Women’s Lacrosse Falls To North Carolina In The NCAA Quarterfinals
Unseeded Penn State Women’s Lacrosse met up with No. 2 North Carolina Saturday afternoon in the NCAA quarterfinals, and despite an outstanding first half, ultimately fell to the Tar Heels 11-8. Penn State knocked Johns Hopkins and No. 7 Virginia out of the tournament already, but North Carolina’s seven unanswered goals in the second half ended the Lions’ momentum and season.
How It Happened
North Carolina carried a 16-3 record that featured only one regulation loss into this game, and came out showing how it earned that record. The Tar Heels scored the game’s first two goals and held the Nittany Lions off of the scoreboard for the game’s first seven minutes. When the Lions finally broke through though, it was significant. Katie O’Donnell scored the Lions’ first before North Carolina’s Sydney Holman widened her team’s lead to two. The Tar Heels looked in control of the game at that point, so Penn State did what Penn State does best — score five goals in eight minutes to take a 6-3 lead. North Carolina scored to end the run and make the score 6-4, but Madison Cyr answered with her second goal of the game to give Penn State a 7-4 lead at halftime.
The Tar Heels made a goaltending change to start the second half, but the move didn’t pay off early as Tatum Coffey scored a minute into the half to double up her opponents and take an 8-4 lead. North Carolina’s offense began to click after that goal, as Marie McCool scored two straight to complete her hat trick, then her team followed that up with a five-goal run to take an 11-8 lead. Penn State couldn’t muster any offense in the second half, nor could it stop North Carolina’s elite offense. The game, and Penn State’s season, came to a disappointing end as the Tar Heels moved on the to the NCAA semifinals with an 11-8 win.
Player Of The Game
North Carolina’s backup goaltender Megan Ward stepped into the crease at the beginning of the second half and completely turned the game on its head. A seven-goal first half from the Nittany Lions put lots of pressure on Ward, and after allowing a goal in the first minute of the half, she played almost 29 shutout minutes to earn the win.
- Penn State was one of only two teams to score at least ten goals in every game this season.
- North Carolina was 9-3 all-time against Penn State, including an overtime win over Penn State in their only previous NCAA Tournament meeting.
- Penn State was 15-0 when leading at halftime, while all of North Carolina’s losses have come with a halftime deficit.
Penn State’s season comes to an end with this loss, while North Carolina will take on the winner of the Duke/Princeton matchup in the Final Four at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on May 22.