COLUMBUS, Ohio -- No. 9 Ohio State fell to No. 10 Notre Dame, 17-9, Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium. It marked the third straight setback for the Buckeyes (11-4), who will close out the regular season at home next Friday vs. No. 17 Northwestern. The Irish improve to 12-5.
It also marked just the third home loss in the last 20 games for the Buckeyes dating back to the 2014 season.
After a back-and-forth battle in which neither team seized control, Notre Dame used a 6-0 run in the second half, spanning nearly 14 minutes, to break the game open. Ohio State's Morgan Castelein found Erika Keselman for a goal at the 25:14 mark and the Irish led by just two, 10-8.
But Notre Dame, who came into the game ranked fifth in the NCAA in scoring at 14.2 goals per game, took over from there as Katherine Eilers' goal less than a minute later sparked the decisive run and Ohio State was never able to recover.
Both teams traded punches in the first half. Ohio State wasted no time getting on the board as Cian Dabrowski won the opening draw, then fired a pass to an open Paulina Constant who raced down the left side to scored unassisted just 23 seconds into the game. The teams then traded goals over the next 16 minutes as Mackenzie Maring scooped in a shot from the top of the crease to give Ohio State a 3-2 lead at 13:17.
But after Ohio State won the first four draw controls to help build its lead, Notre Dame finally started winning a few draws of its own and scored five of the next six goals over the next 7 minutes for a 7-4 lead.
But Ohio State wasn’t fazed, as Kelsey Gallagher assisted on two straight goals, one to Maring and another to a cutting Christine Easton who caught the pass and fired the shot all in one motion to make it 7-6 ND with 3:19 left in the half.
ND would add two goals in the final two minutes for the 9-6 halftime lead.
The Buckeyes came out strong after halftime, as they once again drew first blood on an unassisted goal by Gallagher a minute into the half to cut the lead to two. They were able to cut the lead to two once more at 10-8, but were unable to get any closer as the Buckeyes, who won nine of the 12 draws in the second half, just couldn’t muster enough scoring opportunities.
Rainey Hodgson and Maring led Ohio State with two goals while Molly Wood, Constant, Gallagher, Easton and Keselman all had one. Wood also led both teams with six draw controls. Katie Frederick (11-4) took the loss in goal, making seven saves. Dabrowski was held without a goal for the first time this season and for the first time in her last 19 games dating to last season.
Notre Dame’s Cortney Fortunato led the Irish with five goals on the day.
The Buckeyes will close out the regular season at 5 p.m. next Friday when they host No. 17 Northwestern at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
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