Katie Chase wasn’t even 10 years old when she first fell in love with lacrosse.
But with girls’ lacrosse hardly rampant in Woodbine, Md., the first lacrosse stick she picked up was one made for boys.
And while she now plays for the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team, she and two other teammates are on a list with the boys. Chase, now a Buckeye senior attackman, along with fellow senior attackman Jackie Cifarelli and senior goalie Tori DeScenza, each made the Tewaaraton Award watch list on Feb. 26., solidifying the No. 14 ranking the OSU team currently holds. And while the prestigious lacrosse award honors solely outstanding players, the teammates collectively agree the benefits go far beyond individual recognition.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for Ohio State women’s lacrosse,” Chase said. “Now we’re a team ranked in the top 10, as this huge powerhouse lacrosse school. Before, no one knew who Ohio State was or what it meant for women’s lacrosse. It’s putting Ohio State out there for people to know.”
Chase, who scored twice during the team’s 15-2 victory over Niagara on Sunday, now ranks first in the Big Ten and third in the NCAA with 21 goals this season. While she has tallied at least two goals in all but one game this season, the senior credited her consistency to the entire team.
“They push me harder than any team I’ll ever play,” Chase said. “I want to help us just keep doing what we’re doing. We want to make an impact this year.”
Each year, the Tewaaraton Award recognizes the top male and female college lacrosse players in the nation, and while all three Buckeye watch list members expressed a humble appreciation for the individual recognition, they each find a greater reward in sharing it with their fellow Buckeyes.
“It’s a list of 50 of the best players in the country, so it’s definitely a great accomplishment,” Cifarelli said. “It’s an honor, but it’s even better than I can be on that list with two of my teammates.”
The Long Island native fell in love with the sport at age 7, and more than 15 years later, Cifarelli earned her spot on that list. She holds the top spot for assists in both the Big Ten and the NCAA, with 21 this season and 146 overall, an OSU record.
Twenty-nine points on the year put Cifarelli first in the Big Ten and third in the NCAA, and though her own numerous accomplishments on the field speak for themselves, she also praised her watch-list counterparts.
“I couldn’t speak any higher of Katie and Tori,” Cifarelli said. “Katie is an amazing attack, she always knows when to go to goal, her goals are unbelievable. And Tori’s been holding it back in the net for the past three years.”
DeScenza and Chase were named to the Tewaaraton watch list for the first time, while Cifarelli was on the list in 2014. With 45 saves on the season, DeScenza leads the Big Ten, but acknowledges the crucial role the team’s defense plays in her work.
“It’s a huge honor to be even thought of, but all of it comes back to the team,” DeScenza said. “It comes down to how the defense is playing … We all have each other’s backs. We come out every day and just look to make each other better.”
On May 7, five men’s and women’s finalists will be announced, each invited to attend the Tewaaraton Award Ceremony in Washington, D.C., on May 28.
For now, Chase, Cifarelli, DeScenza and the rest of the Buckeyes are set to continue their journey through the regular season. Next up, the Buckeyes are scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh to take on Duquesne on Sunday at 1 p.m.