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No. 25 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Overcomes Arizona State 8-4

Penn State women’s lacrosse (4-0) took down Arizona State (1-1) in the first-ever competition between the teams.

The Nittany Lions are in the midst of their best start since 2020 and longest win streak at home since 2013. Kristin O’Neill led the team with a hat trick against the Sun Devil’s brick-wall defense.

How It Happened

Penn State drew first blood as Kristin O’Neill scored the first goal of the game just over three minutes in. Less than a minute later, Gretchen Gilmore found the back of the net past goalie Katie Vahle to help Penn State to go up 2-0.

Arizona State won the following draw and immediately took off, running the ball right past goalkeeper Ashley Bowan with 10:53 left. The Sun Devils won a free position shot and Kaylon Buckner converted it into a goal to tie the game 2-2 with 3:14 left in the quarter.

The Nittany Lions broke the tie as Alaina Hamood scored with 1:15 left, firing the ball past Vahle to end the quarter 3-2.

Emma Kelly won the draw to start the second quarter and Gilmore found the first goal of the quarter past the Sun Devils’ defense following an assist from Brooke Barger to extend Penn State’s 4-2 with 10:19 to play.

Kaitlyn Skamas scooped up a ground ball for Arizona State and took it all the way for her first career goal, to cut its deficit to one goal. The Sun Devils tied the game up 4-4 through Lydia Oldknow with just under half left in the quarter.

Penn State head coach Missy Doherty called a time-out following Oldknow’s goal in an attempt to reclaim the lead. The Nittany Lions came back out and won the draw, testing Vahle who stepped up with big saves. Possession was traded until the end of the quarter when Hamood found a breakthrough with 15 seconds left to end the half 5-4 for Penn State.

O’Neill won the draw for the Nittany Lions to start the third quarter and there was no stopping her. She ran all the way down the field and threw it right past Vahle to put Penn State up 6-4 only 10 seconds into the second half.

O’Neill secured her hat trick as she beat out a defender and shot to the upper right-hand corner in an unassisted goal with 13:23 left. Possession was traded and both defenses came up strong.

The third quarter was dominated by Bowan and Vahle, who both posted big saves to deny the opposing offenses. Penn State failed to find a breakthrough past Vahle and the Sun Devils in a low-scoring third quarter.

Arizona State won the draw to start the fourth quarter but quickly turned it over. Penn State recorded a shot wide and one saved, before calling a timeout.

Turnovers and shots were traded before Lauren Saltz found a breakthrough for her second goal of the season, to put Penn State up 8-4 with 2:52 left in the game. Penn State kept control for the rest of the quarter to secure its 8-4 win at Panzer Stadium.

Takeaways:

  • Vahle was a big problem for Penn State today. The Sun Devils’ goaltender had a huge game with 16 saves, a major improvement from her last game. The Nittany Lions had to get past her to win this game, and they struggled.
  • The Nittany Lions had a hard time maintaining possession in the first half, particularly because of draw control. They won only two draws in the first quarter and could not control the tempo. Once they kept the draw control 50/50 in the second quarter, they remained in charge and secured their win.
  • O’Neill continues to lead this Penn State team to victory. She notched her third hat trick of the season and recorded 13 shots to lead her team each work. No big deal.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will host Loyola at noon on Saturday, March 4, at Panzer Stadium.

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About the Author

Ashley Connington

Ashley is a sophomore studying journalism from New Jersey. She is not okay about Saquon leaving the Giants and was crying on her couch all day. She can't look at all of her Saquon merch and doesn't know when she will recover. You can email [email protected] to send her ways to meet Saquon or watch her obsess over Chelsea FC on twitter @ashconnington.

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