COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s lacrosse team rallied from a seven-goal deficit to pull within one before eventually falling to ninth-ranked Florida, 10-8, Saturday afternoon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 5-4 on the season, while the Gators extend their winning streak to 10 games and sit at 10-1 on the season.
As the conference opener for both teams, Florida moves atop the American Lacrosse Conference with Northwestern and Penn State, while the Buckeyes join Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt in waiting for their first league win.
Alayna Markwordt was the lone multi-goal scorer for Ohio State, tallying four on the day, including two in the second-half of the OSU comeback. Florida’s Kitty Cullen, one of the Top 5 scorers in the country, topped the Buckeye attacker by putting six in the back of the net highlighted by five in the Gators’ seven unanswered to the start the game.
“Both teams came into the game playing very confidently and we knew from the beginning that winning the draw would be crucial,” Ohio State head coach Alexis Venechanos said. “They had early success on the draw and this led to their seven-goal lead. I am very proud of the way we battled back and put ourselves in a position to win the game. We ran out of time and needed to play Buckeye lacrosse for 60 minutes to win.”
Florida exploded for seven goals over the first 24:13 of action with Cullen responsible for five on primarily free-position shots and unassisted tallies. Markwordt broke shutout with 4:30 to play in the first half, igniting a 5-0 Ohio State run that stretched into the opening minutes of the second period. The Woodbine, Md., native added two more in the stretch, punctuating scores by Jacqueline Orona vai Gabby Capuzzi and Jayme Beard.
With Ohio State trailing by two, 7-5, at the 24:54 mark, Cullen added her final score before the teams swapped goals over the middle portion of the half. Maghan Beaudrault and Brittney Zerhusen converted on free-position opportunities during that span, setting up Markwordt to cut the lead to one, 9-8, with 6:04 on the clock. Florida added an insurance goal at 5:54, then buckled down on defense to thwart further Buckeye scores.
Florida finished the day with a 27-20 advantage in shots and a 13-7 margin in draw controls, marking the first time this season the Buckeyes have not led or tied in the draw count.
Ohio State returns to action at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 3 at Louisville. The Cardinals are 6-1 on the season with games scheduled vs. Cincinnati and Vanderbilt before the Buckeyes come to town.