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Women’s Lacrosse Defeats Northwestern To Advance To Big Ten Title Game

For the second time in two weeks, No. 7 Penn State women’s lacrosse defeated seven-time national champions and ninth-ranked Northwestern, as a trio of Nittany Lions scored a hat trick to defeat the Wildcats 13-10 at High Points Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. With the win, Penn State advances to the first-ever Big Ten Tournament championship game.

Madison Cyr, Tatum Coffey and Steph Lazo led the scoring attack with three goals apiece, while Cyr and Coffey each chipped in two assists. Freshman Katie O’Donnell added three points on two goals and an assist.

How It Happened

Penn State’s offense paved the way to a terrific start, as the Lions poured in three-straight goals in the first 3:46 of the game. Coffey opened the scoring just under two minutes in, while Cyr added her first two to give Penn State a 3-0 lead.

The Wildcats would respond in a big way, however, scoring four unaswered over the next three minutes to take a 4-3 lead with 20:26 remaining in the first half. Big Ten leading scorer Selena Lasota would find the back of the net during the scoring frenzy, her 58th of the season, but Penn State would keep the freshman sensation off the score sheet for the rest of the game, forcing three turnovers.

Not to be outdone, Penn State answered with an impressive streak of its own, scoring four goals in a seven minute span to reclaim the lead. Coffey scored her second on a free position shot to begin the run, followed by goals from Kristin Brent, Lazo, and Jenna Mosketti, who scored her first of the season to give the Lions a 7-4 lead with 11:48 to play. Penn State wouldn’t trail the rest of the game, and took an 8-6 lead into halftime after Northwestern scored two of the final three goals heading into the break.

Penn State set the tone early in the second half, as Lazo scored her second on an assist from Coffey to take a three-goal lead, 9-6. Northwestern would score less than a minute later and add another goal with 24:17 to go to pull within one, 9-8, but Lazo completed her hat trick to stop the bleeding. Another Northwestern goal with 20:18 to play again brought the Wildcats within one, 10-9, but a pair of clutch goals from Katie O’Donnell padded the Nittany Lions’ lead, 12-9, with 15:39 remaining.

After scoring the game’s first goal, Coffey would bookend Penn State’s scoring with her third of the game from the free position. Northwestern would score again with 1:48 to play to make it 13-10, but it was too little, too late, as Penn State hung on to advance to the championship round.

If you prefer to consumer your highlights in moving pictures (and I don’t blame you if you do), here’s a video recap of Friday’s game, courtesy of the Big Ten Network:

Player(s) of the Game

The trio of hat trick scorers, of course. It was Lazo’s ninth game this season with at least three goals, while Cyr notched her fourth such game and Coffey her fifth hat trick of the year. Lazo leads Penn State with 40 goals, while Coffey is close behind with 35 and Cyr just behind her with 32.

With leading point-scorer Maggie McCormick held without a shot or assist by the face-guarding Northwestern defense, the burden fell on the rest of the Penn State offense to pick up the slack, and Lazo, Coffey, and Cyr did just that.

Match Notes

  • Thanks to some stifling defense, Penn State outshot the Wildcats 23-22. Goalie Emi Smith put in a strong performance, making seven saves for her 14th win of the year.
  • The Nittany Lions trailed for only 1:45 of game play.
  • The Nittany Lions improved to 6-19 against Northwestern to advance to their second conference final. The last time Penn State appeared in a conference final was the 2009 ALC Tournament, when they fell to the Wildcats at Jeffrey Field.
  • Penn State also improved to 6-7 all-time in conference tournaments, reaching its first conference final under head coach Missy Doherty, who won three during her tenure at Towson.

What’s Next?

Thanks to a shocking upset, Penn State will face Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament title game on Sunday at noon. The No. 20 Buckeyes held on the defeat No. 1 Maryland, 11-10.

About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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