Graduating nine starters wasn’t easy for the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team, but that didn’t stop its new senior class from making a statement right off the bat.
The seniors made sure they were heard this preseason, as attackmen Cian Dabrowski and Rainey Hodgson and midfielder Christine Easton represented the Buckeyes on the 2016 Big Ten players to watch list, making up three of 18 players on the conference’s list.
OSU coach Alexis Venechanos said these players are three of the most experienced players on the field this year, which aids their abilities to make an impact.
“Christine has been involved since her freshman year until now, and we’re looking for her to step up into a larger role on the attacking end,” Venechanos said. “Cian and Rainey have been supporting players with our teams in the past, and now they’re going to be main contributors and vocal points.”
Venechanos said the preseason honor empowers the team, and she will look for the energy to carry over into the 2016 season.
“When our players see these players be successful, it gives us confidence going into season play,” Venechanos said. “It’s a natural transition, and all of the honorees have worked hard for that.”
Easton has 44 career starts heading into her senior season, the most on the active roster. She said the honor means a lot to her because, although she’s not a big goal scorer, she was able to stand out in the team’s defense.
“I think any one of these 36 girls could be on that list, so it’s an honor to be on it,” Easton said. “We can continue to use this recognition to show the conference that we’re good enough to play with top schools like Northwestern, Maryland and Penn State.”
Easton, originally a defenseman, transitioned to midfield for the first time before her senior season.
“It helps having my experience on defense as I move into attack, and I’m playing with a lot of experienced attackmen,” Easton said. “We have a young defense too, so I have an important role to be there to help them.”
Hodgson, who started 15 of 21 games last season, has 35 career goals with 19 assists heading into her senior season. She said the honor means a lot to her, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before the season starts Feb. 13.
“We came back this year as a whole new team, so there’s a big dedication to getting our team to the highest standard,” Hodgson said. “We’re hungry to compete at the same level we have the past few years, and I’m excited to keep us there.”
Hodgson said the seniors collectively try to take underclassmen under their wings and set a positive example, whether it’s by practicing extra or watching film.
“I have more of a leadership role this year, as I am one of the few returning starters,” Hodgson said. “I like being able to shed light on what it’s like on the field and to help ease the transition for players stepping up into new roles.”
Dabrowski, the most established offensive threat on the roster, enters her senior season with a team-leading 69 goals and 25 assists in her career. She said this honor means a lot to the team because it shows how much the program has grown.
“The Big Ten conference is arguably the best lacrosse conference in the country, so this honor motivates me to push myself even harder every day,” Dabrowski said. “We do conditioning at the beginning of every practice and it gets me in the zone to be ready for practice and to push my teammates to that next level too.”
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 4 in the 2016 Big Ten women’s lacrosse preseason poll, behind Maryland, Penn State and Northwestern. Their season is scheduled to begin on Feb. 13 at 3:30 p.m. against Detroit at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.