COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 19th-ranked Ohio State women's lacrosse team looks for its fourth-consecutive victory as it travels to No. 15 Penn State for a 1 p.m. game Sunday at Jeffrey Field. The Buckeyes are 8-4 overall and 1-1 in the ALC after winning six of their last seven contests, while the Nittany Lions are 7-6 on the season and 1-2 in the conference. The ALC clash will be televised by the Big Ten Network on same-day delay with the broadcast scheduled for 4 p.m.
FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES
Live stats for the contest vs. Penn State will be available via goPSUsports.com, linked through the front page and women's lacrosse schedule page of OhioStateBuckeyes.com. In addition, the game will be televised nationally by the Big Ten Network on tape delay beginning at 4 p.m. with Mike Wolf and Kara Lentz calling the action. Throughout the season, follow the Buckeyes via Twitter (@OhioState_WLAX) and Facebook (facebook.com/OhioStateWomensLacrosse).
IN A NUTSHELL
Winners of six of their last seven games, the Buckeyes enter the game Sunday vs. Penn State with an 8-4 record after victories against American (16-4), St. Bonaventure (19-4), Canisius (23-7), Notre Dame (13-8), California (16-4), Louisville (15-11), Vanderbilt (16-15) and Detroit (26-3). The team has outscored opponents 145-57 in games won and average just under 15 goals per game in all contests this season. Ohio State has won 59 percent (183-312) of its draw controls this season, topping its opponents in all but two games.
The Buckeyes are led in scoring by junior Alayna Markwordt and senior Brittney Zerhusen. Markwordt has a team-high 57 points off 38 goals and 19 assists, while Zerhusen is just a step behind with 38 goals as well with 17 assists for 55 points. Annie Carruthers, the preseason ALC goalie of the year, has started all 10 games between the pipes and has a 9.78 goals-against average with a .430 save percentage on 225 shots faced. On the draw, Gabby Capuzzi and Jayme Beard are forces to be reckoned with, securing 36 and 34 draws, respectively.
RANK AND FILE
After their upset win of then-No. 14 Vanderbilt a week ago, the Buckeyes burst into the Top 20 rankings after spending the last two weeks receiving votes. Ohio State entered the IWLCA/Under Armour Coaches Poll at No. 19 in the April 11 edition, marking the first IWLCA national ranking for the Scarlet & Gray since March 1, 2010. The Buckeyes are 1-0 as a ranked team after defeating Detroit, 26-3, Tuesday and are 2-3 this season against opponents ranked in the Top 20 (wins: No. 11 Notre Dame, No. 14 Vanderbilt; losses: No. 4 Duke, No. 9 Stanford, No. 6 Florida).
In the Buckeyes' three-game winning streak, senior attacker Brittney Zerhusen has been the dominant force with 15 goals and eight assists to her credit during the run. She was named the WomensLax.com Player of the Week and the ALC Offensive Player of the Week April 11 after leading the Buckeyes to their first ALC victory of the season, an upset of 14th-ranked Vanderbilt, 17-16. The Sykesville, Md., native had 10 points off five goals and five assists vs. the Commodores, leading all scorers and tying her career high for single-game points, a mark which ranks fourth all-time in the Ohio State record books.
AROUND THE ALC AND NCAA
Heading into this week of competition, Ohio State boasted the third-ranked offense in the American Lacrosse Conference, scoring 13.5 goals per game, a mark which stood as 17th in the nation. Since defeating Detroit, 26-3, Tuesday, the Buckeyes' total increased to 14.6 goals per game, but updated ALC and NCAA stats are not released until Monday. As a team, Ohio State also was in a No. 8 national position in draws with 14.64 to their credit per game at the start of the week.
Individually, Alayna Markwordt and Brittney Zerhusen were third and fourth in the ALC and eighth and 17th in the NCAA by contributing 4.82 and 4.2 points per game. They held the same positions within the conference in goals per game (13; 25 in NCAA), while Markwordt also is third in the league and 22nd in the country with 1.64 assists per game. Jayme Beard and Gabby Capuzzi also are among the conference leaders as the duo was tied for fourth in the ALC in draw controls with 34 on the season at the start of the week.
SMALL SCREEN, BIG GAMES
Sunday vs. Penn State is the second of at least three appearances for the Buckeyes on national television as BTN aired Ohio State's 17-16 win over then-No. 14 Vanderbilt last week and is slated to show the regular-season finale vs. Johns Hopkins in Columbus April 30.
LAST TIME OUT
Thirteen Buckeyes found the back of the net, including Brittney Zerhusen with a season-high six goals, as the 19th-ranked Ohio State women's lacrosse team defeated Detroit, 26-3, Tuesday afternoon at Titan Field in Detroit, Mich. In addition to Zerhusen's six, freshman Cara Facchina tallied a career-high four goals, junior Alayna Markwordt had three and Kirsten Donahue, Kelly Becker and Morgan Obendorfer join in as multi-goal scorers with two apiece. The 26-goal scoring mark had stood alone at the top of the OSU record books since a 1999 victory over Denver, while the last 23-goal margin of victory last came in 2000, a 23-0 victory over Regis. Outside of the team's offensive explosion, the three goals allowed stand as the fewest in four seasons for the Buckeyes. Goalies Annie Carruthers and Megan Fiorito each played 30 minutes between the pipes and combined for nine saves on the day. In total, 26 Buckeye players saw action in the contest.
SCOUTING PENN STATE
Penn State enters Sunday with a 7-6 overall record (1-2 ALC) after narrowly defeating Lehigh 12-11 Tuesday afternoon on Jeffrey Field. Jen Steadman led the attack with a team-high four goals, while Maggie Dunbar put in a solid performance all around, scoring three goals, notching one assist, and totaling six draw controls, five ground balls and four caused turnovers. Steadman has paced the Nittany Lions throughout the season, tallying 23 goals and nine assists for a team-high 32 points. Penn State entered the week with the third-ranked team defense in the ALC and 15th in the NCAA, allowing 8.75 goals per game. On the other hand, the Lions average just 10.58 goals per game on offense, which stands at the bottom of the conference.
The Buckeyes are 4-14 all-time against Penn State, last defeating the Lions April 20, 2008, a 17-12 victory in Columbus. Penn State has won the five meetings since with Ohio State and each of the last three in University Park, dating back to the 2003 season.
The Buckeyes remain in conference and on the road, traveling to Evanston, Ill., to face second-ranked Northwestern at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CT) Friday, April 22 on Lakeside Field. The Wildcats are 12-2 overall and 2-2 in the ALC after dropping back-to-back conference contests vs. Florida and Johns Hopkins.
Humphrey Highlights | Mackenzie Maring