WLAX: Penn State Falls to Northwestern 17-13
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Over a seven minute stretch, the Penn State Women’s Lacrosse team went on a 3-0 run to shrink the Northwestern lead to 13-12 with 12:55 left to go. However, despite this ferocious comeback, the Nittany Lions would fall 17-13.
The stands were packed at Panzer Stadium for the Penn State women’s lacrosse THON game. The men’s team had just gotten a big win over Johns Hopkins on the same field and the seventeenth-ranked women’s squad were set to welcome in the seventh-ranked Northwestern Wildcats, which made for a loud, exciting atmosphere.
This game featured a pair of teams that were 3-0 in Big Ten play and tied atop the conference with the Maryland Terrapins. Penn State also came into the game on a three-game win streak while Northwestern came in on a six-game win streak, so something had to give.
Northwestern came out of the gates with more urgency than Penn State and grabbed an early lead. They wouldn’t relinquish this lead all game.
The Wildcats led 3-2 with 21 minutes left in the first half, and went on a run over the next seven minutes that would put them up 7-2.
With the score at 8-3, the Nittany Lions finally started to get a bit of momentum and went on a 3-0 run to put themselves back in the game with 3:11 to go in the first half.
The two teams tacked one more goal on each, and looked set to go into half with a 9-7 scoreline. However, Northwestern got one last opportunity to attack and scored a controversial goal that likely did not happen before the buzzer sounded.
Nonetheless, the Wildcats took a 10-7 lead to the locker room.
After an early Northwestern goal to start the half, senior Katie O’Donnell and junior Madison Carter responded with a goal each to bring the Northwestern lead down to 11-9.
Northwestern would respond to the brief run by scoring two more of their own to make it 13-9 with 22:54 left in the game. At this point, Penn State started to play with a sense of desperation for the first time.
Sophomore Maria Auth would score two and Madison Carter added another as the Nittany Lions brought Northwestern’s lead down to 13-12 while holding them scoreless for nearly 14 minutes.
With the lead finally down to a single goal, it seemed like if Penn State were going to come back and knot the game up they would have to do it then.
Unfortunately for Penn State, it appeared as though it took too much of their energy to bring the game back into contention. After a three minute lull, Northwestern responded to the Penn State run with a 4-0 run of their own to put the game beyond any doubt.
Katie O’Donnell pulled a late one back for Penn State, but the game had been decided by then.
Despite the close loss, head coach Missy Doherty didn’t seem to disappointed after the game.
“We made some good plays, but unfortunately at the beginning of the game and at the end of the game Northwestern made more plays,” Doherty said.
With their next two games coming against two of the best teams in the country, Doherty is looking for her team to continue to improve before the postseason.
If there is any silver lining from this tough defeat for the Nittany Lions, it would certainly be the continued emergence of freshman Rachel Rosen.
Rosen had four assists on the night, giving her 12 on the season now.
“She sees the field really well and she doesn’t look like a freshman, she plays very confidently,” Maria Auth said of Rosen.
With only three games left in the regular season after this loss, the Nittany Lions are still in the running to finish atop the Big Ten. However, they will likely need to beat Maryland and have Maryland beat Northwestern to have a chance to do so.
Patrick Murphy is a freshman majoring in advertising and public relations. To contact him, email email@example.com.