Buckeyes Upset No. 4 Northwestern, 11-10, in Overtime
Junior goalie Tori DeScenza
March 9, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Led by a season-high 13 saves by junior goalie Tori DeScenza and four goals by senior Katie Chase, the Ohio State women's lacrosse team posted an 11-10 upset overtime victory against No. 4 Northwestern Sunday afternoon at Ohio Stadium. The ranked win marks the first victory for the Buckeyes (4-3, 1-0 ALC) against Northwestern since the 2003 campaign.
"I was really proud of how our team competed to the end," said head coach Alexis Venechanos. "We expected a battle against a tremendous Northwestern program and we needed a full team effort. The defense stepped up when we needed them to and we also were able to put away some key goals at crucial moments in the game. This is a great win for Ohio State and we hope we can continue to improve in each game this year."
Sophomore midfielder Cian Dabrowski, who scored three goals vs. the Wildcats, tallied the eventual gamewinner in overtime when she found the back of the net at 5:06 on an unassisted score after blasting a shot into the top right of the net. Dabrowski, a native of Amaranth, Ontario Canada, now has 10 goals this year, including six scores in her last two games.
Defensively, DeScenza looked stronger and stronger in front of goal after every shot she denied, collecting nine saves in the second half and three in the overtime period. She collected back-to-back saves at 3:46 and 3:12, respectively, in the overtime session following a free position shot before collecting her last stop of the contest with 2:07 remaining on the Wildcat's 10th free position shot overall (2-of-10). After a quick change of possession at 1:01 on the clock, the Wildcats had one final chance to score, but a shot by Kara Mupo went wide as time expired on the clock. Overall, Ohio State caused 14 turnovers vs. the Wildcats.
"I know that Tori loves playing with her teammates and the defense played as a unit today," Venechanos said. "We had a couple huge groundballs and were able to hold possession strong between the 30s as well."
Offensively, junior attack Jackie Cifarelli notched two assists to hit the 100-career assist milestone and becomes just the third Buckeye in program history to accomplish such feat. Cifarelli, who was named to the 2014 Tewaaraton Watch List, is tied with former Buckeye Kelly Haggerty for third in the record book.
Three other Buckeyes notched two points vs. the Wildcats. Junior midfielder Jennifer Porretto had a goal and an assist, senior Kaila Gottlick had a pair of scores and junior Mary Kate Facchina boasted a goal and an assist. Chase posted a team-best four draw controls, while sophomore midfielder Christine Easton had three.
The game featured nine lead changes in a back-and-fourth conference battle. Chase tied the contest, 1-1, at 28:54 on an unassisted score. After Northwestern took a 2-1 lead, Dabrowski scored her first of the day when she found space on the right side of the NU zone and fired a shot into the back of the net at 26:49. The Buckeyes tied the contest, 3-3, when Chase scored on a man-up scenario in front of net with the assist coming from Cifarelli at 21:06.
After a fourth NU goal, the Buckeyes tied it for the fourth time following an OSU goal by Facchina at 15:59 - her 13th of the season. Ohio State claimed its first lead of the day when Porretto netted her lone goal of the day at 10:49 assisted by Facchina. The Scarlet and Gray then made it 6-5 when Chase scored at 7:06 on her second unassisted goal of the afternoon.
Ohio State finished the first half with back-to-back goals to take the 8-7 lead heading into halftime. Dabrowski scored again for the Buckeyes at 2:03 to go in the first half to make it 7-7 following an assist by Porretto. Chase then scored her team-best 15th goal of 2014 with 19 seconds remaining in the first half with the 100th-career assist by Cifarelli.
At half, shots were 12-10 in favor of Ohio State, while the Buckeyes held a 9-7 advantage in draw controls. Gottlick made it a two-goal game after DeScenza's first save in the second half on a free position shot. She then scored her 12th of the season at 24:32. Ohio State made it 10-8 when Gottlick notched her second of the day following a groundball pickup by Facchina at 13:38.
But the Wildcats continued to fight and scored twice to it at 10-10 with just under nine minutes left in regulation. Both teams couldn't find the back of the net for the final eight minutes with a combined five turnovers tallied between the two schools. With 11 seconds to go, Northwestern earned a free position shot, but the shot by Kaleigh Craig was saved by DeScenza to send the game to overtime.
Overall, Northwestern held a 32-21 lead in shots and a 21-14 advantage in groundballs. The Wildcats just edged the Buckeyes in draw controls, 13-12.
The Buckeyes return to Ohio Stadium tomorrow, hosting High Point at 3 p.m. in Columbus. As always, admission is free.