The Ohio State women’s lacrosse coach Alexis Venechanos said the good part about their loss on Friday was that they had another game on Sunday. In a game in which turnovers came early and often against Stanford, Venechanos said they were going to learn, and the Buckeyes did just that.
The Buckeyes (4-1) shutout California (1-3) for roughly the first 20 minutes in their 14-8 routing of the Golden Bears. The win gives OSU its eighth win over California in its now 11 matchups against the Golden Bears.
“I was really proud of our defense,” Venechanos said. “It was a really tough loss on Friday night and you always want to see how your team responds, and I think we stepped up. … (California) is a good team, we definitely improved. It was a good solid win.”
OSU broke the game open with five consecutive goals to start. Senior midfielder Paulina Constant, freshman midfielder Liza Hernandez and sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Maring all scored unassisted goals to begin the game. Hernandez would then assist on junior attacker Molly Wood’s eleventh goal of the season, which was followed by one more goal from sophomore midfielder Erika Kesselman.
“All we need to do is come out with a W,” Wood said. “I was so happy with how we came out today, with what happened on Friday. We put that behind us and we came out strong.”
California would attempt to surge back into the game, with two goals from junior attacker Kate Mattimore fueling a 3 goal outburst for the Golden Bears. Wood added two more goals for the Buckeyes, giving them the 7-3 lead at the half. Mattimore and Wood would both collect hat tricks on the day, Wood’s third consecutive game with one.
California sophomore goalie Jenny Wilkens saw a barrage of shots with 13 of OSU’s 15 first-half shots on goal. And on the defensive end, the Buckeyes showed up strong, forcing California into 11 of its 18 turnovers in the game.
“We wanted to give them a little bit of pressure and see if they could handle it,” sophomore midfielder Christina Turner said. “And we realized that they didn’t really like being pressured a lot, so we decided to amp up our energy and make them turn the ball over.”
The Golden Bears would strike first in the second half on Mattimore’s third of the day, reeling in OSU’s lead to three. The Buckeyes, however, would respond with three of their own, giving them their largest lead of the day at 10-4.
“We’re still a fairly young team,” Venechanos said. “We’re still trying to learn to play with a lead, play when it’s close, play when you’re behind and that’ll just take experience.”
California’s leading points-getter, senior attacker Jena Fritts, would try to give her team some momentum by scoring two goals around Kesselman’s second goal of the day. Hernandez would then add another for OSU, completing her hat trick and giving her a team high, 15 goals on the year.
Fritts would get lost behind the Buckeyes defense, netting her third goal of the day at the 14:16 mark in the second half. Then the Golden Bears would pull to within four of OSU when freshman midfielder Noelani Murayama fired in her second of the game.
Both ends of the experience spectrum would score for the Buckeyes, with Wood grabbing her fourth of the day and freshman midfielder Sage Darling scoring her second of the season. Darling’s goal with 7:32 remaining would be the last score of the contest, giving OSU the 14-8 lead and eventual win.
This was the final matchup in the Buckeyes’ three-game homestand and is the last time they’ll lace them up in Columbus until Mar. 18. OSU heads on the road for four games, the first of which will be on Friday at 3 p.m. against Duquesne.
“We’ve got different styles we’re going to have to be ready for,” Venechanos said. “We’ll start looking at our own tape tomorrow and see what we need to work on. We have a couple of days of practice before we head out, so we’re going to have to be efficient.”