No. 6 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Uses Strong Second Half To Beat Ohio State 16-12
No. 6 Penn State (12-1, 3-0 Big Ten) won its matchup against Ohio State (6-8, 0-3 Big Ten) by the final score of 16-12. Sophomore Madison Carter scored five goals and an assist, senior Abby Smucker scored a hat trick, and senior Steph Lazo scored two goals and added three assists for the Nittany Lions. In goal, senior Cat Rainone made 11 saves for Penn State.
How It Happened
Penn State came out flying in today’s Big Ten matchup, recording the first three shots on goal before opening the scoring 2:42 into the game through junior Katie O’Donnell’s 33rd goal of the season. Ohio State responded with a goal of its own before Carter scored her 44th of the year to give the Lions a 2-1 lead.
Both defenses were strong in the early stages of today’s game; although the teams combined for 15 shots in the first 15 minutes of the game, only three of them went in. The Nittany Lion defense denied the Buckeyes’ first three free-position shots of the game. Ohio State tied the game up at two with 13:14 remaining in the half, and then took the lead with a goal on the power play 3:02 after its second goal.
Penn State responded well while trailing; Carter scored her second of the game to tie the game at three with 8:43 left in the half. Senior Steph Lazo recorded an assist on the goal, extending her lead atop the nation in points on the season. Ohio State retook the lead just 1:29 later after a foul by the Nittany Lions, and then extended that lead to three with 4:29 left in the first half.
After being kept in check for most of the first half, the Nittany Lions potent attack came alive late in the period. Senior Abby Smucker and Carter scored 38 seconds apart to cut the Buckeyes lead to 6-5 with 2:59 left in the period. Carter scored her fourth goal of the game and 47th of the year with 14.4 seconds left in the half to tie the game at six going into halftime.
Penn State started the second half the same way the first half ended: with a goal. Abby Smucker gave her team a 7-6 lead 1:40 into the period with her second goal of the game, and then junior Maggie Gallagher added her 11th of the season on the power play to give the Nittany Lions’ their first two-goal lead of the afternoon.
Steph Lazo scored her 37th of the season to further extend the Lions’ lead to 9-6. From then, Penn State continued to pour it on with goals from senior Taylor Bleistein and Gallagher to give the Nittany Lions a five-goal lead.
After Penn State scored eight consecutive goals, Ohio State finally got a goal of its own to trim its deficit to four goals with 23 minutes left in the second half. Ohio State fought its way back into the game with two more goals to cut the Penn State lead to 11-9.
Ohio State had a golden opportunity to cut its deficit to one on a free-position shot, but senior goalie Cat Rainione and the Penn State defense held firm and denied the Buckeyes, and then made another crucial save on an Ohio State counter-attack with 16:03 left in the second half.
Penn State re-extended its lead to three with Bleistein’s second goal of the game. Freshman Maria Auth scored her sixth of the season to give her team a 13-9 lead with 14:31 left in the second half.
The Buckeyes kept clawing their way back into the game, getting their 10th of the game to cut Penn State’s lead to three with more than 13 minutes left on the clock. Penn State once again re-extended its lead to four with 11:53 left on the clock through Lazo’s second goal of the game.
Madison Carter followed with her 48th goal of the season 1:07 later to extend her team’s lead to five goals. Abby Smucker completed her hat trick with 9:48 remaining in the game to put the game out of reach for Ohio State.
Penn State’s defense locked up for the last ten minutes of the game, allowing two goals en route to a 16-12 victory.
Player Of The Game
Madison Carter | Sophomore | Attacker/Midfielder
Her five goals Saturday give her a team-leading 48 on the season, and her two goals at the end of the first half were the turning point of the game. They shifted momentum in her team’s favor, sparking the Nittany Lions en route to a ten-goal second half.
No. 6 Penn State’s next game comes against No. 15 Virginia on Saturday, April 8 at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.