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Men’s Lacrosse: No. 11 Ohio State finds success in final preseason battle

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Ohio State partook in its second scrimmage of the season this weekend against Robert Morris. Credit: Zachary Rilley | Photo Editor

Less than one week remains until the start of the regular season for the Buckeyes, after the No. 11 Ohio State men’s lacrosse team took on Robert Morris in its second and final scrimmage Saturday.

The Colonials, 2022 ASUN conference champions, were welcomed by the Buckeyes for preseason play for the first time since 2014 in what appeared to be an evenly matched battle.

The exhibition got off to a slow start with only two goals in the first 15 minutes, courtesy of a pair of Buckeye midfielders in graduate Kyle Borda and freshman Dillon Magee.

No balls found the net for the Colonials in the first quarter, as Saturday was the first look of the year at Ohio State’s senior goalie Skylar Wahlund. Wahlund had a 52.5 percent saves rate last season, sixth in the Big Ten.

Wahlund ended the first quarter with a buzzer-beating save, which had the crowd on their feet.

Momentum shifted not long into the second quarter as Robert Morris totaled five goals in under six minutes, outscoring the Buckeyes 6-5.

Head coach Nick Myers thought the Colonials presented a different challenge compared to last week’s competition against Lafayette, though he liked the way his team responded.

“It’s a really well-coached team,” Myers said. “They play fast. They’ve got some really good scorers. I felt like coming in here, we knew we were going to be tested a little bit differently than we were last week.”

Ohio State displayed several offensive weapons, scoring seven goals from seven different Buckeyes as they headed into halftime.

Ohio State led and exited the third quarter with a goal by freshman attackman Matt Caputo assisted by fellow freshman midfielder Tate Jones.

“They’ve [Caputo and Jones] been doing a great job,” senior goalie Caton Johnson said. “They had to adjust at first, obviously that happens to any freshman, but they’ve both been working their bottoms off and it’s good to see it pay off.”

Robert Morris suffered a shot clock violation and a pair of forced turnovers, contributing to Ohio State’s dominant, defensive fourth quarter.

Johnson took over for freshman goalie Oran Gelinas for the final 15 minutes. This will be Johnson’s second year as a Buckeye after transferring from North Carolina ahead of the 2021 season.

“[I’m] proud of this unit that Caton leads,” Myers said. “The goalie unit, this week, we really pushed on, and I thought we had a great week of practice. I thought we saw them make some really good timely saves today.”

Jones, who scored three goals in the scrimmage against Lafayette, repeated his performance with another three goals against Robert Morris, including two in the final quarter.

The Buckeyes will take on Air Force Saturday at the Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium, making it the first official game in the new venue and the start of their three-game home stretch.

“Here we are. Week 1,” Myers said. “We’re really looking forward to getting the season started.”

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