JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A thrilling game that came right down to the wire saw Jacksonville University (0-1) drop a heartbreaking season-opener to Ohio State (2-0), 13-12, Sunday at D.B. Milne Field. Danielle Della Rocca scored a hat trick while Ashtyn Hiron and MacEllen McDonough each had a pair of goals and assists.
"I thought our team showed a lot of relentlessness, worked hard, and was very competitive," said Head Coach Mindy McCord. "I'm very happy with how we played in our first game. I would have loved to have seen a couple more go in instead of off the pipe. Give credit to Ohio State's goalie (Jill Rizzo), she made a lot of saves for them."
Jacksonville jumped on the board first with a Rachel Aus shot at the 27:47 mark, and a few minutes later Courtney Valdez found the back of the net. After a Meghan Matey Buckeye goal at the 22:58 mark, the Dolphins ran off four unanswered scores with goals from Della Rocca, McDonough, and two from Hiron. However, Ohio State scored the final three goals of the first half and Jacksonville took a 6-4 lead into the break.
The game then turned into streaks with the Buckeyes rallying off four-straight goals to take an 11-9 lead with 10:17 left in the game. The Dolphins then switched momentum with goals from Amelia Pedwell and a duo from Della Rocca to regain the lead at 12-11 with 6:24 to go.
Ohio State scored the final two goals, with the game-winner from Molly Wood at the 3:33 mark.
Jacksonville outshot Ohio State, 33-22, and won the turnover battle with a 9-17 edge. The Buckeyes picked up 19 ground balls to JU's 17, and had 14 draw controls to Jacksonville's 13. Sydney Matthews had three saves for Jacksonville and Mariah Cudlipp had one.
Next, the Dolphins host the Scotland National Team on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 5:00 p.m. in an exhibition game.
"When they work together and can be consistent for 60 minutes, they are a dominant team. For the first game, I thought they brought a lot of chemistry in their units and played smart," said McCord. "We need to build off what we did well in this game and focus on the corrections and get a little bit better each time out."