No. 10 Ohio State Opens 2015 Season Saturday vs. Detroit

Senior Jackie Cifarelli is one of nine returning starters in 2015.
Senior Jackie Cifarelli is one of nine returning starters in 2015.
Jan. 29, 2015

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State, ranked No. 10 in the Inside Lacrosse preseason Top 20 poll, opens the 2015 season at home this Saturday when it takes on the Detroit Titans at 4 p.m. at the Woody Hayes Athletics Facility Indoor Field. Admission is free for the match, which also will be streamed live on Buckeye Vision.

A Glance at the Buckeyes
The Buckeyes return nine of 12 starters from last year’s team that finished 13-7 overall and 4-2 in conference play.

Headlining the returnees is senior goalie Tori DeScenza, a fourth-year starter who garnered IWLCA second team All-America honors last season while winning ALC Goalie of the Year honors. She enters 2015 with 406 career saves, looking to break the Ohio State all-time record of 497 by season’s end.

Ohio State also returns an abundance of offensive firepower from last season – 87 percent of its scoring to be exact. Back from last season are Ohio State’s top five goal scorers in Katie Chase (49), Cian Dabrowski (32), Mary Kate Facchina (32), Jennifer Porretto (30) and Kelsea Ayers (24). Also back is the facilitator of that group, Jakie Cifarelli, who was nominated for the Tewaaraton Award last season after finishing first on the team in total points with 63 (17g, 46a). Cifarelli has collected points in 51 of 56 games in her career while collecting 40 multi-point performances overall.



Returning along the defensive front is senior Taylor Donahue, who was a first team All-ALC performer last season, and senior Emily Valli, who started all 20 games in 2014.

A Look at Detroit
The Titans finished 5-13 last season with a 3-2 record in the Atlantic Sun while reaching the conference championship game. They return 10 of 12 starters and seven of their top eight goal scorers and were picked to finish third this season in the A-Sun preseason poll. Six Titans earned spots on the preseason Atlantic Sun All-Conference Team, the most of any school in the conference. Senior goalkeeper Lexie McCormick, the 2013 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year, was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Detroit is entering its seventh season of women's lacrosse overall and fourth season under head coach Laura Maness.

Series History
Ohio State is 4-0 all-time vs. Detroit, including a 18-3 win over the Titans in last year’s season opener at the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility. Katie Chase led the charge with four goals, while Kaila Gottlick had three scores and Jennifer Porretto and Cian Dabrowski each had a pair of goals. Jackie Cifarelli had six points on a goal and five assists for the Buckeyes. Ohio State had 11 different members find the back of the net, notching ten goals in the first half and followed with eight scores in the final 30 minutes.

Buckeyes in Openers
The Buckeyes are 12-7 in season openers all-time, including an 8-2 mark in games played in Columbus. Ohio State is 4-0 in home openers under head coach Alexis Venechanos.

Head Coach Alexis Venechanos
Alexis Venechanos enters her fifth season at the helm of the Ohio State women's lacrosse team in 2015 and has turned the program into one of the nation’s best during her tenure. She has amassed a record of 42-30 at Ohio State and boasts a career record of 78-68 as a head coach.

A winner everywhere she has been, Venechanos has been a part of four NCAA titles (as a player and coach) and a total of eight conference championships and she has now brought those winning ways to Ohio State. Last season, the Buckeyes finished the 2014 campaign with a 13-7 overall record with a 4-2 mark in ALC play, ending the year with a No. 13 national ranking by the IWLCA -- the second-best finish in school history in a national poll. It was a year to remember for the Scarlet and Gray as the Buckeyes earned their first trip to the NCAA tournament in 11 years and recorded the second-most wins in school history. Ohio State also advanced to its fourth-consecutive ALC tournament semifinal and posted a program-record nine home victories. In addition, Ohio State defeated back-to-back Top 10 opponents for the first time while the 2014 seniors set Ohio State class wins record with 42 career victories.

New Faces on the Coaching Staff
Jill Byers and Christie Kaestner joined the Ohio State coaching staff in July as assistant coaches, replacing Christy Leach, who was named the head coach at Stetson University, and Gabby Capuzzi, who was named an assistant coach at Navy. Byers, a standout All-American at Notre Dame (2006-09), came to Columbus after spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach, including last year at Stony Brook, while Kaestner, who also was an All-American at Duke (2007-11), joins the Buckeye program after two seasons as an assistant at Coastal Carolina.

Buckeyes Tied for Third in Big Ten Preseason Poll
Ohio State has been picked to finish third (tied with Penn State) in the inaugural season of Big Ten women's lacrosse. In addition, seniors Katie Chase, Jackie Cifarelli and Tori DeScenza have been voted Players to Watch in 2015. DeScenza claimed first-team preseason All-America honors, Cifarelli was named a second-team preseason All-American and Chase was chosen as an honorable mention preseason All-American.

Maryland was the unanimous choice by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite to claim the first Big Ten Championship. The coaches voted in the preseason poll and selected three players from their own team to a Players to Watch list. The Terrapins were followed in the preseason poll by Northwestern in second place, Ohio State and Penn State tied for third place, Rutgers in fifth place and Michigan in sixth place.

2015 Big Ten Women’s Preseason Poll
(2) Northwestern
(T-3) Ohio State
(T-3) Penn State
(5) Rutgers
(6) Michigan

CAPS denote a unanimous selection

2015 Big Ten Players to Watch
Megan Douty, Sr., D, Maryland
Brooke Griffin, Sr., A, Maryland
Kelly McPartland, Sr., M, Maryland
Jess Angerman, So., A, Michigan
Kim Coughlan, So., M, Michigan
Anna Schueler, So., M, Michigan
Bridget Bianco, Sr., G, Northwestern
Kaleigh Craig, Jr., M, Northwestern
Kara Mupo, Sr., A, Northwestern
Katie Chase, Sr., A, Ohio State
Jackie Cifarelli, Sr., A, Ohio State
Tori DeScenza, Sr., G, Ohio State
Tatum Coffey, Sr., M, Penn State
Madison Cyr, Jr., M, Penn State
Maggie McCormick, Sr., A, Penn State
Kristin Kocher, Jr., M, Rutgers
Lauren Sbrilli, Sr., M, Rutgers
Erin Turkot, Sr., D, Rutgers

Inaugural Season of B1G Lacrosse
In June 2013, the Big Ten announced the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse as the conference’s 27th and 28th sports. Big Ten women’s lacrosse features teams that have won 24 national championships and 20 of the 33 NCAA Championships, including nine of the last 10.

The inaugural Big Ten Women's Lacrosse Tournament will be hosted by Rutgers from April 30 to May 3. The tournament will include all six conference programs, with two quarterfinal matches on Thursday. The top two seeds will receive byes to Friday's semifinals, followed by the championship match on Sunday

A Quick Look Back at 2014
Ohio State finished its 2014 campaign with a 13-7 overall record and 4-2 mark in ALC play. It was a year to remember as the Buckeyes made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 11 years. Let’s take a look at what else the Buckeyes did in 2014:

• Appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history.
• Won 13 games, the second-most in school history behind the 2003 team.
• Advanced to its fourth-consecutive ALC semifinals.
• Finished second in the ALC regular season with a 4-2 record.
• Posted a program-record nine home wins.
• Defeated back-to-back Top 10 opponents for the first time in school history.
• The 2014 seniors set Ohio State class wins record with 42 career victories.
• The No. 13 IWLCA ranking marked the second-best finish in school history in the national poll.

Up Next
Ohio State returns home next Saturday when its plays host to Binghamton at 1 p.m. on the indoor field of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.