With its home opener on Feb. 13 approaching, the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team is looking to enter the 2016 season with the strong leadership and influence from nine seniors guiding the way.
Alexis Venechanos, the sixth-year coach of the Buckeyes, said she looks to use this leadership for optimal success in the upcoming season.
“This senior class was my first full recruiting class, and they are bringing their leadership out in so many different ways,” Venechanos said. “We’ve been giving our seniors control of the practices, where they’re in charge of working on our energy and giving feedback to our players, giving them a voice on the field.”
Senior attackman Olivia DiCarlantonio said the senior class is a special one because each player is proud to be a Buckeye.
“As a grade, we try to live up to the girls older than us, so we make a lot of decisions based on what we were taught as underclassmen,” DiCarlantonio said. “Our grade wants to build a legacy of Buckeyes to come, so we felt that if we prepared the younger girls and helped them realize what an honor it is to being playing for Ohio State, then we will be a successful team.”
Senior defender Katie Keefe said the senior class has skills that, when brought together, help the team as a whole.
“The feelings of just coming and getting the job done are out the window,” Keefe said. “They’re replaced with the idea that there is no next year for us, so we give it our all and go out with a bang.”
The Buckeyes enjoyed a degree of success in 2015, going 13-8, including a trip to the Big Ten tournament championship. Their trip to the NCAA tournament was not a long one, however, as a 13-11 loss to Notre Dame sent the Scarlet and Gray home looking forward to the next year.
The next year is now upon them, and, despite graduating several playmakers, DiCarlantonio said the team has an improved amount of talent and depth, giving it high aspirations to make a longer run than its brief taste of tournament play a season ago.
“As a team, the goal is to always go all the way,” she said. “(Venechanos) has us focusing on positive energy and really being locked into the moment and that’s allowing everyone to improve individually and as a team.”
Keefe said now that a good amount of the team’s starters have graduated, it has given other players the challenge of filling those spots.
“It’s our job to show the rest of the lacrosse community that the Buckeyes can still be a powerful team and end with another successful season,” Keefe said. “This idea reminds us that we all have a common goal we will work for as a team, and the only way to get there is to keep our energy high and our attitudes tough.”
Venechanos said the team is looking forward to finishing up the preseason and getting on the field against an opponent.
“We think we’re in the best lacrosse conference in the country,” Venechanos said. “We have Northwestern and Maryland, the two dynasties of women’s lacrosse, in our backyard, so if we do well in the Big Ten Conference, we will continue to make a name for ourselves nationally.”
OSU is set to kick off its 2016 season on Feb. 13 with its home opener against Detroit. Faceoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Correction 1/27: An earlier version of this story said the women’s lacrosse team’s home opener is set to be played at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, when in fact it is to be played at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.