By Briana Zuccarelli, GoPSUspors.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Nittany Lions now move to 5-3 after a 22-9 win against Drexel on Wednesday, March 14th.
Penn State returned home to Panzer Stadium Wednesday afternoon after back-to-back away games this past week. The #17 Nittany Lions took on the Drexel Dragons in 27-degree weather and snow flurries.
"State College weather is very unpredictable," said sophomore Maria Auth. "We are pretty much used to it at this point because we practice outside a lot to prepare for games like this. It was definitely cold, but I think by the end we were used to it."
Both teams came out of the locker room strong tying the game at 1-1 within the first four minutes of play. However, Penn State quickly took a 4-1 lead after four unanswered goals. As the game progressed, the offense continued to get hot having 13 different players score at least once during the matchup. Auth led the team with a career-high of six goals and seven points.
"What that means for me is our whole offense is cooking," Auth said. "Whenever I have a good day, or anyone has a good day, it just means our team as a whole is doing well. Credit to everyone out there on offense. We move the ball to each other which gives us those goals."
On defense, both Lucy Lowe and Madison Cunningham saw time in the net for the Nittany Lions. Lowe started in the goal for the first 30 minutes of play and had seven saves for the team, while Cunningham finished off the game in the second half with five saves.
"Lucy was on fire," said head coach Missy Doherty. "It was hard to take her out, but we knew the quality of practices that Madison had too. We are giving them both the opportunity and keeping them both game-ready, so we will see how it progresses moving forward."
As the team celebrates the win, they also are beginning to focus on this weekend's matchup against the Scarlett Knights of Rutgers. The game will take place in Piscataway, New Jersey on Saturday, March 17th at noon. This marks the team's first game this season in Big Ten conference play.
"I think for us we need to take every opportunity we can to get better," said Auth. "Every practice, every extra rep, every game because every Big Ten game is a tough one and every team in the Big Ten can win. You never know who is going to be a good team this year, so I think we need to take every opportunity to improve."
For freshmen Alyssa Sloane and Quinn Nicolai, playing at Rutgers means returning to their home state and playing their old teammates. Nicolai, a Morrestown, New Jersey native, will play against two of her high school teammates, Abbey Brooks and Jenna Martinelli. She explained how excited she is for this game and to go back home.
"A lot of my family is coming, old coach and they're really excited to be come see us. It's going to be cool playing against teammates that were once mine, but now they're on another team. I definitely know their style of play, so it will help us, but I'm really excited to see them."
Rutgers will be heading into the matchup at 4-4 and coming off a two-game losing streak. While the Nittany Lions are 5-3, coming off a two-game win streak. Heading into the first conference game, the team is spending time on what is important.
"Missy's big focus is to focus on your 15 seconds," said Nicolai. "The past doesn't matter, the future doesn't matter, it's what you are going to do in the present. So, we just need to focus on what we're doing in the moment."