Some games carry more meaning than others.
When the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (4-6, 1-0) steps onto the field at Ohio Stadium this weekend looking to keep its perfect record in the ECAD, it will do so against archrival Michigan (4-8, 1-2).
“It’s a huge opportunity, not only because it’s a Michigan team, but it’s the greatest rivalry in sports,” said senior defenseman Joe Meurer said. “It’s also a really good chance for us to continue to build on the momentum that we already have. It’s always just a good opportunity to be in the ‘Shoe as well so we are going to embrace that.”
The Buckeyes return to Columbus winners of three of their last four games, most recently collecting their first road victory of the season against Delaware, 15-9, last weekend.
OSU coach Nick Myers said his team, which jumped out to an 8-0 lead on Sunday before surrendering its first goal, is playing some of its best lacrosse of the season right now.
“Right now we have some momentum coming off of Sunday’s win,” Myers said. “Like any season, you hope to play your best lacrosse down the stretch and for us, the last home stretch here is league opponents. The focus right now is on an opportunity to get win No. 2 and certainly with this league opponent, it needs no introduction. This is a really special game to our men, our alumni, this university, and we’re excited to host it at home.”
Despite having lost a number of players to injuries at various points in the season, OSU has had players step up to help the team not skip a beat.
“Those guys work their butts off in practice every week,” Meurer said. “Every guy on this team has a big role, whether they play or whether they don’t, and those guys are really stepping up big for us when we’ve had the myriad of injuries that we do right now.”
Senior attackman Adam Trombley agreed.
“I think that is when you learn the most about your team, when some guys go down and you’re faced with adversity,” Trombley said. “I think our guys have done awesome so far.”
Currently riding a four-game losing streak, the Wolverines will look to turn things around against a Buckeyes team they have never beaten.
However, after joining Division I lacrosse for the first time in the 2011-12 season, the Wolverines combined to win only two games through their first two years before doubling that number so far this season.
Meurer said it is important for OSU to stay focused on Michigan despite its record because at this point in the season, every game matters.
“It’s huge. We’ve been building confidence week-in and week-out over the last couple of weeks,” Meurer said. “If we can win out these next three games, obviously confidence will be sky high. If we can take that momentum into the ECAC tournament, then it will be in our best interest.”
Offensively, junior midfielder Jesse King has been on a tear lately, registering 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) in his last two games.
Myers said King has done a good job of working off his teammates and not trying to make everything happen himself.
“The big thing on the offensive end is there is a great deal of unselfishness,” Myers said. “It’s about encouraging those young guys, whether they’re young or new to the lineup, to know if you’re out there to be a playmaker. I think what Jesse’s done is bought into not feeling like he has to be the guy to make it happen, but to work off his teammates, and he’s had success doing so.”
Game time is set for Saturday at 11 a.m. before the OSU football Spring Game.