After suffering an 18-7 loss against Stanford in its previous outing, the No. 18 Ohio State women’s lacrosse team bounced back in a big way against Duquesne, taking down the Dukes 16-6 on Sunday at Ohio Stadium.
OSU improved its record to 3-1 on the season in a game that saw eight different players picking up a goal and limited Duquesne to only six first-period shots.
OSU used tough defensive stands in front of the net and a quick attack on the offensive end to walk away with the win. Sunday’s affair marked the sixth straight win for the Buckeyes against the Dukes.
Duquesne (1-2) struck first just over three minutes into the game, but OSU responded in convincing fashion with seven unanswered goals. After one half of play, the Buckeyes held a comfortable 9-3 lead.
The first-half success was thanks in large part to a dominating performance in draw controls, as OSU won 12 of the 13 faceoffs. Overall, the final tally ended up 19-5 in favor of the Scarlet and Gray.
The second half went much like the first, as OSU stretched out its lead with consecutive goals from senior attackman Cian Dabrowski and freshman midfielder Erika Keselman.
Duquesne would score three goals in the second half, but OSU once again outscored the Dukes and eventually secured a 16-6 win. The six goals given up were the lowest number allowed by the Buckeyes this season.
“In the first half we got all the draws but one, and that gave us confidence on the attacking end and we were able to control the pace of the game,” OSU coach Alexis Venechanos said. “I thought defensively we got better as the game moved on, and that was exciting for us.”
Defense was something the Buckeyes struggled with against their last two opponents, giving up 15 goals to California and 18 goals to Stanford.
Leading the scoring for OSU was Dabrowski with five goals, followed by senior attackman Rainey Hodgson with three and sophomore attackmen Lauren Sherry and Molly Wood with two apiece.
“I thought we played phenomenal together,” Wood said. “We really protected the ‘Shoe today.”
The next four games are lined up to be home matchups for the Buckeyes, and OSU will be looking to keep its momentum going. Although the team performed well against the Dukes, there are still areas Venechanos said she feels can be improved upon.
“I think we’ve gotta find ways to make each other look better. We are still making things harder for ourselves … throwing some passes away in the attacking end,” Venechanos said. “That will come with game experience, so we are confident that will happen.”
The Buckeyes were bitten by the turnover bug, as the team ended up with 13 total, which nearly doubled the total for Duquesne. Although that unfavorable statistic did not hurt OSU on Sunday, it will be a focus moving forward, Venechanos said.
Overall, Wood said the Scarlet and Gray are confident in how the season will progress, as long as they stay true to their identity.
“We have a lot of talent on this team,” Wood said. “Once we put it all together and once we play our best, I think we’ll be unstoppable.”
The Buckeyes are next scheduled to face No. 15 Johns Hopkins on March 5 at 1 p.m.