By: Briana Zuccarelli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- After a weekend away game at Rutgers University, the Nittany Lions had to prepare quickly to play the No. 16 Princeton Tigers on Monday, March 19th. Although the team suffered a 13-12 loss, the players and coaches saw improvements on the defensive side of the field.
"I think there has been a lot of growth from the start of this season," said captain Kayla Brisolari. "Our defense has really grown and I know there were 13 goals today, but I think they had some really good stops down the stretch. I think as the season progressed, our defense has done a really good job of coming together, since we were fairly new."
Brisolari and Katie O'Donnell each caused a game-high of three turnovers, while freshman Lucy Lowe made eight saves in goal for the Nittany Lions. Lowe is now 4-4 on the season, but has impressed not only head coach Missy Doherty, but her teammates as well.
"I think that she is a more reserved player off the field, but when she gets on the field she's very vocal, she's a big presence, and she's had to make some huge saves," said Brisolari. "I've been beyond impressed with her play and I think she is playing way above her freshman level right now."
"It's what you're going to get when you're playing the top teams," said Doherty. "Everyone gets a little bit faster and stronger. They ended up marking Maria Auth and Madison Carter pretty closely and they did a good job, but our other players need to step up and score some goals for us."
The Nittany Lion team only had one day to rest their bodies before they played the Tigers, while Princeton had nine days off to focus on bettering their bodies. The Nittany Lions will have a quick turnaround again when they face Johns Hopkins on Thursday, March 22nd, their second matchup this week.
"It was certainly a tough game coming into this game, when playing a game just this past Saturday," Doherty explained. "We have to get our legs under us for Thursday. It's really important for a Big Ten game. Hopkins is very similar to Princeton: very scrappy and hardworking. We need to regroup and be ready to give our best on Thursday."
Johns Hopkins will visit Happy Valley at 7-3 overall and is coming off a 15-5 loss against the Maryland Terrapins. Both teams will be looking for a win to add to their conference play record and to make up for their recent losses.
"We just need to do a better job at finishing the stretch," said Brisolari. "We need to continue pulling on the winning momentum the whole game, instead of letting it slip through our fingers. If we capitalize on our shots and capitalize on our transitions more in our game against Johns Hopkins, we will come out with a win."