Around the Oval: Women's Lacrosse Team Qualifies for Big Dance, Tennis Team Goes for NCAA Crown

By John Brandon on May 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm

A pair of OSU teams begin the quest for an NCAA championship, which gives us the opportunity for a quick history lesson.

Ohio State athletics boasts 25 total NCAA team championships (24 in men's sports, one in women's). That's good for 18th nationally, just behind Florida, Indiana, and Georgia (26, 27 and 28). For all the athletic success the Buckeyes have had, this seems low. Michigan has 36, though many of those came before World War I.

With three teams ranked in the top 10 of their sports, including two in the top three, Ohio State has a great chance to move up the championship list. That hope comes from the No. 10 women's lacrosse team and the No. 2 men's tennis team, which begin NCAA tournament play this weekend.

Lacrosse postseason update

The No. 10 women's lacrosse team qualified for the NCAA tournament despite losing to No. 5 Northwestern in the semifinals of the ALC tournament. Senior Katie Chase led the way in the 9-8 defeat with five goals, adding to her team-high 47 goals this season. Chase's fourth goal was the 100th of her career, making her the 10th Buckeye ever to do so.

A few days earlier, the Lady Buckeyes defeated Michigan 12-8 in the ALC quarterfinals behind a career-high six points from junior Mary Kate Facchina. Her sister, Cara Facchina added four points as well, with two goals and two assists.

The Lady Buckeyes now prepare for NCAA tournament action, which begins this Friday. Ohio State will face Louisville Friday at 8 p.m. in Evanston, Illinois. With a win, they would earn another shot at Northwestern on Sunday.

While the women's team is still playing, the men's team's season is over. Despite finishing as co-champions of the ECAC, a 14-7 loss to Air Force in the ECAC tournament semifinals means the Buckeye men's lacrosse team will miss out on the NCAA tournament.

Senior Jesse King did everything he could to avoid seeing his career come to an end. King had a hat trick, extending his point streak to 36 games. He finishes the season as the team leader in goals (29), assists (22) and points (51). He also concludes his career with 131 total points, good for 17th in Ohio State history. Senior Michael Italiano also recorded a goal in his final game; all in all, 10 seniors took the field for the final time.

Softball Team Stays hot

The Ohio State softball team is on a roll. The Buckeyes knocked off Pittsburgh 5-1, then defeated Iowa twice to extend their winning streak to eight games. In the season finale, Ohio State lost to the Hawkeyes, 3-2.

Pitching was the key against Pittsburgh as Olivia O'Reilly tossed a two-hitter to pick up her 13th win of the season. Against Iowa, hitting was the key to victory. In game one, the Buckeyes scored four runs in the sixth inning to take the lead for good. In the 6-3 win, Ohio State got key hits from Evelyn Carrillo, Keelia Nester and Caitlin Conrad, while O'Reilly earned her 14th win of the year on the mound.

In game two the Buckeyes were able to hold off Iowa 7-6, despite giving up three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Cammi Prantl and Evelyn Carrillo combined to go six-of-seven with a pair of RBI and three runs scored. O'Reilly once again took the win for Ohio State, her team-high 15th of the year.

The streak came to a halt on Sunday as the Lady Bucks fell 3-2 to Iowa on a walk off two-run home run by Iowa's Erin Erickson. Taylor Watkins and Leesa Gresham each had a pair of hits in the loss.

Next up for Ohio State is the Big Ten Tournament. After winning eight of nine to close the season, the Buckeyes are the seven seed. They face ten-seed Penn State on Thursday, and with a win they would face two-seed Nebraska on Friday.

NCAA Tennis Tourney Preview

The men's tennis team will host first and second round matches in the NCAA team championships. Action begins Friday at Varsity Tennis Courts, next to the Schottenstein Center. The third-seeded Buckeyes open with Bryant on Friday at 1 p.m.; if they advance, they would face the winner of Louisville and Wake Forest.

Ohio State expects to face Louisville in the second round, a team the Buckeyes beat 4-1 in Columbus earlier this year. While Louisville is a good opponent, the Bucks ought to advance to the Sweet 16 in Athens, Ga.

Following the team championships, Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka will compete individually. Kobelt will enter the field of 64 singles players, while the team of Kobelt and Metka will take part in the field of 32 doubles championships. Kobelt is an at-large selection to the singles field, while the doubles team of Kobelt and Metka earned the Big Ten's automatic doubles berth.

Kobelt is ranked 11th nationally in singles, but he has been on a cold streak. Kobelt needs to be at his best in team action and hope that carries over to individual competition. Kobelt and Metka have a real shot at winning the NCAA doubles championship.

Individual singles and doubles competition begins on May 21.

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