After rediscovering its winning ways on Friday, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team now turns its attention to the Midwest Lacrosse Classic, where it will host Marquette, Bellarmine and Detroit at Ohio Stadium in a weekend full of lacrosse action.
OSU senior defender Robby Haus said he is excited to be able to stay home again this weekend and play in the ‘Shoe.
“I think any time a team comes to Ohio, we like to think we have an advantage, in terms of we’re going to defend our home turf,” Haus said.
The Buckeyes (3-1) have already played Detroit this year — a 16-5 win on Feb. 13 — so instead they’re set to play Marquette on Friday and Bellarmine on Sunday.
OSU coach Nick Myers said he has respect for No. 17 Marquette, which is coming into the weekend with a 2-0 record.
“I think looking at them on film, it’s a team from their goal all the way through their attack that’s very well coached and very talented,” Myers said. “We’re going to have to play our very best lacrosse.”
A point of focus for the Scarlet and Gray will be stopping Marquette senior attacker Conor Gately. He was named to second-team All-Big East last year and is the program’s all-time points leader.
Although the team will partly be focusing on Gately and his team, Haus said the predominate focus comes internally.
“A lot of our flaws right now that we’re dealing with are just little schematics that can easily be fixed,” Haus said. “So, right now, that’s our main focus — trying to get us better and focus on how we’re going to be the best that we can be as a team.”
After playing Marquette, the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Bellarmine on Sunday.
The Knights come into the weekend on a three-game losing streak, which is why OSU senior defender Chris Mahoney said the visitors will be playing with a chip on their shoulders.
“I think they’re going to come out with all engines firing,” Mahoney said. “They certainly have to prove themselves, as we do, too.”
Mahoney, however, said he believes his team is up to the task.
“We haven’t had a demanding win yet I think, and I know our team can put out a lot more,” Mahoney said. “I’m really looking forward to our team clicking offensively and defensively and everywhere in between.”
Myers had high words of praise for Bellarmine and said he looked forward to a weekend full of lacrosse.
“They’re very gritty. I think they’ll be extremely motivated on Sunday,” Myers said. “I think you’re going to see some very close lacrosse games this weekend.”
This is scheduled to be the first time this season the Scarlet and Gray have had to play two games in one weekend. Even so, Mahoney said OSU is ready and excited at the prospect.
“It’s going to be a jam-packed weekend, and we’re really looking forward to testing our ability to bounce back in two days, back to back,” Mahoney said. “We’re really looking forward to it as a team and getting more players involved.”
Two games in three days means the Buckeyes will have to play more players in order to keep legs fresh. Myers said he will rely on some of his players who do not see much time on the field to play a key role.
“I think the growth of our young guys at this point of the season has been really solid,” Myers said. “We’re going to need some different guys to step up in both games this weekend to be successful.”
OSU junior midfield specialist Jake Withers was named the Big Ten Specialist of the Week on Tuesday for his role in the Buckeyes’ 12-7 win over University of Maryland, Baltimore County last Friday. This is the second time Withers has received the award this year.
Withers won 14 faceoffs, including a 9-of-11 mark in the first half, and picked up a game-high and personal season-best of 10 ground balls.
Withers has been an essential component of the Buckeyes’ ability to gain a significant advantage in time of possession this year, as he has had the total-game faceoff advantage in all four matches.
After the two games this weekend, OSU is scheduled to travel to Hempstead, New York, on March 12 to face Hofstra. The game is set to begin at noon.