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Penn State Field Hockey Upsets No. 8 Northwestern 3-2 In Double Overtime Thriller

Penn State field hockey (3-8, 2-1 Big Ten) took No. 8 Northwestern (10-5, 3-2 Big Ten) to the distance Friday night at home. It took two overtime periods and a slew of stressful moments, but the Nittany Lions hung on for the upset thanks to an overtime goal from Ana Simon.

It was a gritty game throughout, with a combined four green cards and three yellow cards sent out by the referees.

How It Happened

Despite chances for both teams in the first quarter, neither had much to show for their efforts. Both goalkeepers stopped everything in their way and both defenses were able to clog up their respective zones enough to make clean shots on goal difficult to come by. Simon came close, launching a rocket off her stick with three minutes left to play that just missed the mark.

The second quarter had play similar to first, with gritty, defensive play and plenty of action in the midfield. Both squads had three shots in the quarter, but none of them could find the mark.

After the last few seconds of the first half ticked away, a golden opportunity was placed on Penn State’s front door. A corner was given to the Nittany Lions after an out of bounds call was reviewed, but the Wildcats keeper was able to block it and send the ball over the net.

The second half started with some action right away. The Nittany Lions pushed right into Northwestern’s zone and got a penalty corner out of it. Their first shot didn’t get where it needed to go, but after some jostling in front of the net, Grace Wallis snuck a shot in for the first goal of the game.

A second corner for Penn State came right after Wallis’ goal and it got another score in, but it was waved off almost right away before the score could be changed from 1-0. Penn State’s control was ripped away after those two offensive attacks however, as Northwestern got itself back into the game.

The Wildcats went after it, sending shot after shot at Brie Barraco before a corner opened things up, leading to two more shots. Northwestern finally got one past the freshman goalie, leveling things at 1-1 as the third quarter came to a close.

It was all Northwestern as the fourth quarter started up, as the Wildcats sent another ball past Barraco to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. After giving up its lead, Penn State looked hungry to get it back. The Nittany Lions got three straight corners and a few other close shots, but that tying goal eluded them.

However, after a yellow card on Northwestern and a fourth corner given to Nittany Lions, they finally got their chance as Meghan Reese put one in to make it a 2-2 game. Northwestern responded with two straight penalty corners of its own, but great goalkeeping by Barraco and a perfectly placed stick kept the Wildcats from regaining their lead. Overtime was in the cards as the fourth quarter came to an end with the score tied.

The first overtime had its fair share of close calls as well, with both teams getting chances at the win. Bree Bednarski was especially active, getting both of Penn States shots, one flying high above the net and another just missing its mark in the lower right corner.

The second overtime period saw Northwestern on the offensive, but more great goaltending by Barraco stopped the Wildcats cold. A counter attack by Penn State saw its frustrations finally sated as Simon got the winning goal from far out, just slotting it into the lower corner for the 3-2 Penn State win.

Player of the Game

Ana Simon | Defense

What more can you say? The sophomore continues her dominance on both ends, helping out freshman goalie Brie Barraco on defense and scoring game winners on offense.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will continue their weekend homestand against No. 6 Iowa on Sunday. The game will start at noon.

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Matt is a junior majoring in Secondary Education, minoring in philosophy, and is from the fabled land of "just outside Philly." He'll gladly talk your ear off about anything from Picasso to Wu-Tang Clan and lives and dies by Philly sports. Send him seething rants and death threats at [email protected] or on Twitter @m_paolizzi

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