Feb. 17, 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Alayna Markwordt tallied seven points, while Mary Kate Facchina posted a game-high four goals in No. 18 Ohio State’s rout of Robert Morris, 16-2, Friday afternoon in the first women’s lacrosse game played in Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes improve to 3-0 on the season for the first time since 2002, while the Colonials drop to 1-1.

“This was an exciting day for our program,” Alexis Venechanos, Ohio State head coach, said of playing in the stadium. “I think some of the girls got maybe a little too excited; we weren’t the sharpest out of the gate but I thought we did a better job of reading their defenses and getting better shots in the second five minutes of the first half. We had a lot of new faces step up and score some goals and I thought the defenses – all the way from our ride to the low D – were inspiring and that is something we are going to need.”

Seven Buckeyes found the back of the net, paced by Facchina’s four and three apiece by Markwordt and Gabby Capuzzi. With the seven-point performance, Markwordt moved to within one of tying Ohio State’s all-time point-scoring record of 243 set by Kelly Haggerty in 2007-10. The senior captain broke the goal-scoring record last weekend and increased her total to 147, besting the previous mark of 143. Defensively, the Buckeyes held Robert Morris scoreless for nearly 43 minutes of game action before surrendering a score at 17:17 in the second half. The two goals allowed are the fewest for an OSU opponent since Robert Morris visited Columbus during the 2008 season and lost 17-2.

Tori DeScenza, the ALC and Rookie of the Week, did not allow a goal in her 30 minutes of play and came up with two saves and a groundball. Ohio State forced 15 of the Colonials’ 21 turnovers, with Kirsten Donahue causing a game-high four.

With two apiece, Markwordt and Capuzzi teamed up to give Ohio State a 4-0 lead just over 10 minutes into the game before Hallie Keselman added her first of two and Facchina took over for the next several minutes. The freshman from Glenwood, Md., scored three-consecutive goals in a six-minute span, the first off a free-position shot and the next two off Markwordt assists, to give the Buckeyes an 8-0 advantage with 2:47 left in the opening half. After two more free-position goals, of which the Buckeyes were 5-of-6 for the game, the team headed into halftime up 10-0.

Markwordt kept things going in the second half, scoring 1:25 into the period and assisting on Facchina’s fourth and final goal of the day at 24:46. Keselman notched her second before the Colonials put themselves on the board at 17:17. Erin Mossop had her free-position shot stopped by Caitlin Hester, but collected her own rebound and scored unassisted for her first career goal. The Buckeyes answered with a three-goal run, bookmarked by Jennifer Porretto and Kelly Becker before the Colonials added one more with three seconds remaining on the game clock.

The Buckeyes finished with a 33-8 advantage in shots and a 15-2 margin in draw controls. Ohio State was forced to play a player down for two minutes on three occasions, but did not allow a goal during either stretch. The defense has successfully killed all five player-down situations this season.

The Buckeyes relished in the opportunity to play in Ohio Stadium and look forward to at least two more chances this season, with a game scheduled there Sunday and again next Saturday as part of a doubleheader with the men’s lacrosse team.

“This school has so much tradition, history and pride,” Venechanos said. “We talked about that before the game and again in the locker room. Just to be part of this experience in a place they see once a week in the Fall is really special. We talked about being in the moment and starting a new tradition and leaving our mark here. I think we definitely accomplished that.”

The Buckeyes return to action at 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Louisville in Ohio Stadium. The Cardinals will open their 2012 season against Ohio State picked seventh in the Big East preseason coaches’ poll after going 10-7 last year, with a 3-5 mark in league play. Louisville returns 13 letterwinners from a year ago, including IWLCA all-region selections Katie Oliverio and Monica Negron. In 2011, Oliverio ranked second nationally in assists per game (2.53), fifth in assists (43) and 30th in points per game (3.76), while Negron was 23rd in ground balls per game (2.71) and tied for 48th in caused turnovers (48th).

Admission to the game is free. Fans are asked to enter through Gate 7 located on the west side of the stadium. Parking in the stadium lots will be free and open to the public.