No. 5 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Loses Heartbreaker To No. 14 Northwestern In Big Ten Tournament
No. 5 Penn State women’s lacrosse (15-3, 5-2 Big Ten) lost to No. 14 Northwestern (10-8, 5-2 Big Ten) in the Big Ten semifinals by a score of 12-11. This marks the second consecutive season that the Wildcats eliminated Penn State from this tournament.
Junior Maggie Gallagher scored three goals for Penn State, and junior Katie O’Donnell added two goals and an assist for the Nittany Lions.
Freshman Maria Auth scored twice and added two assists, and senior Taylor Bleistein scored twice as well. Senior Cat Rainone made 11 saves for the Nittany Lions.
How It Happened
Northwestern opened the scoring in tonight’s matchup with a goal within the game’s first minute, but Penn State responded with a goal from Maggie Gallagher to tie the game at one just 2:01 into the game. However, Penn State fell behind 3-1 after allowing two goals in 1:10.
Katie O’Donnell’s 53rd goal of the season cut her team’s deficit in half, but Northwestern extended its lead again to two with a goal from Sheila Nesselbush with 21:49 left in the first half.
After that goal, Penn State went on to score three of the next four goals to tie the game at five, but Northwestern scored two of the next three goals to take a 7-6 lead into the intermission. Freshman Maria Auth, seniors Shelby Wells and Taylor Bleistein, and O’Donnell scored the last four goals of the half for the Nittany Lions.
The beginning of the second half was delayed due to severe thunderstorms in the College Park, MD area. After the delay, which lasted for an hour and 28 minutes, Northwestern’s Catie Ingrilli scored 1:02 into the period to re-extend her team’s lead to two goals.
After this goal, Penn State fought back from this deficit by, once again, scoring three of the game’s next four goals to tie the game at 9 through goals from Auth, sophomore Kayla Brisolari, and Gallagher. Penn State couldn’t capitalize on the momentum it gained from this run and take their first lead of the evening, allowing the Wildcats to regain the lead with 13:42 left in the second half.
Northwestern continued to apply pressure to the Penn State defense before finally regaining their two goal lead with 10:27 left in the second half. Bleistein finally responded for the Nittany Lions 3:06 after the Wildcats scored.
Maggie Gallagher tied the game at 11 with 4:17 remaining, but Northwestern’s Megan Kinna scored the game-winning goal with 59 seconds left in the second half to send the Wildcats to the final.
Player Of The Game
Maggie Gallagher | Junior | Midfielder
Since Northwestern managed to successfully neutralize Penn State’s big-name attackers throughout tonight’s game, the Lions needed their secondary scorers to step up, which is exactly what Gallagher did.
Gallagher led all Penn State scorers with a hat trick, including a clutch goal to tie the game with less than five minutes left in the half.
The Bel Air, MD native’s performance was very strong, and head coach Missy Doherty will be looking for more of the same from Gallagher in the NCAA Tournament next week.
Penn State was eliminated from the Big Ten tournament after tonight’s loss, so the team will be idle until next Friday, May 12, when it will likely begin NCAA Tournament play as an at-large bid. Its opponent will be determined on Sunday, May 7 at 9 p.m.