The Ohio State men’s lacrosse team is heading into the 2013 season looking to shake off the sting of back-to-back losses in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals in 2011 and 2012. Coach Nick Myers said his team’s growth in the off-season might be enough to make that hope a reality. “We’re a team that’s fighting and clawing to get better every day, I’m really happy with the effort we’ve put forth in practice,” Myers said. “I think right now the coaching staff is probably most thankful for the leadership that we’re getting and the way these guys are responding to the challenges that we’re putting in front of them.” The team can look for leadership in returning seniors Logan Schuss, Dominique Alexander and Kevin Mack, who will all join the Ohio Machine at the end of the season after being drafted in the 2013 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. Alexander, a midfielder and co-captain for the Buckeyes, said he’s excited to play for the Machine but won’t let his future distract him from his duties at OSU. “(Getting drafted) was pretty awesome, my family was pretty excited,” Alexander said. “Obviously my focus right now is the season, but it’s definitely something to look forward to.” In front of a sold-out crowd, the Buckeyes defeated Team Canada, 17-10, in its preseason opener on Jan. 20. And even though it’s early, some members of the team said their sights are already set on making it to the sport’s biggest stage. “I think the goal is definitely to get to the NCAA tournament, and once you get there anything can happen,” said junior goalie Greg Dutton. “I think we have the guys to do it, and I think we are a lot more mature than we have been in past years. We’ve got good senior leadership and we should have the expectation to make the tournament.” Like Dutton, Schuss has been named to the 2013 Preseason All-American team by Inside Lacrosse. The attacker was named last season’s ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, and Myers hopes for similar production this season. “I think Logan’s a guy that benefits off his teammates’ ability. He has incredible talent but he’ll be the first to tell you he’s as good as the five guys around him helping make plays,” Myers said. “I certainly think he is one of the best players in the country.” No. 20 OSU is set to play No. 12 Syracuse Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.