Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Wins First Big Ten Championship
The first-ever Big Ten championship trophy has a new home in Happy Valley.
Penn State women’s lacrosse defeated No. 20 Ohio State 13-11 in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Sunday in Piscataway, N.J. to claim the six-team conference’s inaugural title.
How It Happened
The Buckeyes looked to set the tone early, scoring in the game’s first 41 seconds to take an early 1-0 lead. Penn State’s Tatum Coffey responded with a goal to tie the score 1-1 with 24:50 left in the first half, extending her goal scoring streak to 20 consecutive games. Coffey’s goal would ignite the Penn State offense, as the Lions scored the next three goals. Madison Cyr, Kristin Brent, and Maggie McCormick all scored within a five minute span to give Penn State a 4-1 lead with 14:55 to play.
Ohio State scored the next two goals to pull within one, 4-3, but Cyr scored her second of the game to put Penn State back up by two, 5-3. It would be a familiar trend for the rest of the half. Each time the Buckeyes scored to cut into Penn State’s lead, the Nittany Lions would squash the comeback attempt with a goal of their own. A free position goal from Ohio State made it 5-4 Penn State, but Katie O’Donnell shut the door to rebuild a two-goal lead. The Buckeyes would score again to make it a one-goal game with 3:21 to play, but Coffey and Jenna Mosketti scored the final two goals of the half to give Penn State an 8-5 lead at the break.
Despite Penn State’s perfect 12-0 record with a halftime lead this season, the Buckeyes started the second half inspired. Ohio State scored three-straight in the first eight minutes, tying the game 8-8 in the blink of an eye. Sophomore Steph Lazo stopped the bleeding, scoring from the free position with 20:10 to play to put the Lions back on top, 9-8. Mosketti scored her second of the game just under three minutes later to put Penn State back up by two, 10-8, with 18:37 to play. Coffey, an ever-present offensive force, scored her third less than a minute later to make it 11-8, giving Penn State three goals in three minutes for some much-needed breathing room.
The Buckeyes would once again claw and scratch their way back into the game, outscoring Penn State 2-1 over the next four minutes to pull within two, 12-10. Emi Smith made a big save, her sixth save of the game, with just over 10 minutes to play, but Ohio State came sprinting back down the field less than a minute later to cut Penn State’s lead to one, 12-11.
Needing to put the Buckeyes away for good, Penn State turned to Coffey. The senior scored her fourth of the game with 7:42 to play, putting Penn State back up by two, 13-11. Coffey would also come up with a big defensive stop with under two minutes to go, stealing the ball from the Buckeye attacker as she neared the net, preventing a shot on Smith.
Smith, an All-Big Ten performer, came up with a huge save with less than a minute to play to preserve the two-goal lead, helping Penn State bring the first Big Ten women’s lacrosse championship to Happy Valley.
Player of the Game
Tatum Coffey. The senior from Toms River, N.J. put the team on her back in the biggest game of the season, scoring four goals to lead the Penn State offense. Coffey finishes the season with 35 goals, finishing the Big Ten tournament with seven goals in two games after scoring three in the win over Northwestern.
- The Nittany Lions improve to 5-0 all-time against the Buckeyes in conference tournaments.
- The title is Penn State’s 92nd Big Ten championship all-time, across all sports.
- Penn State has won 19 Big Ten championships in the past 3 years, the most of any school.
With the win, Penn State earns an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, and will most likely have home-field advantage as the No. 7 team in the nation. The 26-team bracket will be revealed at 9 p.m. Sunday night on NCAA.com.