COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s lacrosse opens the home portion of its schedule at 1 p.m. Saturday against American on the indoor turf field in Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Moved to the WHAC because of the recent heavy snowfall, this is the Buckeyes’ first complete indoor home game in program history.

Ohio State and American have met three times previously, with the Buckeyes holding a 2-1 advantage. Last season, Ohio State came away with a 17-7 win in Washington, D.C., in the season opener for both squads Feb. 13, 2009. Seven different OSU players scored in the win, paced by Kelly Haggerty with a game-high five goals.

The then No. 16-ranked Buckeyes opened the 2010 season with a tough 15-14 loss at 20th-ranked William & Mary on Busch Turf in Williamsburg, Va., last Sunday. The Buckeyes (0-1) are now 10-5 in season openers, while the Tribe (1-0) began its seventh-consecutive season with a win. In a contest that featured six ties and four lead changes, All-American Kelly Haggerty fueled the Buckeyes’ offensive presence, scoring 3 goals and adding assists on 3 others. Two other OSU players – Alayna Markwordt and Britney Zerhusen – also tallied hat tricks. It was not enough, however, as the Tribe’s Mary Zulty broke a 14-14 tie with a free position goal with 4:33 remaining and the Buckeyes were unable to add an equalizer down the stretch.

The Buckeyes are in their 15th season of competition at Ohio State, all under head coach Sue Stimmel’s reign. Stimmel welcomes back 21 letterwinners and nine starters from a 2009 squad that went 11-6 on the season with a national ranking as high as No. 11. Each of the Top 4 point scorers return from the team last year in Kelly Haggerty, Alayna Markwordt, Maghan Beaudrault and Jayme Beard, in addition to the 2008 leading scorer Britney Zerhusen who sat out 2009 with an injury. Four of the Top 5 defensive presences in caused turnovers also remain on the roster, aiding the transition to a new full-time starting goalie.

Ohio State was selected to finish third in the American Lacrosse Conference in a poll of the league’s six head coaches. Five-time defending National Champion Northwestern earned the No. 1 spot, followed by Vanderbilt. Penn State, Johns Hopkins and ALC-newcomer Florida round out the selections. All-American Kelly Haggerty and reigning ALC rookie of the year Alayna Markwordt earned preseason all-league recognition as well.

Ohio State started the year as the No. 16 team in the country, according to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) preseason poll. Fellow American Lacrosse Conference team member Northwestern, the five-time reigning national champions, sit in the top spot of the poll with all 20 first-place votes. Vanderbilt, at No. 11, and No. 18 Penn State round out the ALC schools in the Top 20.

The Eagles opened their 2010 season with an 11-10 loss at Drexel Wednesday. Down six with 13:39 to play, American scored the last five goals of the game to close the gap to one, but could not find an equalizer. Sophomore Lauren Schoenberger had the first three goals of that spree, ending the day with a team-leading and career-high tying four goals. The Eagles’ goalie Frankie Solomon made 16 stops between the pipes.
        American returns 19 letterwinners, including six starters, from its 2009 team that finished 3-13 overall. The squad is led by a pair of returning All-Patriot League selections, seniors Amanda Makoid and Alyssa Romano. Makoid recorded a team-high five assists in 2009 and led the squad with 32 draw controls, while Romano recorded team-leading 24 caused turnovers last season.

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