No. 6 Field Hockey Falls 5-4 in Overtime to No. 10 Northwestern
Sept. 28, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. - The No. 6 Penn State field hockey team dropped a tough 2-1 decision to No. 10 Northwestern on Friday afternoon, falling in overtime after just 12 seconds of play. The Nittany Lions, now 2-1 in the Big Ten and 10-3 overall, recorded their first loss after seven consecutive wins. The Wildcats improve to a 10-2 overall record with a 1-1 mark in conference play.
Northwestern's Chelsea Armstrong netted the game-winner 12 seconds into the extra frame, diving to send her shot past goalkeeper Ayla Halus (Hershey, Pa.). Armstrong was assisted by a diving feed from Tara Puffenberger, allowing the leading point scorer to complete a hat trick in the contest.
"We had a lot of chances," said head coach Charlene Morett. "I thought that their goalkeeper played very, very well. I just think that we had a lot of close chances to try to get a few more goals, and we just couldn't."
A tough Big Ten matchup, Penn State and Northwestern lined up as the two highest scoring teams in the conference. With each squad led by Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.) and Armstrong, respectively, it was expected to be a high-scoring contest bursting with intensity and emotion. And as usual, the Lions would strike first, scoring under eight minutes into the game off of a goal from Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.). With junior Lauren Purvis (Maple Glen, Pa.) charging down the right side of the field, the sophomore was able to get into prime position at the top of the box. After a long feed from Purvis, Gebhart wound back and sent the ball flying behind Northwestern's Amanda Wirth.
With the Lions up 1-0, the Wildcats wasted no time responding with a goal of their own. Two minutes later, Charlotte Martin charged down the field and sent a long shot from the outside circle to beat Halus. It was Martin's second goal of the season. With the score tied up at 1-1, Penn State seemed to have taken the lead around the 21 minute mark off of a goal by sophomore Jenna Chrismer (Mountain Top, Pa.). However, the goal was waived off by the officials.
Penn State continued to battle for possession, with Halus stepping up for the Lions at the 24:35 mark. With Kelley Stump speeding in past the top of the box, the netminder fended off the press with a tremendous save to keep the score set a 1-1. With time expiring in the first period, Amy and Gebhart applied pressure to force the ball into Northwestern's defensive zone. As the clock hit zero, the Lions lined up to take a penalty corner.
With junior Ashtin Klingler (Selinsgrove, Pa.) setting up the play, the forward found fifth-year senior Hannah Allison (Mifflinburg, Pa.) at the top of the box. Allison was able to feed up to Amy, who sent a commanding shot towards the net. Klingler had forced her way to the front of the net by this time, and deflected the shot up and past Wirth to take a 2-1 lead for Penn State. It was her eighth goal of the season.
As the second period began, the Lions found the momentum in their favor. After two back-to-back penalty corners, junior Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.) finally capitalized by netting her ninth goal of the season at the 40:31 mark. After an initial feed from junior Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.), Allison sent the ball to Grzywacz at the top of the box for her fourth assist of the season.
Northwestern began to battle back at the 53:15 mark, cutting Penn State's lead to 3-2 after a goal from freshman Lisa McCarthy. Following the Wildcats' first penalty corner of the half, Puffenberger sent a strong shot from the right side of the net towards Halus. McCarthy placed herself in front of the netminder and deflected the ball in for her second goal of the season. The squad continued to push offensively, tallying another goal minutes later to knot the score at three. Armstrong to advantage of another penalty corner, tallying her 17th goal of the season after assists from McCarthy and Julia Retzky.
Despite the energy surge from the Wildcats, the Lions answered just one minute and five seconds later after earning a penalty corner. At the 58:05 mark, Allison netted her sixth goal of the season off of a rocket of a shot. Reddig tallied her 10th assist of the season and her 30th career assist on the play, while Chrismer picked up an assist, as well.
Now up 4-3 with just over 10 minutes to play, Penn State had to fight to keep the lead. Amy, Klingler and sophomore Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.) were forces in the midfield for Lions, scrapping for possession and pressing towards the Northwestern defensive zone. Reaching the 60 minute mark, Amy flew down the far right side of the field, covered by several Wildcat defenders. Feeding over to Klingler, who was wide open in front of Wirth, the junior tried to deflect the pass in but was unable to get her stick down in time.
At the 63:12 mark, Northwestern earned a penalty corner, with McCarthy setting up the play. McCarthy again fed up to Retzky, who sent a centering pass to Armstrong. Although Halus dove to make the stop, Armstrong's shot beat the goalkeeper to tie the game at 4-4. McCarthy's assist was her 10th of the season.
Penn State attempted to end the game in regulation with two back-to-back penalty corners in the closing 90 seconds. However, Wirth came up with a huge save on Amy to deny the Lions. With a last minute run down the field by Armstrong, junior Abby Fuhrman, who played an outstanding defensive game, denied the forward with a smart tackle as time expired.
As the overtime period began, Puffenberger gained possession to set up Armstrong with the game-winner after only 12 seconds. It was Armstrong's 19th goal of the season and Puffenberger's 27th point.
The Lions outshot the Wildcats 16-11, with Penn State producing 10 shots on goal to Northwestern's six. Wirth tallied six saves, while Halus recorded one in the contest.
After a week-long break, Penn State returns home on Sunday, Oct. 7, when the Lions host California for an 11 a.m. matchup.
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