Penn State Women’s Lacrosse vs. Michigan Preview

Story posted April 15, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Justin Ciavolella

Penn State is set to welcome Michigan to Panzer Stadium this weekend in a battle between two Big Ten programs looking to change their fates.

The Nittany Lions were able to snap a four-game losing streak with a victory over Pitt, a team in its inaugural season, on Tuesday evening. The blue and white still sit at just 6-6 on the season, however.

The Wolverines have not had much success as of late either, as they come into the weekend trying to snap their own four-game skid. Michigan has played three ranked opponents over that stretch and have watched their record dwindle to 9-5.

Conference play has not treated either of these programs well as they are two of the bottom three teams in the Big Ten. Michigan secured a win over Johns Hopkins in its first conference game, but has since dropped its other three Big Ten contests. Penn State has yet to crack the win column in its three tries this season.

Looking for their first win in conference play, the Nittany Lions will look to keep their momentum going after finding a scoring rhythm against Pitt. The blue and white tallied 15 goals in that matchup, with three Nittany Lions registering hat tricks.

It was the top three Penn State scorers who registered hat tricks: Kristin O’Neill, Taylor Regan and Meghan Murray. This trio outscored Pitt by themselves as a stout Penn State defense allowed just seven goals.

O’Neill’s performance propelled her to the 30-goal plateau this season. The Midseason All-American leads the Nittany Lions in both goals and points this season.

Regan and Murray have had successful campaigns of their own, finding the back of the net a combined 45 times. Regan has scored 24 times with Murray recording 21 tallies of her own this season.

The Wolverines have their own trio that will look to outdo the effort of the Nittany Lion three-headed monster.

Kaley Thompson, Kaitlyn Mead and Erin Garvey have paved the way for the Wolverines scoring attack this season. Thompson leads the way with 26 goals with Mead scoring 22 times and Garvey scoring 19 times.

The Michigan trio may not put up as many goals as that of Penn State, but Michigan has a more well-rounded attack as both teams are averaging about 12.5 goals per game.

With very similar offensive production, the matchup this weekend is likely to come down to which team has more success keeping the ball out of their own net.

Michigan has one of the better goalies in the Big Ten in terms of keeping opponents off of the board.

Arielle Weissman comes into this game with a goal against average of 8.23 and a save percentage of .510, both of which are second in the Big Ten this season.

Penn State will need a strong performance from Ashley Bowan to stay alive in this one. Bowan posts a 10.37 goals against average and a .411 save percentage, which puts her right in the middle of the pack in terms of Big Ten goalkeepers.

A lack of presence in draws has hurt the Nittany Lions on several occasions this year, which is a storyline to watch in this one. Michigan has a lot more success with draw controls than Penn State, so Penn State will need to find a way to create Michigan turnovers.

These programs split two highly competitive contests last season, with the second game being decided in overtime.

It is always must see action in this rivalry, and that will be no different this year. The first draw is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. in Happy Valley.

Justin Ciavolella is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email