No. 6 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Defeats No. 18 Virginia On Senior Day
No. 6 Penn State (13-1, 3-0 Big Ten) took down No. 18 Virginia (7-7, 2-3 Big Ten) on Senior Day at the Penn State Lacrosse Field by a final score of 12-8. Junior Katie O’Donnell led all scorers with four goals for Penn State, followed closely by senior Abby Smucker and sophomore Kayla Brisolari, who each scored twice. Senior goalie Cat Rainone made 12 saves in the winning effort.
How It Happened
Prior to the game, the team honored its eight seniors on the roster: Erika Splicer, Sarah Piazza, Abby Smucker, Natalie Schmitt, Steph Lazo, Taylor Bleistein, Shelby Wells, and Cat Rainone. Once the game got underway, Penn State opened the scoring 2:09 into the first half with a goal from sophomore Kayla Brisolari. Despite a strong start to the game for Penn State’s defense, Virginia scored with 22:05 remaining in the half to tie it at 1, taking its first lead of the afternoon 32 seconds later.
Sophomore Kelly Daggett tied the game at two 10:33 into the first half with her 11th of the season, but after the goal, Virginia seemed to dominate possession and keep the Nittany Lions pinned in their defensive zone. The Cavaliers scored three unanswered to go up 5-2 with 12:36 remaining in the first half, and extended the lead to four 4:24 later.
Steph Lazo finally managed to stop the bleeding for the Nittany Lions, cutting Virginia’s lead to 6-3 with 2:53 left in the period. O’Donnell further cut into the Cavaliers’ lead with a power play goal that came with three seconds left in the half, and at the intermission, Virginia led Penn State 6-4.
After a slow start to the second half, O’Donnell scored her 32nd of the season 7:35 into the period to bring Penn State within a goal of the Cavaliers, and Abby Smucker tied the game at six with 21:31 left in the half. Virginia retook the lead 45 seconds after Smucker’s equalizer, but Smucker tied the game again with 19:28 left in the second half.
Momentum shifted toward the Nittany Lions after Smucker’s equalizer, and junior Maggie Gallagher gave Penn State its first lead of the second half with 16:35 left in the period. Madison Carter scored her 49th goal of the season moments later to give Penn State it first two-goal lead of the game.
Virginia managed to stop the bleeding and cut Penn State’s lead to one with 11:38 left in the half, but O’Donnell completed her hat trick with 8:32 left to restore the Nittany Lions’ two-goal lead. Kayla Brisolari extended Penn State’s lead to three with 3:29 with her second goal of the game. The Nittany Lions’ stifling defense saw the rest of the game out, and Penn State came away with their 6th straight victory.
Player Of The Game
Cat Rainone | Senior | Goalie
Cat Rainone has been one of the best goalies in the Big Ten so far this season, and she was fantastic for the Nittany Lions today. Rainone made 12 saves on 20 shots, and more importantly, a flurry of big saves kept Penn State in the game when they were down by four goals in the first half. Once her team took the lead, Rainone anchored Penn State’s defense in shutting down the Cavaliers’ attack.
Penn State will travel to Evanston for a big road matchup against No. 17 Northwestern on Thursday