April 26, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State women’s lacrosse team wraps up regular-season play against Johns Hopkins at noon Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. As the final conference game of the season, there are tournament seeding implications – the winner of the contest will be the No. 4 seed in the upcoming American Lacrosse Conference tournament, while the loser will be the fifth seed.
IN A NUTSHELL
- The Buckeyes sit at 7-8 on the season splitting their games at Duke (L, 15-9) and High Point (W, 15-10) last weekend and are 1-3 in the ALC. The Blue Jays are 9-6 on the season and also 1-3 in the conference.
- Ohio State has won four of its last six games with the offense averaging 14.2 goals per game in that span, including 19 in back-to-back wins against San Diego State (April 3) and Vanderbilt (April 7). The Buckeyes are scoring at a 12.8 goals-per-game clip for the season.
- Jackie Cifarelli (15g, 43a), Cara Facchina (25g, 21a) and Katie Chase (41g, 4a) have led Ohio State throughout the season with Chase also holding a program-record 67 draw controls.
- Cifarelli's 2.9 assists per game were second in the ALC and eighth in the NCAA at the start of the week. Her 43 rank fourth all-time at Ohio State in single-season totals.
- In four games of ALC play, Kelsea Ayers is the team's leading goal scorer (11), while Cifarelli has the overall points leads with 14 (4g, 10a).
- Defensively, Tayler Kuzma (24ct, 38gb), Taylor Donahue (14ct, 14gb) and Heather Gravinese (12ct, 20gb) have been the strongholds for Ohio State. Tori DeScenza has started all 15 games in goal with a 10.65 goals-against average.
The game vs. Hopkins will be streamed on the Big Ten Digital Network (BTN.com), with potential to be replayed on BTN television at a later date. The BTN.com contest is available as part of the Buckeye Vision subscription package. Former Buckeye All-American and all-time leading scorer Alayna Markwordt will call the game alongside Neil Sika.
Game tracker live stats for the matchup between the Buckeyes and Blue Jays will be available on OhioStateBuckeyes.com. Matchup information, as well as links to follow each game, both home and away, through available live stats, audio and video, are updated prior to each contest on go.osu.edu/wlax_gameday.
The Buckeyes will honor three seniors - Rachel Blue, Kelsey Heine and Rachel Wiederkehr - prior to the contest. All three have played valuable roles within the women's lacrosse program over the last four years and are expected to graduate this spring. The trio has been a part of 37 victories during their careers and have a combined eight appearances on the OSU Scholar-Athlete list.
Fans will receive a FREE women's lacrosse water bottle when they enter the game Sunday, while supplies last. Additionally, the first fill up at the concessions stand is FREE.
ALC TOURNEY SNAPSHOT
Johns Hopkins will host the seventh annual American Lacrosse Conference tournament May 2, 3 and 5 at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md. Defending champ Florida earned the top seed in the tournament and will face the winner of the four-five game in the first semifinal Friday, May 3. Northwestern is the No. 2 seed and will take on the winner of the three-six game in the second semifinal. Penn State is the third seed, while Vanderbilt is the six. The fourth and fifth seeds will be determined after the Ohio State - Hopkins game Sunday. Quarterfinal action begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 2 with two games followed by two semifinal games starting at 4 p.m. Friday, May 3. The championship game will be played at noon Sunday, May 5. For complete schedule and ticket info, visit Hopkins' Tournament Central page.
Ohio State is second in the ALC and 19th in the NCAA in team groundballs (17.6 per game) and after their 14.2 goals per game the last few weeks, the Buckeyes also are in the Top 25 nationally in team offense (12.7 gpg, No. 23). Jackie Cifarelli and Katie Chase are among the top NCAA performers in assists and draw controls, respectively. Cifarelli's 2.9 assists per game are eighth in the nation and second in the ALC, while Chase averages 4.5 draws per game to own 14th place nationally and second in the ALC at the start of the week.
The Buckeyes have seven games on their schedule against teams ranked in the current IWLCA Top 20, including five among the Top 10 teams, all of which took away from Columbus. In ALC play alone, Ohio State faces three teams currently holding a Top 6 ranking. All but two of Ohio State's losses this season have come against teams ranked in the Top 10 and have been decided by an average of 3.5 goals. The Buckeyes dropped out of the IWLCA six weeks ago after spending 21-consecutive weeks among the Top 20.
The Blue Jays enter Sunday with a 9-6 overall record and 1-3 mark in the ALC after a one-goal loss, 15-14, at Penn State last weekend. In the loss, Hopkins’ Taylor D’Amore led all scorers with eight points and five assists and two other Blue Jays, Sarah Taylor and Dene’ DiMartino, notched hat tricks. Sophomore Jen Cook also totaled five points with a goal and a career-high four assists.
For the season, D’Amore leads the team and league in scoring with 71 points (26g, 45a), while Sammy Cermack is next, nearly 30 points behind, with 42 points (25g, 17a). D’Amore is responsible for 25 percent of Hopkins’ total points and 46 percent of all assists. Cosette Larash has started all 15 games in goal for Hopkins, tallying a 10.48 goals-against average and helping Hopkins to the third-best team defense in the ALC.
SERIES HISTORY / LAST MEETING
Hopkins and Ohio State will meet for the 12th time in a series that began in 2002 with the inception of the American Lacrosse Conference. The Blue Jays lead the all-time series, 7-4, although the Buckeyes have a 4-1 advantage in Columbus. The series has been defined by home field advantage as the visiting team has won just once in 11 meetings. Hopkins defeated Ohio State, 15-14, on a late free position goal on March 11, 2007 in Columbus for the lone win by a visiting team.
On April 28, 2012, the 13th-ranked Buckeyes dropped a 12-9 decision to No. 19 Johns at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md., concluding the regular season for both teams. Alayna Markwordt and Gabby Capuzzi led the Buckeyes with four points apiece, but a trio of Blue Jay players with four points and a goalie who came up with 11 saves made the difference in the end. Ohio State led by as many as four in the first half and trailed by as much as five late in the game before answering with a three-goal run to pull within two. The Buckeye comeback attempt ended there, however.
The Buckeyes are 5-1 at home this season and 4-0 when playing at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. In Alexis Venechanos’ three seasons, Ohio State is a combined 10-2 when playing at JOMS and 15-5 in all home games. In the previous four games at The Jesse this season, the Buckeyes are out-scoring opponents 65-30 and have won by an average of 8.8 goals per game.
WHEN IT COUNTS
Junior midfielder Kaila Gottlick may be fifth on the team in total scoring, but she is first in game-winning tallies. Three of her 21 goals this season have been the deciding score for the Buckeyes, including an overtime tally vs. Hofstra with 1:24 remaining in extra time. It was her second of the game. A transfer from Stony Brook who is in her second season in Columbus, Gottlick also was credited with the GWGs vs. Canisius (March 10) and San Diego State (April 3).
CIFF-ING OUT THE ASSIST
With five assists against High Point last Sunday, Jackie Cifarelli is up to 43 on the season, passing her season total from a year ago (32), which stood as Ohio State single-season record for a freshman. She moved into fourth place all-time in single-season assists and will take over third place when she hits 46 (the Ohio State record is 61, set by Kristen Slahor in 2008). A sophomore from Rockville Center, N.Y., Cifarelli averages 2.6 helpers per game, holding onto second in the ALC and eighth in the NCAA at the start of the week. She has tallied at least one point in all but one game this season and in 29 of 32 career contests.
THE AYERS UP THERE
Kelsea Ayers has scored over half of her goals this season (16 of 28) in the last six games. She has had the team high in each of the last three of the last four games and sits in second on the team in goals scored behind Katie Chase (34). The sophomore from Mt. Airy, Md., had just three goals in 14 games last season. She now has tallied goals in 10 games in 2013, including five with at least three scores.
Three Buckeyes have collected ALC Player of the Week honors to date this season, the most recently being Tayler Kuzma with defensive POW accolades April 8. With the help of the junior defender, the Buckeyes held Vanderbilt's Carly Linthicum without a point for the first game this season. Linthicum entered the game with an ALC-leading 46 goals on the year and the No. 3 spot in the NCAA in scoring. Kuzma forced two turnovers by Linthicum and limited her to just two shots in the game. The Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List member also grabbed six groundballs in the Buckeyes' win over Vandy, their first conference win of the season. Earlier in the week vs. the Aztecs, Kuzma had a career-high four groundballs and a team-high tying four draw controls. On Feb. 27, Katie Chase (offensive) and Cian Dabrowski (rookie) also collected player of the week honors from the ALC.
BIG GAMES, SMALL SCREEN
The Buckeyes have made four appearances on BTN this season with their games against Northwestern, San Diego State, Vanderbilt and Penn State all being shown on national television. The five regular-season broadcasts are the most for Ohio State since the network was launched in 2007. The game vs. the Aztecs and the upcoming tilt with the Blue Jays - are part of the StudentU productions on BTN.com which have the opportunity to be shown on the linear network at a later date. The BTN.com broadcasts will be available to subscribers of the Buckeye Vision package on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
LAST TIME OUT
Ohio State used eight unanswered goals in the second half to propel itself past High Point, 15-10, last Sunday at Vert Stadium in High Point, N.C. With four goals apiece from Katie Chase and Kelsea Ayers, along with five assists by Jackie Cifarelli, the Buckeyes moved to 7-8 on the season and handed High Point (8-8) a loss in its final regular-season game. It was an all-around team effort as Cara Facchina added one goal and five assists, while Jennifer Porretto produced three goals and Hallie Keselman (2) and Kaila Gottlick (1) also added tallies. Defensively, Tayler Kuzma came up with a career-high five caused turnovers and Tori DeScenza made 13 saves in goal, including 10 in the second half alone.
ALC CHAMPIONSHIP REUNION
During the weekend of April 7, surrounding the Buckeyes' 19-4 win over Vanderbilt, members of the 2003 ALC Championship descended upon Columbus for the 10-year reunion of Ohio State's first ALC Championship and NCAA tournament victory. Thirteen members of the team were on hand for a weekend of receptions, gatherings and a halftime recognition.
At the 46th-annual Ohio State Scholar-Athlete Dinner April 1, 22 members of the Buckeye lacrosse program were recognized, including two seniors - Rachel Blue (molecular genetics) and Rachel Wiederkehr (nursing) - who earned the honor all four seasons. Joining the duo were: Kelsea Ayers (exercise science), Emi Breakey (exploration), Katie Chase (sport and leisure studies), Cian Dabrowski (psychology), Alli Dawson (marketing), Tori DeScenza (nutrition), Olivia DiCarlantonio (exploration), Taylor Donahue (nutrition), Christine Easton (exploration), Cara Facchina (industrial and systems engineering), Mary Kate Facchina (nutrition), Kelsey Gallagher (exploration), Kaila Gottlick (nutrition), Bridget Instrum (exploration), Hallie Keselman (sport industry), Tayler Kuzma (sport and leisure studies), Morgan Obendorfer (sport and leisure studies), Jennifer Porretto (sport industry), Emily Valli (exploration) and Bridget Vilbig (special education).
HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF
In the Buckeyes' game against Hofstra March 30, the team worked to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts by asking fans to donate a dime after each OSU score. Every cent of the $120 in collected spare change will go towards the cause held close to the hearts of several Buckeye players, including Tori DeScenza who house in Sea Bright, N.J., was damaged in the super storm. In November, seven lacrosse team members - Kelsea Ayers, DeScenza, Taylor Donahue, Mary Kate Facchina, Jessica Hassett, Hallie Keselman and Jennifer Porretto - participated in storm cleanup efforts in Sea Bright.