Senior Captains: Capuzzi, Markwordt & Donahue
April 20, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 12th-ranked Ohio State women's lacrosse team closes out its home schedule with American at 2 p.m. Saturday in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes (9-4, 1-3 ALC) are poised to achieve their seventh season with at least 10 wins in program history in their meeting with the Eagles, who sit at 7-8 on the season.
Admission to the game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium is free with parking available in the "Gray Lots" across the street from the stadium on Fred Taylor Drive. Fans should allow ample time to reach JOMS and park as the 2012 LiFE Sports Spring Game (Football) begins at 1:30 p.m. and will occupy parking lots around campus.
If you are unable to attend the game, watch live through BuckeyeVision or follow on Gametracker, with both linked from the front page and women's lacrosse schedule page of OhioStateBuckeyes.com. The Ohio State lacrosse Twitter feed also will be updated during the game (@OhioState_WLAX).
IN A NUTSHELL
With just one game remaining on the regular-season schedule after Saturday, Ohio State currently is 9-4 on the season and 1-3 in the power-packed ALC. The Buckeyes started the year 5-0, the best start for the program in 10 years, and are poised to secure their seventh season with at least 10 victories. The game vs. American is the final non-conference matchup of the season, breaking up a stretch of three-consecutive ALC contests. All four of the Buckeye losses have come at the hands of ranked teams this spring, including two among the Top 5 in No. 1 Northwestern and then-No. 5 Florida (L, 10-8 - 3/24/12), both of whom also are a part of the ALC.
Eight Buckeyes conclude their careers in the Scarlet and Gray after this season and will be honored prior the game Saturday. The four-year players have combined for 39 wins over their time at Ohio State and stand as the second-winningest class in program history going into the game vs. American. Graduate student Jennifer Schmitt, along with seniors Olivia Annalora, Laura Beck, Gabby Capuzzi, Olivia Cora, Kirsten Donahue, Alayna Markwordt and Caylee Rafalko will all be recognized in a pregame ceremony.
Ohio State enters the week among the Top 20 in several statistical categories. As a team, the Buckeyes are scoring 14.0 goals per game, while allowing 9.2. The latter ranks 12th in the NCAA with the scoring offense coming in at No. 15 and total points (270) clocking in 18th.
Several individuals are having breakout seasons as well. Alayna Markwordt (32g, 39a), who broke the school records for goals and points earlier this year, is fourth in the country in total scoring (71 points) and assists (39)and fifth in points per game (5.5 per game). Joining the Tewaaraton Trophy candidate on the attack is freshman Jackie Cifarelli, the national leader among freshmen in points per game (3.6) and the second-place holder in total points (47) among first-year players. Active on both sides of the ball, Gabby Capuzzi is seventh in caused turnovers (2.9) and leads the team in draw controls (46), groundballs (32) and caused turnovers (27).
RANK AND FILE
Ohio State enters the week at No. 12 in the IWLCA national poll, down two spots from last week but still clocking in among the Top 20 for the 13th-consecutive week, dating back to last season. After starting the season at No. 18, the Buckeyes have fluctuated within the Top 15 and have six contests on the schedule against teams in the current poll.
In six editions of the IWLCA poll this year, including each of the last five, all six ALC teams have been ranked in the Top 20. The ALC is the first conference to have 100 percent of its institutions ranked, doing so for the first time last season, and holds the record for most member schools ranked at one time, with six.
AROUND THE ALC
The Ohio State-Penn State game will cap off a weekend of ALC action. No. 17 Vanderbilt travels to No. 5 Florida for a noon game Saturday, while No. 19 Johns Hopkins makes the trek to top-ranked Northwestern at noon Sunday. The Wildcats and Gators are tied atop the conference rankings with three wins apiece, while Ohio State and Penn State hold on to third, followed by Vanderbilt in fifth and Hopkins in sixth.
Florida will host the ALC Tournament May 3-5 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Quarterfinal action begins at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 3 with two games followed by two semifinal games starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 4. The championship game will be played at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5. For more information on the sixth annual tournament or to purchase tickets, check out the tournament central page.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
American is on a three-game losing skid after a 13-11 setback to UMBC Tuesday night. The Eagles are 7-8 overall, 3-3 in the Patriot League and ending their regular season with the game at Ohio State Saturday. They average 13.4 goals per game and have three players with 45 or more points on the season. Emily Burton (45g, 9a) and Kimbery Collins (37g, 17a) are tied at the top with 54 points apiece, while Lauren Schoenberger is third with 45 (27g, 18a). American is 1-6 away from its home field in 2012.
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with American, 4-1, and have won each of the last four meetings. In the last meeting between the teams, Ohio State dominated American Feb 1, 2011, defeating the Eagles 16-4 to give head coach Alexis Venechanos and her staff their first win as Buckeye coaches. Three OSU players - Alayna Markwordt, Brittney Zerhusen and Jayme Beard - scored three goals apiece as the Buckeyes improved to 1-2 on the season.
LAST TIME OUT
The 10th-ranked Buckeyes fell to No. 13 Penn State, 15-12, in an ALC showdown last Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Kirsten Donahue tied a career high with four goals and sophomore Katie Chase produced her first career hat trick, but the Lions had three scorers with four goals apiece and a goalie that ended the day with 10 saves. In all, there were eight ties, including five in the first half, and five lead changes in the match.
The Buckeyes close out the regular season at No. 18 Johns Hopkins at 1 p.m. Saturday April 28 on Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md. The Blue Jays sit at 7-6 on the season and 0-3 in the ALC coming into this weekend with contests vs. Penn State (Saturday) and UMBC (Wednesday) before hosting Ohio State in the regular-season finale for both teams.
With her second of four goals in the Buckeyes' 21-7 win over Louisville Feb. 19, senior Alayna Markwordt became the leading point scorer in Ohio State women's lacrosse history. She now has 295 points (172g, 123a), obliterating the previous mark of 243 set by Kelly Haggerty during the 2007-10 seasons. The senior captain and Tewaaraton Trophy candidate also has a point-scoring streak which currently stands at 61-consecutive games, dating back to March 1, 2009, and the fourth game of freshman season.
YOUTH IS SERVED
Seven freshmen have made appearances in the starting lineup this season with four of them ranking among the top nine points scorers on the 2012 squad. Jackie Cifarelli (25g, 22a) is second on the team, while Jennifer Porretto (11g, 2a), Mary Kate Facchina (11g) and Hallie Keselman (6g, 2a) find themselves in the sixth, seventh and ninth positions. On the other end of the field, both goalies are in their rookie campaigns with Tori DeScenza (9.7 GAA, .479 save pct) earning 11 starts and Caitlin Hester (7.01 GAA, .375 save pct) making eight appearances with two starts. In addition, defender Taylor Donahue has 13 draw controls and seven caused turnovers in 11 starts.
The 2012 roster features two sets of sisters. Senior captain Kirsten Donahue was joined by her younger sister Taylor Donahue, a freshman, this season, while fellow rookie Mary Kate Facchina joined her older sister, sophomore Cara Facchina this year.
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.
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).