The No. 19 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team suffered its first loss of the season a year ago at the University of Massachusetts. On Saturday, the 2-0 Buckeyes are trying to avoid the same fate by defeating the Minutemen for the first time in school history.
Last year, UMass had just four victories, but thoroughly beat the Buckeyes 16-9. After the game was tied at seven, the Minutemen took control and outscored OSU 9-2 the rest of the game.
“This is a team that beat us and beat us badly,” OSU coach Nick Myers said. “It has nothing to do with the season that they had last year. They absolutely got after us and that was something that was very clear of our team.”
Massachusetts has its best offensive player returning from 2016 in junior attackman Buddy Carr, who scored 18 goals and assisted on eight others. Senior attackman/midfielder Gianni Bianchin is also a leader in the Minutemen offense, scoring three goals against the Buckeyes last year and 17 points overall.
Myers said he is aware of their offense, but is more concerned about his own team continuing to improve. He added that the plan for the Buckeyes is to control the tempo of the game, which will allow them to control the outcome of the game.
“We need better starts,” he said. “We need to (be) a really good (team) in the box with our defense. Significantly better than we did a year ago. Not settle for anything but a good shot.”
OSU senior midfielder J.T. Blubaugh said the Buckeyes do not intend to let their feet off the gas pedal.
“I think this year we have more weapons on the offensive side of the ball,” Blubaugh said. “And I think we have a new attitude towards finishing. If their team is relentless than we’re going to have a relentless effort for four quarters.”
So far the Buckeyes are averaging 13 goals per game, scoring 12 against Furman and 14 against Detroit. OSU’s offensive has provided some explosive moments on offense, but then the speed of its attack changes throughout the course of the game.
Myers said he is looking for consistent execution in all facets toward becoming an elite offense.
“We gotta do a good job in the box offensively and our ride-clear game along with our settle (defense) has to be working together,” he said. “What we haven’t had is quarters with all those different pieces connected.”
The match against the Minutemen is scheduled for noon Saturday in Ohio Stadium.