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April 15, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 13 Penn State women's lacrosse team knocked off its third top 10-ranked opponent of the season on Sunday afternoon, as the Nittany Lions downed No. 10 Ohio State (9-4, 1-3), 15-12, in front of a national television audience at a breezy Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus. With the key ALC win, Penn State's seventh consecutive over the Buckeyes, the Lions finish the regular season with a stellar 7-1 road record.
The game, which was broadcast live on the Big Ten Network, will be re-aired on the BTN on Monday, April 16 at 2:30 a.m. and again on Tuesday, April 17 at 7 a.m.
The victory also secured Penn State's third straight 10 win season for the first time since the 1997-99 seasons and edges head coach Missy Doherty to just one shy of the 100-win plateau for her career.
Penn State (10-4, 2-2) got superb career-best offensive performances from a trio of Nittany Lions in sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) and freshmen Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.) and Haley Ford (White Hall, Md.). Cyr and McCormick each notched a game-high eight points, off four goals and four assists, while Ford scored four goals. Cyr leads the Nittany Lions in goals (27) and points (45) while McCormick has a team-high 23 assists. Ford has been red hot of late, netting a total of eight goals in the last three games.
Senior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) made 10 big saves against 28 Ohio State shots, including several key stops early on to help Penn State keep pace with the Buckeyes. A solid team effort on defense, led by senior Colleen Shea (Baltimore, Md.) and sophomore Lizzy Carney (West Chester, Pa.) limited Ohio State's leading scorer, Alayna Markwordt, who entered the game with 69 points, to just two assists.
Penn State got off to a slow start, struggling to win draws and clear the ball through the midfield when it had possession. Back-to-back goals by Cyr and Ford kept the Nittany Lions in the game, but Penn State found itself in a 4-2 hole after 20 minutes of play.
That's when McCormick took the game over. The freshman scored three straight goals, getting assists from Cyr and freshman Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.) on two of them, to provide Penn State with its second lead of the game at 5-4.
Ohio State outscored Penn State, 2-1, throughout the remainder of the half and the game went to the break tied at 6-6, setting the stage for a fast and furious second period.
The second half was a hotly-contested, back-and-forth 30 minutes, featuring four ties and two lead changes. Penn State got bookend goals from Cyr and another from senior midfielder Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) on a 3-1 run to start the half. With 26:09 remaining in the game, the Lions had built their first two-goal lead of the game at 9-7.
Ohio State responded quickly, scoring three unanswered goals in the span of less than a minute a half to retake the lead at 10-9. Penn State repaid the favor, using back-to-back goals from Ford and freshman Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.) to regain the advantage.
After Ohio State again knotted the game, making it 11-11 at the 17:34 mark, Penn State answered back with two straight. McCormick, off a pass from Cyr, scored her fourth on the day and junior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) netted the Lions' lone free position goal of the game, moving PSU on top 13-11.
Ohio State would tally its final goal of the game with 10:28 remaining. Ford scored a pivotal goal just 20 seconds later to give Penn State some breathing room and allow it to slow the game down. Cyr scored the final Nittany Lion goal at the 6:20 mark, after which PSU was able to hold possession of the ball, drain the clock, and secure the hard fought win.
The Nittany Lions will begin a two-game home stand to finish out the regular season on Saturday, April 21 when it welcomes ALC foe No. 19 Johns Hopkins (7-6, 0-3) to Penn State Lacrosse Field for a 1 p.m. game. The Blue Jays have dropped four straight, including a 16-12 road loss to No. 1 Northwestern on Sunday. A year ago, Penn State knocked off Johns Hopkins twice, claiming a 10-7 regular season win and a 17-11 victory in the first round of the ALC Championship.