Olivia Dirks, Taylor Suplee Help Penn State Hold On for Upset Win over Maryland

Story posted February 21, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Jeremy Ganes

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 21 Penn State upset No. 7 Maryland 15-13 on Sunday afternoon behind a five-goal, one assist performance from Olivia Dirks. Dirks scored three of her goals in the final five minutes of the game, and her goal with 2:09 left gave Penn State the lead for good.

Maryland outscored the Nittany Lions 9-7 in the second half, but Penn State was able to make enough plays to hold on in the final minutes.

“We showed how connected our whole team was by how we locked in late,” Dirk said. “We kept our composure.”

The first half was competitive and close, with both teams playing strong defense and creating stellar offensive opportunities. Maryland had more such opportunities overall in the half, but Penn State was more efficient with their chances, putting all 13 of their shots on goal and converting eight of them for a commanding 8-4 lead at halftime.

Penn State goalkeeper Taylor Suplee had a strong first half, stopping eight of 12 shots for a .667 save percentage. Maryland found itself down four goals at the half despite leading in draw controls 10-3. Penn State played stingy defense in the first half in addition to Suplee’s performance, successfully clearing all but one Maryland possession in the first half.

Turnovers in the offensive zone plagued the Terrapins in the first half, but they responded early in the second frame with better shot selection, scoring five of the first six goals of the period to tie the game at nine apiece. Penn State would answer back with two straight goals, but Maryand tied the game once more with consecutive goals from Libby May scored just 50 seconds apart.

May would have another chance to tie the game up once more as the Terrapins had a free position shot in the final seconds, but Suplee made save No. 14 to preserve Penn State’s lead and hold on for the two-goal victory.

May led the way for Maryland with four goals. Supplee totaled 14 saves for the game despite the improved offensive effort from the Terrapins.

“Our defense did a great job, our offense did a great job, the whole team and crowd brought a lot of energy, and that helped us hold on and win even though they made the game tight,” Suplee said.

Maryland continued to lead the way in offensive chances and possession, outshooting the Nittany Lions 38-28 and winning 23 draw controls to Penn State’s six. This made each Penn State possession more crucial, and the Nittany Lions took advantage, converting 15 of their 23 shots on goal.

“When we got the ball, we knew we had to make the most of every opportunity,” Dirks said.

Maria Auth, Kristin O’Neill and Sophia Triandafils each added two goals in the winning effort.

The Nittany Lions will return to the field in Evanston, Illinois, to face Northwestern in a two-game weekend series on March 5 and 7.



Jeremy Ganes is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jlg6097@psu.edu.