No. 25 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Squeezes Past Towson 13-12
No. 25 Penn State women’s lacrosse (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten) edged past Towson (4-3) Tuesday afternoon at Panzer Stadium.
Penn State struggled against netminder Jo Torres who held Kristin O’Neill to two goals from nine shots. In a very back-and-forth game, Penn State was often left looking lost against Towson, and Torres posted 12 big saves to keep it close until the end.
How It Happened
Penn State opened up the scoring with a quick free-position goal by Meghan Murray past goalie Torres only 43 seconds into the game.
Towson fought back following a high goal along the crease by Gabby Garrett who got a point past netminder Ashley Bowan. Garrett once again found herself on the crease and passed it to Milana Zizakovic to gain the lead. Blair Pearre scored the Tigers’ third goal through a free-position shot.
The Nittany Lions won the ball back, and Gretchen Gilmore ran through the defense to hit the back of the net. The Tigers increased their lead to two following another free-position goal, this time from Zizakovic. Kristin O’Neill brought Penn State within one through a top-corner free-position goal to make it 4-3.
Lindsay Clarke came down for Towson and had a strong off-stick shot that flew past Bowan. Gilmore scored for Penn State off a high-bounce shot from a free position. Gilmore secured her hat trick in the first quarter off a low shot to tie the game for the Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions regained their lead when Brooke Hoss pushed the ball into the top corner to end the first quarter 6-5.
Emma Kelly opened the scoring for Penn State in the second quarter following a slew of missed free-position shots with 9:44 left in the half. The Nittany Lions kept on scoring. Alaina Hamood found an easy goal after being unmarked in the arc. O’Neill won a free-position shot and converted it, putting Penn State up 9-5.
The Tigers closed the half by Pearre fighting through the defense to convert her free-position shot with a minute left to make it 9-6.
Clarke scored the first goal of the second half for Towson. Zizakovic found an open lane and secured her hat trick to put the Tigers within one. Towson tied the game 9-9 as Garrett rolled the ball in past Bowan to continue its four-goal streak.
The Tigers kept possession in Penn State’s half, and Bowan posted big saves in attempts to turn the tide. The Nittany Lions ran the ball down the field and quickly turned it over to go back on defense.
Towson hit the iron, and Clarke scooped up the ball to secure her hat trick and reclaim the lead 10-9. Towson’s lead lasted for only one minute when Hoss cut through the defense and tied it up 10-10.
The game continued to flip back and forth as the Tigers gained their lead once more one minute later through Lindsey Marshall converting her free-position shot. Gilmore scored her fourth of the game one minute later with 1:08 left to tie it for Penn State and end the third quarter 11-11.
The Tigers hit the iron to start the fourth quarter, for the third time in the game, and Penn State was able to get the ball. Cam Evitts shot wide and Gilmore saw her shot saved by Torres.
Towson found its breakthrough and scored the first goal of the quarter with 9:46 left to play.
O’Neill won a free-position shot soon after, but Torres was able to save it. Towson called a timeout. Penn State found itself on a man-up opportunity following a yellow card but failed to capitalize.
Brooke Barger scored for the Nittany Lions and tied the game 12-12 with 4:40 to play. O’Neill won a free-position shot quickly after, but Torres made a big save. Penn State kept possession in offense but was denied each shot as Torres stood strong.
With the shot clock off, Penn State had time to pass and wait for its perfect opportunity. The Nealon twins connected, and Kara Nealon ran along the crease and scored, taking the lead with 45 seconds left to play. The Nittany Lions won the draw and kept possession to win the game 13-12.
- Penn State scored four goals off its nine free-position shots but should aim to improve. The Nittany Lions are converting under 50% in free-position shots and in such a tight game, all goals are crucial, and free positions can determine the outcome.
- Gretchen Gilmore came up big with four goals to lead the offense and continue her stellar start to the season. With the usual star O’Neill held back, Gilmore came through for the Nittany Lions and showed the wealth of talent in this offense.
- The Nittany Lions defense was off today and allowed Towson too many opportunities. The Tigers kept finding holes in the defense and cutting through, which led to scrambling by Penn State. Solidifying its defense is necessary for Penn State or it will struggle against other Big 10 opponents.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Princeton to face the Tigers at noon on Saturday, March 18.
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About the Author
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