Late Goal by Blasco Lifts Nittany Lions to Ninth Straight Win, 3-2 Over Syracuse
Kiersten Wood scored a goal and assisted on Natalie Blasco's game-winning goal in the Nittany Lions' 3-2 win over Syracuse.
Syracuse, N.Y.; September 27, 2006 - Syracuse took an early 1-0 lead and then in the second half took a 2-1 lead but Penn State scored the final two goals of the game, including the game-winner by Natalie Blasco with just over 12 minutes remaining in the second half as the Nittany Lions won their ninth consecutive game on Wednesday afternoon, 3-2 over the Orange.
Kiersten Wood had a goal and an assist and Shaun Banta scored a goal for the sixth straight game to lead Penn State. The Nittany Lions improve to 9-2 with the win and now shift their focus to an important Big Ten game this weekend against Michigan.
The Orange opened the scoring just 4:37 into the contest as Alison Babbitt put back a rebound off a shot generated from Syracuse¡¯s first penalty corner of the game. The goal was the quickest scored by an opponent in a game this year against Penn State. It also marked the first time that Penn State had not scored first and had trailed in a game in three-and-a-half weeks as the Nittany Lions had not been behind in a game since the first half of the Northeastern game back on September 2. That game was also the last one that Penn State had not scored first in.
It would not be 1-0 for long, however, as Shaun Banta extended her goal-scoring streak to six straight games just over three minutes later at 7:55. She knocked in her 11th goal of the season from the center of the circle off a cross from Annelise Legel. The assist for Legel is her first of the year and is also her first point since September 2 against Northeastern.
After the teams went into halftime tied 1-1, the Orange retook the lead in the sixth minute of the second half as Babbitt scored her second goal of the day off a breakaway opportunity. The Nittany Lions would only allow the Orange one more shot for the rest of the game after their second goal.
Penn State would trail for just over eight minutes, however, as Kiersten Wood scored her fourth goal of the year off a penalty corner, getting assists from Allison Scola and Jen Long. For Long, it was her fifth assist of the year, which is second on the team. It was the sixth straight game with a point for Scola.
At the 57:37 mark, Blasco put the Nittany Lions ahead for the first time in the contest as she deflected in a shot sent into the circle by Wood for her fifth goal of the season. All of her five goals have come in her last five games played.
The Nittany Lions outshot Syracuse 13-5 in the contest and held the Orange to just two second-half shots. Penn State also had an advantage in the penalty corner department, 8-2, and did not give up a corner in the second half. Jen Beaumont made two saves in goal for the Lions.
Penn State will now prepare for Michigan, who the Lions will host on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. on AstroTurf Field. That game will be a matchup of the Big Ten regular season champions and the Big Ten Tournament champions from last year. Penn State topped Michigan during the regular season on their way to a perfect 6-0 conference mark last year but the Wolverines knocked off the #1 seed Nittany Lions en route to their tournament win.