Notre Dame set to face Ohio State
Manuel De Jesus | Wednesday, March 23, 2016
A week after squeaking by Virginia in an 8-7 overtime victory, No. 2 Notre Dame will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face Ohio State on Saturday.
The Irish (5-1, 1-0 ACC) have the advantage over the Buckeyes (5-4, 0-0 Big Ten) heading into their 55th all-time meeting. Notre Dame has won each of the last 11 years and leads the overall series 33-21. Its 9-0 victory at home over Ohio State last season marked the second shutout in Notre Dame history. After the win, junior goalie Shane Doss was awarded the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association National Player of the Week.
This season, Doss will lead the second-ranked Irish defense as the reigning ACC defensive player of the week following his performance against the Cavaliers on Saturday. In the overtime win, Doss had 14 saves and left the opposition scoreless for the first 22 minutes of the game. He is currently first in the ACC and second in the nation in goals against average (5.94) and save percentage (.624). Doss credits the rest of the team for his string of recent successes.
“A huge part of my individual recognition has been the play of our defense early on this season,” Doss said. “We have a core of really talented and experienced guys in front me who make it tough on opposing offenses to get good shots all game. Also, I think having a year’s experience of starting behind me has really helped slow the game down and give me confidence in high-pressure situations.”
Junior midfielder Sergio Perkovic has also given the Irish momentum heading into this week’s matchup on the offense as the ACC Offensive Player of the Week. He scored a hat trick against the Cavaliers, including a goal in the final minute to send the game into overtime, as well as the game-winning goal in overtime. With both the offense and defense firing on all cylinders, Notre Dame will prepare for an Ohio State team that is on a three-game losing skid. After starting off the season 5-1, the Buckeyes have dropped games against No. 19 Hofstra, No. 8 Towson and No. 1 Denver.
Despite their struggles, the Irish aren’t taking the Buckeyes for granted.
“This is a dangerous team, because they are always capable of playing to the level of their opponent,” Doss said. “Last year, they upset Duke in the NCAA tournament and almost did it again to Denver in the next round, so we know that they have some talented playmakers and a good coach. We just escaped from a good Virginia team in overtime in a game everyone had picked for us to win, so we know the problems with looking past an opponent or assuming anything will happen.”
Ohio State is led by junior attack Austin Shanks, who transferred to Ohio State this season after two years at Bellarmine. Shanks is leading the Buckeyes with 17 points, including nine goals and a team-high eight assists. Junior attack Eric Fannell is another transfer who has made an immediate impact for Ohio State in his first season. Coming from Adrian, Fannell has scored 11 goals and recorded five assists on the season. Senior attack Carter Brown has also attributed 11 goals and five assists to the Ohio State offense this season.
The Irish have played into extra periods the last two games and would like to avoid falling into the same trap against the Buckeyes on the road.
“We haven’t really come out strong in either of the last two games, forcing ourselves to make plays in tight situations later on,” Doss said. “If we can get on the board early and give ourselves some breathing room, I’m confident we have the talent to keep that lead for the rest of the game.”
The Irish will look to start another winning streak Saturday against Ohio State at 1 p.m. before returning to ACC play against Syracuse on April 2.