Buckeyes play at home Friday and Sunday

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State women’s lacrosse team begins American Lacrosse Conference action for 2008 when the Buckeyes (4-1) host No. 1 Northwestern (5-0) Friday for a 3 p.m. match at North Turf Field on The Ohio State campus.

Fans should note that because of the OHSAA boys’ basketball tournaments and graduation being held at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, parking for lacrosse will be available in the lots adjacent to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Fans should enter off Olentangy River Road.

Following the conference matchup, Ohio State entertains Robert Morris at 1 p.m. Sunday at North Turf Field. Buckeye student-athletes and coaches will be available for a postgame autograph session and Matt the Balloon Guy will be on hand to entertain young OSU fans.

After Columbus endured a record setting 20-plus inches of snow, passing the city’s previous high of 15.3 inches set in February 1910, Ohio State’s scheduled ALC opener vs. No. 15 Johns Hopkins was postponed when the blizzard in Central Ohio curtailed the Buckeyes’ travel plans. The game will be rescheduled for later in the season.

The Buckeyes sit at 4-1 on the season after sweeping a West Coast trip that pitted Ohio State vs. UC Davis and Cal Berkeley Feb. 29 and March 2, respectively. The squad scored its first road win of 2008, defeating UC Davis, 18-7. The Buckeyes’ offensive attack had nine different players score at least one goal with senior Amanda Shimp and junior Rachel Hawes notching a team-high three each. Senior Kristen Slahor dished out eight helpers, including six in the first half, to tie the program record for assists in a single game set originally by Mara Simpson in 1998. Slahor also tied the record last year in the win over the Aggies in Columbus.

In the 10-7 win at California, the Buckeyes got two goals each from Kristen Slahor, Kelly Haggerty and Maghan Beaudrault; Slahor also added three assists. California outshot OSU 28-27 for the match, but Buckeye goalie Kristen Gilwee came up with 12 saves, including two critical second half saves. Jessica Patane, Brittney Zerhusen and Beaudrault picked up a team-best three ground balls. Patane also led the Buckeyes with three draw controls while Zerhusen caused three Golden Bear turnovers.

Northwestern is the three-time defending NCAA champion. The Wildcats are 5-0 this season with victories over California, Rutgers, Hofstra, Duquesne and Boston University; Northwestern currently owns a 26-game win streak. This will be the 2008 American Lacrosse Conference opener for both teams. The Wildcats hold a 4-2 series lead over Ohio State.

Robert Morris is 1-3 thus far in 2008, with a win over Cincinnati and losses to Louisville, Duquesne and Davidson. The Colonials face Canisius Friday before playing at Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 2-0 in the all-time series against Robert Morris.

So far in 2008, Ohio State is outscoring its opponents 67-41, with freshman Maghan Beaudrault leading the team in scoring with 11 goals. Four other Buckeyes have accounted for nine goals each: Amanda Shimp, Jessica Patane, Kelly Haggerty and Brittney Zerhusen.

Senior Kristen Slahor is the Buckeye leader in points with 25 from 19 assists and six goals.

As a squad, Ohio State has collected 114 ground balls while its five opponents have only tallied 92. Rookie Beaudrault leads the team with 16, while Shimp and Zerhusen show 13 each. Beaudrault also has registered a team-high 14 draw controls while she and teammate Shimp each have a Buckeye-best seven caused turnovers.

In the net, junior starting goalkeeper Kristen Gilwee owns a .565 save percentage and an 8.31 goals-against average in five games. Freshman goalie Annie Carruthers saw action time against Duquesne and UC Davis. Carruthers made four stops on 10 shots while allowing only two goals vs. Duquesne and allowed only two goals in 10 minutes of work vs. UC Davis.

At Ohio State, senior Kristen Slahor is moving up on the all-time leaders list. Her 153 career points rank her fifth all-time in the record book, trailing Shannon Wilson (2000-03) in fourth with 154 points. Third is Regina Oliver, who scored 166 points from 2002-05. Slahor set Ohio State season records in 2007 with 73 points and 45 assists.

Stepping on to the Ohio State scene this season is freshman standout Maghan Beaudrault. In her first five collegiate games, Beaudrault leads the Buckeye squad in five categories, including goals, ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers. On the season, the Webster, N.Y., native has registered 11 goals, 16 groundballs, 14 draw controls and ties senior Amanda Shimp with seven caused turnovers.

Senior Kristen Slahor was selected as the American Lacrosse Conference’s player of the week for March 4 after two exceptional performances against UC Davis and Cal Berkeley. The Ellicott City, Md., native tied an Ohio State game record with eight assists in the 18-7 win at Davis; six of those assists were in the first half. In the 10-7 win over Cal Berkeley, Slahor scored two goals and three assists, both team highs.

Two Buckeye seniors received preseason honors from the American Lacrosse Conference. Attackers Slahor and Jessica Patane (Farmingdale, N.Y.) were part of the 14-player squad selected by the ALC’s head coaches prior to 2008 conference play.

In her 13th season as head coach of the Buckeyes, Sue Stimmel holds a 96-91 record at Ohio State. Her career coaching record is 172-109 including six years at Denison. Stimmel was president of the Midwest Lacrosse Association from 1991-98, serving as a member of the executive board for the USWLA.  She is a past chair of the mid-Atlantic NCAA Regional Advisory Committee and the Division I Vice-President of the IWLCA. Stimmel is the current chair of the IWLCA Ethics Committee. In 2000, Stimmel was inducted into the Ohio Lacrosse Foundation Hall of Fame.

Ohio State’s assistant coaches are prominent alums of the Buckeye lacrosse program: Megan Mirick (2003) and Kylee White (2002).