Cal lacrosse visits Butler, Ohio State

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One game at a time: That’s how Cal women’s lacrosse head coach Brooke Eubanks plans to approach the team’s first multi-game weekend of the season against Butler and Ohio State.

“Butler is our first game so that’s all that we’ve talked about, that’s all the film we’ve watched, and we are preparing for them,” Eubanks said. “After the game, we will have a quick turn around and put all of our attention to Ohio State.”

Cal (0-2) is heading to Indiana for its first game of the weekend this Friday, facing Butler (0-2) at Varsity Field. Butler added lacrosse as its 20th varsity sport this past October and proceeded to build its team from scratch. The Bulldogs hired an entire coaching staff and impressively compiled a roster of 28 student-athletes before the start of the season. So far, they have suffered fairly big losses to Liberty and Detroit.

Cal has similarly struggled in its past two games. It lost to Denver by double digits in its first game of the season and fell to Oregon despite an impressive surge of energy late in the game.

“We’ve been focusing and doing a ton of drills on the draw, because that’s the number one way to gain possession and it’s something we need to get better at,” Eubanks said.

Cal has shown opposite styles of play in its two games, showing off a more impressive defense in its first game and then pivoting to a more offensive-oriented game against Oregon.

“I’d like to see us continue with our goals on the offensive end, which are ball movement and team-oriented offense,” Eubanks said. “Defensively, we want to get back to where we were against Denver, where we were able to stop the team one-on-one but also play supportive defense.”

After Butler, Cal will head to Columbus, Ohio, to play Ohio State (3-0) on Sunday. The Buckeyes have defeated Vermont, Jacksonville and Cincinnati, and will take on Stanford at home this Friday before playing the Bears. Ohio State finished last season fourth in its conference, the Big Ten, and lost in a one-score match in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament to Rutgers.

Cal lost to No. 19 Ohio State in its first game of the season last year in overtime, 16-15. Draw controls were an issue in this game, just like they have been for the Bears this season. Ohio State held the lead until the last two minutes of the game, when Cal was able to complete an impressive comeback and tie the game, forcing it into sudden-death overtime. The Buckeyes scored in the first 30 seconds of overtime, winning the game and denying the Bears their first victory over a ranked team in 10 years.

“(I want to see) balance, as far as being able to execute on all sides of the ball,” Eubanks said. “They know that they can do it and they have the confidence, so we just have to put both sides of the ball together.”

It’s unlucky for the Bears that they will have to face Ohio State, a team that was ranked at this point last season, while they are still recovering from their game against Butler. But if Cal is able to play hard with consistent teamwork throughout each game, it stands a good chance to defeat both teams this weekend.

Sophie Durham covers lacrosse. Contact her at [email protected].