Jayme Beard led the Buckeyes with five points off two goals and three assists, while Gabby Capuzzi was the top goal scorer with three on the day. Four other Buckeyes added two goals apiece and Brittney Zerhusen put up a trio of assists. Capuzzi led all players in draw controls, tallying seven to tie the OSU single-season record with 52 (with Lauren Cochran, 2000).
Florida exploded for the first five goals of the contest over the opening 10-plus minutes of action, including back-to-back free-position goals from Janine Hillier, but Maghan Beaudrault broke the shutout at 18:35 off Zerhusen's first assist of the day. Capuzzi teamed up with Beard to make it 5-2 before the Gators put up three in a row to take the lead back to five, 8-3.
The Buckeyes then added four of the next six goals, with two within 22 seconds of each other coming from Krirsten Donahue off Zerhusen assists to bring Ohio State within three, 9-6, at the 5:09 mark of the first half. Florida put up one final tally in the opening period, sending the teams into halftime at 10-6, and then maintained the momentum into the second with three-consecutive goals.
Trailing 13-6 and down a player because of a yellow card, the Buckeyes started their five-goal comeback attempt with Jacqueline's Orona's second goal of the day at 25:33. They would add four more, all from different scorers, over the next 10 minutes of game action to pull within two - the closest margin since the opening minutes of the game - at 13-11.
The teams swapped goals until Capuzzi capped off scoring with 2:56 left on the clock, despite a handful of attempts at late-game heroics for the Buckeyes. Florida regained control with just over a minute left in the game and proceeded to play keep away for the remaining seconds, coming away with the semifinal win in just its second year as a varsity program.
Florida, who will face the winner of second-seeded Northwestern vs. No. 3 seed Penn State in the championship Saturday, was led by Ashley Bruns and Hillier with four goals each. The nation's leading scorer at over four goals a game, Kitty Cullen finished with three.
Ohio State out-drew Florida 17-14, though the Gators finished on top in shots (29-24) and groundballs (15-12). Annie Carruthers made 10 stops in goal, her fifth-consecutive double-digit save performance this season, while her counterpart Mikey Meagher tallied four saves.
The Buckeyes now will await the NCAA field to be announced at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 8 on via web stream on NCAA.com. The Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship is a 16-team, single-elimination tournament with six automatic bids, plus two from pre-determined play-in games and eight additional at-large selections. Ohio State was 16th in the RPI figures released Thursday prior to the start of the tournament.
Humphrey Highlights | Mackenzie Maring