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Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Falls To Johns Hopkins 11-9 In Big Ten Quarterfinal

No. 20 Penn State women’s lacrosse (4-9) dropped a tough battle to No. 13 Johns Hopkins (8-5) 11-9 at Panzer Stadium Thursday night. The Nittany Lions still managed an incredible comeback effort, however, as they entered the second half down 9-2.

Quinn Nicolai scored five goals in the quarterfinal, more than doubling her season scoring, and almost led the Nittany Lions to victory in the second half. Olivia Dirks also had a strong game Thursday, as she won ground balls, draws, and scored a hat-trick.

How It Happened

Lucy Lowe couldn’t stop the first goal of the game made by Johns Hopkins’ Maggie Schneidereith, who shot through three Penn State defenseman.

Olivia Dirks responded a minute later to get her first goal of the game for the Nittany Lions off a free-position shot. The Nittany Lions were tied 1-1 with 25:30 left in the first.

The Blue Jays took the lead 3-1 after a low-to-high shot by Mackenzie Heldberg. Johns Hopkins then scored with 20:16 left in the first, and the Nittany Lions had already turned the ball over four times at that point.

Heldberg scored again, and the Blue Jays were up 5-1 with 14:14 left in the first half. Mary Muldoon had a great free position opportunity but Penn State still couldn’t seem to get the ball passed the Blue Jays’ goalie Kathleen Garvey.

A turnover by the Nittany Lions in the midfield led to Heldberg’s third goal of the game, and Johns Hopkins took a strong lead over Penn State in the first. The Blue Jays were up 8-1 with 9:24 left in the first.

Dirks scored for her second of the game to finally get Penn State back on the board after not scoring since the first five minutes of the half. The Nittany Lions trailed 8-2 with 6:13 left before halftime.

The Nittany Lions trailed the Blue Jays 9-2 heading into the second half. This was Penn State’s fewest goals in the first half so far this season.

Taylor Suplee started the second half in the net after Lucy Lowe was unable to stop the Blue Jays’ offense in the first. Johns Hopkins scored early, though, in the second to increase its lead to 10-2 with 29:21 left in the half.

Maria Auth scored Penn State’s first goal in the second half. Penn State trailed 10-3 with 28:51 left to go in the game.

Suplee made a huge save to get the Nittany Lions back on offense, which led to Dirks’ third goal of the game. The Nittany Lions have slowly worked their way back up and trailed 10-4 with 21:09 to go in the game.

Quinn Nicolai scored two fast goals for Penn State, cutting across the eight-meter and had a beautiful finish. Penn State had made this a four-goal game after trailing by more than seven goals in the first half at one point. The Nittany Lions were on a four-goal run and trailed 10-6 with 17:05 left in the half.

Nicolai broke ankles to get her third goal in a row. Then with, 10:49 to go, she scored her fourth on a backhanded shot. The Nittany Lions trailed 11-8 and Nicolai made her presence known on the offensive side of the field.

The Nittany Lions lost 11-9 after almost pulling off an incredible second-half comeback, Nicolai ended the game with a total of five goals in a row.


  • The Nittany Lions had trouble keeping the ball in their possession in the first half. Penn State had ten turnovers in the first 30 minutes both on the offense and in the midfield. But things turned around in the second half, and Johns Hopkins had more turnovers to end the game after only having six in the first. Penn State really focused on its possession and played smart from start to finish in the second half.
  • After Penn State had trouble on defense in the first half, Missy Doherty put Taylor Suplee in the net, which had a huge impact on the confidence for Penn State. The defense woke up and made huge plays to get the ball back on offense for the Nittany Lions.
  • Quinn Nicolai more than doubled her season goals in just the second half. She entered today’s quarterfinal game with just four goals in the regular season and, scored five goals to get the Nittany Lions back in the game against the Blue Jays

What’s Next?

This game will most likely mark the end of Penn State’s season, but the Nittany Lions will technically wait for a possible NCAA Tournament selection.

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About the Author

Sarah Sacker

Sarah is a junior majoring in journalism and a writer for Onward State. She is from Annapolis, Maryland, and is a huge fan of the Ravens and Capitals. If not hanging with friends you can catch Sarah playing XBOX, Assassin's Creed/Modern Warfare gang, or binging a new TV show with her roommates. Follow her on Twitter @Sarah_Sacker8 or email her at [email protected]


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