WLAX: Nittany Lions Survive Towson Comeback Bid
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.--They won the opening draw, and it looked like No. 7 Penn State would ride their first-half momentum and 9-2 halftime lead over No. 19 Towson to a fairly easy win on Saturday in Holuba Hall.
Well, not quite.
Withstanding a furious second-half rally by the Tigers, the Nittany Lions were able to come away with a 13-11 win off the strength of Steph Lazo, who led all scorers with five goals in the game.
“I want to take advantage of every opportunity that I have and my teammates have set me up for good things to happen,” said Lazo after the win.
In the first half, it was all Nittany Lions. Lazo started the scoring at 28:32, off a feed from Maggie Gallagher, and it was all Penn State from then on. Penn State rattled off seven unanswered goals to start the game and looked poised to dominate. They outshot the Tigers 17-3, and maintained a 10-2 advantage at the draw.
Towson would make a goaltender change in an attempt to gain momentum, bringing freshman Kiley Keating into the game in relief of Angie Benson, who allowed 7 goals on 11 shots. The change helped settle the Tigers, as Keating made several key saves to keep the rally alive, stopping 6 of the 11 shots she faced.
Towson erupted for six unanswered goals to start the second half, and cut the lead down to one. With a 9-2 lead being cut to 9-8, head coach Missy Doherty had seen enough, and subbed in freshman Madison Cunningham in net to replace senior Cat Rainone. “We just felt like we needed a couple more saves,” head coach Missy Doherty said after the game. “We just didn’t get enough momentum from the cage today.”
Yellow cards also played a factor in this game, with 3 apiece being called on each team. While the reasons for the calls varied, goals were scored on nearly half of the penalties served. This played an important role towards the end of the game as well, as Kelly McQuilkin’s yellow card with 5:48 to play foiled any chances that Towson had of a late-game rally.
From there, the Nittany Lions were able to roll, as they scored four goals in 2:17 to knock off the Tigers. Behind Lazo, Madison Carter (3) and Katie O’Donnell (2) both notched multiple goals in the contest, while Maggie Gallagher, Kelly Daggett, and Kristin Roberto each put home one apiece.
On the Towson side, Kaitlyn Montalbano, Emily Gillingham, and Natalie Sulmonte all finished with two goals apiece. Michaela Duranti, Alyssa Ferro, Samantha Brookhart, Carly Tellekamp, and Shelby Stack all finished with one.
Penn State’s opening homestand will continue with an exhibition game on Wednesday as they take on Wales at 4:00, before resuming regular season play against Lehigh on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, Towson will remain on the road, but closer to home next week, as they take on UMBC and Georgetown next week.
Zach Kaplan is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. Reach him via email at email@example.com.