The University of Cincinnati women’s lacrosse team fell behind early and was unable to make a comeback in its season-opening 16-6 loss to the Ohio State University Buckeyes Friday afternoon at Gettler Stadium.
The Bearcats faced an uphill climb from the beginning, as Ohio State attacker Sophie Baez scored twice in the first three minutes of the match. She finished with four goals.
The Buckeyes continued to attack in the first half, beating the Bearcats 17-9 with shots on goal. OSU led 10-3 at halftime after junior goalie Jill Rizzo stifled UC’s attack.
“I think we were prepared,” UC head coach Gina Oliver said. “Their goalie stepped up and made some huge saves. We just never bounced back from that and got a little frustrated with ourselves. We had a lot of turnovers in that first half as well. We need to do a better job as a coaching staff to get the scouting report down and put the ball away against that kid and keep the ball in our stick.”
Both teams finished with 19 turnovers.
UC junior attacker Monica Borzillo found the back of the net twice and assisted on a goal by freshman midfielder Kylie Nause.
Junior midfielder Sam Mlkvy scored twice in the first half and added another goal in the second half. Mlkvy and Borzillo were named to the preseason all-AAC (American Athletic Conference) Jan. 24.
“Pushing the pace was my first concern,” Mlkvy said. “I tried to feed it to the middle of the field, but if there wasn’t anyone open, I was just going to try to put the ball in the back of the net to help my team get some points on the board.”
Mlkvy believes the stiff competition is exactly what the Bearcats needed to open the season in order to prepare for tougher teams down the road.
“It’s really good that we played Ohio State and they gave us a run for our money, because we have Florida and Vanderbilt in our conference, and we didn’t have a great turnout against them last year,” Mlkvy said. “This is just preparing us for our conference games so we can play at Sheakley [Athletics Center] in the conference tournament.”
Familiar foe: UC head coach Gina Oliver was a lacrosse standout for Ohio State from 2002-2005, being named an All-American three times. She finished her career second in school history with 125 goals scored.
The Bearcats return to Gettler Stadium at 1 p.m. Feb. 10 to face the Kent State University Golden Flashes. Sunday will mark Kent State’s first game in program history, as it is the school’s first year sponsoring women’s lacrosse.
UC stays home for another match Feb. 15 against the Marquette Golden Eagles at noon.