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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Junior Katie O'Donnell (West Chester, Pa.) scored five goals to help lead No. 5 Penn State past Michigan, 17-10, this afternoon in Big Ten Conference action from Michigan Stadium.
Penn State concludes the regular season at 15-2 and 5-1 in conference play securing a 15-win season for the second time in the past three years and just the third time since 1989. That 1989 season also marks the last National Title won by the Nittany Lions and their best regular season finish of 17-1. Penn State concluded that 1989 season at 19-1 defeating Harvard 7-6 in the National Championship game.
The Wolverines conclude their season at 5-12 and 1-5 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions secure the No. 2 seed in next weekend's Big Ten Tournament and will face third-seeded Northwestern at 8:30 p.m. on Friday in the Big Ten semifinals in College Park.
This marks the third straight contest where O'Donnell has tied her career-high with five goals while four other Nittany Lions registered a pair of goals on the afternoon. Senior Steph Lazo (Stevensville, Md.), junior Maggie Gallagher (Bel Air, Md.), sophomore Madison Carter (Davidsonvile, Md.) and freshman Maria Auth (Street, Md.) all recorded two goals on the afternoon.
With the scored tied 5-5 with under ten minutes to play in the opening half, Penn State went on a 3-0 run to head into the intermission with the 8-5 lead.
Lazo set up Gallagher for the go-ahead goal at the 6:06 mark before potting her first of the game just 90 seconds later for the 7-5 edge. The assist, her 37th of the season, marked the 200th point of her career as the senior becomes just the 13th player in program history to hit that milestone. O'Donnell then tipped the hat trick at the 2:01 mark for the 8-5 score heading into the break.
Michigan opened the second half scoring as Bianca Brueckner found the back of the cage at 28:10 before Penn State rattled off four consecutive goals to take the 12-7 lead at the 21:22 mark.
Senior Taylor Bleistein (Bayville, N.Y.) started the run with her first of the game and Carter, O'Donnell and Lazo each collected tallies during the spurt. With her second goal of the game Lazo moves into a tie for ninth all the all-time scoring list with sisters Madison and Mackenzie Cyr at 202 career points.
After another Michigan score, Auth started a 5-1 Penn State run with her first of the game at 8:41. The freshman added her second of the contest at 5:55 while senior Abby Smucker (Bel Air, Md.), Gallagher and O'Donnell followed with one each for the, 17-9 lead at the 1:13 mark. Michigan added a late goal with just 14 seconds remaining to account for the final score.
Senior Cat Rainone (Newtown Square, Pa.) stopped 11 shots to improve to 14-2 on the season while her counterpart, Mira Shane, collected 13 saves to fall to 4-5 on the season.
Penn State held the 38-19 edge in shots including the 30-21 clip on target while also holding the 21-17 lead in ground balls; however, Michigan held the slim 16-13 advantage on draw controls.