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No. 20 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Overpowered 12-8 By No. 10 Stony Brook, Knocked Out Of NCAA Tournament

No. 20 Penn State women’s lacrosse (11-6, 3-4 Big Ten) fell to No. 10 Stony Brook (15-3, 7-0 CAA) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night in Baltimore, Maryland.

Penn State started the game flat and quickly fell behind by three goals within the opening five minutes. The Nittany Lions powered through the opening hardship and reshaped the game to take the lead off a string of five unanswered goals. Stony Brook’s offensive firepower eventually overpowered the Penn State defense, which led to the Seawolves grinding out a victory.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions started the game fired up as Ellie Hollin quickly gained control off the draw, allowing possession off the opening whistle. Brooke Hoss received a free position shot from a foul, which was narrowly saved by Stony Brook goalie Hailey Duchnowski. Following the possession, the Seawolves gained an early chance, which was converted by Ellie Masera to give Stony Brook an early advantage.

With 10:46 remaining in the first quarter, Kailyn Hart scored off an assist by Charlotte Verhulst. The Seawolves went on to win the following draw, allowing Erin MacQuarrie open space to carry the ball down the field and time to place the ball in the back of the net. The Nittany Lions then used their first timeout in order to stop the bleeding as they trailed 3-0 within the opening five minutes of play.

Following the break, Penn State earned a much-needed win off the draw and possession on offense. Duchnowski forced a turnover from the Penn State offense that allowed the Seawolves to have another opportunity to attack down the field. Not long after, the Nittany Lion defense forced a turnover of its own, allowing Penn State to have another chance on offense.

After getting several looks on offense, Penn State’s Brooke Barger found Emma Kelly who slotted the ball past Duchnowski, decreasing the deficit to just two goals.

The Nittany Lions earned another draw control from Kayla Abernathy as well as more time on offense. Then, Abernathy received the ball and fired a shot, forcing a save from the Seawolves’ goalie. Off the next possession, Kristin O’Neill also found open space and ripped a shot at Duchnowski, which was deflected off the post.

During the final minutes of the quarter, the game opened up for both teams as they exchanged spurts of possession and shots on net. No team finished a shot in the final minutes of the first quarter, leaving the score favoring Stony Brook 3-1.

Penn State began the second quarter seeking several quick goals to decrease the early deficit from the first quarter. The Nittany Lions found their opportunity after Kara Nealon passed the ball to Hoss who found the back of the net.

With just one goal separating the two teams, the Nittany Lion defense began to force several turnovers from a frustrated Stony Brook offense. Penn State’s Hoss earned another free position shot, which sailed slightly over the crossbar of the goal.

Stony Brook picked up the pressure and the Seawolves found several chances to test Penn State goalie Ashley Bowan. Stony Brook’s Masera fired a shot in search of her second goal of the night, which was saved by Bowan. Following that chance, the Nittany Lions transitioned the ball downfield and fed the ball to Hoss who found her second goal of the game and tied the score at 3-3.

The Nittany Lions continued riding the shift in momentum and capitalized on a man-up opportunity as Regan Nealon slotted one past a stunned Duchnowski. Penn State successfully scored four unanswered goals and gained control of the game with 7:32 remaining in the first half.

The Penn State defense continued to make several dynamic stops that allowed the Nittany Lions to transition the ball smoothly. With 3:30 remaining in the second quarter, O’Neill earned a free position shot, which she converted to increase the lead to 5-3.

Stony Brook’s Masera won the following draw and carried the ball down the field and pushed the ball into the back of the net from an overhand shot. The Seawolves found another opportunity after Verhulst passed the ball to Morgan Mitchell, who successfully scored the shot.

Stony Brook continued to apply pressure on offense against a drained Penn State defense and earned a free position shot with 50 seconds remaining in the half. Mitchell pushed the shot wide, but the Seawolves retained possession and forced the ball to Jaden Hampel, who scored past Bowan to regift Stony Brook the lead.

The quarter ended after the Seawolves stopped the Penn State offense following a win off the draw. The score at half remained 6-5 in favor of Stony Brook.

The Seawolves started the third quarter with possession off a draw control by Masera. The Nittany Lion defense began the period strong and held the Stony Brook offense, eventually forcing a shot clock violation. Off the subsequent clear, Meghan Murray found the back of the net to tie the game at 6-6.

The game began to open up again for the Seawolves following a series of shots that put pressure on the Penn State defense. With 10:01 remaining in the third quarter, Stony Brook’s Hampel scored a goal in transition to allow the Seawolves to regain the advantage.

Stony Brook continued to test the Nittany Lion defense, eventually drawing a foul on Rachel Spilker. Verhulst finished the following free position shot to set the score to 8-6.

The game began to slow down as Stony Brook maintained its two-goal lead and Penn State searched for an answer. The Nittany Lions remained composed on defense and forced a crucial turnover following a turnover by Hampel. Penn State acted fast on transition and fed the ball to O’Neill who found her 50th goal of the season and put the Nittany Lions in touching distance of a level game.

The Nittany Lions continued to put pressure on Stony Brook but were unable to find an equalizer. With 0:28 remaining in the quarter, Stony Brook’s Hart scored a free position shot and set the score to 9-7.

The fourth quarter opened up with excitement as Penn State’s Bowan was tested by a shot by Hart. Off the following clear, the Nittany Lions earned a free position shot, which was put wide by Murray and quickly recovered by the Seawolves.

With 8:27 remaining in the game, the Seawolves successfully transitioned the ball downfield and found Hart who slotted the ball past Bowan to set the score to 10-7. Not long after, Stony Brook recovered the ball following a foul that resulted in Verhulst having an open look on net and further widening the Penn State deficit to four goals.

With time running out, the Nittany Lions needed a quick response in order to still have a chance in the game. Following a string of Penn State offensive turnovers, the Seawolves earned an offensive possession that resulted in a goal from Masera who secured her hat trick and 70th goal of the season.

Penn State’s O’Neill found the back of the net to finish the scoring for the night and end the game at 12-8.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State struggled off the opening whistle, which allowed Stony Brook to gain an early advantage that had a lasting impact on the entire game. The Seawolves placed all six of their opening shots on net in the first quarter. This trend continued throughout the game as Penn State trailed Stony Brook in shots and had a lower shot percentage on goal.
  • The Nittany Lion defense did a great job of suppressing the lethal Stony Brook offense throughout the game, keeping the score at a two-goal margin heading into the final quarter. The combination of Masera and Hart ultimately proved to be a challenge as the pair combined for six goals throughout the opening-round outing.
  • Penn State goals from O’Neill and Hoss allowed the team to gain momentum mid-game, however, forced turnovers in the fourth quarter prevented the team from sparking a comeback and capturing a victory.

What’s Next?

That’s the end of Penn State’s season and NCAA Tournament run. The Nittany Lions will return to action next spring following their breakthrough 2023 season.

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About the Author

Ryan Banks

Ryan is a junior 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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