COLUMBUS, Ohio – A late-game comeback fell short as the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team scored the final four goals of the game against Penn State, but fell 14-12 Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) Tournament at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The No. 5 seed Buckeyes’ season ends with a 9-8 record, while the fourth-seeded Nittany Lions (10-6) advance to face top-seeded Northwestern Friday in the semifinals.
Alayna Markwordt, who earned Second Team All-ALC honors earlier this, started the late-game Buckeye comeback with 6:09 to play. Trailing 14-8 – the largest deficit of the game – with just over seven minutes to go, Markwordt connected on back-to-back shots to pull the game within four at 14-10. Just 16 seconds after the sophomore attacker’s second, Gabby Capuzzi came through off one of Beard’s assists and a couple minutes later junior defender Lindsey Gysin scored her third of the year to make it 14-12 with 2:15 to play.
The Penn State defense thwarted the comeback there, however, and the Buckeyes were left with the smaller individual victories of the day.
With two goals, Kelly Haggerty, a member of the First Team All-ALC, wrapped up her career by tying Ohio State’s all-time record for career goals with 143 over the last four years, a feat she now shares with Megan Mirick who scored 143 during the 1999-2003 seasons. Haggerty also had three assists, finishing the day with team-high tying five points along with junior midfielder Jayme Beard and her career-high four assists.
Ohio State traded goals with Penn State over the first eight-plus minutes of the game until Markwordt broke a 2-2 tie to give the Buckeyes what would prove to be their lone lead of the game at the 20-minute mark. The Lions’ Molly Fernandez then started a 3-0 run to put PSU up, 5-3.
The Buckeyes would draw to back within one at the 15:59 mark when Beard scored off a Haggerty assists, but the Nittany Lions went on a four-goal run, including two from Jen Steadman, to fashion a 9-4 lead with 9:15 to go in the first half. Maghan Beaudrault and Brittney Zerhusen made sure Ohio State out-scored Penn State 2-1 for the remainder of the half but the team still trailed by four heading into the intermission.
The Buckeyes came from the break with momentum, with Haggerty scoring the first two goals of the second half to get within two. Penn State responded by controlling possession and burning clock, putting together a second 4-0 run over the next 17 minutes to build a 14-8 advantage and setting the stage for the late-game comeback attempt.
With the loss, Ohio State is 0-4 in ALC Tournament action and has lost to Penn State in all four postseason appearances. The Buckeyes won the stat battle Thursday, however, out-shooting the Lions 28-23 and holding the advantage in groundballs (22-14) and draw controls (16-12).
The Buckeyes wore orange wristbands with “YL” embroidered on them in honor of Yeardley Love, the Virginia women’s lacrosse player who was killed earlier this week in an apparent domestic dispute. All the ALC teams observed a moment of silence in Love’s honor as well prior to the conference awards ceremony Thursday.
In the second quarterfinal of the day, Florida defeated Johns Hopkins 14-3 and will advance to face Vanderbilt Friday at 3 p.m. Penn State and Northwestern will follow at about 5:30 p.m. That game will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com and will re-air on the TV network at 10 p.m. EST.
Stay tuned to OhioStateBuckeyes.com for information from the Buckeyes’ offseason and any postseason awards.