Women's Lacrosse Buries the Buckeyes, 13-5, to Advance to ALC Semifinals
May 2, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. - For the second consecutive year, the Penn State women's lacrosse team (5-11) accomplished in the postseason what it fell short of in the regular season - beating Ohio State (10-8). On Friday afternoon, the Nittany Lions dominated their first round ALC Championship match-up with the Buckeyes at host Northwestern's Lakeside Field, advancing to the tournament semifinals with a 13-5 victory.
In 2007, Penn State fell to Ohio State, 9-8, in the regular season but bounced back to beat the Buckeyes, 9-7, in the opening contest of the inaugural ALC Championship. Less than two weeks ago, the Nittany Lions struggled defensively, allowing a season-high 17 goals in a loss to Ohio State in Columbus.
On Friday, Penn State had no such problems, as its defense shut down the high-powered Ohio State offense, holding it to a season-low five goals. The Buckeyes' top two scorers, Brittany Zerhusen and Kristen Slahor, who combined for 132 points during the regular season, were held to just one total.
Headlining the brilliant defensive effort were Second Team All-ALC selection Linsey Shea (Baltimore, Md.) and goalkeeper Jess Boccio (Northport, N.Y.). Shea matched up with Slahor, the nation's assist leader with 60, throughout the game and allowed her just one assist and no goals. Boccio stoutly served as PSU's last line of defense, recording nine saves.
Junior midfielder Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.) spearheaded the Penn State attack, totaling five points on two goals and three assists. Senior Jessi Lieb (Villanova, Pa.) and sophomore Mary LeNoir (Timonium, Md.) each netted a pair of goals.
Penn State wasted little time staking claim to control of play, jumping ahead 1-0 just 57 seconds into the game off a Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio) goal, which was assisted by sophomore Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.). After Ohio State evened the game at 1-1 with what would be its lone goal of the first half, the Nittany Lions reeled off six straight scores. Three of the goals would come from the stick of the game's leading scorer, Mary LeNoir. Jessi Lieb, Kerry Shea, and freshman Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) each found net once in the scoring run. The Nittany Lions would head into the break with a commanding 7-1 lead.
Ohio State tried to get back into the game early on in the second half, with a Kelly Hagerty score at the 25:23 mark, but Penn State quickly quashed any possibilities of a comeback with a 4-0 scoring rally. Goals by Steadman, Lieb and two from Kerry Shea, pushed the Nittany Lions lead to an insurmountable 11-2 margin.
With most of its starters on the bench resting up for tomorrow's semifinal contest, the Buckeyes outscored Penn State 3-2 in the game's final 7:39, but it was too little too late.
With the win, Penn State advances to play top-seeded and No. 1-ranked (tie) Northwestern on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. The Wildcats, which suffered their first loss of the season last weekend at Penn, have won an NCAA-record tying 40 consecutive home games. Earlier this year, Penn State nearly pulled an upset of then-undefeated Northwestern but fell by a narrow 13-12 margin at Bigler Field.