NCAA Lacrosse: #15 Ohio State Men’s Lacrosse Previewed By Lacrosse Magazine


Ohio State Men's Lacrosse

2014 Preview
Best Case: If the question is what do they do next — and it has been amongst the team through the preseason — Ohio State answers emphatically. The Bucks will get the chance to prove themselves early on with a tougher than normal February slate, opening at Johns Hopkins and playing UMass at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Tougher games with Penn State, Hofstra, Denver and Notre Dame dot the schedule outside of ECAC play. But in any event, OSU runs the table in the final hurrah for the league. The offense finds it rhythm by midseason, and an experienced returning defense — three returning close defenseman, including MLL draft pick Joe Meurer, a starting goalie and multiple long- and short-stick midfielders — hold down the fort until then.
Worst Case: Ohio State misses last year’s senior class more than it realizes. The faceoff situation, probably the biggest question mark with a freshman and unproven sophomore, is never solidified and a stout defense and ever-improving offense have to play near perfect. Poor results in the early season snowball and the Buckeyes are unranked headed into ECAC play. But even with that, they start off conference play strong and face a surprise Air Force team for the conference title in Columbus, and a second straight NCAA berth on the line.

Vitals

2013 Record: 13-4 (5-2 ECAC) Coach: Nick Myers (6th year) Record at Ohio State: 44-35

Power Ratings (scale of 1-5)

Offense: 4 Defense: 4 Goaltending: 4 Faceoff: 2

Top Returner

M Jesse King (Jr.) King is set to fill the role once held by Logan Schuss, and Joel Delgarno and Kevin Buchanan before him, as Ohio State’s primary threat. The lefty Canadian can play attack or midfield. He will be a focal point no matter what in an offense that features tons of movement and high-percentage shots that play to the strength of top Canadian talents like King and fellow junior Turner Evans .King posted 32 goals and 23 assists last season even with Schuss around.

X-Factor

A Gordie Koerber (So.) The Denver transfer’s inside finishing skills fit with OSU’s Canadian pieces. The lefty has starting-lineup potential, but the amount of time he sees will depend on if the projected starting attack of Evans, sophomore Carter Brown and senior Adam Trombley, a fourth attackman last year, clicks early on.

NCAA Tournament Trend

2009 DNQ 2010 DNQ 2011 DNQ 2012 DNQ 2013 Quarterfinals

What’s New?

Life without two-time ECAC Offensive Player of the Year Logan Schuss, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm and a second-round draft pick last year of MLL’s Ohio Machine, and do-it-all midfielder Dominique Alexander. Not only did Schuss score goals, and plenty of them, but he organized Ohio State’s offensive sets out on the field for two-plus seasons, and Alexander was an important part of Ohio State’s fabric the last four years.

“There’s a little bit of a new personality to the team,” Myers said. “This group understands the foundation that’s been laid, and the hard work, but I think they’re eager and hungry to turn the page and focus on this new journey.”

Telling Number

5 Number of teams in the ECAC this season, after Denver and Loyola’s departures to the Big East and Patriot League. But have no fear, the ECAC still has an AQ bid to the NCAA tournament. Air Force, Bellarmine, Fairfield and Michigan remain with Ohio State. The Buckeyes are the preseason favorite but Myers is guarding against complacency.

“People are probably underestimating the league on paper,” Myers said. “Fairfield is very well-coached and has a lot of guys back. This is maybe the best Air Force team in the last 10 years that I can remember. Everybody thinks they can win [the ECAC]. We only have five teams, we have an AQ. We had a 9-7 game with Bellarmine last year and our friends up north [Michigan] have done a real good job putting together more and more talent. They’ll be much more competitive this year.”

The Buckeyes take part in the inaugural Big Ten lacrosse season in spring 2015.

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