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No. 22 Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Survives Vanderbilt 12-11

No. 22 Penn State women’s lacrosse (7-5, 2-1 Big Ten) survives the Vanderbilt (6-5, 0-2 SEC) 12-11. The Nittany Lions led 7-1 in the second quarter, but with momentum swinging toward the Commodores, the game came down to the final wire.

Gretchen Gilmore recorded a hat trick which played into the win for the blue and white.

How It Happened

The Nittany Lions gained control of the first draw which immediately led to their first goal of the game. Gretchen Gilmore scored her 17th goal of the season 50 seconds into the first period.

Soon after, Payton Wainman was given a penalty shot after a foul on Vanderbilt, but the shot was saved by its goaltender Lexie De Roziere.

The Commodores quickly responded with a quick pass that flew past Manning and into the net. They won the next draw and charged downfield to try to take the lead.

Penn State caused a turnover, leading it to spend most of the quarter in its attacking third of the field. With a pass from Meghan Murray, Gilmore turned the corner for her second goal of the game.

The Nittany Lions controlled the next draw, looking to extend their lead. Penn State also led in shots on goal 7-1.

Taking it in herself, Kayla Abernathy scored only 50 seconds after the previous goal. Penn State’s offense was been explosive throughout the entire first quarter.

Despite winning the next draw, Penn State caused a turnover to Vanderbilt, desperate to get back into the game. The Commodores lost control, allowing a hot Penn State to charge back into the zone with a minute left in the first period.

Kristin O’Neill spun her way around the Vanderbilt defenders to extend the lead 4-1.

The Nittany Lions gained control again, leading them to take possession for the last time this first period. Payton Wainman hammered it low into the net for one final goal before the quarter ended.

To start the second quarter, Penn State continued its dominant performance with a draw win. A turnover increased hope for Vanderbilt, but Penn State quickly gained control back after a dropped pass.

With another offensive opportunity for the Nittany Lions, Gilmore dumped the ball into Kara Nealon’s stick, allowing her to shoot past Vanderbilt’s goalkeeper.

Vanderbilt gained control but that control was quickly depleted by the Penn State defense, causing it to charge back down midfield to its zone.

Nealon then slammed the ball into the net to take a 7-1 lead.

After the seventh goal, Vanderbilt made a goaltender change, bringing in Paige Gunning to change the momentum. Vanderbilt won the draw, leading to a quick goal for the Commodores.

Multiple turnovers by both teams led to Vanderbilt scoring again, making the score 7-3.

A penalty was called on Vanderbilt with 2:50 left to play in the first half, leading to Penn State scoring on a player-up opportunity. The Nittany Lions couldn’t capitalize on the advantage, and the momentum shifted back to the Commodores.

In the third period, the Commodores came out strong, and Penn State changed its goaltender to Ashley Bowan.

The momentum was quickly shut down as Brooke Hoss cut across the middle to score early into the second half.

Penn State continued its domination as O’Neill scored right in front of the net with a defender on her. The Nittany Lions regained their five-goal lead three minutes into the third quarter.

Just five minutes in, the Nittany Lions had three goals following a Nealon conversion.

After a stick hitting the head of a Vanderbilt player, the Commodores were awarded a player-up advantage. While trying to defend, Rachel Spilker knocked Brooke Baker down, allowing a free position attempt which she was successful in. The score was then 10-5 in favor of Penn State.

Vanderbilt won the draw and went low to score to cut the Penn State lead.

The Commodores put on a tough defensive front and didn’t let Penn State score until Abernathy found the back of the net, letting Penn State regain its heavy lead.

Penn State won the draw right back, maintaining possession in its zone. With 30 seconds left on the shot clock, Gilmore’s pass flew past Gunning and scored a hat trick.

A fight for a ground ball led to Vanderbilt gaining possession and scoring again, making the score 12-7 with two minutes left in the third quarter.

Vanderbilt cleared the ball which led to a score by the Commodores.

After a shot clock violation, the Commodores gained possession which led to a score four-point deficit for Vanderbilt.

The Commodores continued their momentum and scored again to cut the deficit to 12-9.

Vanderbilt controlled the draw and marched downfield to score off of a post rebound, getting dangerously close to the Nittany Lions.

Penn State controlled the draw but turned over the ball to Vanderbilt, allowing it to score and sit just one goal shy of a tie.

Despite the Commodores’ attempt to tie the game, the Nittany Lions survived despite letting up a six-goal lead.


  • Penn State struggled to control the lead, letting the momentum swing back and forth too much between the teams.
  • Goaltending was an issue this game as both Sydney Manning and Ashley Bowan couldn’t save the majority of the shots.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions remain at home to take on No. 6 Michigan at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at Panzer Stadium for Senior/Alumni Day.

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About the Author

Alex Smith

Alex is a first-year Journalism major from Tampa, Florida. If you want to debate any sport (including pickleball), she's your girl. Her email is [email protected]!

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