April 21, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Alayna Markwordt and Jackie Cifarellitallied seven points apiece as the 12th-ranked Ohio State women’s lacrosse team downed American, 14-4, Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes improve to 10-4 overall, their seventh season with 10-plus wins and second in a row, while the Eagles fall to 7-9 on the year.

Markwordt, the all-time leading scorer in Ohio State history, produced two goals and five assists, while Cifarelli added one goal and career-high six assists. Gabby Capuzzi and Cara Facchina were the leading goal scorers, producing three apiece, with eight total players finding the back of the net in the contest. In her 12th start between the pipes, Tori DeScenza came up with six saves in 44:28 of action before giving way to Caitlin Hesterwho stopped five shots in 15:32 of play.

It took nearly four and a half minutes for either team to score, but once Capuzzi found converted on a Markwordt assist at 25:36, it opened a stretch of five unanswered goals for the Buckeyes, all coming in a span of 6:14. Markwordt had two of her own in the run, while Kirsten Donahue and Kaila Gottlickalso got in on the scoring action.

“Starting off strong was huge for us and it gave us momentum,” Alexis Venechanos, second-year Ohio State head coach said. “It was definitely a team effort and I was impressed with how our defense stepped up this game. American came in with a high scoring attack and we worked together as a team. Draw controls were crucial for us and we were just finding open people and attacking.”

With the 5-0 lead, Ohio State allowed its first goal at 16:46, but answered with five of the next six scores to close out the half up 10-2. All five of those goals came from the sticks of different players with Cifarelli scoring or assisting on four of them. The rookie from Rockville Center, N.Y., fed Mary Kate Facchina, Gabby Capuzzi and Jennifer Porretto and added one of her own, bolstering a goal from Cara Facchinavia Markwordt.

American opened the second-half scoring, but the Buckeyes fired back with three in a row to build a 13-3 lead with 20:29 to play in the game. Cara Facchinahad two down the stretch, ending the three-goal run and added her third and final at 15:32 in response to a score by the Eagles. Neither team would find the back of the net in the final 15:32 of action and the game ended in a 14-4 decision for Ohio State.

Ohio State finished with a 28-20 advantage in shots, scoring on 50 percent of its chances, and commanded a 12-8 lead in draw controls and an 11-7 margin in groundballs. Kimberly Collins led American with two goals, while the Eagles’ goalie Mia Rosen came up with eight saves.

Eight Buckeyes — graduate student Jennifer Schmitt, along with seniors Olivia Annalora, Laura Beck, Gabby Capuzzi, Olivia Cora, Kirsten Donahue, Alayna Markwordt and Caylee Rafalko— were honored prior to the game for playing in the last regular-season home game of their careers. The four-year seniors have combined for 40 wins over their time at Ohio State and are tied for the winningest class in program history after the win over American.

“Being a Buckeye is very special and being able to play all of the seniors today was definitely something we wanted to do,” Venechanos said of her senior class. “Everyone stepped up. Today was very special.”

All the seniors and the rest of the Buckeyes will look to make this campaign even more special as it closes out the regular season at No. 18 Johns Hopkins at 1 p.m. Saturday April 28 on Homewood Field in Baltimore, Md. The Blue Jays sit at 7-7 on the season and 0-4 in the ALC after falling to Penn State Saturday. The Blue Jays will face UMBC Wednesday before hosting Ohio State in the regular-season finale for both teams.