Auth Leads Rally in OT Win over Michigan
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It was a remarkable comeback on a sunny Sunday afternoon as No. 7 Penn State defeated No. 13 Michigan 13-12 in a Big Ten women’s lacrosse matchup that required overtime.
Coming into this matchup, the Nittany Lions had hit a three-game losing skid while the Wolverines had won their last three outings.
In the previous matchup of a two-game series on Friday, Michigan dominated Penn State for a 12-9 win, but this Penn State squad switched the narrative in a remarkable win on Sunday.
After falling behind 4-0 in the first half, the Nittany Lions battled back and ripped off five straight goals to take the lead with less than four minutes remaining in the first half.
Both teams then traded goals throughout the rest of the contest, but two players remained stellar from start to finish: Penn State’s Maria Auth and Michigan’s Molly Garrett. Neither opposing defense had answers for either scorer, but Auth simply outshined everyone on the field.
Garrett racked up seven goals in this game, but Auth, the fifth-year senior, found twine five times—including the game-winner—and facilitated the offense to perfection, notching three assists on the afternoon.
Auth touched on the importance of snapping Penn State’s three game-losing streak.
“It was pretty important to get back on track, but it just shows the type of team we are,” Auth said. “We don’t let losses get to us. We learn how to move on and keep pushing forward so that this [win] is just going to keep giving us momentum going into the rest of our season.”
This game was all about Penn State’s depth. Outside of Auth, underclassmen Olivia Dirks and Kristin O’Neill were two huge factors in this win. Dirks contributed four goals and two assists, which elevated the Penn State offense through stagnant stints. As for O’Neill, she fired two goals and assisted on one to provide a huge spark in key situations.
Dirks credited her upperclassmen teammates for her and O’Neill’s success this season.
“I think the upperclassmen on the field do a great job of giving us a lot of confidence,” Dirks said. “They don’t really think of us as underclassmen, so it helps us go hard every time on the field knowing they have our backs.”
The Nittany Lions raise their record to 3-3 on the year, which has them sitting at third in the Big Ten standings. On the other hand, Michigan drops to 3-4 on the year but is right on Penn State’s heels, sitting at fourth in the conference standings.
Moving forward, both teams need to shore up their defensive units. Penn State’s depth gives it multiple players that can do damage whereas Michigan’s offense is spearheaded by Garrett. But the defenses will need to step up in order to catapult their respective programs into the national championship conversation.
Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.