The Ohio State women’s lacrosse team is looking to start this season strong against its first competitor Robert Morris.
The Buckeyes kick off their season against the Colonials at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Ohio State picked up a 16-11 exhibition win against No. 21 Vanderbilt Sunday, giving the team some momentum heading into the season.
The last time these two teams matched up resulted in a 13-8 Ohio State victory Feb. 9, 2020, marking head coach Amy Bokker’s second win as the Buckeyes’ head coach. With Robert Morris only returning eight players that played in their most recent matchup, the Colonials are a much different team.
“It’s one of the most exciting things about college sports,” Bokker said. “People graduate and freshman come in, so not only does that change the personality, it changes the dynamic of a team.”
While they did not play them head-to-head, Bokker said they were able to get a good look at the Colonials and how they played when they came to Columbus to attend Ohio State’s fall ball tournament Oct. 23, 2021.
The Buckeyes will have junior goalie Claire Morris starting in the cage, but Bokker said she will be rotating freshman Whitney Robinson into the mix as the game progresses, based on her performance in practice this past week.
The draw is something that the Buckeyes have been working on coming from their Vanderbilt exhibition going into the season. All teams must adjust to the new rule off the draw that alternates possession if the foul is not discernable to either team.
There will be four Buckeyes that experience their last home opener of their career, including graduate student midfielder Lindsay Epstein.
“We want to leave our jerseys in a better spot, giving all we have every day in practice, and every time we step out on the field to represent Ohio State,” Epstein said.
Bokker said the Buckeyes scheduled Robert Morris as their first opponent in order to give the team a chance to see how NCAA Tournament teams play.
The Colonials won the Mid-American Conference last season and are favored to win it again according to the Preseason Coaches Poll.
Robert Morris lost its top three producers last season, as the trio of Clio Kerr and Melanie and Mackenzie Gandy accounted for 102 of the Colonials’ 229 goals last season. Junior midfielder Jordan Anderson is Robert Morris’ best returning goal scorer, finding the back of the net 16 times in 2021.
“We are not putting too much weight in what we don’t know,” Bokker said. “We are really just going to play solid team defense.”
The Buckeyes face off against the Colonials Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center before heading down to Cincinnati Wednesday for another nonconference game.