By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two Ohio Athletic Conference team with a budding rivalry developing in front of our eyes lined it up for another edition of a classic conference showdown on Saturday afternoon. The Capital University women's lacrosse team successfully defended Bernlohr Stadium from the John Carroll University Blue Streaks after winning Saturday's matchup, 17-10. Four different Crusaders posted a hat trick, or better, while Lisa Lotz solidified herself as a top goalie in the OAC with her stout play between the pipes.
While the shot count evened out by game's end, John Carroll had more attempts toward senior Lisa Lotz (Lynchburg, Va./Jefferson Forest) and the Capital cage in the first half. While John Carroll attempted to sort out issues on the defensive side of its goal, Capital had no worries about its netminder.
Not once but twice Lotz made a save on a John Carroll shot and prevented the rebound attempted from trickling in by swiping the ball away before the ball crossed the line. Despite John Carroll's shot count dropping slightly in the second, Lotz found herself more busy making stops in the second session after making nine more saves to account for a total of 15 in the game. That marked the third time she hit that number, which is her career high.
While Lotz and the Capital defense were busy preventing the Blue Streak offense from getting on a roll, junior Brianna Rampi (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Darby) and a host of Crusaders got the party going on the other end of the field. Cap scored the game's first three goals, each by a different player. Rampi was in on two of those goals, one as the helper, the other as the scorer.
JCU's Emma Workman broke up the run, but the Blue Streaks committed a pair of fouls inside the eight-meter attack area that set up the next two Capital goals. Brooke Delara and Rampi scored the next two CU goals on free position shots to take a 5-1 lead near the midway point of the first half. John Carroll sought an answer to the run and changed out its goalie, sending Kaleigh Kotula to defend the cage, but she too would eventually be bounced off the field.
Capital's free-position shot success continued throughout the first half. In fact, six of CU's eight goals in the first half were scored on free position shots, all in succession. Rampi went on to notch a hat trick before the end of the first half, feeding into her career day. She went on to set a new career-high with four goals and five points.
Up 8-3, John Carroll's Colleen Grombala scored twice to cut into the lead, but Cap came back out of the break to nullify Grombala's effort. Junior midfielder Kathryn Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) worked off a pass and maneuvered her way through the defense to score. Freshman Luci Kanowsky (Bexley, Ohio/Bishop Hartley) scored the next goal when she picked up a loose ball and ripped a close-range attempt on the near post to double up the Blue Streaks, 10-5.
Grombala scored once more, but then the Crusaders' returned fire with a pair of tallies to wipe away her progress. John Carroll showed a flash of life when they scored three straight and forced Capital into a timeout. Momentum looked like it may have permanently shifted after Capital took a yellow card and was forced to play one down, but Delara hit Ozenghar on the inside and with one move toward the cage the senior scored the first of two special team goals. Ozenghar's score to put Cap up 12-6 prompted yet another goalie change where Elyssa Zablo entered to retake her position between the pipes.
As the game dipped down inside the final 15, John Carroll returned the favor and put Cap a man up after taking a yellow card of its own. Dana Stover made them pay when contacted on a drive and was then set up for another free-position attempt. She converted and pushed the Capital lead to five, 14-9. Rampi then scored her fourth and final goal to continue the onslaught.
The Capital defense continued to keep the Blue Streaks at bay. JCU scored just once over the final 16 minutes of action, that going to Grombala for her fourth goal. As had been the case previously, Capital did not let the goal go unanswered. Taylor Barclay and Dana Stover scored the final two Cap goals to account for the final two CU goals en route to the 17-10 win.
While John Carroll held the advantage in draw controls they did not convert on their opportunities as often as Cap did. The Crusaders also had better success in collecting ground balls, holding a plus-five advantage by game's end. Kanowsky led the Purple and White in that category with seven on the day.
Four Crusaders finished with three or more goals including Rampi (4), Stover (3), Walton (3), and Ozenghar (3). Four players also had five or more ground balls including Lotz (5), Delara (5), Ozenghar (5), and Kanowsky (7).
The win pushes Cap's overall record to 7-4 and keeps them unbeaten in OAC play. The 4-0 Crusaders will play its next two games on the road, beginning with a meeting in Tiffin with the Heidelberg Student Princes on Wednesday, April 10. Game time is set for 7 p.m.