April 6, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 11th-ranked Ohio State women’s lacrosse travels to Music City for an ALC showdown with No. 15 Vanderbilt at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CT) at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex. The Buckeyes are 8-3 on the season and seeking their first league win of the year (0-2), while the Commodores are 7-4 overall and 1-2 in the ALC.
IN A NUTSHELL
After starting the season 5-0, the Buckeyes now are 8-3 on the season after a tough overtime loss to top-ranked and undefeated Northwestern, 13-12, last weekend at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. All three losses have come at the hands of ranked teams this spring, including two among the Top 5 in Northwestern and then-No. 5 Florida (L, 10-8 – 3/24/12), both of who also are a part of the American Lacrosse Conference. Now down 0-2 in the league, Ohio State is looking for its first win against Vanderbilt Sunday in what will be the fifth game of the year against a Top 20 team.
Ohio State enters the week among the national leaders in both scoring offense and defense. As a team, the Buckeyes are scoring 14.3 goals per game, while allowing 8.5 and winning their eight games by an average of 5.8. The latter two totals rank seventh in the NCAA with the scoring offense coming in at No. 13 and total points (235) clocking in ninth.
Several individuals are having breakout seasons as well. Alayna Markwordt (27g, 32a), who broke the school records for goals and points earlier this year, is fourth in the country in total scoring and points per game (59/5.4 per game) and is fifth nationally in assists (32). Joining the Tewaaraton Trophy candidate on the attack is freshman Jackie Cifarelli, the national leader among freshmen in points per game (4.0) and the second-place holder in total points (34) among first-year players.
Fellow freshman Tori DeScenza is making her mark on the opposite end of the field. Her goals-against average (8.69) is 10th in the NCAA, while her save percentage (.503) is ninth overall. Among rookie goalies, the totals are third and first, respectively. Active on both sides of the ball, Gabby Capuzzi is ninth in caused turnovers (2.18) and leads the team in goals (30), draw controls (38), groundballs (27) and caused turnovers (26).
For those making the trip to Nashville, admission to the game is free. To follow along from your computer, live stats and paid video feed are available from vucommodores.com, linked from the front page and women’s lacrosse schedule page of OhioStateBuckeyes.com. In addition, the Ohio State lacrosse Twitter feed will be updated during the game (@OhioState_WLAX).
RANK AND FILE
Ohio State enters the week at No. 11 in the IWLCA national poll, clocking in among the Top 20 for the 11th-consecutive week, dating back to last season. After starting the season at No. 18, the Buckeyes have fluctuated within the Top 15 and have six contests scheduled against teams in the current poll. With Northwestern sweeping the first-place votes for a third-consecutive week and the same 20 schools remained in the rankings from the poll last week, the ALC goes a third week in a row with six schools in the Top 20.
AROUND THE ALC
The Ohio State-Vanderbilt game is one of three conference contests this weekend. No. 10 Penn State and No. 1 Northwestern meet Friday night, while No. 4 Florida visits No. 17 Johns Hopkins Saturday. For the third week in a row, all six teams in the ALC are ranked in the Top 20 with five holding on to Top 15 spots. Following the game at Vanderbilt, Ohio State will welcome Penn State to Columbus next Sunday in a nationally-televised game on BTN at noon April 15 and will close out the league schedule at Hopkins April 26.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
Ranked No. 15 in the country, the Commodores sit at 7-4 on the season, 1-2 in the conference and are coming off a 19-5 victory over Presbyterian last week. Ally Carey leads Vanderbilt in scoring with 28 points off 21 goals and eight assists, while Katie Mastropieri (16g, 7a) and Kacie Connors (15g, 8a) share second place. Connors is the reigning ALC Offensive Player of the Week after totaling 11 points in Vandy’s games against New Hampshire and Johns Hopkins. She had four goals and added two assists in the win over Hopkins, including an assist on the game-winner and each of the last two scores.
The Buckeyes are 4-13 all-time vs. Vanderbilt, capturing each of the last two meetings, the regular-season contest and the ALC quarterfinal matchup a season ago. Among current players, Alayna Markwordt is the leading scorer against the Commodores. In four previous meetings, the senior attacker has 19 points off 14 goals and five assists.
LAST TIME VS. VANDY
Annie Carruthers made 15 saves, including a crucial stop in the final seconds to preserve No. 18 Ohio State’s lead, as the fourth-seeded Buckeyes defeated 19th-ranked and fifth-seeded Vanderbilt , 14-13, in the ALC Quarterfinals May 6 at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex. The win stood as the first conference tournament victory in five trips for the Buckeyes, as they improved to 10-6 on the season for the sixth double-digit win season in program history.
Brittney Zerhusen led all scorers with five goals on the day, finishing with seven points, while Alayna Markwordt added six points off a trio of both goals and assists. A total of six OSU players tallied points on the day, including four who produced a combined eight assists on the team’s 11 non-free position goals. Carruthers’ performance in goal marked her fourth-consecutive game with 10 or more assists and her sixth double-digit save outing of the season.
LAST TIME OUT
The No. 14-ranked Buckeyes fell to No. 1 Northwestern in overtime, 13-12, March 31 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., in an ALC matchup. Freshman goalie Tori DeScenza had 16 saves in the Buckeye cage and limited the Wildcats to their second-lowest scoring output of the season. Senior Gabby Capuzzi led Ohio State with four goals, with senior Kirsten Donahue recording a hat trick. Freshman Jackie Cifarelli had two goals and an assist for three points and senior Alayna Markwordt had three points, with a goal and two assists. Sophomore Cara Facchina had a goal and an assist and graduate student Jennifer Schmitt recorded the other Buckeye tally.
The Buckeyes return to Columbus and host No. 12 Penn State at noon Sunday, April 15 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in a nationally-televised contest on BTN. The Nittany Lions sit at 8-3 on the season and 1-1 in the ALC with games vs. No. 1 Northwestern and Lehigh scheduled between now and their visit to Ohio State.
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 283 points (167g, 116a), obliterating the previous mark of 243 set by Kelly Haggerty during the 2007-10 seasons. The senior captain and Tewaaraton Trophy candidate also has a point-scoring streak which currently stands at 59-consecutive games, dating back to March 1, 2009, and the fourth game of freshman season.
YOUTH IS SERVED
Six freshmen have made appearances in the starting lineup this season with four of them appearing among the top eight points scorers on the 2012 squad. Jackie Cifarelli (24g, 20a) is second on the team, while Jennifer Porretto (9g, 2a), Mary Kate Facchina (9g) and Hallie Keselman (6g, 2a) find themselves in the sixth through eighth positions. On the other end of the field, both goalies are in their rookie campaigns with Tori DeScenza (8.8 GAA, .500 save pct) earning nine of 11 starts and Caitlin Hester (7.13 GAA, .375 save pct) making seven appearances with two starts. In addition, defender Taylor Donahue has seven draw controls and caused turnovers in nine 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.
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).