CORVALLIS, Ore. -- After opening conference play with a convincing win over Boise State, the Oregon State men’s lacrosse team (2-2) has a tough non-conference test on Wednesday when the Beavers host Dominican (3-2).
A year ago, OSU opened the season with a 10-5 win over the Penguins in San Rafael. Head coach Chad Stelling is preparing his team for what will be another challenging contest.
“It’s good to have Dominican at home this year,” said Stelling. “They are a really strong team that plays a different style than we are used to, and it will be an incredible test for us this week.”
A big part of the Beavers success this season has been because of their defense, which is lead by a duo of captains, junior Brett Leitherer and senior goalie Justin Roach.
During practice this week, Roach, who was an all-conference selection a season ago, has been preaching communication to his defensive unit.
“Keeping our volume up and communicating with each other on defense is super important,” said Roach. “Our defense has done a great job so far this year communicating with the midfield and that was definitely on display against Boise State.”
On the offensive end of the field, Stelling will continue to rotate multiple attackmen even as the unit approaches full strength. Stelling believes that giving opportunities to some of the younger players who are gaining confidence within the offensive system will pay dividends later in conference play.
“We will be relying on a few of our freshmen to step up again this week. These are guys who have been in the rotation and have had some success already, but now we need them to be starters” said Stelling. “It’s going to be a little bit of a carousel for us at attack, which makes it difficult for us to find some continuity, but we will continue to rotate things around to find a personnel group that works.”
One player Oregon State will look towards on offense is midfielder Matt Hockman. But the sophomore is focused on more than just scoring goals and fueling the offense this week.
“I’m focused on keeping spirits up, especially during practice. We know this is a big game this week,” said Hockman. “I’m trying to set an example and show our guys that working hard here in practice will pay off in our games.”
Despite the short week of practice, the Beavers look to add another win to their resume against the Penguins. Game time is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 7 at Student Legacy Park on the OSU campus.