WLAX: No. 14 PSU Falls 10-9 to Top-Ranked Maryland
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 1 Maryland Terrapins (17-0, 5-0 Big Ten) defeated the No. 14 Penn State Nittany Lions (11-5, 3-2 Big Ten) 10-9 Thursday night at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.
In the last regular season game for both teams, 459 fans watched two of the best teams in the country do battle with the Big Ten Championship on the line. Maryland won the title outright, but would have shared it with Penn State had the Nittany Lions pulled off the upset.
“I thought we had the chances to win, which was one of those things, like we had some good looks to go up by two goals, and unfortunately we just didn’t put them away,” Penn State head coach Missy Doherty said. “Obviously, against Maryland you need to take every opportunity you can.”
The Nittany Lions ran a balanced offense throughout the night and had seven players score goals, keeping the game close. The Terrapins opened the game with a 3-0 run in the first 12 minutes, but goals from Jenna Mosketti and Steph Lazo two minutes apart pulled the Nittany Lions within one.
Caroline Steele for the Terrapins was the best player off the first half, registering a hat trick in 18 minutes. Penn State did an excellent job neutralizing her defensively after that, and did not allow another goal in the half after Steele scored her third and final.
The weather was less than ideal for both players and fans as it rained heavily for the majority of the game, only slowing for short periods of time. The conditions clearly had an effect on some of the player’s sticks, as there were a lot of missed shots and missed passes.
“It definitely has an effect on your stick a little bit,” attackman Steph Lazo said. “Passes are going to be heavier; it might come out of your stick heavier, but that’s just something we have to deal with and something we have to play through.”
The rain did not manage to slow Lazo down too much, and she was the clear catalyst for Penn State’s offense in the game. Lazo scored two goals, but did most of her damage as a feeder, chalking up three key assists.
The Terrapins held a 6-5 advantage at halftime, but the Nittany Lions came out strong early in the second half, tying the game at seven with 17:25 left. The Nittany Lions earned their first lead of the game off a Madison Cyr goal to make it 8-7 with 10:27 left, but would not score again until Lazo’s free-position goal in the final two minutes.
Defensively, the Nittany Lions prevented the Terrapins from getting many solid shots on goal, but when they did, Emi Smith was there to make big saves for Penn State. Smith made seven saves in the second half and ended with 10 on the night.
“Emi’s role was huge today,” Lazo said. “When our defense would get beat just a little bit, Emi was there to make the save and to have our back.”
Even though the Nittany Lions fell to the best team in the country, they outperformed the Terrapins in many categories. Penn State out shot Maryland 27-26, out saved them 10-6, had fewer fouls and went 2-4 in free-position chances compared to Maryland’s 0-3.
“We’ll see that team again, and we’ll be ready for them,” Lazo said.
Penn State will play in the Big Ten Tournament next week, either on Friday as the No. 2 seed, or Thursday as the No. 3 seed.
Eric Ohlson is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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