Lions Drop Heartbreaker to No. 4 UConn
Sep 8, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 6 Penn State field hockey team battled No. 4 UConn in a bout that lived up to its billing. The Huskies barely outlasted the Lions in an overtime thriller and escaped University Park, Pa. with a 4-3 win.
UConn wasted little time getting onto the scoreboard. The Huskies perfectly executed their second penalty corner opportunity of the afternoon, as Chloe Hunnable found the cage in the match's 11th minute to put the visitors on top 1-0.
The Nittany Lions quickly responded with a score of their own just four minutes later. Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) had a fired a shot in off a penalty corner that was blocked in front of the goal. Whitney Reddig (Lititiz, Pa.) dashed in and controlled the deflection and slotted past the keeper to tie the score at 1-1. The goal was Reddig's first of the season.
Unfortunately for the Lions, the score did not stay even for long. The Huskies' Roisin Upton scored the team's second penalty corner goal of the half to put Connecticut back on top at 2-1 with 16 minutes left in the period.
With two minutes left in the opening frame, Penn State had a flurry of shots denied by UConn keeper Sarah Mansfield, who stymied three shots within a span of 10 seconds to keep the Huskies in the lead at 2-1.
Penn State enjoyed an advantage in shots after 35 minutes, outshooting UConn 8-6. Both squads attempted five corners in the half.
The Blue and White came out of the break determined to level the game. After a number of shots and penalty corner attempts, the Nittany Lions found the goal they were desperately searching for. Junior Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Pa.) recieved a pass from Gebhart and fired a shot into the cage to even the score for the second time on the afternoon. The goal was Herold's third of the season.
Not to be outdone on the day, Upton doubled her score total just nine minutes later to tilt the battle back in UConn's favor with the score 3-2. Like her score in the first half, Upton's goal came from the result of a Connecticut penalty corner.
With the clock ticking away, Penn State showed its resilience and mental toughness by continuing to pressure the Huskies' backline and midfield. The intensity paid off for the Blue and White when Reddig fired a pass in from the top of the circle that was redirected into the roof of the goal by Herold to tie the game at 3-3 with just under two minutes to play. The goal was the junior's second of the game and her fifth multi-goal performance of her career.
With the Penn State score coming in the waning seconds of regulation to level the score, the game headed into the first 7-on-7 15-minute overtime session.
The Blue and White found itself in a prime scoring position within the extra session's first minute. The Lions earned a penalty corner and Gebhart fired a shot towards the goal that was turned away by Mansfield to keep the Huskies alive.
Less than a minute later, UConn capitalized on its first scoring opportunity in overtime. Connecticut's Anne Jeute sent a cross into PSU's box that Marie Elena Bolles struck home on a one-time effort to deliver the visitors their third victory on the season.
Like in Penn State's last two losses, the stats did not tell the story of the game. Penn State nearly doubled Connecticut's shot totals by a mark of 23-12 and had 15 penalty corner chances to UConn's eight. With the loss, the Lions' record moves to 1-3 on the year.
PSU will be on the road on Wednesday, Sept. 11 for their intrastate showdown against Lock Haven University. The match will be the 33rd time the two programs have met with Penn State holding a 17-14-1 advantage in the series. The contest is set to begin at 7 p.m.