On Saturday Ohio State will open up their new lacrosse stadium when the Buckeyes host Lafayette in a scrimmage. The new stadium will be located between the Covelli Center and the Ty Tucker Tennis Center. The Board of Trustees approved stadium construction in August 2021, with groundbreaking of the $24.9 million dollar facility coming in early November 2021.
The new lacrosse stadium will be able to seat 1,894 people, which includes standing-room only seats. 772 of those seats are grandstand seats, with 112 of those seats having seatbacks. Every seat has a clear line of sight, whether it be from the grandstand seatbacks, under the grandstand, or from the rooftop viewing section.
A huge addition to the new stadium is going to be heated artificial turf. The turf will have 24 heat sensors, and over 21 miles of piping which will be used to heat the surface. The heated surface will make some cold weather matches in February and March a lot easier to handle for players.
Student-athletes will also benefit from a number of other additions that will help them hone their skills. The lacrosse-specific training areas include a practice room, training room, and outdoor wall ball. The new stadium will not only feature two locker rooms, as there will also be a locker room for officials.
What stood out most to me in renderings of the new stadium was the rooftop viewing areas and concession areas that have clear line of sight to the field. Even though it had to be quite an experience to play lacrosse at Ohio Stadium from the student-athletes, the size of the legendary stadium had a very cavernous feel. This new stadium feels like it fits a lot better, and should give the Buckeyes more of a home-field advantage.
Men’s lacrosse outlook
The first team to take the field was the men’s lacrosse team, who held their first practice at the new stadium on Jan. 9. The Buckeyes will have two scrimmages at the facility before kicking off their season. This Saturday, Ohio State will host Lafayette, followed by another scrimmage next Saturday against Robert Morris.
The first regular season game for the Buckeye men’s team will come on Feb. 4 against Air Force. Overall, Ohio State will have seven regular season games at their new stadium, with the first of two Big Ten contests in Columbus coming on March 26 against Rutgers. The most interesting home game on the schedule will certainly be the regular season home finale on Sunday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. against defending national champion Maryland.
Ohio State will be looking to make a deeper run in this year’s NCAA Tournament than they did last year, when they fell 15-8 at Cornell in the first round. With plenty of talent returning from last year’s team, expectations are high for the Buckeyes this year. Returning for another season is Jack Myers, who scored 38 goals and was credited with 45 assists last year.
Not only does Ohio State return eight of their top-ten scores from last year’s team, they also brought in a number of transfers who should add to an already talented team. The Buckeyes certainly have the pieces to make a deep run in this year’s tournament.
Women’s lacrosse outlook
While the men’s team will get most of the headlines this year, don’t sleep on what the Ohio State’s women’s lacrosse team could do. The Buckeyes are coming off a 9-7 season in 2022, and will be looking to reach double digits in wins for the first time since the 2016 season.
The women’s team plays their first game at the new stadium on Feb. 10 when they host Robert Morris. Overall, the women’s team has nine games at the new stadium, with their final regular season home contest coming on April 15 against Northwestern.
Much like the men’s team, the women’s team has plenty of offense returning this year. Jamie Lasada scored 35 goals last year for Ohio State as a sophomore. Just behind Lasada was Nicole Ferrara, who is returning for her senior season after scoring 31 goals and recording 21 assists last year. Chloë Johnson and Jamie Level also cracked the 20-goal mark last season.
One area the Buckeyes shouldn’t have to worry about is in the net. Last year Regan Alexander started 15 of the 16 games for the Buckeyes, posting an 8-7 record with a 11.12 goals against average. With a year of starting experience already under her belt, the junior should be even better this year. If Alexander can find her groove early in the season in goal, it will go a long way in helping the Buckeyes possibly earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.