January 16, 2013

#LMranks: No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes (Women)

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Team Page/Schedule

"Tori DeScenza is one of the best goalies that we faced last year. She's just smart, and she's composed," one rival coach said about the Ohio State sophomore.
© Bill Danielewski

Lacrosse Magazine is counting down its preseason rankings throughout the month of January exclusively on LaxMagazine.com.

Today continues a look at our NCAA Division I Top 20 rankings. For more, visit LaxMagazine.com/LMranks. Follow @LacrosseMag on Twitter and Tweet using the hashtag #LMranks. The countdown will resume Thursday with profiles of the 12th-ranked teams in NCAA Division I men and women.

Power Ratings

Offense: 2*
Defense: 3
Goalkeeping: 4
Draw Control: 2
*Out of 5

Top Returner

A Jackie Cifarelli (So.)
The sophomore was the No. 2 points leader on the team last year, after the Buckeyes' all-time career points leader Alayna Markwordt. Cifarelli will be the backbone of an attack depleted by graduation.


A Katie Chase (Jr.)
After an injury-riddled start to her career, Chase cracked the starting lineup toward the end of 2012 and is healthy and confident heading into 2013. Besides having a good shot (.562 shooting percentage), she contributes on the circle during draws.

What's New?

The 12 freshmen on the roster. They cover every position on the field and hail from seven different states, plus Ontario. The Canadian is midfielder Cian Dabrowski, who was a bronze medalist at the 2011 FIL U19 Women's World Cup.

What's Not?

Gabby Capuzzi, who returns as an assistant coach instead of a player. Capuzzi led the team in goals (42) and draw controls (52) as a senior in 2012.

2012 Recap

#LMranks WD1 Preseason Countdown

No. 20 Princeton
No. 19 Boston College
No. 18 Stony Brook
No. 17 UMass
No. 16 Towson
Monday: No. 15 Cornell
Tuesday: No. 14 Georgetown
Wednesday: No. 13 Ohio State
Thursday: No. 12
Friday: No. 11

More: Countdown schedule | MD1 | MD2 | WD2 | MD3 | WD3 | JuCo | MCLA | WCLA

Record: 11-6 (1-4 ALC)

In a Nutshell: With a young lineup, the Buckeyes struggled to close the deal in close games and finished 11-6 and 1-4 in the ALC. But those losses showed some promise on a team that started eight underclassmen — Ohio State took Northwestern to overtime and held Florida to a season low score in a 5-4 ALC semifinal loss.

"It's hard to simulate high-pressure at practice. You can put 30 seconds on the clock, and you can do that 20 times, but you can't taste it. We ended our season a little short, but we got a taste of what the team can do," Venechanos said.

High Point: A 10-9 comeback overtime victory over Vanderbilt in the ALC tournament. Cara Facchina scored the game-winner with 11 seconds on the clock.

Low Point: A 12-9 road at Johns Hopkins on April 28 in the final game of the regular season. The Buckeyes blew an early 4-0 lead and ended up with bad seeding for the ALC tournament.

2013 Preview

Best Case: Ohio State learns how to finish close games, steals a win from a high-ranking team like Northwestern or Florida and punches its first ticket to the NCAA tournament since 2004.

Worst Case: The Buckeyes' impressive defense can't make up for an attack that leans too heavily on Cifarelli and they finish at the bottom of the ALC.

Inside Scoop

Coach Alexis Venechanos's comments on...

G Tori DeScenza (So.)
"Tori got better with every game. She had her best moments on the big stage. Her last moments against Florida, she played with a passion I hadn't seen from a goalie, or a non-goalie, in a while."

A Jackie Cifarelli (So.)
"Jackie was mentored very strongly by Gabby Capuzzi and Alayna Markwordt. You don't see many crease attackers who have her ability to lead. She will play a big role for us."

A Katie Chase (Jr.)
"She's coming on strong. After a redshirt year and then some, she's coming back more confident and fit that I've ever seen her. She's someone who if you look at her stats, it might not jump off the page, but she's completely a team player."

Rival Coaches Say

"They always play us so well. They are another team that is incredibly athletic. They put athletes at every position... Tori DeScenza is one of the best goalies that we faced last year. She's just smart, and she's composed. I was like, 'Oh we have a chance because of this young goalie.' No... They're another team playing together within a new system with Alexis, but she certainly has done a great job. They're incredibly fierce. They have a lot of confidence. They're not a team that comes in wishy-washy. They come in, and they're confident. They're aggressive. They're fierce. They make things happen on the field. If you're not at the top of the game, you're going to lose and you're going to lose big."

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