The Ohio State women’s lacrosse team (6-9, 0-4 Big Ten) not only had to weather a windy and rainy night, but also a storm of goals from Northwestern Wildcats’ (7-6, 3-0 Big Ten) senior attack Danita Stroup. Stroup’s six goals on the night helped to down the Scarlet and Gray, 15-8.
“I thought we were prepared,” said OSU coach Alexis Venechanos. “I thought we would come out aggressive and I think they kind of punched us in the gut in the beginning. We did settle in a little bit, but we never got over that hump.”
Northwestern jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead with two goals coming within the first 1:30 of the contest. Stroup scored the second goal for the Wildcats — her 20th of the year — before freshman midfielder Lindsey McKone scored her third of the season.
OSU responded when sophomore midfielder Baley Parrott sliced through the Wildcat defense and scored her first of the day. The goal pulled her team within two of Northwestern, but that line wouldn’t hold.
Stroup bounced a shot past OSU freshman goalkeeper Jillian Rizzo for her second goal of the day. The Wildcats added onto their lead when sophomore attack Liza Elder netted her first of the day putting them ahead 5-1.
Freshman attack Sage Darling continued her solid season, finding the back of the goal for the 12th time this year for the Buckeyes’ second goal of the game.
Northwestern’s Stroup secured her hat trick with five minutes remaining until the halftime break. The score was assisted by junior attack Shelby Fredericks, who scored the Wildcats’ first goal, and sent them into the locker room with a 6-2 lead over the Scarlet and Gray.
Scoring came early and often for both teams in the second half, as both sides traded two goals each. The Buckeyes’ leading points getter, junior attack Molly Wood pushed past the 40-goal threshold for the year and just five goals shy of cracking the top 10 for goals scored in a season.
“That’s pretty exciting,” Wood said. “But right now, we’re just focusing on getting one more win. We have two games left against two very good opponents and we want to win both.”
With the score then at 8-4 in favor of Northwestern, the Wildcats’ second-leading goal scorer, Stroup, continued to have a stand out day as she netted her fifth goal of the night.
“We didn’t have the possessions and attack we needed and we didn’t make the stops defensively,” Venechanos said. “But overall the effort, you can’t fault that. I thought the effort was strong.”
With 18:41 left in the game, Buckeyes’ sophomore midfielder Erika Keselman had her shot saved by Wildcats’ sophomore goaltender Mallory Weisse. As Weisse went to make the pass, the ball slipped out of her stick and into the Northwestern goal.
The odd own-goal was credited to Keselman for her 17th of the year and it pulled OSU to within four of the Wildcats yet again. Fredericks extended that lead back out to five for her team when she netted her second of the contest with 15:17 left in the game.
Back-to-back goals from the Wildcats’ Catie Ingrilli and Christina Esposito gave them their largest lead of the game, putting them up 12-5. Esposito has been Northwestern’s leading scorer this season, but had a single goal outing for just the fifth time this season.
Northwestern added another goal before the Buckeyes finally ended their scoring drought, as sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Maring found the back of the net her 10th time of the year. The goal left the Buckeyes down seven with just over seven and a half minutes left in the poor weather conditions.
It definitely makes the ball a lot more slippery, you really have to focus on the fundamentals,” Wood said. “It was tough to get used to and both teams struggled with turnovers but obviously you can’t blame the conditions on the outcome of the game.”
OSU continued to inch their way back in the game when Parrott got fouled in front of the Northwestern net and found Wood for a goal off of the free position opportunity with 5:04 left.
Northwestern shut the door completely on the Buckeyes when Stroup scored again for her second-half hat trick, followed by Fredericks third goal of the night. The Wildcats went on to collect the 15-8 win over OSU.
The Buckeyes were held to 14 less shots than the Wildcats and, for the sixth time this season, failed to score more than 10 goals.
“They put a zone on us and in these conditions, you had to be more crisp with your passing and a little finesse to break the zone. That kind of got us rattled for a bit,” Venechanos said. “So credit to them, we didn’t step up and execute.”
The Buckeyes will head out to College Park, Maryland, on April 15 to take on the No. 1 Maryland Terrapins at noon.