NIttany Lions Edged by Northwestern, 5-4
April 4, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 10 Penn State's women's lacrosse team came up short vs. sixth-ranked Northwestern, 5-4, in an American Lacrosse Conference showdown Friday night at a rain-soaked Penn State Lacrosse Field. The Nittany Lions fall to 7-5 on the season and 2-2 in the ALC, while the Wildcats improve to 7-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
Madison Cyr came up with a team-high two goals, ending her streak of three games with at least a hat trick but extending her goal-scoring efforts to nine-consecutive games and her season total to 27 goals. Kelly Lechner joined Cyr with multiple points, tallying a goal and an assist.
Northwestern opened the game with a 2-0 lead, stretching out the first eight-plus minutes of action. Lauren Murray scored first off a free-position shot at 23:58 after six minutes of stellar defense by the Lions. Kaleigh Craig followed it up just over two minutes later off an assist by Murray. The Wildcats nearly made it 3-0, but the apparent 8-meter tally by Karen Mupo was taken off the board because of an illegal stick.
Penn State used the change in momentum to score its first of the night at 19:09 when Lechner found the back of the net with her 19th goal of the season. The defense held Northwestern scoreless for nearly 11 minutes of game action before Kat DeRonda tallied her first of three on the night. Cyr answered with just over three minutes to play in the opening half and the teams headed into the break with a 3-2 score.
The teams traded tallies in the second half, though the period was punctuated by scoring draughts on both sides that listed nearly 12 and 11 minutes apiece. DeRonda had both of Northwestern's goals in the half, while Cyr added her second and Jess Loizeaux got on the board, converting on a pass from Jenna Mosketti at 10:40. The Loizeaux goal was the only score on either side in the final 22-plus minutes of the game.
The nine goals are the fewest the Nittany Lions have combined with another team for since 1997 vs. Maryland when the teams put up eight goals. PSU head coach Missy Doherty was a senior on that Terrapin squad who won 2-6 en route to their third of seven-consecutive national championships.
DeRonda had a hat trick for the Wildcats Friday night, while Lauren Murray also was a multi-point scorer with one goal and one assist.
Northwestern finished atop the shot (20-16) and ground ball (9-6) count, while also holding a narrow edge in draw controls (6-5). Alyssa Leonard came up with all six draws for the Wildcats and now has commanded over 55 percent of her team's draws this season. Penn State goalie Emi Smith finished with seven saves, including four in the second half, while Wildcat stopper Bridget Bianco made eight saves with six coming in the first half alone.
The Lions return to action at 5 p.m. Tuesday vs. Cornell at the Penn State Lacrosse Field. The Big Red is 4-4 on the season heading into a Saturday matchup with Dartmouth. Penn State leads the all-time series with Cornell 6-2 and will look to avenge a 13-12 overtime loss from last season in Ithaca.