March 9, 2014

Dabrowski Leads OSU By Northwestern; First Since '03

from Press Release

Ohio State players celebrate after the final whistle in OT, handing them their first win over Northwestern since the 2003 season. (Ohio State Athletics)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Led by a season-high 13 saves by junior goalie Tori DeScenza and four goals by senior Katie Chase, the Ohio State women's lacrosse team posted an 11-10 upset overtime victory against No. 4 Northwestern Sunday afternoon at Ohio Stadium. The ranked win marks the first victory for the Buckeyes (4-3, 1-0 ALC) against Northwestern since the 2003 campaign.

"I was really proud of how our team competed to the end," said head coach Alexis Venechanos. "We expected a battle against a tremendous Northwestern program and we needed a full team effort. The defense stepped up when we needed them to and we also were able to put away some key goals at crucial moments in the game. This is a great win for Ohio State and we hope we can continue to improve in each game this year."

Sophomore midfielder Cian Dabrowski, who scored three goals vs. the Wildcats, tallied the eventual gamewinner in overtime when she found the back of the net at 5:06 on an unassisted score after blasting a shot into the top right of the net. Dabrowski, a native of Amaranth, Ontario Canada, now has 10 goals this year, including six scores in her last two games.

Defensively, DeScenza looked stronger and stronger in front of goal after every shot she denied, collecting nine saves in the second half and three in the overtime period. She collected back-to-back saves at 3:46 and 3:12, respectively, in the overtime session following a free position shot before collecting her last stop of the contest with 2:07 remaining on the Wildcat's 10th free position shot overall (2-of-10). After a quick change of possession at 1:01 on the clock, the Wildcats had one final chance to score, but a shot by Kara Mupo went wide as time expired on the clock. Overall, Ohio State caused 14 turnovers vs. the Wildcats.

"I know that Tori loves playing with her teammates and the defense played as a unit today," Venechanos said. "We had a couple huge groundballs and were able to hold possession strong between the 30s as well."

Offensively, junior attack Jackie Cifarelli notched two assists to hit the 100-career assist milestone and becomes just the third Buckeye in program history to accomplish such feat. Cifarelli, who was named to the 2014 Tewaaraton Watch List, is tied with former Buckeye Kelly Haggerty for third in the record book.

Three other Buckeyes notched two points vs. the Wildcats. Junior midfielder Jennifer Porretto had a goal and an assist, senior Kaila Gottlick had a pair of scores and juniorMary Kate Facchina boasted a goal and an assist. Chase posted a team-best four draw controls, while sophomore midfielder Christine Easton had three.

The game featured nine lead changes in a back-and-fourth conference battle. Chase tied the contest, 1-1, at 28:54 on an unassisted score. After Northwestern took a 2-1 lead, Dabrowski scored her first of the day when she found space on the right side of the NU zone and fired a shot into the back of the net at 26:49. The Buckeyes tied the contest, 3-3, when Chase scored on a man-up scenario in front of net with the assist coming from Cifarelli at 21:06.

After a fourth NU goal, the Buckeyes tied it for the fourth time following an OSU goal by Facchina at 15:59 – her 13th of the season. Ohio State claimed its first lead of the day when Porretto netted her lone goal of the day at 10:49 assisted by Facchina. The Scarlet and Gray then made it 6-5 when Chase scored at 7:06 on her second unassisted goal of the afternoon.

Ohio State finished the first half with back-to-back goals to take the 8-7 lead heading into halftime. Dabrowski scored again for the Buckeyes at 2:03 to go in the first half to make it 7-7 following an assist by Porretto. Chase then scored her team-best 15th goal of 2014 with 19 seconds remaining in the first half with the 100th-career assist by Cifarelli.

At half, shots were 12-10 in favor of Ohio State, while the Buckeyes held a 9-7 advantage in draw controls. Gottlick made it a two-goal game after DeScenza's first save in the second half on a free position shot. She then scored her 12th of the season at 24:32. Ohio State made it 10-8 when Gottlick notched her second of the day following a groundball pickup by Facchina at 13:38.

But the Wildcats continued to fight and scored twice to it at 10-10 with just under nine minutes left in regulation. Both teams couldn't find the back of the net for the final eight minutes with a combined five turnovers tallied between the two schools. With 11 seconds to go, Northwestern earned a free position shot, but the shot by Kaleigh Craig was saved by DeScenza to send the game to overtime.

Overall, Northwestern held a 32-21 lead in shots and a 21-14 advantage in groundballs. The Wildcats just edged the Buckeyes in draw controls, 13-12.

The Buckeyes return to Ohio Stadium tomorrow, hosting High Point at 3 p.m. in Columbus. As always, admission is free.

Northwestern Recap

Photo courtesy Ohio State Athletics

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The start of Northwestern's American Lacrosse Conference season Sunday afternoon was par for the course in the young 2014 campaign, with Ohio State forcing NU into its fourth one-goal decision in five games. The teams needed overtime to decide their 13th all-time meeting, with Ohio State recording the only goal in six minutes of OT to earn an 11-10 victory over the 'Cats at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

The game marked Northwestern's first overtime loss since the 2007 season-opener at North Carolina and just the third ever underKelly Amonte Hiller. It also was the third straight meeting between Northwestern and Ohio State to be decided by a single goal, with the Buckeyes' win Sunday snapping a string of 10 straight NU victories in the series dating to 2003.

Trailing 9-7 early in the second half, Northwestern would allow only one goal in the final 24:32 of regulation and evened the score at 10 thanks to two Kat DeRonda unassisted goals and an 8-meter tally by Kara Mupo with 8:56 to play.

Both teams struggled with turnovers down the stretch, but an intercepted pass on the ride by NU's Alyssa Leonard gave the Wildcats the final chance in regulation. Ohio State goalkeeper Tori DeScenza turned away an 8-meter attempt with 10 seconds remaining, however, to preserve a tie score and send the game to overtime.

The Buckeyes received a go-ahead goal from Cian Dabrowski on their first possession of OT, but Northwestern spent most of the final five minutes peppering the Ohio State cage with shots. DeScenza was stellar in the extra session, denying several more shots and watching as Northwestern's final shot attempt under pressure sailed wide as the horn sounded.

Leonard and DeRonda each finished with two goals apiece, with Leonard also claiming eight draw controls to raise her career total to 350 and move within three of matching the NCAA Division I all-time record. At the other end, junior goalkeeper Bridget Biancorecorded nine saves on the game.

Leonard got the Wildcats off on the right foot Sunday by winning the opening draw control and scoring unassisted on the crease just 49 seconds in. Ohio State then quickly responded with a score, and goals by Kaleigh Craig and Blake McHugh would keep the Wildcats even at three through nine minutes of action.

A man-up goal by Christy Turner off a feed by Kara Mupo briefly gave Northwestern a 4-3 lead before the Buckeyes answered with two more at the other end. Northwestern's Lauren Murray was then fouled on the crease and converted the ensuing 8-meter shot to even the score once more at five, but Ohio State netted its next goal immediately after the next draw control to go in front, 6-5.

OSU appeared poised to add to its lead on its next possession before Bianco made a stellar save going to her knees to deny the Buckeyes. On the resulting Northwestern possession, the Buckeyes suffered a defensive breakdown that left Leonard all alone on the crease for an easy goal at the 4:58 mark.

It was the first of two straight for the 'Cats, as Turner forced a shooting space violation and fed sophomore Christina Esposito off the 8-meter setup for Esposito's fourth score of the season.

But Ohio State continued the back-and-forth theme of the game by closing the half on a 2-0 run, the last coming with 19 seconds before the whistle to give the Buckeyes an 8-7 lead at the break.

Ohio State then took the first two-goal lead by either team early in the second half on a drive and score by Kaila Gottwick. Seven minutes later, Leonard made a key interception on the ride to return possession to Northwestern, and DeRonda made the most of the extra chance with an unassisted goal at the 17:37 mark.

The tables turned on NU four minutes later, however, with a big save by Bianco preceding a Northwestern turnover on the ensuing clear. Gottwick got redemption with a lefty laser shortly after, increasing OSU's lead to 10-8 with 13:38 left. But DeRonda once again had the answer and lifted Northwestern with a second straight unassisted strike to bring the Wildcats back within one.

Mupo brought Northwestern back to even with her 8-meter goal at the 8:56 mark before the late-game dramatics played out.

Ohio State -- coached by a pair of Kelly Amonte Hiller's disciples in head coach Alexis Venechanos and former Wildcat All-AmericanChristy Finch -- was sparked on attack by Katie Chase's four goals and a hat trick by Cian Dabrowski.

The Wildcats outshot the Buckeyes 32-21, claimed 21 ground balls to the hosts' 14 and held a slight 13-12 edge in draw controls.

Three Wildcats made their first career appearances in the starting lineup on Sunday: sophomores Spring Sanders and Jessica Dahldorf and freshman Lydia Cassada.

Northwestern's American Lacrosse Conference road swing now brings the Wildcats north to Ann Arbor, where NU will face Division I newcomer Michigan Tuesday evening. Opening draw is slated for 6 p.m. CT in the Big House.

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