Nittany Lions Celebrate Senior Day, Upset Maryland Second Time This Season
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For the second time at Panzer Stadium in the 2021 campaign, No. 14 Penn State (4-6) defeated No. 7 Maryland (6-4). Sunday afternoon’s 16-9 victory came on Senior Day as the Nittany Lions celebrated the 2021 class of 10 players.
The seven-point margin of victory is the largest by far in Penn State’s history against the Terrapins, surpassing the two-point 15-13 win from February. It’s also the first time the program has ever beaten Maryland twice in a row.
“I think [the win] was a great mix of what our team looks like today but also what our future looks like,” head coach Missy Doherty said, alluding that seniors, freshmen and players in between all made the difference after losing three straight games.
Seniors Sophia Triandafils and Quinn Nicolai along with graduate student Maria Auth were three of the 10 seniors honored, each of them starting and recording four goals combined. But freshman standout Kristin O’Neill scored five goals herself to give her a team-leading 30 on the year.
“It was awesome knowing we won with all the seniors out there; it was a cherry on top,” said Triandafils, who took the spotlight off her class by talking about how impressed she is with O’Neill. “You can see the impact she already has… I can’t wait to see where she’s at when she’s a senior.”
Senior goalkeeper Lucy Lowe got her first start of the season over usual starter Taylor Suplee as she limited the Terps to their lowest goal total this season. Lowe made 10 stops for her first double-digit save game since her sophomore year.
But Lowe was more impressed by her team’s overall performance against a tough opponent, and she thinks the dominant victory will be a big confidence boost moving forward.
“It was so much fun [beating Maryland twice], and I’d love to do it again,” Lowe said. “I really hope we can continue to bring that [energy] every game and just keep out heads up no matter what the score is and keep playing as if we’re down even if we’re up by 10.”
Lowe mentioned her team’s efficiency as well, as the defense forced 16 turnovers while the Blue and White gave the ball up just nine times for the second-lowest amount of the season. Maryland’s Hannah Leubecker, who’s third in the Big Ten in goals and first on her team with 38, scored two Sunday afternoon but coughed up the ball three times.
Just two games remain on the regular season schedule as the Nittany Lions will head to Piscataway to face Rutgers Thursday afternoon before returning home to take on Johns Hopkins on Sunday. Penn State defeated the Scarlet Knights 20-11 in the opening game of the season in early February at Panzer, while the Nittany Lions just lost to the Blue Jays 13-10 in Baltimore this past Wednesday.
Jack McCune is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.