PITTSBURGH, PA -- Maddie Franzoni (Jr., Mason, Ohio) scored with 5:22 and 4:40 remaining in the fourth quarter to account for the go-ahead and game-winning goals as the No. 6-ranked/Big Ten Division Champion Buckeyes of The Ohio State University found a way against No. 7/Northwest Division Champion the University of Washington, 6-5, in the semifinals of the 2017 Women's National Collegiate Club Championship at the University of Pittsburgh's Joe C. Trees Pool.
Via the victory, Ohio State advances into a semifinal showdown at 7:30 p.m. later today against either No. 1/Sierra Pacific Division Champion the University of California-Davis or No. 4/Midwest Division Champion Grand Valley State University. Washington will square-off with the fallen from the UC-Davis/GVSU game at 5:10 p.m. with a spot in the tournament's Fifth Place game on the line.
Ohio State, which is making its inaugural appearance at the Women's National Collegiate Club Championship after never previously qualifying for the event, needed to rally back in the fourth quarter to overcome the Huskies.
Trailing 4-3 going into the final frame following a third quarter in which neither team could score, the Buckeyes evened the damage 26 seconds into the quarter when Taylor Leach (Jr., Yorba Linda, Calif.) lined in the equalizer with 6:34 remaining in the regulation. Franzoni then took over by putting away back-to-back chances at 5:22 and 4:40 to provide Ohio State a 5-4 lead and the eventual game-winning score for a 6-4 margin with under five minutes to go in the contest.
Washington attempted to climb back into the game as Lauren Hickey (Gr., Palos Verdes, Calif.) deposited a strike at 1:59 to close within 6-5. However, the Ohio State defense in front of netminder Amanda Morgan (Fr., Worthington, Ohio) held firm down the stretch to prevent Washington from netting a tying score and allowing the Buckeyes to escape with a one-goal victory.
The game was a story of quarters as Ohio State controlled the first and fourth frames, while the Huskies dominated the second quarter.
Washington opened the scoring 1:30 into the first quarter as Hickey hurled in an ice-breaker on a man-up chance with 5:30 on the clock to provide the Huskies an early 1-0 lead.
However, the trio of Megan Wolf (Jr., Mason, Ohio), Kaitlyn Schlueter (Gr., Mill Valley, Calif.) and Katie Caldwell (Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio) rattled off back-to-back-to-back markers with 4:31, 3:52 and 1:08 remaining on the first quarter clock to provide Ohio State a 3-1 lead after seven minutes of action.
Washington answered the Buckeyes three-goal run in the first quarter with one of their own in the second quarter as Mary Elizabeth Ward (So., San Rafael, Calif.) drilled in even-strength (6:10) and power-play (1:44) shots prior to Karli Stevenson (Fr., Tacoma, Wash.) putting away her own natural goal with 29 seconds left until halftime to give the Huskies a 4-3 at halftime and set the stage for Ohio State's comeback.
Wolf, Caldwell, Schlueter and Leach each scored once for the Buckeyes to accompany Franzoni's two-score output. In cage, Morgan earned the win with eight saves.
Ward and Hickey accounted for 4/5 of Washington's offense as the duo each deposited pairs of scores.
Stevenson chipped in a solo score, while goalie Lizzy Lipps (Sr., Menlo Park, Calif.) turned away 13 shots in taking the loss.
Ohio State Goals: Maddie Franzoni (2); Megan Wolf; Katie Caldwell; Kaitlyn Schlueter; Taylor Leach
Washington Goals: Mary Elizabeth Ward (2); Lauren Hickey (2); Karli Stevenson
Saves: Ohio State - Amanda Morgan (8) ; Washington - Lizzy Lipps (13)
Exclusions: Ohio State - 4 ; Washington - 4
Advantage Opportunities: Ohio State - 0-for-4 ; Washington - 2-for-4
Sprints: Ohio State - 4-for-4 ; Washington - 0-for-4
Officials: Michael Schofield, Jay O'Neil