The weather was cold, but the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team was on fire against Jacksonville.
Playing the third of a three-game home stand, the Buckeyes (3-6, 1-0) defeated the Dolphins (1-7, 0-1), 13-2, inside a soggy Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium Saturday.
Getting off to a quick start, junior midfielder Jesse King and sophomore attackman Carter Brown tallied a pair of goals within the game’s first 45 seconds to put the Buckeyes ahead.
After King notched his second goal of the game less than two minutes later, OSU held a man-up advantage for four minutes after Jacksonville senior midfielder Mike McCredie crosschecked junior midfielder Turner Evans in the head. OSU went on to score twice during the man-advantage.
OSU coach Nick Myers said Evans — who did not return to the game — would be evaluated by the medical staff and the team is expecting to know more on his condition in the coming days.
“Right now we are going to have to wait and see,” Myers said. “Obviously he took a big shot in the first quarter, you hate to see that.”
Taking a 6-0 lead into the second quarter, the Buckeyes continued their onslaught.
Sophomore attackman Gordie Koerber tallied his second and third goals of the season in the second quarter before Brown completed a first half hat trick by scoring with 2:30 remaining.
Brown finished the first half with four points (three goals, one assist), and King had seven points (three goals, four assists), as OSU took a 9-0 lead into the break.
Starting the third quarter, the Buckeyes continued to spread the wealth as junior midfielder Rick Lewis tallied his second goal of the season, and sophomore attackman Ryan Hunter managed to register the first two goals of his career.
Hunter said it was important for OSU to move the ball quickly and focus on the fundamentals so the weather wouldn’t be a factor.
“One thing was just moving the ball,” Hunter said. “Our feet were heavy so it was key to keep the ball moving up around the perimeter and make sure our feet were moving and focus on ground balls.”
Lewis said the offense did a good job of drawing double teams and then finding the open teammate which created good looks for the Buckeyes.
“This week we just kept it simple and got back to the basics,” Lewis said. “Just drawing doubles, making singles, and just playing as a team. I think we did a great job of that. We shared the ball and got a good result for us.”
It wasn’t until the 3:51 mark of the third quarter that Jacksonville got on the board, adding another with 12:52 left in the fourth.
But that was all the Dolphins would get as freshman attackman J.T. Blubaugh put an exclamation point on the game by scoring with 59 seconds left.
The two goals scored were the fewest OSU’s given up since defeating Bellarmine by the same score of 13-2 in 2012.
Myers said it was important for the defense to bounce back from its disappointing 13-7 loss to Notre Dame earlier in the week, but it took an entire team effort to limit Jacksonville the way they did.
“Defensively, we took it on as a challenge because we understand we haven’t been playing our best lacrosse, coming off 13 goals on Tuesday,” Myers said. “It was really a next play mentality. Our offense did a good job of maintaining possession and I thought we won some faceoffs, so it was a collective effort.”
Freshman midfielder Jake Withers was able to control the faceoff circle once again, winning seven of his 10 draws to help give OSU extra possessions on offense.
“The faceoff guys work their butts off all week so it’s nice to see it pay off,” Lewis said. “All those guys are battling every day in practice so it’s definitely a credit to that.”
Offensively, nine different players registered a point on the day for OSU, including junior attackman Reegan Comeault, whose first quarter goal extended his point streak to nine games.
OSU is scheduled to be back on the road next weekend as the team heads east to take on the Delaware Blue Hens. Game time is set for Sunday at noon.