May 2, 2013

BALTIMORE – The Ohio State women’s lacrosse team used five unanswered goals to earn a comeback win over No. 20 Johns Hopkins, 10-9, Thursday afternoon in the ALC quarterfinals at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md. With the win, the Buckeyes advance to their third-consecutive ALC semifinal and improve to 8-9 on the season.

Ohio State now will take on top-seed Florida at 4 p.m. Friday in the first of two semifinals contests. No. 2 seed Northwestern will meet Penn State, who defeated Vanderbilt Thursday evening, at approximately 6:30 p.m. with the two winners meeting in the championship game at noon Sunday.

Eight Buckeyes scored in the win Thursday with just two – Katie Chase and Cara Facchina – securing multiple tallies. Jackie Cifarelli finished with a team-high three points off a trio of assists, including one on the game-winner by Hallie Keselmanwith 4:03 left on the clock. Ohio State had trailed by as many as four in the first half after giving up five goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Buckeyes worked their way back to tie the score at 7-all by halftime and battled through a back-and-forth second half for the win.

“I think the team showed a tremendous amount of guts and grit, coming back from four goals down,” Alexis Venechanos, Ohio State head coach, said. “Hopkins is a talented team and obviously we played them tight just four days ago. It showed a lot of mental toughness to be able to make the adjustments after that loss and to battle back today the way we did. This team kept fighting until the end.”

The Blue Jays jumped out to a 6-2 lead over the first 10:14 of action with Jennifer Porretto and Jessica Hassetteach scoring on unassisted tallies to break up the run. The Buckeyes then fired back with six of the next seven goals, spanning the half to eventually take their first lead of the game, 8-7, at the 23:35 mark in the second.

Chase started off the comeback in the first, scoring at 17:15 and, after another Hopkins score, Cifarelli sprang into action to produce assists on each of the next two goals. Cara Facchina and Alli Dawson each finished off their teammate’s passes and then Cara Facchina added her second at 7:53 to cut the lead to one, 7-6. Mary Kate Facchinamade it a tied game just under four minutes later, burying a free-position shot at the 3:53 mark.

Kelsea Ayerskept the momentum swinging in the Buckeyes’ favor at the start of the second, scoring at 23:35 for their first lead of the contest. Sarah Taylor, who finished with a game-high four goals, and Jen Cook each scored for Hopkins to put the Blue Jays back on top, 7-6, with 18:18 to play, but Ohio State was not deterred. After nearly 11 scoreless minutes of action, Chase scored on a free-position opportunity at 7:41 and Keselman procured the eventual game-winner with 4:03 left to play off an assist by Cifarelli.

Hopkins won the ensuring draw control, but a Taylor D’Amore turnover on the Blue Jays’ offensive end gave the Buckeyes a chance to clear it and run out the clock. They turned it over with :38 to play, however, giving JHU a chance to call timeout, but Kaila Gottlickforced a turnover, nabbed the groundball and was able to maintain control for the remainder.

Each of the four Buckeye substitutes scored in the game with three coming in the first half as they scrapped to get back in the game.

“At this point in the season, having different players step up when they need to is huge,” Venechanos said. “Every conference team knows what the other wants to do, but we did a good job of moving the ball around until we found the right player at the right moment. We are fortunate to have so many players capable of scoring. I thought our defense was tough and Tori [DeScenza] came up with some timely saves in the second half to keep us in it.”

DeScenza finished with six saves – three in each half – as did her counterpart Cosette Larash. The Buckeyes came out on top in groundballs, 15-12, though Hopkins led in shots, 26-21, and draw controls, 13-8.

Thursday marked the third ALC Tournament win for Ohio State in its seven years of existence. The Buckeyes are 0-3 all-time in semifinal action, falling to Florida each of the last two seasons and to Penn State in 2009 after finishing second in the ALC and earning a quarterfinal-round bye. In the last meeting vs. the Gators, the Buckeyes fell to then-No. 2 Florida, 13-7, March 23 in Gainesville, Fla.