Game Preview: Men’s Lacrosse vs. Ohio State
The Big 10’s most famous rivalry - the Nittany Lions of Penn State and the Buckeyes of Ohio State - will face off against each other this weekend.
After only one week of conference play, Ohio State comes into the contest with a 6-3 record, ranked No. 11 on the weekly Inside Lacrosse poll.
Ohio State has had an extremely impressive season so far, tallying wins over some of the best programs in the country. In week 1, they dominated No. 9, University of North Carolina, as well as No. 10 Harvard, but fell last week to No. 5 Rutgers in their first game of conference play.
The Nittany Lions are the predicted underdogs this week coming in with a 2-7 record, after losing their Big 10 opener to Maryland, who has been ranked as the best team in the country since Week 1. The Terrapins will be looking to snap a four game losing streak this Saturday.
Both Penn State and Ohio State matched up against Cornell this season, and both fell short in close competitions, with a three goal or less deficit in the final score.
In their all-time matchups, the Nittany Lions lead the Buckeyes 10-6, and in the last six of those 16, Penn State took home the win.
Despite losing Tre Leclaire this year, the Buckeyes offense is as strong as ever. They have outscored their opponents 128-99 in only 9 games. The team takes pride in how they contribute to each other's success as well, as they are 70-48 in assists against their opponents.
Accounting for 25 of those 128 Buckeye goals is senior attacker Colby Smith. He leads the team in goals and is third on the team in assists. After losing the majority of his 2020 season due to the pandemic, and then sitting out with an injury in 2021, he came back as ready as ever.
Alongside him are Jack Myers and Jackson Reid, who are both tied behind Smith in goals, with 21 each. This trio has been unstoppable, as the three of them alone have accounted for over 50% of the team's goals this season.
A team is only as good as its defense, and the Buckeye defense is an excellent example of this theory. They have allowed 190 for their 238 shots on goal, and they have less penalties than their opponents.
The backbone of Ohio State is senior goalie Caton Johnson, who has put up an impressive .472 save percentage against top tier programs.
Penn State will seek to capitalize on man-up situations, as Ohio State has let up 20 goals this season so far on man-up shots and Penn State leads their opponents in man-up goals.
Leading the offense for the Nittany Lions is fifth-year senior Jack Kelly, who is first on the team in goals scored with 15. Working alongside him is redshirt senior Dan Reaume, with 12 goals, and freshman Will Peden, who leads the team in assists.
These three have done an exceptional job this season moving the ball fast and with intention, looking to keep this momentum up against the Buckeyes.
The team has been working on filling the gap on the offensive side of things, as senior Jack Traynor has not made any contributions since they took on Yale in late February. As he left that game, he had 14 goals on the young season, and four games later he still registers himself as the runner-up for the top scorer.
The Penn State defense is led by fifth year senior Brayden Peck with 11 ground balls and nine caused turnovers, freshman Kevin Parnham with 25 ground balls and eight caused turnovers and Grant Haus has accounted for 15 ground balls and six caused turnovers.
The Nittany Lions will be looking to protect junior Aleric Fyock in net, who has a save percentage of .510 on the season after nine games.
This is an important game for both teams as they set the tone early in Big Ten conference play.
Molly White is a second-year majoring in kinesiology. To contact her, her email is email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Second Year / Kinesiology - Movement Science
Molly White is a second year student studying Kinesiology with a concentration in Movement Science at Penn State University Park. She is from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, and is looking to pursue a career in sports, currently exploring other interests in the field outside of her current major, looking to gain a more broad experience and gain more knowledge.