Lantern file photo
Out of the frying pan and into the fire is how the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team might be feeling this preseason.
After traveling to powerhouse No. 5 Johns Hopkins for a scrimmage last weekend, the team is set to host a doubleheader Saturday against two more nationally respected programs, No. 12 Syracuse and Robert Morris.
The upcoming doubleheader and the regular season have seen ramped-up practices for the Buckeyes, which will be looking to test out some fringe first team players in the matchups this weekend.
Coach Nick Myers said he is encouraged by the team’s work ethic so far but said he wants to make sure playing time doesn’t go to some of the players’ heads.
“Our motto is ‘Don’t count your reps, make your reps count,'” Myers said. “Guys who may not have got as many reps in the Hopkins game … are going to get more of a chance this weekend.”
As was the case with a Jan. 20 match against Team Canada, this weekend’s doubleheader at Woody Hayes Athletic Center has sold out. The wealth of support for the team has been noticed in the locker room, too.
OSU assistant coach Dave Dobbins said he thinks OSU students’ enthusiasm is going to help motivate the Buckeyes toward their lofty goal of an NCAA Tournament bid.
“It’s great to have that support from the local community. It’s exciting for the guys playing in front of a home crowd,” Dobbins said.
Some members of the team said they are excited to test their skills against, historically, some of the sport’s best.
Senior midfielder Kevin Mack sees the matchups as a chance for the team to find out where they stand before next week’s season opener.
“Syracuse is a top 10 program traditionally and Robert Morris always has a potent offense,” Mack said. “It’s just going to be a good test for us.”
Like Mack, Myers said he understands even though it’s still the preseason, this match could be a good sample of what this OSU team can do.
“It’s still an exhibition, but it’s an outstanding opportunity with Syracuse and Robert Morris, two very different styles of play that will really test us defensively,” Myers said.
OSU starts the regular season at home against Detroit on Feb. 9. Dobbins said he can already sense the team’s excitement to start the year.
“They’ve handled it well but are looking forward to the end of the preseason,” Dobbins said. “They have to strive for the season but they’ve done a nice job of it.”