FEATURE: Streak Ends as Lions Fall to Gators
April 4, 2011
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Florida came out of the gates early scoring just eight seconds into the game on a Kitty Cullen goal to get a quick lead.
Unfortunately for the Lions, Cullen scoring became a theme as she helped Florida build an early 4-1 lead on her way to seven goals on the day.
"She's just a dynamic player," Penn State coach Missy Doherty said talking about Cullen. "It really needs to be team defense that stops her and we fell short on that today."
Penn State fought back to tie the game at five behind their once again balanced attack before Cullen answered with two straight goals to go into halftime with a 7-5 lead for the Gators.
The Lions never got that close again as Florida pulled away for the win in the second half.
Those goals by Cullen at the end of the first and one at the start of the second half seemed to be a huge turning point in the game for both teams.
"They had that momentum in the first couple minutes of the second half they scored quick goals and I think our momentum kind of died a little bit even though we weren't out of the game at all," said senior midfielder Jackie Eastman.
"That's how the whole game goes, you have your runs, I think today we just couldn't put our shots away," said Doherty.
Eastman also talked about the team not having as many shots in the second half, which really hurt a comeback effort.
The stat sheet backs that statement up as while the Lions outshot Florida 15-14 in the first half they got outshot 16-10 in the second.
Doherty did seem positive that stat wise the game was close in almost every category, showing they are right there with the No. 6 team in the nation.
The Lions were led in the scoring department by a trio of senior leaders with two goals apiece, Laura Lesnick, Jen Steadman and Aly Adams.
While the Florida loss was tough, the team is coming off the program's longest win streak since 1999.
"Our season has been good, I think we progressively have continued to get better," Doherty said. "The team keeps getting better, the program keeps getting better and that's all we can ask at this point."
Junior midfielder Theresa Zichelli talked about how important being consistent was to their win streak, and how important it is moving forward.
"Our last five games our defense was probably are strongest point and this game our defense was a little slacking," Zichelli said. "...I think in our next game just keep our confidence up and remember this loss."
The junior did see positives to build on moving forward as they battle conference foe Northwestern next week, talking about how especially in the first half the team got a lot of draws and pushed strong on their fast breaks.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for Penn State as Northwestern is the second ranked team in the latest IWLCA Division I polls.
Moving forward the Lions will try to regain that confidence and keep pushing the break and add to the two ranked wins they already have this season.