No. 18 Women's Lacrosse Downed by No. 2 Northwestern, 19-9
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 16, 2006 - Eighteenth-ranked Penn State struggled to find its offense early and fell short on making defensive stops late, as it fell to American Lacrosse Conference opponent No. 2 Northwestern, 19-9, Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions slide to 5-8 on the season and 1-1 in ALC play while the defending league and national champion Wildcats up their overall record to 11-1 and conference mark to 2-0.
With the Northwestern defense clamped down on Penn State's top three scorers most of the game, Shari Maslin (New City, N.Y.), Lori Havrilla (Devon, Pa.), and Jessi Lieb (Villanova, Pa.), junior Karen Long (Ellicott City, Md.) stepped up to fill the void on offense, notching her first career hat trick. Long nearly doubled her season total in one game, as she entered the contest with four goals on the season. Maslin, Havrilla, and Lieb combined for four goals and three assists.
After losing for the first time in 31 games last week, Northwestern came out and made a statement early, quickly building a 5-0 lead. Penn State had its opportunities to keep pace but several shots sailed either high or wide of NU freshman goalkeeper Morgan Lathrop. The Lions got on the board at the 17:43 mark with Shari Maslin's team-high 30th goal of the season.
Northwestern would stretch its lead to 7-1 before Penn State would respond again. With 12:55 remaining in the first period, Lindsay Dutch (Ellicott City, Md.), with an assist from Maslin, cut into the Wildcat advantage with goal number 15 in 2006 for the junior. Northwestern would add one more goal before period's end and take an 8-2 lead into the break.
Determined to get back into the game, Penn State outscored Northwestern 3-1 through the second period's first seven-plus minutes. Jessi Lieb tallied the Lions' third goal of the game and her 27th of the year with 28:18 showing on the game clock. Dutch was credited with an assist, her seventh of the season, on the play. Lori Havrilla and Kim Kontson (Davidsonville, Md.) followed with goals for Penn State, making the score 9-4.
Over the next ten minutes, when Penn State needed and valiantly attempted to slice into the Northwestern lead, the Lions had to settle for a draw. After Northwestern netted two, Karen Long scored her first two goals of the game consecutively but exactly four minutes apart. The Wildcats registered two more scores before Lieb and Long put the Lions back within striking distance with a goal each, making the game 13-9 with 12 minutes left in which to mount a comeback. However, the Penn State defense stumbled and the Northwestern offense caught fire, as the Wildcats would go on to score the final six goals of the game.
Lindsey Munday led Northwestern with five goals and two assists while Kristen Kjelllman contributed six points (four goals, two assists).
Penn State embarks on a two-game ALC road swing through Ohio next weekend. The Nittany Lions will first battle Ohio State in Columbus on Fri., April 21 at 5:00 p.m. before heading to Athens to take on Ohio University on Sun., April 23 in a 1:00 p.m. contest.