Feb. 19, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – With her second of four goals, senior Alayna Markwordt became the leading point scorer in Ohio State women’s lacrosse history as the No. 18 Buckeyes defeated Louisville 21-7 Sunday afternoon in Ohio Stadium. The Scarlet & Gray improve to 4-0 on the season, continuing the team’s best start since a 6-0 beginning in 2002, while the Cardinals begin their season in the hole, 0-1.

Markwordt now has 247 points (151g, 96a), besting the previous mark of 243 set by Kelly Haggerty during the 2007-10 seasons. The senior captain also extended her goal-scoring streak to 26 games, while her point-scoring streak currently stands at 52-consecutive games, dating back to March 1, 2009, and the fourth game of freshman season.

“It is certainly exciting to break the record,” Markwordt said. “I knew it was coming because it had been mentioned in the last week, but I have been concentrating more on what we needed to do to win both games this weekend. Louisville is a great team and they came out very strong.

“As a team, we were really just focused on coming out and winning and breaking the record was just part of that. I’m very grateful to have been able to play here for four years and remain healthy to get to this point. We have so much more to accomplish this season though.”

As a team, the Buckeyes came back from an early two-goal deficit, down 3-1 at 22:58, to score six unanswered goals and they never looked back. Eight OSU players found the back of the net, including three who tallied five or more points on the day – Cara Facchina (3g, 5a), Jackie Ciffarelli (3g, 3a) and Markwordt (4g, 1a). Kirsten Donahue also netted four goals, tying Markwordt for the game high.

“Louisville is a fantastic team and they are well coached,” Alexis Venechanos, second-year Ohio State head coach said. “We knew that it was going to be a battle off the bat, but we were able to be resilient and come back from being two goals down and I thought that was crucial, making the turnaround going into halftime with that lead. We knew they were going to come out hard.”

Nikki Boltja led the Cardinals with two goals on the day, both coming within the opening seven-plus minutes of play as they pulled out to a 3-1 lead. The Buckeyes inched back in it, tying the game at 3 at the 20:29 mark and Gabby Capuzzi finished off a pass from Cifarelli less than a minute later to give Ohio State an advantage it would relinquish. Markwordt’s record-breaker came at 8:41 off an assist from Facchina, making the score 7-3. Six total Buckeye players scored in the opening stanza as they headed into the intermission up 9-4.

The momentum stayed in Ohio State’s favor as it rattled off seven of the first eight goals in the second half. Hallie Keselman and Kelly Becker each got in on the action in the period adding two goals apiece in what would end up being a 12-goal performance for the Buckeyes, who finished with a 45-15 advantage in shots and an 18-11 margin in draw controls. They completed 83 percent (10-of-12) of their clears, compared to just 47 percent by Louisville, who turned the ball over 19 times, including 10 forced by Ohio State.

Tori DeScenza made her third start of the season in goal, picking up the win along with six saves, before giving way to Caitlin Hester for the final 11 minutes of the game. Hester made one stop, while giving up one goal.

On the season, Markwordt leads the team in points with 23 (11g, 12a), while Capuzzi (13g, 5a) and Cifarelli (8g, 10a) are tied for second with 18. The Buckeyes are out-scoring opponents 70-23 and are giving up an average of fewer than 16 shots per game.

“I’ve been really impressed so far,” Venchanos said of the team’s 4-0 start to the season. “We’ve continued to work hard and work together. Having two games these last two weekends has been a challenge for us and I’m proud of how the team responded. There was a quick turnaround from yesterday’s practice, but we came out focused and it was a great team effort.”

They return to action next Saturday in a doubleheader with the men’s team, who improved to 3-0 on the season after knocking off fifth-ranked Denver, 10-9, Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. The women will take the field at Ohio Stadium at 11 a.m. with the men’s game immediately following the conclusion.