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April 23, 2011
BALTIMORE - For the second straight game, the No. 13 Penn State women's lacrosse team used a strong second half effort to ignite a come-from-behind win, as the Nittany Lions clawed their way back from a three-goal deficit to claim a pivotal 10-7 victory over ALC foe No. 18 Johns Hopkins (9-6, 1-3) on Saturday in Baltimore.
With the win in its conference finale, Penn State (9-6, 3-2) has locked up the No. 3 seed for the upcoming ALC Championship, which is scheduled for May 5-7 in Nashville, Tenn. The victory also extended the Nittany Lions' winning streak to three and was their fourth of the season over a top 20 ranked opponent.
Senior Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.) tallied all three of her goals in the second half, spearheading the Lions' rally and helping Penn State outscore Johns Hopkins, 8-2, over the final 30 minutes. With four total points, Eastman shared the team lead with freshman Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.), who notched one goal and three assists. Senior Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) scored two goals, becoming the first Nittany Lion to reach the 30-goal plateau since Shari Maslin in 2006.
Junior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) anchored the defense, recording 11 saves including several key stops late in the game.
Perhaps still riding momentum from last week's upset win over powerhouse Northwestern, Johns Hopkins started fast, scoring four straight goals while holding Penn State scoreless for the game's first 21:16. Senior Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) was able to break the Lions' offensive drought, putting in her 24th goal of the year unassisted.
The teams traded goals for the remainder of the first half with each squad registering one. Steadman made the game 5-2 when she scored, off a pass from Cyr, with just 26 seconds on the clock.
Entering the break, the Penn State attack had yet to find its rhythm and the team was struggling to gain possession after being outdrawn by the Blue Jays, 7-1, through the first 30 minutes. However, 11 Johns Hopkins' first half turnovers kept the Lions within striking distance.
Showing its resiliency, Penn State bolted from the gates, putting together a 3-0 run that spanned the second half's first eight-plus minutes to tie the game at 5-5. Eastman bookended the rally, scoring first on a free position and then off a pass from Steadman. In between Eastman's scores, Lesnick recorded her second of the game, finding net after receiving a pass from Cyr.
Johns Hopkins responded, scoring the next two goals to regain the lead. However, when Katie Duffey made the game 7-5 with 15:25 remaining, it would mark the last time from which the Blue Jay attack would be heard.
Penn State would rally again, scoring the final five goals to, first, reclaim the lead, and then put the game away. Eastman again triggered the run, completing her hat trick at the 15:03 mark. Free position goals by junior Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) and Cyr would follow and were then punctuated by scores from sophomore Molly Fernandez (Baltimore) and Steadman, her 30th of the season.
The Nittany Lions will finish out the 2011 regular season on Saturday, April 30 when they visit No. 15 Princeton (7-5) for a 1 p.m. non-conference tilt. Penn State last met the Tigers in 2009, a 9-7 road setback.