COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State women's lacrosse team announced its 2017 schedule today, with seven NCAA qualifiers from last season highlighting the challenging 2017 slate. This season also marks the third season of competition in the Big Ten, which is arguably the toughest conference in collegiate women's lacrosse, and one made even stronger with the addition of Johns Hopkins as the seventh member school.
"We have worked very hard this offseason in preparation of the upcoming 2017 season," head coach Alexis Venechanos said. "This schedule allows us to compete against the top teams across the country, both in and out of conference, and allows us to earn and strive for a spot in the Big Ten championships and the NCAA tournament."
The season begins Feb. 6 when Ohio State hosts Vermont before heading south Feb. 12 to take on four-time Atlantic Sun champion Jacksonville. After that, Ohio State returns to Columbus for three straight home contests with Cincinnati (Feb. 19), Stanford (Feb. 24) and California (Feb. 26).
After some home cooking, the Buckeyes will then begin a four-game road swing, beginning March 3 at Duquesne in Pittsburgh. Four days later, Ohio State takes on Notre Dame in South Bend March 7. Rounding out the road swing will be trip to Boston where the Buckeyes will play two games in three days. The Buckeyes will first take on Holy Cross at Gillette Stadium before taking on Harvard on their home turf March 13.
The third season of Big Ten competition begins March 18 with a home date with Michigan before welcoming Binghamton the very next day. The Buckeyes then pack their bags and head east once again, this time to New Jersey, where they will take on Rutgers March 24 in Piscataway before taking on the Trojans of Southern California, the defending champions of the MPSF, at Mountain Lakes High School March 26.
The Buckeyes then close out the season with four Big Ten games against 2016 NCAA qualifiers, beginning April 1 at Penn State. An April 6 home date with Northwestern on Big Ten Network is up next before traveling to Maryland for a second consecutive year April 15. The Buckeyes then close out the regular season April 22 at home with Big Ten newcomer Johns Hopkins at Ohio Stadium, part of a doubleheader with the Buckeye men's lacrosse team.
The 2017 Big Ten tournament will take place May 5-7 in College Park, Md., on the campus of the University of Maryland. The top four teams will qualify for the conference tournament, a change from previous seasons when every team automatically qualified.
Ohio State returns seven starters from last year's 11-6 team, including two All-Big Ten defenders in senior Christina Turner and junior Shannon Rosati. Offensively, Ohio State graduated its top two point scorers in Cian Dabrowski and Rainey Hodgson, but welcome back several key contributors, including junior Molly Wood, who was second on the team last year with 40 goals and a team-high 79 draw controls, and senior Paulina Constant, who started 15 of 17 games and was fifth with 15 goals in 2016.
Humphrey Highlights | Mackenzie Maring