Nittany Lions Fall to Johns Hopkins, 13-12, in First Round of ALC Championship
May 3, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The third-seeded Penn State women's lacrosse team dropped its first ever opening round game of the ALC Championship on Thursday, falling to No. 6 seed Johns Hopkins (9-8), 13-12, in a first round match-up at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.
"I thought the game reflected our season," said Penn State head coach Missy Doherty. "We fought hard but came up one goal short. The loss is disappointing, but I think we have had some strong wins this season. I hope that those wins pan out when it comes NCAA time."
Freshman Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.) and sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) led Penn State (11-6) with four points each. McCormick collected a hat trick and added an assist while Cyr netted one goal and assisted on three others. Freshman Haley Ford (White Hall, Md.) came off the bench to contribute three key points (1 goal, 2 assists) while freshman Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.) and junior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) scored two goals apiece.
The first half unfolded as an offensive battle with a total of 17 goals being scored. Penn State started the scoring off when freshman Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.) netted her 20th goal of the season 1:35 into the game. After Johns Hopkins knotted it at 1-1, Lechner, on a breakaway, found McCormick with a pass, who beat JHU goalkeeper Cosette Larash one-on-one to regain the lead for Penn State.
Momentum then took a big shift over the next seven-plus minutes, as Johns Hopkins went on a 5-0 run, capped off by a shorthanded goal at the 10:15 mark.
Down 6-2, Penn State did what it has done all season, fight back. With just seconds remaining on a Johns Hopkins penalty, Ford cut through the Blue Jays defense and blasted in a shot, making the game, 6-3. Just over one minute later, the Nittany Lions were heard from again as Coffey scored on a laser from just inside the eight-meter circle. Thirty-two seconds more and Penn State found itself back within one goal at 6-5 when senior Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) took a pass from McCormick in front of the net and scored.
The team traded goals for the final seven-plus minutes of the first half and Johns Hopkins headed to the locker rooms with a slim 9-8 lead. Cyr assisted on all three of Penn State's goals in that span, first feeding McCormick then connecting with Fernandez two times, including once with just six seconds remaining in the half. Following the break, Johns Hopkins quickly seized momentum, scoring just 24 seconds in and then added two more goals over next three minutes. Trailing 12-8, senior Elaine Welch (Bernardsville, N.J.) stemmed the Blue Jays tide, scoring on a high bouncing shot at the 18:15 mark.
After Johns Hopkins' Taylor D'Amore notched her game-high eighth point of the day, Penn State once again rallied. McCormick started the comeback attempt, scoring her third of the game off a pass from Ford, making the game 13-10 with 13 minutes remaining. Cyr followed that score up with an unassisted goal, inching the Nittany Lions closer.
Over the next 10 minutes, Penn State had several chances to pull within one but had several scoring opportunities stopped by JHU's Larash and one shot by Cyr unluckily glance off the crossbar. When the Nittany Lions didn't have possession, the Blue Jays played a game of keep away with the ball.
Penn State was finally able to break through with 1:46 on the clock when Coffey scored her second of the day, but Johns Hopkins won the ensuing draw and immediately called timeout. Looking to hold the ball for the remainder of the game, the Blue Jays nearly succeeded but turned it over deep in the Penn State with 19 seconds left. However, the Lions turned it back over immediately and Johns Hopkins ran out the clock for the win. The Penn State turnover was its only one of the second half.
Penn State will now await its postseason fate. The NCAA selection show is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Sunday and will be streamed live on NCAA.com. The Nittany Lions are hoping to secure the program's first bid to the NCAA Championship since 2005.