No. 15 Women's Lacrosse Downed by No. 2 Northwestern
April 8, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. - The No. 15 Penn State women's lacrosse team played No. 2 Northwestern (11-0, 2-0) nearly even for the game's first 30 minutes but couldn't hold off a strong second half surge by the Wildcats and fell, 14-5, on Friday night at Lakeside Field. The loss drops the Nittany Lions to the .500 mark at 6-6 and 1-2 versus ALC foes.
The Penn State offense was balanced, as five different Nittany Lions accounted for the team's goals. Senior midfielder Maggie Dunbar (Cockeysville, Md.) scored one goal and notched three assists to lead PSU in points. Junior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) recorded 11 saves against 34 Northwestern shots.
Penn State held the high-powered Northwestern attack at bay in the first half, limiting the `Cats to just four goals, their lowest offensive output to start a game since late February. Meanwhile, the Lions kept pace with three of their own.
The second half told a different story, though, as Penn State could muster just two goals and was held scoreless for the game's final 20-plus minutes while Northwestern exploded for 10 goals, including three consecutive by Shannon Smith, the nation's leader in points.
Northwestern opened the game's scoring, netting two goals through the first 4:27. Penn State chipped away at the NU lead over the next eight minutes, getting a goal first from senior Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) and then a free position conversion from junior Aly Adams (Springfield, Pa.), her team-high fifth of the season, to pull even at 2-2.
The Wildcats responded, putting together another 2-0 run. Dunbar then inched Penn State to within one goal when she scored her seventh of the season at the 6:08 mark. The score would hold at 4-3 for the remainder of the first half and the Nittany Lions went to the break in prime position to overtake its conference rival.
Northwestern started the second half fast, scoring the first two goals to extend its lead to three. Dunbar then connected with senior Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.) on a scoring play to keep Penn State within striking distance.
The teams traded goals over the next four minutes with senior Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) netting her team high 21st of the season for Penn State. With 20:31 remaining in the game and the score at 7-5, the Lions looked to be in good position.
However, Northwestern would take the game over from that point on, scoring seven unanswered goals, including three in the final 3:17, to seal the victory.
The Nittany Lions return to Happy Valley next week for its final home stand of the 2011 season. On Tuesday, April 12, in-state foe Lehigh (8-4) will visit University Park for a 4 p.m. game. Penn State has dominated the series with the Mountain Hawks, winning all 19 prior meetings, including last season's 14-13 victory in Bethlehem. Next weekend, on Sunday, April 17, the Lions will host ALC rival Ohio State (6-4) on Senior Day. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Jeffrey Field. The conference clash will be televised by the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis with the broadcast scheduled for 4 p.m. later that day.
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