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No. 20 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Pushes Past Pitt 15-12

No. 20 Penn State women’s lacrosse (8-2, 1-0 Big Ten) took down University of Pittsburgh (9-10) 15-12 on Tuesday on the road.

The Nittany Lions started the game strong and maintained momentum throughout the majority of the game. Penn State’s strong offensive showing demonstrated the team’s ability to dominate in its opponent’s half, as Kayla Abernathy and Brooke Hoss combined for eight goals and were the difference makers in today’s game.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions brought the pressure early on as Kayla Abernathy found an early goal off an assist from Gretchen Gilmore. Not long after, Abernathy doubled up and extended the lead for Penn State, leaving 12:31 remaining in the first quarter. The Panthers responded and applied pressure to the Nittany Lions’ defense from a counter attack, which resulted in a Pitt goal for Sydney Naylor. The quick scoring didn’t stop as Penn State capitalized on a draw control to allow Kara Nealon to have an open shot on net to set the score to 3-1.

Following the opening scoring intensity, the tempo of the game slowed as both teams exchanged shots on transition plays. The Panthers’ defense pressured the Penn State offense, allowing Pitt’s offense to gain possession from several turnovers. Ashley Bowan made a key save from a shot by Naylor just outside the crease. With 4:09 remaining in the first quarter, Pitt’s Jenna Hendrickson converted a shot from the crease off a free position shot to decrease the deficit to just one goal.

Penn State’s Lauren Saltz received a yellow card after slashing a Pitt player, giving the Panthers a player advantage opportunity. Despite being down a player, Hoss found open space in the final third of the field and fired a shot to allow the Nittany Lions to regain a two goal advantage. Penn State killed the penalty and maintain the lead, leaving the score at 4-2.

The Nittany Lions couldn’t start the second quarter like the first and found themselves a man-down within the opening two minutes. Following this play, Pitt’s Dylana Williams scored from a free position shot setting the score to 4-3. Then, Hendrickson gained a second goal and tied the game, leaving 11:17 remaining in the first half. The Nittany Lions responded and increased the pressure on the Panthers’ defense. From a free position shot, Penn State’s Kristin O’Neill tallied her 100th career goal to give the Nittany Lions a one goal advantage over Pitt.

Penn State continued to force turnovers on defense and create transition opportunities against the Panthers’ defense. Hoss found her second goal of the night from a free position shot that allowed the Nittany Lions to regain a two goal advantage with the score set to 6-4. The back and forth play continued with Pitt scoring a goal after Camdyn O’Donnell dodged through the Penn State defense and found the back of the net.

Penn State responded strongly after Hoss received a ball from Gilmore and then finished the ball into the back of the net with a behind-the-back shot. With 6:04 remaining, Alaina Hamood found her ninth goal of the season off an assist from Brooke Barger. Meghan Murray extended the lead to four following a free position shot just in front of the crease, setting the score to 9-5. The Panthers edged a goal back after Hendrickson completed her hat trick with 4:23 left to play in the half. The first half concluded with both teams exchanging possession, but neither able to find a scoring opportunity, leaving the score at 9-6.

Off the opening draw, Penn State maintained control allowing Murray to get an early shot and goal within the opening 13 seconds. Not long after, Abernathy scored on the top of the crease to give the Nittany Lions the largest lead of the night. Then, O’Neill scored after finding the bottom corner of the net off a free position shot, giving Penn State a six goal advantage with a score of 12-6. Pitt responded after Ava Washington finished a shot during a man-up opportunity to decrease the Panthers’ deficit. With 6:47 remaining, the Panthers capitalized on a transition, resulting in Hendrickson finding a shooting opportunity and a goal.

Penn State’s Hamood doubled up off an assist from Murray to allow the Nittany Lions to regain the five goal advantage. Then, Abernathy found her fourth goal of the night after placing the ball to the left of the Panther goalie off a free position shot. The Nittany Lions maintained control over the rest of the quarter and minimized any opportunities that the Panthers’ offense could capitalize on, leaving the score at 14-8.

The Nittany Lions maintained control heading into the final quarter of the game. Following a turnover, Pitt’s Naylor carried the ball down the field and passed the ball to Washington who found the back of the net. Hendrickson then decreased the deficit to four goals after scoring off a free position shot. The Nittany Lions slowed the tempo down on offense, but couldn’t find a scoring opportunity. With 3:55 left in the game, Pitt’s Talia Zuco passed a ball off to Washington who converted an open shot into a goal. Less than a minute later, Zuco found a goal of her own, putting the pressure on Penn State with the lead only at two goals with a score of 14-12.

Following a Penn State timeout, the Nittany Lions powered through the final minutes of the game. After a possession control from the draw, Gilmore connected with Hoss who provided a much needed answer for the Nittany Lions. Penn State maintained possession on offense through the last minute of the quarter to where the game ended with a score of 15-12.


  • The Nittany Lions started off strong and found two goals off the first two offensive possessions. This strong start allowed Penn State to establish control and set the stage for a win.
  • Kayla Abernathy and Brooke Hoss both stepped up for Penn State and scored four goals each throughout the game. The Nittany Lions outshot the Panthers 31 to 24 with 84% of the shots placed on net.
  • Penn State put up a convincing performance within the first three quarters of the game outscoring Pitt 14-8. However, the team conceded four goals in the fourth quarter, which allowed Pitt to gain unnecessary momentum and make the game feel closer than it should have.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will return to Panzer Stadium for their second Big Ten matchup against Ohio State at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25.

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About the Author

Ryan Banks

Ryan is a sophomore from Latrobe, Pennsylvania majoring in Finance. He is a Pittsburgh sports fan and believes Kenny Pickett is 'the guy.' In his free time, he can be found running pickup soccer games or losing money day trading in his apartment. Any inquiries (or stock tips) can be sent via email to [email protected]

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