WLAX: No. 5 Penn State Outlasted by No. 1 Maryland in Fight for Big Ten Crown
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – In a matchup that included numerous All-Americans on each side, history repeated itself on Thursday night when No. 1 Maryland defeated No. 5 Penn State for the 12th straight matchup.
The Terps used a commanding second-half performance to keep their undefeated season alive and secure at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Maryland (16-0) outshot the Nittany Lions 26-9 in the second half, using a 12-7 advantage in draw controls to dominate possession and pull away to a 16-14 victory.
“In the second half we couldn’t get the momentum because we couldn’t get the draw,” said Penn State Head Coach Missy Doherty, who won three national championships as a player at Maryland. “When you don’t have the ball against them, it’s hard to beat them.”
The Nittany Lions headed into the locker room at halftime confident with the score tied at six apiece, but Maryland took the lead for good at 8-7 lead with 26:02 left in the game when Zoe Stukenberg scored. Stukenberg finished with six points on the night for the Terps.
Madison Carter scored six goals for the Nittany Lions, tying her career high. Despite her efforts, Penn State (14-2) struggled to maintain possession, turning the ball over 15 times.
While the regular season finale at Michigan is up next on April 30th, Carter is already looking ahead to the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, and says that Thursday’s game was an important learning experience for Penn State.
“Maryland is one of the best teams we’re going to face, so it was great to have a battle with them,” Carter said. “It’s a great battle to have under our belts and it really gave us a boost of confidence that we can hang in there with them.”
Junior midfielder Katie O’Donnell, who found the back of the net five times, also says the hard-fought game against the nation’s top-ranked team will prepare the blue and white for the postseason.
“Once you get into postseason, every game is like that,” O’Donnell said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or what they’re ranked, everyone is playing to keep their season going.
After seven years in Happy Valley and a top-five team at her disposal, Doherty isn’t usually one to look at moral victories. However, Doherty is optimistic looking ahead to the postseason.
“Bringing our energy, teamwork and leadership into the postseason, I couldn’t be happier to go in with this team.”
Patrick Burns is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.