No. 3 men’s lacrosse (3-0) will have its first true measuring stick game this coming weekend when it travels to Columbus, Ohio to take on No. 8 Ohio State (3-1). The match will be the first of four against ranked opponents for the Red, which has yet to face a team inside the top 20.
Cornell is coming off of a convincing 17-8 win against Hobart (2-2). The Red performed well on both sides of the ball, winning 44 of 64 ground balls and saving 16 of 24 shots on goal.
One key area that remains a work in progress for the team is at the x. The Red won less than 50 percent of total faceoffs — 13 of 28 — across four different players. Freshman Jack Cascadden had the most success of the group, winning seven of 11 chances at the x. Senior Angelo Petrakis, who was the Red’s primary faceoff specialist last year, went just five for 14.
While the lack of faceoff dominance did not affect the outcome of the game, it may hurt Cornell against top competition. Ohio State faceoff specialist Drew Blanchard is coming off a season in which he ranked sixth in the nation in faceoff percentage at 65.5 percent.
The Red matched up against the Buckeyes twice last season, first for their normally scheduled regular season matchup and then again in the playoffs. In the first contest, the Red was able to rally from an early 3-0 deficit to come out on top, 14-11.
In the opening round of the NCAA tournament, Cornell once again found itself down 4-0 after the first quarter. Nevertheless, the Red again mounted a comeback behind a record-breaking seven goal performance from junior attacker CJ Kirst. The 15-8 win was the first of three on Cornell’s path to the championship game.
Kirst, who matched his seven goal playoff mark against Hobart on Tuesday, will have to contend with his Ohio State contemporary, attacker Jack Myers. Myers was an All-American last season, and will be the primary focus for a Cornell defense that has allowed less than eight goals per game –– putting the unit second in the nation in scoring.
The Buckeyes’ high point on the season thus far was a low-scoring 8-5 win against No. 11 North Carolina on Sunday, Feb.19. Last Saturday, Feb. 25, Ohio State lost for the first time in a neutral site game against top-ranked Virginia.
The Buckeyes will be looking to get back in the win column and avenge its losses against the Red last year. Cornell is trying to remain undefeated and ranked within the top three in the nation.
The Red’s contest on Saturday, March 4, is set to start at noon at Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium. It will be available on BIG10+.