Huge match, and IMO, toughest test to date going on the road to #2 Notre Dame. Now... ND just lost to Denver like two weeks ago, but we can't read too much into our clobbering last week. That was Denver's first road game of the season and we just swarmed them early and never took the foot off the gas. That happens in lacrosse, and blowouts between relatively equal teams is not unusual... that being said, here is what I am looking for today:
1) Stability between the pipes: Carey put together his best match to date last week. We need that consistency to deal with he ND offense.
2) EMO: We were pretty much lethal man-up against Denver. ND is better defensively, so we need to continue to get goals when we are presented with the advantage.
3) Faceoff X domination: Denver's FoGo is probably the best we will see all year and we actually did an admiral job against him. I loved the blueprint the coaches drew up to prevent Denver from winning face-offs and creating chances in transition. Totally shut that aspect of the Pioneers' game down. ND does not have the same dominance at the X, so Withers may be able to create additional possessions, which are crucial to our grinding offensive style. He put out such a performance against Towson, and it would be nice to see it again.
4) Growth from our young guns: Last week was a coming out party for not only the program, but for some really talented young slingers. That will do a ton for their confidence going on the road and playing in a really tough environment in South Bend. I hope to (regardless of score) see that move forward.
Lastly: This may be the biggest game in recent memory for the Buckeyes because a win here could very well crown them as the #1 team in the country. That is a big deal. It also will pretty much guarantee a spot in the tournament (Wins over Towson/Denver/ND and 10 wins overall... no brainer) as long as we don't just totally collapse in B1G play. Go get 'em Bucks!