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April 28, 2014
By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the day they were honoring their senior class, the Penn State Nittany Lions held off a late push from the Princeton Tigers to secure their 10th win of the season.
Prior to the game, 10 seniors received their blankets and flowers to celebrate their outstanding careers. It was no surprise that one of those seniors, attacker Mackenzie Cyr, was the driving force behind the Nittany Lions' win. She finished her day with six points, scoring a hat trick and assisting on three other goals.
From the opening draw, the energy in the air at the Penn State Lacrosse Field was high. Penn State was in need of a win to gain momentum heading into the American Lacrosse Conference tournament next week, and the Nittany Lions had lost their last five meetings against the Tigers.
That would all change in front of 1,621 fans, the largest crowd of the season.
With 14:50 left, the two teams were tied, 3-3. It had been a close game, and each time the Nittany Lions made a move to gain momentum, the Tigers responded and vice versa. Then, the Penn State offense got rolling and outscored Princeton 4-1 over the last 12:44 to take an 8-4 lead into halftime.
"Yeah, I mean I think it's just an exciting game," head coach Missy Doherty said after the win. "All season long, I think we really challenged ourselves with our schedule. I think Princeton is a really great team. I think they're probably ranked a little lower than they should be. We saw that battle today.
"Our offense came up with some great transition goals today and our [defense] came up with some huge stops and it was great to come out with a win."
The Nittany Lions seemed to find the same groove they had against Cornell and Johns Hopkins. The offense, spearheaded by Cyr, was very crisp and effective, while senior defenders Lauren Purvis and Evan Foulsham kept the Princeton offense off the scoreboard. Purvis had a team-high four caused turnovers.
As the second half got started, the NIttany Lions were caught on their heels early allowing two goals from the Tigers, but again the offense put together a fantastic run of their own to widen their lead to 13-7.
Now, it was time for the defense and freshman goalkeeper Cat Rainone to shine. Time and time again, the Tigers threatened to score, but each time the Penn State defense held its ground. The hustle displayed by the girls in blue and white was extraordinary as they continued to feed their attackers and generate offensive chances while limiting the Princeton offense.
The Tigers brought their deficit to within two with 3:10 left, but they never would gain the lead because of a hard-working defense and some timely saves from Rainone.
"I think they just went on a run with the draw controls, and that is something that we just really needed to pick up," midfielder Jenna Mosketti said. "But it was a little exciting; we just made it exciting. But you know, defense stuck it out and came up with big plays."
Mosketti was another Nittany Lion with a strong afternoon. She finished with four goals and a game-high four draw controls.
At the end of the day, however, this game was huge for the senior class. The underclassmen helped lead the rally to get a win for the 10 Nittany Lions playing their last home game.
"Before the game we had all the senior day traditions," Mosketti said, "so we were just really excited to win it for them. They deserve it."
Penn State will now prepare for the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament in Chicago, Ill. The Nittany Lions open tournament play on Thursday when they take on the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays. Game time is set for 3 p.m.