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ITHACA, N.Y. – The sixth-ranked Penn State women’s lacrosse team defeated No. 14 Cornell, 9-8, this afternoon in non-conference women’s lacrosse action from Schoellkopf Field. The Nittany Lions begin the season 5-0 for the first time since 1993.
The Lions (5-0) opened the scoring early for the fourth time in five games by grabbing the 1-0 lead as senior Steph Lazo (Stevensville, Md.) set up sophomore Madison Carter (Davidsonville, Md.) for the goal just 2:30 into the game.
Cornell (1-1) responded four minutes later as Catherine Ellis found the back of the cage before senior Abby Smucker (Bel Air, Md.) tilted the lead back in favor of the visitors on a free position shot at the 22:43 mark for the 2-1 edge.
A lightning delay then suspended the game for 33 minutes and coming out of the break sophomore Kayla Brisolari (Crofton, Md.) increased the Penn State lead with a man-up tally at the 19:13 mark before Lazo potted her first of the game just 41 seconds later for the 4-1 advantage.
Lazo also had an assist on Brisolari’s goal to give her 60 career helpers to move into solo 15th on the Penn State career list.
The Big Red cut the deficit to a single goal midway through the first half as Ida Farinholt used a free-position tally for her first goal of the season before Sarah Phillips found the back of the net at 12:04 for the 4-3 score. Ellis then tied the game as she scored the third consecutive goal for Cornell at 10:47 for the 4-4 tie.
Senior Taylor Bleistein stopped the bleeding and gave PSU the lead back as she tallied her third goal of the season at the 10:03 mark for the 5-4 margin and the Lions took that same lead into halftime.
Junior Katie O’Donnell (West Chester, Pa.) extended the Nittany Lion lead just 1:39 into the second half, but Cornell struck right back with a goal from Joey Coffy before Smucker and Carter tallied back-to-back scores just 39 seconds apart for the 8-5 edge at the 25:38 mark.
The Big Red continued to fight back and got the game to within a single goal again as Amie Dickson and Tomasina Leska each collected a free-position score, but junior Maggie Gallagher (Bel Air, Md.) once again gave Penn State some breathing room with her fourth goal of the season at the 16:10 mark for the 9-7 advantage.
Tight defense the rest of the way nearly lasted until the final whistle, but Cornell used a timeout to draw up the perfect play and Phillips found the back of the next again with just 1:26 to play for the 9-8 score. Carter won the ensuing draw, but the Big red forced a turnover with just 50 seconds remaining, however, with just 13 seconds on the clock freshman Kristin Roberto (Miller Place, N.Y.) caused a huge turnover to seal the victory for the Nittany Lions.
Smucker and Carter each collected a pair of goals to pace the offense while Lazo collected four assists in the victory. Carter also paced the team with five ground balls and five draw controls on the afternoon.
Senior Cat Rainone (Newtown Square, Pa.) made eight saves to improve to 4-0 on the season.
The Big Red outshot the visitors 31-18 including a 16-13 clip on target. The hosts also held the 21-15 edge in ground balls while Penn State controlled the slim lead in draws, 11-8.
The Nittany Lions conclude their three-game road swing next Saturday as they travel to Loyola for a 3 p.m. affair.