Long scoring droughts and short scoring runs lead Penn State past Cornell
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Saturday afternoon was sunny and beautiful, until seemingly, out of nowhere, clouds encapsulated campus, littering campus with rain. Luckily, the clouds disappeared into the night sky, bringing a bright and sunny Sunday.
The sun blazed above Panzer Stadium as the No. 18 Penn State Nittany Lions took on the unranked Cornell Big Red. Both teams came into the afternoon on their heels after losing to top teams in the nation.
The blue and white fell short against the No. 2 Northwestern Wildcats on the road Thursday, resulting in a bus ride home Friday into a short two-day preparation window for Sunday’s game.
In the case of the Big Red, they took on No. 1 Syracuse at the JMA Wireless Dome, losing a one-sided contest to the Orange.
On Sunday, both teams needed to do the same thing in order to come out victorious. That one thing was finding offense.
Although both teams knew what they needed to do, there were struggles because of the stout defense coming from both sides.
Penn State scored 24 seconds into the contest thanks to star player Kristin O’Neill, and Cornell quickly answered her goal with one of its own.
Despite the quick response from the Big Red, the Nittany Lions went on a four-goal run after the score was knotted up, closing out the first quarter with a 5-2 lead.
“Every time we play Cornell, we know it is going to be a battle,” Head Coach Missy Doherty said. “Coming off our game Thursday against Northwestern we knew we would have some fatigue issues to deal with as well.”
Megan Murray had a first-quarter hattrick and was firing on all cylinders throughout the entire afternoon for the blue and white. Her first-quarter hattrick propelled the Nittany Lions into a 7-5 lead at halftime.
Although Penn State led at the half, Cornell was able to claw back and take the lead just over halfway into the third quarter.
The Cornell lead came due to the Nittany Lions losing offensive production for just over 20 minutes of game time and an hour of daytime.
Luckily for Penn State, junior Captain Kristin O’Neill was able to give the team back the lead after she scored a pair of goals, giving her four for the game and setting a new career high with 41.
“I honestly didn’t even know that I set a new career high,” O’Neill said. “We trust ourselves way more and are way more confident on offense this season compared to last year.”
Penn State would go on to win 13-10 over the Big Red, getting a much-needed win before three straight Big Ten games to close out the season.
Megan Murray and Kristin O’Neill combined for eight of the thirteen goals and were a devastating dynamic duo for the Cornell defense.
Cornell has now dropped three straight games and will take on Harvard in its first of four remaining Ivy League contests.
The sun was shining bright just like the stars on the Penn State roster as they picked up win number 10 of the season, showcasing another great performance on home turf.
Hayden Lewis is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email email@example.com.
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