History made in Piscataway. The #13 Penn State Lady Nittany Lions (4-7) went into Piscataway to challenge the #24 Rutgers Lady Scarlet Knights (4-7). The Knights had never got the best of PSU but that would change on this day, 17-16.
Despite huge games from Olivia Dirks (5G,4a) and Maria Auth (7g), Penn State came up short. Julia Lytle was whistled for Charging with 30 seconds on the clock, resulting in a turnover Rutgers. Each club went on 6-2 runs in the first half that was started with a Rachel Rosen (1g) marker with just 1:22 played.
Grace Curran (2g,1a), Jenna Byrne (4g), and Marin Hartshorn (4g) countered for the Knights to make it 3-1. Olivia Dirks kicked off her day and at 23:27 we sat at a 3-2 affair. Cassidy Spilis (3g) added her 28th and 29th with Taralyn Naslonski (2g,2a) putting Rutgers in front, 6-2.
It was time for Penn State to jump up and Sophia Triandafis (1g), Maria Auth, and Dirks did just that making it 6-5. Grace Curran and Hartshorn answered the Penn State answer but Auth ripped off a natural hat trick to close the half at 8-8. A 17 goal second half was about to unfold with the Lions kicking it off with a pair of tallies from Dirks before Spilis, Naslonsky, Ashley Monahan (1g), and Hartshorn notching her 15th, and in just over three minutes Rutgers seized a 12-10 lead.
With the way this one was going, you had to know that Penn State would counter and did just that courtesy of Kristian O’Neill (1g,1a), but Hartshorn answered with her 16th. Regan Nealon (1g,1a) with a shorthanded tally made it a one-goal game with 16:47 to go.
Byrne scored her 10th but was matched by the 26th from Dirks. Byrne and Lauren Ellis (1g) widened the gap to three goals at 16-13.
Auth wasn’t quite finished and had a pair of markers :48 apart getting it to 16-15 but, it took thirty-one seconds for Byrne to notch her 12th making it 17-15. PSU had 6:09 to try to wage a comeback. With 1:05 to go, Auth scored her 30th to set the stage for the frantic final seconds.
“Today was an awesome team win and I’m really proud of this group,” said head coach Melissa Lehman. “We spoke about starting strong and we started the game with a lot of intensity and finished with a lot of energy. It was a full 60 minutes for us.”
How even was this one? Penn State took two more shots, 34-32 with Rutgers having one more on net, 24-23. Turnovers had PSU with 16 to the Knights 15. Ground Balls were 18-17 the Penn State way. History made in Piscataway.