Buckeyes Hit the Road to Face Winthrop, Virginia Tech
Freshman Molly Wood
COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 10/12 Ohio State (2-0) hits the road for the first time this season after opening up the season with convincing home wins over Detroit and Binghamton. The Buckeyes will play two games in three days, beginning with a 6 p.m. game Friday night at Winthrop (1-0) before heading north to Blacksburg, Va., to tangle with Virginia Tech (1-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday.
A Glance at the Buckeyes
The Buckeyes are 2-0 for the third time in four years after defeating Detroit (19-4) and Binghamton (18-5) to open the season and are ranked No. 10 and 12 in the Inside Lacrosse and IWLCA Top 20 polls, respectively. They are averaging 18.5 goals per game on 35.0 shots per game.
Ohio State has 14 different players record at least one goal this season, led by senior Katie Chase who has 10 goals on the season and also is tied for the team lead with five ground balls and three caused turnovers. Chase also is third with five draw controls. Senior Jackie Cifarelli also has 10 points on three goals and a team-high seven assists. Junior Rainey Hodgson (9 pts, 5 g, 4a) and junior Cian Dabrowski (8 pts, 4g, 4a) are third and fourth, respectively, in points for the Buckeyes. Freshman Molly Wood leads Ohio State with eight draw controls and also has three goals on the season.
Defensively, senior preseason All-American Tori DeScenza has allowed just two goals in her 72 minutes of play, recording five saves thus far.
As a team, Ohio State has done a great job securing possession with 24 of 26 successful clears while forcing 44 opponent turnovers on the defensive end.
A Look at Winthrop
Winthrop is 1-0 on the season after defeating the Kennesaw State Owls 18-5 on the road in the squad’s season-opener Tuesday night.
Winthrop is coming off an 8-11 season in 2014 with a 4-3 mark in the conference while making its first trip to the Big South semifinals, falling to High Point.
Senior attacker Jenna Kasmarik, who led the Big South in scoring last season, was voted the Big South Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Senior Alyssa Blevins and junior Shannon Gallagher were each also named to the Preseason All-Conference Team. The Eagles as a team were predicted to finish second in the conference this season.
Junior Abigail Blevins also returns after a breakout sophomore campaign where she netted 26 goals and recorded 13 assists.
A Look at Virginia Tech
The Hokies enter Sunday’s game 1-1 after defeating Liberty 15-11 to open the season before dropping its home opener to JMU 13-8 Thursday night. VT has eight starters returning from its team that went 7-10 a year ago and 0-7 in the ACC.
Offensively, Megan Will and Gracee Hendrix lead VT with seven and four goals, respectively, through two games. Will led the Hokies with 48 goals and 17 assists last season and entered this season ranked fourth at VT in career scoring (120g) and sixth in career points (156). The All-ACC third team honoree scored in 15 of Tech’s 17 games last season.
Defensively, Meagh Graham has played every minute in goal with 15 saves and 24 goals allowed.
Put to the Test
The Buckeyes will face a tough road ahead this season in their quest for a Big Ten championship and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. As of Feb. 12, Ohio State is slated to play six teams who are currently ranked in both major polls, including four in the top 10.
Ohio State’s first test against a ranked team will come Feb. 28 vs. No. 20 Stanford, followed by a road game at No. 9 Notre Dame March 21. The Buckeyes then play four ranked teams in its last five games, starting with back-to-back road games at No. 12 Penn State and No. 6 Duke April 4 and 9, respectively. The Buckeyes then welcome No. 1 Maryland to Columbus April 12 before finishing the regular season on the road at No. 5 Northwestern.
Buckeyes Improve to 2-0, Top Binghamton, 18-5
In its second game of the season, nine different Buckeyes tallied goals as Ohio State posted an 18-5 win over Binghamton Saturday afternoon inside at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Sophomore attack Cian Dabrowski led the charge with six points on three goals and three assists while junior Rainey Hodgson collected five goals for the Scarlet and Gray.
Senior midfielder Mary Kate Facchina got the Buckeyes on the board first with her third goal of the season at 25:14. The netter was the first of six-consecutive for the home squad, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead. Hodgson didn’t need any help on the sixth goal of the day when she forced a turnover, picked up a groundball and fired in a shot past the BU goalie.
Senior attack Jackie Cifarelli continued to do what she does best: find her open teammates in front of the cage. She helped out on back-to-back goals by Dabrowski and Hodgson, respectively, to extend the lead to 8-1 with 7:32 to go in the half. Senior attack Katie Chase got in on the scoring party, notching her eighth and ninth goals of the season in less than a minute span at 4:23. She finished the day with four goals and leads the team with 10 through two games. Hallie Keselman finished off the dominant first half with her first goal of the season to make the scoreboard read, 13-1.
Chase and Hodgson each scored in the second half, while freshman Katie Burgee collected her first career goal at 6:53 and junior Emi Breakey also found the back of the at 4:19 to conclude the contest with an 18-5 score. Defensively, the Buckeyes stood strong, forcing 25 Bearcat turnovers. The Scarlet and Gray were also 10-of-12 on draws. Freshman Molly Wood led Ohio State with a team-high five draw controls for the game while adding one goal.
Buckeyes Closing in on Career Records
Several Buckeyes are expected to break several Ohio State career records this season, starting with senior Jackie Cifarelli who is now seven away from tying and eight from becoming the all-time assists leader at Ohio State. She is currently third with 132, needing two more to pass Alayna Markwordt (133) and eight to pass Kristen Slahor’s mark of 139. Cifarelli also is in fourth place on Ohio State’s all-time points list with 196. The record is 314 by Markwordt.
Meanwhile, classmate Katie Chase is currently second on Ohio State’s all-time list for draw controls with 147. The record is held by Gabby Capuzzi who recorded 166 from 2009-12.
Also in the running for another record is senior goalie Tori DeScenza, who already holds the career record for wins, now with 32. DeScenza is currently third with 411 saves behind Megan Barnett (432) and Kristen Gilwee (497).
Head Coach Alexis Venechanos
Alexis Venechanos is in 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 44-30 at Ohio State and boasts a career record of 80-68 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.
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 by both IL and Lacrosse Magazine, Cifarelli was named a second-team preseason All-American by IL and Chase was chosen as an honorable mention preseason All-American with Taylor Donahue.
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
(T-3) Ohio State
(T-3) Penn State
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.
Buckeyes Sweep Inaugural Weekly B1G Awards
In honor of their performance last week, Ohio State swept the first-ever Big Ten weekly lacrosse awards with Katie Chase (Offensive), Tori DeScenza (Defensive) and Molly Wood (Freshman) all taking home the weekly honors.
Ohio State will have a couple weeks off before returning home to face Stanford (Feb. 28, Noon ET) and Niagara (March 1, 1 p.m.) on back to back days in Columbus.
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