Second Half Rally Lifts No. 18 Women's Lacrosse to Key 18-12 Victory Over No. 19 Ohio State
April 18, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio - On the strength of a dominating second half effort, the No. 18 Penn State women's lacrosse team (8-5, 1-3 ALC) secured its first ALC victory of the season and won its fourth straight over rival Ohio State (8-5, 1-3 ALC), outgunning the 19th-ranked Buckeyes, 18-12, on Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Down 9-7 at halftime, the Nittany Lions controlled the second half, posting 11 goals while limiting Ohio State's prolific attack, which came into the game averaging over seven per half, to just three. Penn State also held a second half advantage in shots (21-8), draw controls (11-4), and ground balls (5-4) and had just three turnovers.
Freshman attacker Hayley Sofarnos (Williamstown, Australia) had the best day of her young career, dishing out a team single-game season-high five assists while scoring one goal. Senior midfielder Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio) continued her brilliant play of late, totaling four goals and one assist. Senior attacker Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.) played a major role in the victory, besides netting a hat trick and adding an assist, she kept Penn State in possession with eight key draw controls. While Sofarnos, Bucci, and Mihm were at the forefront, the Lions' strong offensive performance was a team effort, as eight Nittany Lions scored goals while nine recorded points.
Penn State dug itself an early hole, falling behind 3-0, before storming back with four unanswered goals. Sophomore midfielder Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) initiated the run at the 22:35 mark when she converted on a free position attempt. Subsequent goals by freshman Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.), Bucci, and junior Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) gave Penn State a 4-3 advantage with 16:19 remaining in the first half.
After Ohio State tied the game less than one minute later, Fernandez netted her second of the half and junior attacker Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) got in the score column to provide the Nittany Lions with their first two-goal lead. The advantage would be short-lived, however, as the Buckeyes regrouped and responded, scoring four straight, including three goals in the span of 24 seconds after Theresa Zichelli was sent off with a yellow card.
Ohio State would extend its lead to 9-6 at the 6:16 mark before Bucci would net the final goal of the half, her second of the game, with just over two minutes remaining. Penn State tried to further chip into the Buckeye advantage prior to the break but its final four shots were off target or turned away by OSU goalkeeper Annie Carruthers.
The Buckeyes came from the break and built on its lead, making the game 10-7 just over one minute into the second half on a goal by Brittany Zerhusen. However, they would not score again for over 10 minutes. Meanwhile, Penn State got red hot, netting six consecutive goals, including back-to-back scores from junior attacker Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.) to start the run. Two goals from Mihm and one each from Sofarnos and Lesnick put Penn State in the lead at 13-10.
OSU's Jayme Beard pulled the Buckeyes within two with a free position conversion at the 17:38 mark but that's as close as they would get. A 4-0 Penn State streak featuring goals by Bucci (2), Mihm, and Zichelli ended any chances of an Ohio State comeback. Goals Ohio State's Kelly Haggerty and PSU's Mary Dean in the game's final 3:08 would complete the scoring.
The Big Ten Network will air the Penn State-Ohio State clash on a tape delay basis, with the debut broadcast scheduled for 5 p.m. today. It will also air on Mon., April 19 at 4 a.m. and 2 p.m. and on Tues., April 20 at 9 a.m.
Penn State will wrap up ALC action next weekend when it welcomes Johns Hopkins (8-6, 1-2 ALC) to Jeffrey Field for a 1 p.m. game on Sun., April 25. The Nittany Lions are 6-2 in their all-time series with the Blue Jays, including last season's 12-11 victory in Baltimore, highlighted by four goals from Erica Mihm, three scores by Theresa Zichelli, and three assists by Marisa Lozano (Pittsburgh, Pa.).