Coming off a loss in its season opener, the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team has an opportunity to bounce back in its home debut against Detroit Mercy at 7 p.m. Friday.
Ohio State (0-1) fell to No. 10 Navy in a 9-7 road loss its last time out, while the Titans (0-1) were suffered a 21-2 loss to No. 11 Northwestern to open their season. Detroit Mercy was picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference by the conference’s coaches prior to the season and had the most players picked to the preseason all-conference team.
Despite her team’s loss, Ohio State head coach Alexis Venechanos said the team looks strong defensively.
“Playing Navy early in the season, I think we were able to kind of see [the areas] that we’re strong in,” Venechanos said. “We feel like right now we did a good job of competing and I feel like defensively we did well.”
Leading the defense is sophomore goalie Jillian Rizzo, who had a career-high 17 saves against Navy and held the Midshipmen to a 21-minute scoring drought. Her coach praised her as being one of the main reasons the team stayed in the game against Navy.
Rizzo, the only captain who isn’t a senior, has had a positive impact on the team in both games and practice.
“She has so much love for her sport, so much confidence and so much joy,” Venechanos said. “She brings it every day at practice, she works hard, and it’s exciting to see her perform like that on the field and her teammates respond so well to her.”
Offensively, the Buckeyes look to capitalize behind senior attacker Molly Wood, junior midfielder Baley Parrott and sophomore midfielder Liza Hernandez. Venechanos said the team relies on the trio to be the catalysts for the team’s offense in its upcoming matchup.
Hernandez and Parrott led the team in goals against Navy with two each. The collaborative effort provided a triple-threat offense against the Midshipmen.
“Molly had some great draw controls. Baley I felt like was the fastest kid on the field … and then Liza was Liza, doing her thing on attack,” Venechanos said. “We’re going to need those performances and also a few more on attack this weekend for sure. “
The team is looking to improve by taking advantage of big playmaking opportunities when presented with them.
“We’re mindful that we have to execute even though we compete,” Venechanos said. “We talked about that as finishing the play, capitalizing on the shots, capitalizing the ground ball [and] the clears.”
The Buckeyes host the Titans at 7 p.m. Friday.