No. 20 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Breezes By Ohio State 13-3
No. 20 Penn State women’s lacrosse (9-2) thumped Ohio State (4-7) 13-3, pushing both the Nittany Lions’ win streak and the Buckeyes’ losing stretch to five games each.
Jumping out to an early lead, the Nittany Lions stifled their opponents, stayed out of foul trouble, and converted their opportunities for a first-half shutout. They were able to carry this momentum toward an eventual 13-3 blowout in front of their home crowd on Senior Day and Alumni Day.
How It Happened
As the game got underway, the Buckeyes threatened two early goals with the scarlet offense working close behind the cage. The Nittany Lions thwarted both plays as Ohio State attempted to cross back above the goal line, and they cleared the ball with ease.
On the following play, Kayla Abernathy opened the scoring off of a free position restart to put the Nittany Lions up 1-0 with 10:06 left in the first quarter.
Penn State continued to apply pressure, working the rock around the outer arc with speed and causing a turnover on an attempted Buckeye clear.
Halfway through the first, with wet weather and a slippery ball partly to blame, there were more turnovers than shots, with seven and six, respectively.
Ohio State’s Jamie Lasda worked through the defense and attempted a flashy behind-the-back shot from the goal mouth, but Ashley Bowan stood tall and kept the Nittany Lions in the lead.
Spurred on by its lockdown defensive unit and a quick clearance, Penn State worked the ball into a scoring position and doubled down on its lead, with Meghan Murray burying the 2-0 goal. The Nittany Lion offense was firing on all cylinders as just 54 seconds later, Murray found Gretchen Gilmore to extend the lead to 3-0 with 4:51 in the opening frame.
Penn State continued its stifling defense through the start of the second quarter, rebuffing the Buckeye advance for the entire 90-second shot clock and returning the ball to its now fresh offense. Though the Nittany Lions pressed for some quality chances, offsetting fouls by both teams awarded possession back to Ohio State.
Throughout the quarter, the Buckeyes experienced repeated miscommunication as they tried to deliver the ball to a cutting attacker, instead turning the ball over on two successive possessions. In the resulting chaos, Murray created a breakaway opportunity but was cut down by defender Sarah Johnson near the crease. Murray finished the play and got her second goal of the game on the free position shot to make the score 4-0 Penn State with 6:45 to go in the half.
The Nittany Lions continued their downpour of goals, as with 4:08 to go, Gilmore found a streaking Kristin O’Neill for a quick snap to the top-shelf, beating Regan Alexander stick-side to extend the lead to 5-0. Murray earned possession back for the blue and white at the center dot, setting up Gilmore for her 20th goal of the season and setting the score at a staggering 6-0.
Penn State continued to enter Ohio State’s inner arc as it pleased, making space for Brooke Hoss to score an absolutely filthy behind-the-back shot with 2:23 to go in the half.
Gilmore tacked on one final goal for good measure with 4.1 seconds in the frame, striking from the free position for a first-half hat trick to push the score to 8-0 by halftime.
The second half got off to a slow start, with the Nittany Lions interested in slowing down the game and holding possession, while the Buckeyes struggled to breach the blue-and-white perimeter.
Ohio State finally entered the goal column when Annie Hargraves scored off the free position to cut into Penn State’s lead, putting the score at 8-1 with 9:09 left in the third quarter. The Nittany Lions answered within the minute off of an Abernathy free position shot to reclaim their eight-goal lead. This 9-1 tally marked Abernathy’s 10th score of the campaign.
Penn State scored the decade goal with 4:12 to go as O’Neill found Hoss wide open, hitting the sophomore in stride for a breakaway snipe on Alexander.
The Buckeyes opened the fourth quarter with a second goal from Hargraves to make the score 10-2 with 13:12 left in the contest. The Nittany Lions responded quickly again, as Gilmore delivered a crease feed to Cam Evitts for the 11-2 score.
Following the goal, Ohio State’s Casey Roberts was shown the green card and was forced to serve a one-minute penalty. The blue and white capitalized on the player advantage, with O’Neill earning her hat trick unassisted and pushing the Penn State lead to 10 for a running clock.
Nicole Ferrara returned fire for the Buckeyes with 8:28 to go in the game with a worm-burning low shot from the free position. The Nittany Lions didn’t allow the Buckeyes to get any momentum back from their goal, holding the ball and draining the clock another five minutes before O’Neill crashed the net and buried the 13-3 goal with 3:29 in the contest.
The score would hold 13-3 as the final buzzer sounded.
- Penn State was dominant on the draw, controlling 13 of 20 chances, and kept the Buckeyes off the ball for long stretches of the game in a make-it-take-it fashion.
- The Nittany Lions were lights out in the first half, holding their opponents to zero goals in the first half for the first time since last season’s match against Duquesne.
- Penn State played a clean defensive game, not conceding a single free position through the first half and only allowing three through the end of the contest
- Nittany Lion goaltender Ashley Bowan made some clutch saves to keep the Ohio State side from ever gaining a foothold. She only had to record five stops for a 62.5% save percentage.
The Nittany Lions will travel to the Windy City to take on Northwestern for a Big Ten matchup on Thursday, March 30. The opening face-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
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