May 2, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The 14th-ranked Ohio State women's lacrosse team is seeded fourth in the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) Tournament and will face fifth-seeded Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the event hosted by Florida at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville. The Buckeyes closed out the regular season with a 10-5 overall record (1-4 ALC) after falling to Johns Hopkins, 12-9, last weekend. The Commodores, also 1-4 in the ALC, were 8-7 on the year and unranked in the IWLCA Top 20 for the first time this season.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Buckeyes started the year 5-0, the best start for the program in 10 years, and secured their seventh overall season and second in a row with at least 10 victories. The last time they went back-to-back years with double-digit wins was in 2008 and 2009. All five 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, both of whom also are a part of the ALC. The average margin of defeat is under four goals (3.6), while the Buckeyes command their wins by nearly nine goals (8.8).
Alayna Markwordt: Tewaaraton Trophy nominee … First Team All-ALC … OSU record holder in career goals (176) and points (306), second all-time in assists (130) … Riding 63-game point-scoring streak, dating back to fourth game of freshman season … Currently fourth in the NCAA in points per game (5.47) and assists per game (3.07), sixth in total points (82) and seventh in total assists (46) … All totals lead the ALC.
Gabby Capuzzi: Dominant on all sides of the ball … First Team All-ALC … Has team-best 38 goals, 51 draw controls, 35 ground balls and 29 caused turnovers … Ranked 12th in the country with an average of 1.93 CT per game … Holds Ohio State record for career draw controls (165) and is ranked fifth all-time in CTs (72).
Jackie Cifarelli: Nation’s leading rookie scorer … First among freshmen in points per game (3.8) and third in total points (57) … Second on team in scoring with 26 goals and 31 assists … Has tallied at least one point in all but one game this season … Career-high seven points (1g, 6a) vs. American (April 21) and personal-best five goals scored at Canisius (March 18).
Tori DeScenza: Rookie netminder with a 9.64 goals-against average, good for third in the ALC and first among conference freshmen … GAA is fourth among national freshmen and 17th overall … Save percentage (.468) also clocks in among the national Top 20 and second among first-year goalies.
ALC TOURNAMENT HOSTS
Florida hosts the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament, presented by STX, for the first time. The tournament, which is now in its sixth year, consists of five games over three days, May 3-5. The regular-season champion Gators have earned the top seed for the tournament, giving them one of two first-round byes, and will play their first game on Friday at 7 p.m., hosting the winner of the Thursday night quarterfinal game between fourth-seeded Ohio State and fifth-seeded Vanderbilt. Northwestern garnered the second seed, and will face the winner of the early quarterfinal between third-seeded Penn State and sixth-seeded Johns Hopkins.
Fans may purchase either an all-session pass, good for all five games of the tournament, or a single-day ticket, which will allow admittance to both games on that given day. All-session and single-day passes will be available at the gate on game days. The prices are as follows:
$8.00 All-Session Pass
$5.00 Per Day
Senior Citizens and Children 12 & Under
$5.00 All-Session Pass
$3.00 Per Day
If you are unable to attend the games in person, all five tournament games will be streamed live free of charge on GatorVision. Additionally, live stats for all five games will be available, courtesy of GameTracker. For individual links, updated results, headlines and more, visit the ALC Tournament Central website onGatorZone. Also, be sure follow @OhioState_WLAX on Twitter for game updates, and search #ALCTourney for the latest news on the conference championship.
BUCKEYES IN THE ALC TOURNEY
The ALC Tournament was instituted in the 2007 season and the Buckeyes have a 1-5 record in tourney action. They earned their first win last season, taking down Vanderbilt in quarterfinal action before falling to Florida in the semis. The previous four losses came at the hands of Penn State, three in the quarterfinal round. In 2009, Ohio State had a bye in the quarterfinals and fell to the Nittany Lions in the semifinal. Vanderbilt will be the first team other than Penn State the Buckeyes have faced more than one in the ALC Tourney.
Four of the six seeds in the ALC Tournament are identical to a year ago, with third-seeded Penn State and sixth-seeded Johns Hopkins swapping positions from 2011. Both quarterfinal matchups are the same, as well as the potential semifinal opponents.
Three Buckeyes earned all-conference honors, announced by the ALC Wednesday. Alayna Markwordt and Gabby Capuzzi each garnered first-team recognition, while Kirsten Donahue earned a spot on the second team. Markwordt is a four-time All-ALC honoree, collecting a spot on the first team for the second year in a row. This is Capuzzi’s first appearance on the top squad after a second-team selection in 2011and Donahue’s first overall.
Ohio State entered the week among the Top 20 in several statistical categories in NCAA Division I. As a team, the Buckeyes are ranked 11th in scoring margin (+4.67) and 12th in scoring defense (9.0), while coming in 17th in both scoring offense (13.67) and total points (295). Their point total (309) and caused turnovers per game (8.67) both rank 18th in the nation
RANK AND FILE
Ohio State entered the week at No. 14 in the IWLCA national poll, down one spot from last week but still clocking in among the Top 20 for the 15th-consecutive week, dating back to last season. After starting the year at No. 18 in the preseason rankings, the Buckeyes have fluctuated between Nos. 10-15, but have not fallen outside of the Top 15 all season.
In seven editions of the IWLCA poll this year, including six in a row until this week, all six ALC teams have been ranked in the Top 20. The ALC was 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.
The Commodores (8-7, 1-4) opened the season with a 7-5 upset of then-No. 5 Duke, opening the year with a 5-1 record and wins over three ranked opponents. Following a mid-March loss to Penn State in its ALC opener, Vanderbilt went on a three-game slide and eventually closed out the year on a 3-6 run to finish 8-7.
Vandy is led by Ally Carey, who has 29 goals, 10 assists, 23 groundballs and 20 caused turnovers on the year, while ranking eighth in the nation with a 75 draw controls. Alyssa Dunlap owns a team-leading 29 groundballs, and has 13 caused turnovers and 11 draw controls on the year. Natalie Wills minds the net for Vanderbilt, owning a 7-4 record with 88 saves, an 11.65 goals-against average and a .386 save percentage.
The Buckeyes are 5-13 all-time vs. Vanderbilt, capturing each of the last three meetings, the each of the last two regular-season contests and the ALC quarterfinal matchup a season ago. Among current players, Alayna Markwordt is the leading scorer against the Commodores. In five previous meetings, the senior attacker has 29 points off 19 goals and 10 assists, including 10 points (5g, 5a) in the Buckeyes’ victory April 8 in Nashville.
LAST TIME VS. VANDY
The 11th-ranked Buckeyes withstood a late-game rally by No. 15 Vanderbilt to come away with a 13-11 win April 8 at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex in Nashville. Alayna Markwordt’s 10 points off five goals and five assists are a season high, one off her career best, and paced Ohio State to its second win over a ranked opponent this season and its third-consecutive victory in the all-time series vs. Vanderbilt. Cara Facchina, Mary Kate Facchina and Jennifer Porretto each added two scores, while Kirsten Donahue and Katie Chase added singles to account for all the Buckeye scoring.
Despite registering her first game without a point in 2012, Gabby Capuzzi commanded a game-high five draw controls and added a pair of caused turnovers. Tori DeScenza earned the win in goal with 11 saves to her credit for the rookie netminder's fourth double-digit outing of the year.
LAST TIME OUT
The 13th-ranked Buckeyes dropped a 12-9 decision to No. 19 Johns Hopkins last Saturday at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md., concluding the regular season for both teams. Alayna Markwordt and Gabby Capuzzi led Ohio State 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.
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 306 points (176g, 130a), obliterating the previous mark of 243 set by Kelly Haggerty during the 2007-10 seasons. The senior captain and Tewaaraton Trophy nominee also has a point-scoring streak which currently stands at 63-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 (26g, 31a) is second on the team, while Jennifer Porretto (12g, 2a), Mary Kate Facchina (12g) 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 (9.63 GAA, .468 save pct) earning 13 starts and Caitlin Hester (6.43 GAA, .459 save pct) making 10 appearances with two starts. In addition, defender Taylor Donahue has 14 draw controls and eight caused turnovers in 13 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).
Humphrey Highlights | Mackenzie Maring