Early struggles plagued the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team yet again. This time it was costly.
The Buckeyes (3-1) dropped their first game of the year, 19-9, to the No. 15 Stanford Cardinal (2-3) by digging themselves into a four-goal deficit in the first 12 minutes of the game. This marks the fifth time the Cardinal have taken down the Buckeyes in the last five seasons, with OSU’s last win coming in 2012.
“We knew Stanford was going to give us a complete game,” OSU coach Alexis Venechanos said. “So we knew we were going to need a complete game.”
Stanford dominated the ball in the early goings in large part due to OSU’s 12 first-half turnovers. The Cardinal would capitalize off of the Buckeyes’ mistakes with their first goal from junior midfielder Kelly Myers coming at the 25:45 mark. Stanford would then grab three more unassisted goals from sophomore midfielder Genesis Lucero, senior attacker Elizabeth Cusick and senior attacker Anna Salemo.
OSU, as they’ve done before, found a way to close the goal gap quickly. Sophomore midfielder Baley Parrott netted the first goal for the Scarlet and Gray with 15:46 remaining in the first half. Within five minutes of Parrott’s seventh goal of the season, the game was tied.
“We know the team we are,” junior attacker Molly Wood said. “We’ve been in those positions this season already, where we were down, and we do find that in those situations we stay calm.”
Freshman midfielder Liza Hernandez would score her first of two goals on the day, which was followed shortly by Wood’s seventh score of the year. Freshman midfielder Sage Darling, who made her first appearance of the season last game against Cincinnati, would score her first collegiate goal to tie the game at four.
Stanford responded, going on a 4-1 scoring run to close out the half, sending them to the locker room with an 8-5 lead. The Buckeyes struggled to gain and keep possession throughout the first half, only winning six of 14 draw controls. And despite having 18 less fouls than the Cardinal’s 31, it only correlated to two free-position goals in the first half.
OSU won the opening draw of the second half and struck first off of two goals from Wood in the first 71 seconds, narrowing the Cardinal lead to just one. Wood has scored back-to-back hat tricks, putting her season point total at 12.
Stanford stretched its lead back to four with 25:04 remaining in the game. The Cardinal’s senior attacker Kelsey Murray would be responsible for two of the goals in that span, her third and fourth of the game, putting her one shy of her season high for goals in a game.
“At halftime it was reachable, ” Venechanos said. “And then, we just didn’t have that opportunity to make our own run. Stanford had the next five or six possessions and we didn’t make any stops.”
Parrott would connect on her second goal of the evening before Stanford would go on a three-goal run to extend their lead to six, 14-8, with 19:59 left in the game. At the 16:27 mark, Wood found the net yet again, giving her four on the day, this time off an assist from freshman midfielder Alex Vander Molen. It was her 10th assist of the season, putting her at a Big Ten best 2.5 assist per game.
“I thought we had one more run in us to be honest,” Venechanos said. “But maybe (the game) was a little bit physical and emotional so mentality wise, we didn’t have enough gas.”
It was a physical game. There were 75 fouls between the two teams, with Stanford being assessed four yellow cards to OSU’s three.
Stanford would go on to push their lead out to eight by scoring four consecutive goals for a second time in the contest. The run included a goal from Salemo, giving her her first hat trick of the season.
The Buckeyes would allow two more goals before the game was over, giving Stanford the eventual 19-9 victory. OSU allowed a season-high 36 shots against Stanford and when coupling that with 16 turnovers, it does not add up to a stellar outing.
“If you give a team almost 40 shots they are going to have an opportunity to execute,” Venechanos said. “And they did.”
Now the Buckeyes turn their attention to Sunday’s matchup against the California Golden Bears (1-2) in Ohio Stadium at noon.
“The good news is we have another game in 48 hours,” Venechanos said. “Credit to Stanford, they beat us. But we’ve got to get better from this.”