No. 18 Women's Lacrosse Builds Early Lead But Falters in Second Half in Loss to No. 2 Maryland
Feb. 21, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 18 Penn State women's lacrosse team held as much as a four-goal first half lead in its clash with powerhouse No. 2 Maryland on Sunday afternoon in Holuba Hall, but the sleeping Terrapin giant awoke in the second half and embarked on a fast and furious comeback that would ultimately result in a 17-9 Nittany Lion defeat.
Senior midfielder Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio) had her most productive day as a Nittany Lion, scoring a career-high four goals. The team co-captain converted on all of four of her shots and on a free position attempt in addition to collecting two ground balls and causing one turnover. Freshman phenom Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) posted her second consecutive hat trick, netting two of her three scores off free position attempts.
In the first half, of the two teams, Penn State looked like the national championship contender. The Nittany Lions controlled pace and possession for much of the opening 20 minutes to dominate play overall. Sophomore midfielder Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) gave PSU a quick 1-0 lead when she scored her third goal of the season with less than one minute expired off the clock. After Maryland's Caitlyn McFadden evened the game at the 26:27 mark with the first of what would be a game-high six goals, the Lions went on a 3-0 run with Bucci initiating and Fernandez following up with two scores of her own.
With the scoreboard reading 4-2 in favor of Penn State, back-to-back goals by Bucci, with the last coming with just 21 seconds remaining in the first half, provided the Lions with their largest lead of the game. However, Maryland would win the ensuing draw and McFadden streaked down field, putting in a shot with only two seconds remaining and cutting the PSU lead to 6-3 at the break. The play and the result would be an ominous harbinger of things to come for the Nittany Lions.
To start the second half, Maryland won the first six draw controls, scoring on every possession thereafter to quickly and definitively erase the Penn State advantage. The stretch was the foundation of an 11-0 Terrapin run through the first 15 minutes of the second half.
With Maryland now boasting a commanding 14-6 lead, Penn State was able to temporarily stop the bleeding when Bucci and Fernandez each scored their final goals of the day at the 6:15 and 5:49 marks, respectively, lowering the margin to 14-8. However, the Terrapins continued to press the attack, outscoring the Nittany Lions, 3-1, for the remainder of the contest.
Senior goalkeeper Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) was nearly untouchable in the first half, recording nine critical saves against a barrage of 19 Terrapin shots. She would finish the day with 12 stops.
Next weekend, the Nittany Lions will continue a four-game home stand by hosting two non-conference contests in Holuba Hall. On Fri., Feb. 26, Penn State will take on America East foe Vermont for just the second time in program history. Game time is set for 6 p.m. The Lions will be back in action on Sun., Feb. 28 when it welcomes Colgate to Happy Valley for a 1 p.m. match-up. Penn State has won four straight in the series, outscoring the Raiders 64-16 during the streak.