though, Smail said it’s important for the team to grow from it.
“When guys can figure out how to lose and how to win together, that’s going to make us stronger down the road,” he said.
Such hardships have been most notably seen on the offensive end of the ball.
Having only scored five goals in the pair of losses — compared to the 36 goals the Buckeyes scored in their first three game of the season — coach Nick Myers said his offense understands it’s time to get rolling.
“I think shots are going to fall for us, we understand that,” Myers said.
And OSU understands that in their game Friday against Robert Morris, they’ll have to defend as well.
“(We) got a very talented Robert Morris team coming here Friday night. Offensively, one of the best offenses in the country, and they’ve proven that, week in and week out,” Myers said.
Though the Buckeyes will do their best defensively to slow down RMU’s attack, Myers said he knows that OSU’s success will be based upon its ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
“I don’t think you can stop them altogether, we’re going to have to score some goals,” he said. “I think offensively, we realize (it’s) probably not going to be a 4-3, 5-2 game, but a game that’s going to have a bit more tempo in it, so we have to be prepared for that.”
Likewise, redshirt senior defenseman and co-captain Matt Kawamoto said the Buckeyes are ready for RMU.
“We have a great game plan … we have a great defense, our goalie is playing great right now, I think we definitely will play with them and hold them,” he said.
Kawamoto, the 2011 Eastern College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, said it’s important for the defense to continue its strong play and for the offense to “keep shooting like they are,” despite their recent struggles.
“It’s a tough thing sometimes when it’s not falling your way, but the main thing we’re trying to do right now is continue to get better and stick together as a team right now,” he said.
Myers said that amidst the adversity, he’s had some “great conversations with the captains (and) they’ve done a really nice job of keeping this team focused on understanding it’s a long season.”
“We talked about that after Denver, we talked about it after UMass and Penn State. I think every week presents a new challenge,” he said. “Right now, we’re really focused on Robert Morris and knowing that this is a huge game for us.”