5-0, and feeling good! The Buckeyes rolled to a fairly comfortable victory against Marquette in Texas last week, remaining undefeated with the 13-9 win.
This leaves Ohio State as one of only three undefeated teams in D1 lacrosse this season. No time to rest on laurels, however, as the Buckeyes travel to Hempstead, NY to take on the Hofstra Pride tomorrow.
Game is available for FREE on Lax Sports Network. I will embed in the comments for easy access.
Hofstra is 2-3 coming into tomorrow's game, and it's been a story of runs for the Pride. They opened the season 2-0 with wins over Lehigh and debutant Utah, then proceeded to drop 3 in a row to Villanova, Stony Brook, and Georgetown.
The Georgetown loss was particularly bad, as the Pride looked disheveled on defense and slow on offense. What looked like a marquee matchup has dimmed tremendously over the first month of the season.
Offensively, Hofstra really, really struggles. Their best player, and top scorer, is junior attackman Ryan Tierney (#13).
Tierney has tallied 14 goals and dished out 2 assists through 5 games, a very respectable scoring record. It's a testament to how much the Pride have struggled that the next highest points total is 6. That's it.
And several players are tied with 5. Watching Hofstra play Georgetown, it is very apparent that the middies struggle to beat anyone. That Tierney has managed to put up 16 points this year is a minor miracle, and he should be the focus of the Buckeye defense all day.
Omari DeBerry got a LOT of time at SSDM last week, and really stuck to the O middies of Marquette. Between Terefenko and DeBerry, I think it will be a long day for Hofstra on offense.
Defensively, Hofstra has been trending down much of the season in terms of goals, but has actually been pretty stout statistically.
The Pride are holding opponents to a shot percentage of .259, and only allowing a SOG % of .530. That's really, really good. Of course, that didn't matter as much against Georgetown, as the Hoyas shot 41% and had a SOG % of 61%.
What was really striking watching Hofstra is how disorganized they became after the ball went to X. The Hoyas poured in goal after goal via cutters through the middle as every Pride defenseman stared at the ball.
With Jack Myers patrolling behind the cage, it could be a very long day for Hofstra if they allow Jasinski, Leclaire, and co. to have a feeding frenzy right on the doorstep.
I imagine we will see a lot of dodges from Jasinski at X as well, to change up the pace and make Hofstra rotate even faster. All in all, this should be a good chance for the offense to really hit their stride going into the Denver game.
In goal, Hofstra has started redshirt sophomore Bobby Casey (#27) in every game this season. Casey's been pretty solid all year, even as Hofstra has struggled the past 3 games.
He's averaging 10 saves a game, though has been under 10 the past 2 losses. Casey has a save percentage of .510, which is adequate. Much like last week, the opportunity to score will be there for the Buckeyes, and it is up to them to make sure they take full advantage.
I am confident that we will see another week of double-digit goals.
At the faceoff X, Hofstra is very middle-of-the-road. Sophomore Brian Herber (#1) has taken all but one faceoff for the Pride, and has won 53% of his draws. Against the Hoyas, Herber was 12-22 for 54%, right on his season average.
Honestly, Inacio should blitz him for 60% fairly easily. Justin has done nothing but get better this season, against some really tough FOGOs, and it will be hard to bet against a bloodbath at the X against a 1st-year starter.
Look for a lot of male-it-take-it lacrosse tomorrow.
On special teams, Hofstra will present Ohio State with yet another tough challenge. It's no secret the Buckeyes have struggled on special teams for the better part of 2 years, and this week will be no exception.
Hofstra is converting nearly 40% of their chances, a stout but not overwhelmingly impressive number. They are only allowing opponents to convert 21% of their Man Up chances, however, which is extraordinary.
Ohio State continued its penchant for lots of penalties last week against Marquette, and if the Buckeyes give Hofstra 5 opportunities this week, the game will be much closer than it should be.
Given the pieces the Buckeyes have defensively, they shouldn't be struggling this much. We'll see if there's any progress this week.
Overall, the Buckeyes are rolling into Long Island with a ton of confidence, improved offense, and an above average defense.
Hofstra, meanwhile, is reeling from a 3-game skid, with very few offensive answers. Ryan Tierney will get 5 points, but the Buckeyes roll.
Final Prediction: 16-8, OSU.