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First Time In Enemy Territory: A Buckeye Lacrosse Experience

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqING19qxng

Jesse King likes sweet potato fries! You gonna cry, 1-9? Go back to Canada! Go blue!

If that heckling doesn’t reveal the ruthless animosity between Ohio State and Michigan, I’m not sure what does.

And the real kicker? That provocation came from a 10-year-old Wolverine fan.

I’ve been a Buckeye fan my whole life, proudly sporting scarlet and grey through National Championships, tattoo fiascos and that year Tim Tebow became enemy No.1. More importantly though, my love for Ohio State came with perhaps an even stronger innate hatred for that team up North.

I’m a senior at Ohio State and I’ve been covering the lacrosse team all season, but making my first trip to the Ann Arbor to cover the legendary OSU v. Michigan match up would be one of the most memorable experiences of my college career.

The game was set for 2 p.m.. Pulling into the stadium, I flipped my trademark scarlet hat backward, grabbed my camera and headed down the tunnel into the Big House. And the second the whistle blew for the first face off, the energy on the field went from 0-100, and then some.

Ohio State struck first.

Just 47 seconds in, senior midfielder David Planning snuck one into the back of the net for the Buckeyes, and I couldn’t resist a “Beat Michigan” smile.

Ohio State vs Michigan 2015 BIg Ten Lacrosse Photo Credit: Molly Tavoletti

Planning will be the first to tell you he’s never trying to be the first to score, but his ability to get the offensive match lit early always seems to do the trick–as evident with goal from junior attackman Carter Brown just 13 seconds later.

But customary to the greatest rivalry game in college athletics, Michigan answered Ohio State’s explosive start, going up 4-2 by the end of the first.

As coach Nick Myers put it, Michigan’s goalie “was hot early” and held the Buckeye’s ten shots to only 2 goals. But Myers was sure “the goals would fall,” and like hell they did, as Ohio State tallied five unanswered goals before the half.

Ohio State vs Michigan 2015 BIg Ten Lacrosse Photo Credit: Molly Tavoletti

The energy on the field was nothing less than electric for all 60 minutes. Michigan brought a fast and talented athleticism, and I could feel the fire between players all the way from the sidelines.

“This is different than a regular game. At the end of the day, it’s about hustling,” Planning said. “It’s about how badly you want the win.”

This rivalry dates back decades, but on the lacrosse field, these teams only met for the first time three years ago. So for seniors on both sides, they’ve been there since game one.

And when the final seconds ticked away, the scoreboard read 13-8, Ohio State, making Buckeye lacrosse 3-0 in Big Ten play this season, but more importantly remaining undefeated against Michigan.

Ohio State vs Michigan 2015 BIg Ten Lacrosse Photo Credit: Molly Tavoletti

When the game ended, we waited for player and coaches interviews. And though I am supposed to remain an unbiased reporter, how could I not enjoy adjusting that scarlet hat a little tighter while witnessing a smiling Buckeye team head through the tunnel.

Fist bumps, high fives and countless “OH-IOs” led the men into the locker room, and from outside the door, we could hear what I could only assume was a more than memorable Buckeye victory dance party.

We swung by Zingerman’s Deli to write recaps and edit photos, not to mention inhale a top five greatest sandwich of my life. Ann Arbor, we’re not friends, but the #73 got you a lot closer.

We left our Buckeye mark and headed back to Cbus, undefeated.