Penn State women’s lacrosse (17-4) made its second straight Final Four appearance Friday at Gillette Stadium against No. 1 seed Maryland.
The Terrapins prevailed 20-10 in their ninth NCAA semifinal showing in a row, where five different Maryland players scored hat tricks. They advance to Sunday’s national championship.
How It Happened
Freshman attacker Maria Auth built on a career five-point performance in Penn State’s 14-12 quarterfinal win over Princeton by scoring the first goal of the tournament in Foxborough on a free position. Maryland (22-0) went on a four-goal run to take an early lead over Missy Doherty’s Nittany Lions, but sophomore Madison Carter’s beautiful spin-move strike — her 70th of the season — cut the deficit to 4-2.
— NCAA Lacrosse (@NCAA_Lax) May 26, 2017
Maryland’s leading scorer, Megan Whittle, sandwiched goals around a Maggie Gallagher tally to make it 6-3 Terps with 18:22 left in the first half. Junior captain Katie O’Donnell found the back of the net on both ends of another three-goal Maryland run, leaving the Terrapins with a 10-5 advantage. Kali Hartshorn’s second goal of the game gave the Terps an 11-5 lead heading into the intermission. In total, five Maryland players finished the half with two goals apiece, led by Jen Giles’ game-high four points.
Giles kept up her strong play with two more quick goals to open the second half and give Maryland a commanding 13-5 lead over the Nittany Lions. Gallagher, a Bel Air, Md., native, scooped up a Carter rebound and beat sophomore goalie Megan Taylor to make it 13-6 with 21:31 to play.
Hartshorn joined Giles as the second Terp to record a hat trick, as the two connected to extend the lead to 14-6. Gallagher finished off a hat trick of her own before Big Ten Attacker of the Year Steph Lazo tallied her first goal of the game to make it 14-8, but Maryland scored five in a row to put things away.
Whittle, Hensh, and Zoe Stukenberg each joined the hat trick club before O’Donnell finally put a halt to the Terps’ rally with her third goal. Hensh and O’Donnell each scored once more to cap the final tally at 20-10. Maryland outmatched Penn State in the draw control 22-10, making it nearly impossible for the Nittany Lions to rally back.
Player Of The Game
Jen Giles | Sophomore | Midfielder
The Ellicott City, Md., native finished with a game-high eight points (four goals) in Maryland’s victory.
The Terrapins will face the winner of Navy-Boston College on Sunday at 11 a.m. for the national championship.