Ohio State then-freshman midfielder Liza Hernandez looks to score against Vermont. Credit: Courtesy of Walt Middleton – Ohio State Athletics

Ohio State women’s lacrosse heads into its second road test of the season after a successful week at home.

The Buckeyes (4-1) will face their steepest test yet when they take on No. 2 Notre Dame (3-0) in South Bend, Indiana, Sunday. 

In their most recent victory Wednesday, the Buckeyes beat Cincinnati 15-10. Senior goalie Jill Rizzo set the new Ohio State career record for saves, but she said the Buckeyes aren’t getting complacent.

“We’ve got a lot to work on and tune up,” Rizzo said.

Ohio State has each of its home matchups this season, but fell in its first road test against Stony Brook this past Saturday.

The Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish are meeting for the 25th time this weekend, with Notre Dame holding an all-time record of 16-8 against Ohio State. 

Notre Dame defeated Ohio State 19-10 the last time the two sides met.

Notre Dame started the season undefeated, coming off a 24-4 rout of Central Michigan this past Sunday. Just two days prior, the Fighting Irish knocked off then-No. 3 Northwestern in a two-goal win in the Wildcats’ backyard.

Ohio State will need to generate more opportunities than it did against Cincinnati to stand a chance against the Fighting Irish, head coach Amy Bokker said. The Buckeyes pieced together 31 shots against the Bearcats.

“On our offensive end we left a lot of sets without being able to get a shot off,” Bokker said. “We can’t leave those on the table against Notre Dame. We’ve got to get in there and finish.” 

The Fighting Irish are led by head coach Christine Halfpenny, who has led the team to seven NCAA Tournament appearances in eight seasons. The program had its best postseason run a year ago, reaching the second round in the tournament after going 5-2 in ACC play under Halfpenny. 

Notre Dame’s No. 2 ranking matches its highest in program history. The Fighting Irish held the same slot in 2004.

Notre Dame junior midfielder Andie Aldave, senior midfielder Savannah Buchanan and junior attackman Maddie Howe have been named to the initial watch list for the 2020 Tewaaraton Award, given to the nation’s best women’s lacrosse player. 

Aldave, Buchanan and Howe also were named Preseason All-Americans by Inside Lacrosse. 

The Buckeyes will need to keep a close watch on Howe, the leading scorer for the Irish with 12 goals.

To compete against one of the nation’s elite programs, Rizzo said the Buckeyes put a heavy focus on mindset and aggressiveness during practice.

“We’re going to focus on Buckeye lacrosse and playing with high intensity in practice because we’re going to face that on Sunday,” Rizzo said. 

Rizzo enters Sunday’s matchup No. 2 in the nation in saves. To stop the Fighting Irish, Rizzo may need to pull out another staunch performance in net. 

The Buckeyes will battle to end the Fighting Irish’s winning streak at 3 p.m. Sunday in Loftus Sports Center.