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No. 18 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Clobbered By No. 2 Northwestern 19-9

No. 18 Penn State women’s lacrosse (9-3, 2-1 Big Ten) fell 19-9 to No. 2 Northwestern (11-1, 3-0 Big Ten) in a Top-20 Big Ten Showdown Thursday night in Illinois.

Penn State lost its five-game win streak and received a mark in its first Big Ten loss column. Izzy Scane led the charge for Northwestern, scoring her 60th goal of the season in a six-goal game.

Gretchen Gilmore reached a hat trick for Penn State, but the Nittany Lions’ usual offensive strength was stifled by a strong Wildcats defense.

How It Happened

Sophomore Brooke Hoss scored first for Penn State in a woman-up breakthrough.

Northwestern took the lead after Hailey Rhatigan and Izzy Scane both whipped the ball past goalie Ashley Bowan with 8:37 left in the first quarter 2-1. Erin Coykendall cut through Penn State’s defense to score on an easy one-on-one.

The Wildcats carried their momentum with five more unanswered goals. Scane converted a free position shot that hit the back of the net and later scored off the crease to reach a hat trick for the night. Rhatigan and Samantha White also contributed for Northwestern, ending the first quarter 7-1.

Northwestern opened up the second quarter by winning the draw and quickly scoring a goal. Samantha Smith was left wide open in front of the goal on the crease and easily hit the back of the net 8-1.

After eight straight Wildcats goals, Penn State finally responded when Hoss cut through, left her defender in the dust, and pushed one past goalie Molly Laliberty. The Nittany Lions won a free-position shot, which Gretchen Gilmore bounced in. Gilmore quickly scored another hard shot.

Following the momentum, Kristin O’Neill found Kayla Abernathy open in front of the goal for an easy push pass. With a score of 8-5, Penn State cut its deficit to three. Scane rolled through the Penn State defense to find a breakthrough past Bowan.

Meghan Murray converted a free position shot into the corner for 9-6 with 1:12 left in the half. O’Neill rolled past three defenders to end the half 9-7 with Penn State trailing by two.

Rhatigan scored in the first three minutes of the second half for Northwestern. The Wildcats scored four unanswered goals to go up 13-7. Penn State found its first goal of the half when Gilmore converted a free position shot with 2:59 left. The Wildcats fought back to score two more to end the third quarter 15-8.

The Wildcats started the last quarter strong with another scoring streak. Madison Taylor started the four-goal run, which included Scane reaching her 60th goal of the season. Penn State struggled to find any breakthroughs and to control the game and didn’t score until there was 5:23 left in the game. Alaina Hamood cut through the middle to bounce it in along the crease and put Penn State within ten.

The Nittany Lions couldn’t hit the back of the net again but were able to hold back Northwestern, ending the game 19-9.


  • Despite the loss, Penn State created chances on offense, but not enough to get past a strong Northwestern team. The Nittany Lions recorded 22 shots, 17 of which were on goal, but were held to nine. Penn State struggled to find its usual holes, and the defense capitalized on this.
  • The draw control was a struggle for Penn State again today, as it won only nine of 23. Penn State will need to prioritize improving the draw to control the tempo.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will return home to face Cornell at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, at Panzer Stadium. The game will be streamed on BTN+.

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About the Author

Ashley Connington

Ashley is a freshman studying journalism from New Jersey. She has the misfortune of rooting for the New York Giants, but at least they have Saquon! You can send ways for her to meet Saquon to her instagram @aconnington26 or watch her obsess over Harry Styles and Chelsea FC on twitter @ashconnington.

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