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EVANSTON, Ill. – Junior Katie O’Donnell (West Chester, Pa.) scored five goals to lead the fifth-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions past No. 16 Northwestern, 14-13, this evening in Big Ten women’s lacrosse action from Martin Field.
O’Donnell shot .833 (5-for-6) and went 3-for-3 on free position shots to help PSU improve to 14-1 on the year and 4-0 in the Big Ten. The Wildcats fall to 7-7 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
The Wildcats opened the scoring as Ally Mueller fired one home in transition at the 24:14 mark before Daggett responded cutting toward the middle of the crease to secure the equalizer at the 22:38 mark for the 1-1 tie.
Northwestern came right back to regain the lead as they controlled possession over the next seven minutes using a 6-1 spurt to secure the 7-2 advantage at the 14:47 mark. Sheila Nesselbush scored twice for the Cats during the streak while senior Taylor Bleistein (Bayville, N.Y.) scored the lone goal for the Nittany Lions at the 15:13 mark.
Penn State came clawing back scoring three consecutive goals in just a 2:25 span to cut the deficit to a pair of goals. Carter scored twice and O’Donnell added a free-position goal for the 7-5 score at the 7:09 mark.
Carter then nudged the Nittany Lion run to 4-0 as she recorded the hat trick at the 3:04 mark. The goal was the 100th of Carter’s career in just her 36th game played. However, the Cats responded to snap the streak and end a 13:12 scoring drought as Catie Ingrilli fired one home at the 1:35 mark for the 8-6 lead.
Penn State closed the opening half as O’Donnell recorded her second free-position tally of the evening at the 38-second mark and Bleistein secured her second tally with just 11 seconds left for the 8-8 tie heading into the intermission.
The Nittany Lions came out of the break on fire as Daggett scored three consecutive goals just 2:08 apart and O’Donnell registered her eighth hat trick of the season at the 2:30 mark for the 12-8 Penn State lead.
The Cats then embarked on a 4-0 run of their own over the next five minutes to tie the contest before O’Donnell registered her fourth and fifth goals of the evening to grab the 14-12 lead for the visitors at the 20:07 and 13:17 mark, respectively.
Both defenses stiffened from that point forward before Megan Kinna made it a one-goal game, 14-13, with just 5:01 remaining in the contest. Down the stretch Penn State held strong and with 23 seconds remaining senior Abby Smucker (Bel Air, Md.) drew a timely charge and even after a turnover, the Wildcats final two shots missed the cage and the Nittany Lions escaped with the 14-13 victory.
Senior Cat Rainone (Newtown Square, Pa.) improves to 13-1 in cage after stopping 11 shots, including nine in the second half, and collecting a game-high five ground balls. Her counterpart, Mallory Weisse, collected five saves in the defeat to fall to 7-7 on the year.
The Nittany Lions were outshot for just the third time all season, 37-24, including the 24-19 clip on target and they lost the draw control battle, 19-10, for just the third time this season, but they held the commanding 20-14 edge in ground balls.
Penn State returns to action next Thursday as they host No. 1 Maryland at 7 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.