WLAX: No. 7 Ranked Penn State Improves to 3-0 as Nine Different Nittany Lions Score
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – From the moment Penn State women’s lacrosse trotted into the Penn State Lacrosse Field locked arm-by-arm and singing in unison, spectators were alerted that this is a tight-knit team on a mission.
The No. 7 Nittany Lions backed up their confident entrance by routing Lehigh, 18-9.
With the win, coach Missy Doherty’s team improves to 3-0 on the season and 25-0 in the all-time series between the two teams. This is the second time in eight seasons that Penn State has started the season 3-0.
Earlier in the week, following a 13-11 win over No. 19 Towson, Doherty said, “We need to make teams score with their third and fourth options, not their first or second ones.”
On Saturday, they did just that, as last season’s two highest goalscorers for the Mountain Hawks, Allison LaBeau and Courtney Henig were held to just one goal between the two of them.
After jumping out to an 8-1 lead with 7:48 remaining in the first half, a Penn State victory looked like a foregone conclusion.
Then, Lehigh Head Coach Jill Redfern called a crucial timeout which propelled Lehigh to cut the deficit to 9-5 heading into the half.
The Mountain Hawks, who have now dropped three straight opening day games to Penn State, lost their momentum quickly as Penn State scored four straight goals in the first 7:08 of the second half.
The victory was a complete team effort for Penn State, as nine different Nittany Lions tallied a goal on the scoring sheet.
Madison Carter continued her dominance, scoring five goals and controlling four draws. Carter now has 14 goals on the season and leads the Big Ten in draw controls.
Freshman goalie Madison Cunningham got the surprise start in net for PSU, but Doherty pulled Cunningham with 15:44 remaining after conceding nine goals on 11 shots.
Cunningham’s replacement, usual starter and senior Cat Rainone, stopped all five shots that came her way in spectacular fashion. Rainone’s 1.000 save percentage is a drastic improvement over the .370 line she carried coming into the game.
“Cat made some huge saves late in the game when she went in,” Doherty said. “I’m so proud of her for stepping up big.”
The excellent start to the collegiate career of Kristin Roberto progressed, as the freshman defender scored her second goal in just her third collegiate game.
For Lehigh, Haley Wentzel found the back of the net four times while Lauren Beausoleil and Kaitlyn Quinn had two goals apiece.
The undefeated Nittany Lions will travel to Pittsburgh to take on Duquesne this upcoming Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Patrick Burns is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.