It’s a weekend of marquee matchups on the banks. The No. 13 women’s team looks to improve to 9-1 and get back on track against No. 20 Johns Hopkins after suffering their first loss of the season last Sunday at No. 3 Maryland. Both Rutgers and Hopkins are 0-1 in conference play and looking for their first conference win. Hopkins defeated East Carolina last Sunday to snap a thee-game losing streak.
In Men’s lacrosse, the Knights welcome the Buckeyes to Shi Stadium this Sunday to kick off conference play. The noon game will be televised on ESPNU. The game will be Youth Lacrosse Day, as all youth lacrosse players 8th grade and under wearing their jersey will get in for free. The team will also sign postgame autographs.
Big Ten women’s lacrosse weekend slate:
After suffering their first loss of the season, the No. 13 women look to improve to 9-1 as they take on No. 20 Johns Hopkins Saturday at 5pm at home.
Previewing Ohio State and men’s Big Ten Lacrosse this weekend
Ohio State enters the matchup at 6-2 overall following a 12-6 win over Dartmouth on Tuesday night. Offensively, the team is led by Jack Myers, who has 21 goals and 24 assists to rank seventh in the nation in points per game. Jackson Reid has posted 16 points in his last three games for 30 overall. OSU has impressive early-season ranked wins over North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Harvard and two close losses against ranked Cornell and Denver respectively.
Both squads have tested themselves with ranked non-conference opponents prior to the 5-week gauntlet of Big Ten play. After four consecutive weekends on the road, it will be interesting to see if the Knights can leverage the positive energy of the home crowd and friendly confines of Shi stadium.
A key area to watch, as always with this Rutgers squad, is the face-off circle. Fifth-year Buckeyes senior Justin Inacio won 13 of 20 this past Tuesday against Dartmouth and currently ranks fifth nationally in face-off win percentage at .647. The Buckeyes overall are No. 3 in the nation, winning face-offs at a 66.8 percent clip. Needless to say, nervous Rutgers fans are hoping that No. 1 face-off specialist Jonathan Dugenio is healthy following concussion protocol after the opening face-off in last Saturday’s match against Hofstra. Dugenio won the opening face-off, raced down the field, and scored but took a nasty hit on the play and would leave the game, not to return.
If Dugenio cannot go Sunday, look for a face-off by committee approach from coach Brecht. Backup senior Sam Stephan has struggled, winning 21 0f 56 this season. Senior Michale Ott has won 10 of 22 and true freshman Luke Romanek has won 13 of 26. It will be interesting to see how coach Brecht mixes and matches this group against the Buckeyes.
Rutgers has dominated Ohio State in the series, going 11-3 in 14 lifetime matchups and have won 5 of the last 7 in Big Ten play. Rutgers defeated Ohio State twice in 2021, beating a Buckeyes team ranked in both games last season - No. 6 in the first matchup and No. 14 in the second. Fans can expect Ohio State to be playing with a grudge heading into this game.
No. 1 Maryland, at 8-0 and fresh off a rout of No. 2 Virginia, continues to roll over anyone in their path and once again, the conference championship will run through the Terrapins.
Johns Hopkins, at 4-5, and Penn State, at 2-6, realistically can only make the NCAA tourney by winning the Big Ten championship.
That leaves Rutgers (8-1), Michigan (7-2), and Ohio State (6-2) most likely battling it out for second place this season. The group of three will need to keep the Terrapins in sight for an outside shot at an automatic tourney bid by winning the conference championship. More realistically, these three teams will be battling for one or two of eight at-large bids come tournament selection time.