Feb. 24, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 14 Ohio State women’s lacrosse team (4-0) hosts Brown at 11 a.m. Saturday in Ohio Stadium in its third of four-consecutive home games. Following the contest, the No. 11/12 men’s lacrosse team will face No. 8/10 UMass at approximately 1 p.m. This is the first doubleheader for the teams, who are a combined 7-0 this season, in Ohio Stadium.
IF YOU GO
Parking is available around the stadium for the games. Fans should enter through gate 7. Admission to the women’s game Saturday, and throughout the regular season, is free. For the men’s game, tickets will be sold at the ticket office near gate 7 on game day beginning at halftime of the women’s contest, or they can be pre-purchased through OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Ohio State students with a valid BuckID and children 6 and younger will be admitted free.
IN A NUTSHELL
Led by second-year head coach Alexis Venechanos, the Ohio State women are 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2002. The Buckeyes opened up the 2012 campaign by defeating San Diego State, 19-4, and No. 6-ranked Stanford, 14-10, before returning to Columbus for wins over Robert Morris, 16-2, and Louisville, 21-7, last weekend. They were ranked No. 18 in the IWLCA Preseason Poll and have since moved up to No. 14 in the deBeer Media Poll (the IWLCA will not begin regular-season polls until Feb. 27).
A candidate for the Tewaaraton Trophy and the current American Lacrosse Conference Offensive Player of the Week, Alayna Markwordt recently broke the OSU records for career goals and points just a few games into her senior season and now leads the team in 2012 with 11 goals and 12 assists. Gabby Capuzzi (13g, 5a) and Jackie Cifarelli (8g, 10a) are tied for second with 18. As a team, the Buckeyes are out-scoring opponents 70-23 and allowing an average of fewer than 16 shots per game.
For fans unable to make the games, both the men’s and women’s contests will be streamed through the Buckeye Vision subscription service on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Scarlet and Gray Sports Radio will provide the audio on the webcast, in addition to providing an audio-only feed at OhioStateSports.net. S&G Radio’s Antonio Venegas will provide play-by-play for the Brown game Saturday, with former OSU player Brittney Zerhusen adding expert analysis. Live stats for both games can be linked from the teams’ respective pages on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
In addition to the official website of Ohio State athletics, OhioStateBuckeyes.com, the women’s lacrosse team can be followed through social media outlets Facebook (facebook.com/ohiostatewomenslacrosse) and Twitter (twitter.com/OhioState_WLAX).
Venechanos on the team’s 4-0 start: “I think this is from the hard work that [the players] put in; they really set the tone. We don’t really see them during the summer, but they did a good job of keeping communication open over the summer with the incoming freshmen. We were all on the same page before they even got here and I think that’s a credit to the seniors. Getting a taste of a little bit of success last year – we had some strides; we had more conference wins than in years past – and I think that’s a goal for them … They are an exciting group to coach every day because they bring the energy at practice, whether it’s 2 degrees outside or 45 degrees.”
BUCKEYES VS. BROWN
This is the first meeting in the series between Ohio State and Brown. The game also will serve as the season opener for the Bears, who finished 2011 with a 7-8 overall record and a 2-5 mark in the Ivy League.
With her second of four goals in the Buckeyes’ 21-7 win over Louisville last Sunday, senior Alayna Markwordt became the leading point scorer in Ohio State women's lacrosse history. She now has 247 points (151g, 96a), besting the previous mark of 243 set by Kelly Haggerty during the 2007-10 seasons. The senior captain also extended her goal-scoring streak to 26 games, while her point-scoring streak currently stands at 52-consecutive games, dating back to March 1, 2009, and the fourth game of freshman season.
Ohio State is out-scoring opponents by a league-best 11.75 goals per game, averaging 17.5 per contest – the second-most of any ALC team (Hopkins is scoring 18.5 per game after two games). Six players have tallied five or more goals on the season and five have 10 or more total points.
The Buckeyes are giving up the second-fewest goals of any ALC team who has played more than one game this season. They have surrendered 5.75 goals per game, second only to Northwestern’s 5.50 per game after two contests. Ohio State also is allowing fewer than 16 shots per game.
YOUTH IS SERVED
There currently are five freshmen in the starting lineup and four of the top eight points scorers on the 2012 squad are in their first seasons. Jackie Cifarelli (8g, 10a) is tied for second on the team, while Hallie Keselman (6g, 1a), Mary Kate Facchina (6g) and Jennifer Porretto (3g, 2a) all find themselves in the sixth, seventh and eighth positions. On the other end of the field, both goalies are in their rookie campaigns with Tori DeScenza (6.39 GAA, 7svs) earning each of the last three starts.
LAST TIME OUT
The No. 18 Buckeyes defeated Louisville 21-7 last Sunday in Ohio Stadium to improve to 4-0 on the season, continuing the team's best start since a 6-0 beginning in 2002, while the Cardinals begin their season in the hole, 0-1. As a team, the Buckeyes came back from an early two-goal deficit, down 3-1 at 22:58, to score six unanswered goals and they never looked back. Eight OSU players found the back of the net, including three who tallied five or more points on the day - Cara Facchina (3g, 5a), Jackie Ciffarelli (3g, 3a) and Alayna Markwordt (4g, 1a). Kirsten Donahue also netted four goals, tying Markwordt for the game high. Tori DeScenza made her third start of the season in goal, picking up the win along with six saves, before giving way to Caitlin Hester for the final 11 minutes of the game. Hester made one stop, while giving up one goal.
Alayna Markwordt was named the American Lacrosse Conference's Offensive Player of the Week Tuesday after becoming the leading point scorer in Ohio State women's lacrosse history in a pair of Buckeye wins last weekend. This is the second-consecutive week the Buckeyes have had the conference's offensive POW after Gabby Capuzzi took home the honors following the opening weekend of play, while Tori DeScenza was pegged to the rookie of the week to start the season.
Senior captain Alayna Marwordt was named to the 2012 Tewaaraton Watch List this week as a member of the early pool of players who will be under consideration for college lacrosse's highest individual honor. The Tewaaraton Award was formally established in August of 2000 by The University Club of Washington, DC and is the pre-eminent lacrosse award, which is awarded annually to the NCAA male and female lacrosse players of the year. The selection committee will make additions to the list as the season progresses. In late April, the list will be narrowed to 25, who will be named Tewaaraton Nominees. In mid-May, five finalists will be announced. The finalists will be invited to the Tewaaraton Award Ceremony, held May 31 at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
The Buckeyes will return to action at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 4 against Notre Dame. The location for the game will be announced this week after looking at the forecasted weather conditions. The Fighting Irish opened the season with a win over Stanford (17-14) and will take on Duquesne at noon Saturday before preparing to play the Buckeyes.
AT A GLANCE
Ohio State welcomes back five starters and 16 letterwinners from the 2011 team which finished 10-7 overall and 2-3 in the ALC. Among the returning players are senior captains Alayna Markwordt, an Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American, Gabby Capuzzi and Kirsten Donahue. Fellow senior Olivia Cora and sophomore Tayler Kuzma are the two returning mainstays of the Buckeye defense. They are under the guidance of second-year head coach Alexis Venechanos.
Ohio State was picked No. 18 in the IWLCA coaches poll and 20th in the deBeer media poll prior to the start of the season, while coming in fourth in the ALC preseason rankings. Individually, Alayna Markwordt has been tabbed a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse and an ALC player to watch, along with fellow senior captain Gabby Capuzzi.
The 2012 roster features eight seniors, three juniors, eight sophomores and 11 freshmen hailing from 10 different states. Maryland leads the way with 10, followed by New Jersey (5), New York (4), Pennsylvania (4), Ohio (2) and one each from Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri and Virginia. There are 13 new faces among the group, including two transfers to go with the 11 rookies. In addition, there are two sets of sisters who have teamed up for the 2012 season.