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Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Falls To Johns Hopkins In Regular-Season Finale

Penn State women’s lacrosse (6-9, 0-6 Big Ten) dropped the final competition of its regular season at home to No. 25 Johns Hopkins (10-7, 2-4 Big Ten) in a 10-5 loss. Despite putting together a good effort in the first half, the Nittany Lions scored just once in the final 30 minutes of action.

How It Happened

Johns Hopkins won the initial faceoff but failed to put together anything more than a shot stopped by Penn State goalie Ashley Bowen. Both teams had two offensive possessions before Johns Hopkins’ Shelby Harrison broke the drought after a little more than four minutes.

The Blue Jays’ 1-0 lead was soon doubled when Bailey Cheetham scored just 20 seconds later, and Penn State called a timeout to stem the flow. The timeout worked, as Kristin O’Neill drove through the left side of John Hopkins’ defense to give the Nittany Lions their first goal of the game.

Like Penn State, the Blue Jays responded quickly as Abbey Hurlbrink gave Johns Hopkins a 3-1 lead. Once again, Penn State brought the game back 20 seconds later as Ellie Hollin found herself alone near the Blue Jays’ goal and narrowed the deficit with her first NCAA goal.

It took a significant amount of time before either team would score again — nine minutes and 59 seconds, to be exact — but Penn State tied the game with a drive downfield and a shot from O’Neill. The Nittany Lions nearly took their first lead of the game two minutes later, but Kayla Abernathy’s shot fell just short as it rested at the goal post. They would take that lead a bit later, as O’Neill earned a hat trick after a crowded shot near the net, and the Nittany Lions went up 4-3.

The Blue Jays took their time to respond but brought the game back to even with under two minutes left in the first half. Penn State nearly retook the lead in the last few seconds of the half, but Sydney Wolfington’s shot ricocheted just off the top bar of Johns Hopkins’ goal. The Blue Jays didn’t have enough time to get downfield and put together a good offensive possession, so both teams came into the second half tied at four goals apiece.

Johns Hopkins struck first in the second half, as Madison McPherson snuck a slow, bouncing shot past Bowan after six minutes of play. Nearly five minutes later, the Blue Jays doubled their lead again, as Hurlbrink scored her second goal of the game.

It took nearly the entirety of the third period, but the Nittany Lions responded to bring the difference to one goal. Brooke Barger scored her first goal of the season, and the two teams stood at 6-5 going into the final 15 minutes of play.

Johns Hopkins got to work right away, as Maeve Barker worked her way around the net and increase the Blue Jays’ lead to two goals. Penn State had several chances to quickly respond, most notably a shot from Wolfington that was saved by goalie Kathleen Garvey from point-blank range.

Johns Hopkins sealed the deal with just under ten minutes remaining in the game, as a goal from Cheetham made the score 8-5. Another goal from Hurlbrink added to the score, while the game slowly faded away for Penn State as they called a timeout. Since the Nittany Lions took their first and only lead, they had been outscored 6-1 by the visitors.

While neither team put forth much effort in the final minutes of their seasons, Johns Hopkins continued to score, as Hurlbrink gave the Blue Jays a 10-5 lead. The game remained quiet after that, and as the sun set and the clock wound down at Panzer Stadium, Johns Hopkins celebrated its second Big Ten victory at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

Takeaways

  • On a day when Penn State’s offense wasn’t the loudest, O’Neill still made a difference. The sophomore’s total of 39 goals this season is one of the best for Penn State, and above all else, she’s been consistent. She’ll be an important piece in the Nittany Lions’ offseason and moving forward.
  • Hollin deserves credit for a solid game for Penn State. After starting 13 of the Nittany Lions’ games this season as a freshman on defense, she now can add some offense to her resume; Hollin holds the best shooting percentage in Penn State women’s lacrosse history. Her goal against Johns Hopkins was her first-ever shot for Penn State, and she continued to add offensive and defensive pressure after that.

What’s Next?

Penn State has finished its regular-season competition and will not be invited to the Big Ten Tournament, as only the top four teams in the conference will participate. The Nittany Lions sit in last place with their 0-6 conference record.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a freshman journalism major at Penn State. He enjoys yelling into the void over things such as the Philadelphia Union, the United States Men's Nation Team (soccer), Eagles, and Penn State football, alongside whatever else comes to mind. Find (and disagree with him) on Twitter (Joe_Lister21).

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