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No. 5 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Falls 14-8 To No. 4 Michigan, Eliminated From Big Ten Tournament

No. 4 Penn State women’s lacrosse (11-6, 3-4 Big Ten) fell to No. 5 Michigan (11-6, 4-3 Big Ten) in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.

Michigan gained an early lead, and Penn State struggled to score against the brick wall of Michigan’s Maya Santa-Maria. The Nittany Lions moved with a sense of too much urgency and struggled to control possession. Michigan’s offense continued to use its speed to its advantage and dodge through Penn State’s defense to score 14.

How It Happened

Michigan drew first blood when Kaylee Dyer found an open spot in front of the goal and pushed it past goalie Ashley Bowan.

Kayla Abernathy won a free-position shot and bounced it in for the Nittany Lions, putting them on the board 1-1.

The Wolverines then won a free-position shot of their own but opted to pass it low, where Dyer rolled along the circle to sneak one into the back of the net.

Penn State tied it again less than a minute later. Sammy Dupcak won a ground ball and ran downfield to find Brooke Hoss cutting through the middle for an easy goal past Santa-Maria.

Michigan went on a four-goal scoring streak, tearing apart Penn State’s defense to end the first quarter up 6-2.

Shots were traded at the beginning of the second quarter, but Penn State struggled to convert. Brooke Hoss found the breakthrough as she took on the defense herself and cut across the middle, smashing the ball into the upper left corner, making the score 6-3.

Penn State won a woman-up opportunity for two minutes, but it failed to convert and turned the ball over. It gave away a free-position shot to Michigan halfway through the quarter, but Bowan was able to make an easy save.

The Wolverines called a timeout and the Nittany Lions came back out on fire. Lauren Saltz caught the ball at the 30-yard line and ran straight to the goal, roll-dodging her opponents to smash it into the back of the net and cut Penn State’s deficit to two.

Michigan came back with two goals by Dyer and Jill Smith to end the first half up 8-4.

The Nittany Lions came out strong in the second half. Abernathy won the draw control and Emma Kelly immediately found an open lane to the goal, leaving her defenders in the dust and scoring a rocket to make the score 8-5.

Erin Garvey followed up with a free position bounce-shot goal for Michigan with 12:40 left in the quarter, 9-5.

Penn State continued to be threatened by Michigan, but Bowan and its defense came up big to cause turnovers and foil the shots.

With nine minutes left in the third, Kristin O’Neill joined the scoresheet for Penn State. She scored two back-to-back goals, rolling through the defense and scoring low.

Penn State searched for a breakthrough past Michigan but hit the pipe. It won a free position shot, which Santa-Maria easily saved and cleared. Michigan had the ball behind Penn State’s goal, and Dyer found an open lane, smashing in a bounce shot while falling down. Garvey converted another free-position shot while a woman-up to increase Michigan’s lead to five and end the quarter at 12-7.

Michigan won the first draw of the fourth quarter and dominated possession. It foiled Penn State’s clearance, and Kaley Thompson won the ground ball, finding Smith who was able to find the back of the net past Bowan.

The Wolverines continued to dominate the fourth quarter and Dyer scored her fifth goal of the game, cutting through an open lane right in front of goal for an easy shot. Despite the deficit, the Nittany Lions did not stop and Saltz came screaming down the midfield, blasting the ball into the net to make it 14-8 with 23 seconds left.

Penn State did not have time for a comeback and Michigan secured its win 14-8.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State initially struggled in draw controls which allowed Michigan to find the early five-goal lead. Once they started to win the draws, the Nittany Lions were able to find their footing and gain more possession through the game. Penn State ended the game 15-26 in draw controls, but its 18 turnovers canceled out any momentum.
  • The Penn State defense could not hold up to the power of Michigan’s offense. Penn State is ranked No. 8 in the nation for ground balls but won only 9-of-25 today, struggling to have successful clearances and determine the momentum. The loss caused sloppy play and 19 fouls against Penn State, continuously giving the ball back to Michigan.
  • Michigan goalie Santa-Maria saved ten shots and stayed a brick wall, crushing Penn State’s tournament hopes.

What’s Next?

Penn State is eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament. It has a strong chance to be called into the NCAA Tournament next month to continue its season.

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About the Author

Ashley Connington

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

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