COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 19th-ranked Ohio State women’s lacrosse team closes out the 2011 regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday vs. No. 20 Johns Hopkins at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The Buckeyes (8-6) and Blue Jays (9-6) currently are tied for fourth in the American Lacrosse Conference standings with a 1-3 record and will battle it out live on the Big Ten Network for seeding in the upcoming conference tournament.
FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES AND BLUE JAYS
Watch the game Saturday LIVE on the Big Ten Network with Mike Wolf and Kara Lentz calling the action as the Buckeyes make their third appearance on BTN this season. The game also can be followed online through Live Stats, linked on the front page and women’s lacrosse schedule page of OhioStateBuckeyes.com. For fans on twitter, in-game updates will be provided as possible via @OhioState_WLAX. Throughout the season, you can follow the Buckeyes on the official website OhioStateBuckeyes.com, as well through Twitter and Facebook (facebook.com/OhioStateWomensLacrosse).
IN A NUTSHELL
The Buckeyes are led in scoring by junior Alayna Markwordt and senior Brittney Zerhusen. Markwordt has a team-high 65 points off 44 goals and 21 assists, while Zerhusen is just a step behind with 38 goals as well with 19 assists for 57 points. Annie Carruthers, the preseason ALC goalie of the year, has started all 14 games between the pipes and has a 10.10 goals-against average with a .448 save percentage on 283 shots faced. On the draw, Gabby Capuzzi and Jayme Beard are the forces to be reckoned with, securing 38 draws apiece.
Winners of six of their last nine games, the Buckeyes enter the game Saturday vs. Johns Hopkins with a 8-6 record after victories against American (16-4), St. Bonaventure (19-4), Canisius (23-7), Notre Dame (13-8), California (16-4), Louisville (15-11), Vanderbilt (16-15) and Detroit (26-3). The team has outscored opponents 145-57 in games won and average 14 goals per game in all contests this season.
RANK AND FILE
Ohio State maintains its national ranking for the third-consecutive week, coming in at No. 19 in the IWLCA/Under Armour Poll, released Monday, up one spot from a week ago. All six ALC teams hold onto spots in the Top 20, with Florida leading the way at No. 2, followed by fifth-ranked Northwestern, No. 13 Penn State, No. 17 Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins rounding it out at No. 20.
In the second set of Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) rankings released by the NCAA, Ohio State moved from No. 13 to No. 16. All six ALC teams are in the Top 21 with Northwestern and Florida holding the No. 2 and No. 3 positions, respectively, while Penn State comes in ninth and Vanderbilt owns the No. 14 spot. Hopkins rounds out the conference teams at No. 21.
The Buckeyes and Blue Jays duke it out Saturday for seeding in the upcoming ALC Tournament. Florida owns the top seed, while Northwestern is No. 2 followed by Penn State as the third seed. If Ohio State is victorious, it will take the No. 4 spot and Hopkins will finish sixth. If the Blue Jays come out on top, they will be fourth with Ohio State coming in fifth. Vanderbilt will be either No. 5 or 6 based on head-to-head results vs. the winner from Saturday. The schedule for the ALC tourney is:
Game 1 — 3 p.m. — No. 4 vs. No. 5
Game 2 — 5:30 p.m. — Penn State vs. No. 6
Game 3 — 3 p.m — Florida vs. winner Game 1
Game 4 — 5:30 p.m — Northwestern vs. winner Game 2
Game 5 — 1 p.m. — Game 3 vs. Game 4 winners
WIN, LOSE OR DRAW CONTROL
The Buckeyes have dominated in the center circle this season. They are second in the ALC and fourth in the nation with 15 per game. Ohio State has out-drawn its opponents in all but three games this season, winning 58 percent (210-363) this season.
As just a junior, Alayna Markwordt holds the No. 3 position in all-time scoring at Ohio State with 210 career points. She also is third in goals (132) and assists (78). Kelly Haggerty, a letterwinner in 2007-10, holds the top spot in points with 243 and shares the lead in goals with Megan Mirick (1999-2003) with 143. Kristen Slahor is the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in assists with 139 to her credit during the 2005-08 seasons. Marwordt has tallied at least one goal or assist in 45-consecutive games, dating back to March 1, 2009.
In addition to the records Markwordt is poised to take over, Gabby Capuzzi is tied for third all-time in draw controls (101), while Annie Carruthers is third in saves (329).
AROUND THE ALC AND NCAA
Heading into this week of competition, Ohio State boasts the third-ranked offense in the American Lacrosse Conference, scoring 14 goals per game, a mark which stands as 13th in the nation. As a team, Ohio State also is in a high national position in draws (No. 4) with 15 per game to its credit, as well as scoring defense (No. 29; 9.85 GAA).
Individually, Alayna Markwordt and Brittney Zerhusen are third and fourth in the ALC and seventh and 18th in the NCAA by contributing 4.57 and 4.07 points per game. They held the same positions within the conference in goals per game (15 and 28 in NCAA), while Markwordt also is fourth in the league and 28th in the country with 1.5 assists per game. Jayme Beard and Gabby Capuzzi also are among the conference leaders as the duo was tied for fourth in the ALC in draw controls with 38 on the season.
Ranked in the Top 20 for the second week in a row, Hopkins is 9-6 on the season and 1-3 in the ALC, tied with the Buckeyes for fourth place. Its lone win in the conference was a pivotal one in the league title race as the Blue Jays defeated then-No. 2 Northwestern, 12-11, in Baltimore April 16. They have four players with 30 or more points on the season, led by Colleen McCaffrey’s 35 goals and 10 assists and Candace Rossi with 29 goals and 13 assists. The team’s defense is third in the conference and 14th in the nation, allowing just 8.87 goals per game. Cosette Larash has played every minute of Hopkins’ 15 games between the pipes and has the second-best GAA in the conference, while maintaining a .424 save percentage on 319 shots faced.
SERIES HISTORY VS. THE BLUE JAYS
Ohio State trails 3-6 in the all-time series with Hopkins, but holds a 3-1 advantage when playing in Columbus. The home team has won all but one game in the series. In 2007, Hopkins beat Ohio State, 15-14, in Columbus on a free position goal with 12.8 seconds remaining. The Blue Jays were victorious a year ago, besting the Buckeyes 15-14 on Homewood Field in Baltimore, despite an OSU halftime lead.
LAST TIME OUT
The No. 20-ranked Buckeyes led three times throughout the game, but a four-goal, second-half Northwestern run eventually gave the fifth-ranked Wildcats a 14-11 win after a total of 134 minutes of delays because of thunderstorms over Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill., April 22. Jayme Beard led the Buckeyes with four goals, three of which were scored in the final 1:32 of play, while Gabby Capuzzi and Alayna Markwordt each had two and four other Buckeyes scored one on the night. In goal, Annie Carruthers ended the contest with 12 saves to mark the Columbus native’s fourth game this season with at least 10 stops.
Seniors Maghan Beaudrault and Annie Carruthers, along with junior Gabby Capuzzi, are captains for the 2011 season. In addition to being mainstays in the starting lineup through much of their careers, each of the three has made at least one appearance on the Academic All-Big Ten and OSU Scholar-Athlete lists.
ON THE SIDELINES
Head coach Alexis Venechanos is wrapping up her first season as head coach of the Buckeyes after taking over the role July 1, 2010. She brought four years of head coaching experience to Columbus from UMass and is joined on the sidelines by assistant coaches Christy Finch and Amanda Belichick.