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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- No. 14 Penn State field hockey suffered a heartbreaking loss to California in overtime, 3-2, Friday evening at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
Penn State (2-3) seemingly had the game in hand after freshmen Aurelia Meijer and Gini Bramley notched their first career goals in the 53rd and 57th minutes, respectively, to give the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead. However, Cal (4-2) scored twice in the final four minutes of regulation.
Melina Moore started Cal's rally with a goal in the 67th minute, assisted by Janaye Sakkas. Sydney Earle then deflected a Monica Marrazzo shot into the back of the cage with 43 seconds remaining to force overtime. Marrazzo then notched the game-winner by putting in a rebound six minutes, 49 seconds into the sudden victory overtime period.
"When they scored, it gave them momentum," said Penn State head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss. "We organized as a team and talked about how we wanted to get the ball in the corner and get everyone below the ball; take care of the ball, and we just didn't have that sense of presence or poise and we turned the ball over."
All three of Penn State's losses on the season have been close ones, with game-tying goals coming in the waning minutes of both overtime losses (No. 9 Virginia, Aug. 30), and the game-winning goal in the season opener at No. 16 Old Dominion was scored with 5:05 remaining.
As it has in each game this season, Penn State held the advantage in shots, 18-10. The Lions held an 8-1 advantage in the scoreless first half, also taking four penalty corners. PSU held just a 7-6 advantage in the second half, as Cal closed the gap in the category with its late rally.
California goalkeeper Kori Griswold made 12 saves on the night, while Penn State's Jenny Rizzo made four.
Meijer and Bramley became the fifth and sixth Nittany Lions to score their first career goals this season. Meijer's goal came when she found space just left of the cage and was able to blast it in from along the goal line. Bramley's goal was a highlight-reel shot from the top of the circle, as she reversed her stick to chip it into the cage.
Penn State will hit the road for its next two games, opening Big Ten play at Michigan Friday at 6 p.m. The Lions will also face Kent State at in a neutral site game at Michigan Saturday at 4 p.m.