By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Nittany Lions played an incredible game Wednesday night against the Drexel Dragons, earning themselves a 14-5 win. Penn State's offensive end was on fire, with four separate players earning hat tricks throughout the game.
The game started off uneventful with Drexel's defense holding Penn State off at the 8-meter arc for the first five minutes of the game. Luckily, junior Steph Lazo was able to get off a successful shot, earning the team their first goal of the game.
After that, many more goals followed with successful shots from Madison Cyr, Katie O'Donnell, and two from Jenna Mosketti within the first 18 minutes of the game.
The team fought hard in the first half on both ends of the field. Offensively they took a beating, being fouled 37 times by Drexel. Defensively, they brought one of their best games yet, playing as a solidified unit and only letting Drexel get one successful shot on goal.
Although Drexel playing rough in the first half, Mosketti thought that it played a contributing factor in many of their successful shots.
"They put us on the 8-meter a lot with fouls in the first half. In practice, we do a lot of 8-meters so that was to our advantages and we just tried to capitalize on it," said Mosketti.
With just five minutes left in the first half, Madison Carter got a goal off the free position, bringing Penn State's lead to 7-1.
A six-point lead was not enough for the team, though. In the last 25 seconds of the first half, Cyr netted two unbelievable goals before the clock ran out bringing the final score of the half to 9-1.
In the start of the second half, with an eight-point lead, things were looking up for Penn State.
Although Drexel came back fired up and managed to keep the ball down by Penn State's goal, netting three goals in the beginning of the second half, the Nittany Lions held strong defensively throughout the entire rest of the half, only allowing one more goal into the net.
Head coach Missy Doherty praised her defensive end and talked about how their previous off week allowed the team to make big improvements defensively.
"Drexel had some long possessions in the second half, which I think we can credit to our defense. We stopped a lot of scoring options early when they wanted to score quickly, which stretched out some of their sets," said Doherty.
"Our off-week really helped us to work on our defensive end. We are headed for a rough part of our season, starting in Big Ten play and we worked hard last week to get all hands on deck defensively."
The improvements on defense helped the team to get the ball back to the offensive end for the remainder of the second half.
In this half, the team saw four scorers in Alexis Phillips, Steph Lazo, Jenna Mosketti, and Katie O'Donnell. These goals brought two more hat tricks to the team for both Mosketti and Lazo.
There is no doubt that overall, Penn State has an amazing offensive game, but Mosketti said that that success could not be possible without the major improvement they saw defensively.
"We had a lot of great saves down on defense, which we really tried to work on this week. It allowed us to repeatedly get the ball back down on offense, where we knew we wanted to and did get our shots off," said Mosketti.
Starting this weekend, Penn State will be starting in Big Ten play. While this is going to present challenges for the team, their improvements on defense make the season seem promising on both ends of the field.
The Nittany Lions next contest will be at home on Saturday, April 2 at 1:00 p.m. against Rutgers.