Gators Open ALC Play at No. 15 Ohio State Saturday

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Gainesville, Fla. – The No. 5 University of Florida lacrosse team will play its first American Lacrosse Conference game this Saturday, taking on the No. 15 Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, at Jesse Owens Memorial Field. Opening draw is set for 1 p.m.

Florida captured its fifth-straight victory on Tuesday night, defeating No. 10 Dartmouth, 20-4. The Gators set a new record for goals in a half, scoring 17 in the first, and registered their highest-ever goal total against a ranked opponent, with 20.

Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) led the Gators with five goals, three assists, four ground balls, a draw control and a caused turnover. Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) notched three goals and two assists, Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) and Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) each had four goals, and Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) had two goals and two assists.

Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) allowed three goals in the first 21:53, then returned in the top of the second to earn eight saves and a second-half shutout.

As a team, the Gators out-shot the Big Green, 38-18, and led 27-11 in ground balls, and 17-10 in turnovers.
Florida opened the game with five unanswered goals. After the first Dartmouth score, Cullen earned an assist and a goal to put UF ahead 7-1. The Big Green got its second goal at 13:30, but Florida followed with four scores in just over two minutes to lead 11-2.

Dartmouth mustered two more late in the first, but the Gators closed out the game on an 8-0 run, holding the Big Green scoreless through the final 37 minutes, to take the game by a final score of 20-4.

The Gators have played Ohio State three times before and own a 2-1 advantage in the series. The Buckeyes, ranked No. 17 at the time, won the first-ever meeting on Mar, 27, 2010, by a score of 14-9. The Gators then took both contests in 2011, winning 10-8 in the regular season and 16-13 in the ALC Semifinals.

Ohio State heads into ALC play after opening the season 7-1, falling only to then-No. 14 Notre Dame, who is one of two teams in the NCAA to remain undefeated this far into the season.

Entering the week, the Buckeyes ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring defense (5th, 7.57), scoring margin (5th, 7.71), caused turnovers (5th, 11.14), points (7th, 162), and scoring offense (9th, 15.29).

Ohio State is led on offense by senior Alayna Markwordt, who ranks second in the NCAA in points per game (5.71) and assists (23, 3.29/g). Senior midi Gabby Capuzzi ranks sixth in the country in caused turnovers (2.29/g), and freshman keeper Tori DeScenza is 10th in the NCAA in GAA (8.05) and 15th in save percentage (.500). All three team leaders have earned ALC Player of the Week honors this season.

Head Coach Alexis Venechanos, who is in her second season at the helm of the Buckeyes, has four NCAA and eight conference titles to her name, winning two championships as a player, including leading Maryland to a perfect 22-0 record as the Terps’ starting goalie in 2001, and earning two NCAA championships as an assistant coach at Northwestern.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live by Ohio State’s Buckeye Vision, with paid subscription, which can be found here: http://ohiostatebuckeyes.com/allaccess/?media=304667. Free Gator radio will be streamed on GatorZone. LiveStats will be presented by GameTracker (http://gatorzone.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/?event=1075830&school=fla&sport=wlacros), and as always, follow @GatorZoneLAX on Twitter for live updates from the press box.