Seeking its first back-to-back wins of the season, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (3-6, 1-0) is set to head east for a road showdown with the Delaware Blue Hens (6-5, 0-3).
After starting the season 1-5, OSU has won two of its last three contests, including a 13-2 victory against Jacksonville last Saturday.
Coach Nick Myers said preventing Jacksonville from controlling the tempo early was one of the keys in the win.
“We got off to a fast start,” Myers said. “(Jacksonville) got in some foul trouble and our extra man had the opportunity to get on the field and execute. (Freshman midfielder) Jake (Withers) winning some faceoffs set the tone and defensively, when we had the opportunity down in our end, we made some timely stops.”
Once again, the Buckeyes are to be shorthanded when they face the Blue Hens as Myers said the team will be without up to seven starters, including junior midfielder Turner Evans.
Evans, who is tied for second on the team with 23 points this season, is doubtful after suffering a blow to the head against Jacksonville.
“It’s been something for us all year where we’ve battled,” Myers said. “I think right now we’re up to seven starters that won’t be in the lineup this weekend that we projected at the start of the year. It’s a next man up mentality and we got some kids that are hungry to do that.”
Delaware is coming into the game off a 10-5 win against Manhattan Tuesday. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Blue Hens.
Led by coach Bob Shillinglaw — who is in his 36th season with the team — Delaware features a balanced offensive unit that includes seven players who have tallied more than 10 points this season, compared to only five for the Buckeyes.
Senior defenseman Joe Meurer said the focus for the defense is to replicate its performance from the Jacksonville game against Delaware.
“In the Jacksonville game, we really focused on staying tight, sliding appropriately at the right times and constantly having communication,” Meurer said. “I think if we stick to those keys, then it will carry over into the Delaware game.”
On the season, OSU has struggled on the road, losing all four of its games away from Columbus. The Buckeyes will look to reverse that trend against a team that yields only 8.2 goals per game at home.
Junior midfielder Rick Lewis said the venue doesn’t matter, as the Buckeyes are just excited to get back on the field.
“It’s a great chance for the team to come together,” Lewis said. “We have the bus trip over there and the hotel to spend time with the family. It’s a great opportunity for us, home or away, we just love to get out there and play.”
Game time is set for Sunday at noon.