Penn State takes one on the chin, 24-13. The #7 Penn State Ladies Nittany Lions (2-1) ventured to Northwestern to battle the #3 Northwestern Lady Wildcats (4-0). The teams battled for the first half with the Wildcats claiming an early 4-0 lead furnished by Sammy Mueller (4g), Izzy Scane (5G,2a), Lauren Gilbert (7g,1a), and a second from Scane and Penn State seemed to be reeling.
Kristin O’Neill (2g) calmed things down for the visitors but Northwestern went right back to work with Erin Coykendall (3g,4a) answering to get it to 5-1. Thirty-eight seconds later Brooke Barger (1g) made it a three-goal deficit. Gilbert and Elle Hansen (2g) countered before PSU got some life and went on a run.
Kara Nealon (3g,1a) took center stage when she set up Maria Auth (4g,1a) then Nealon hit rope twice in twenty-four seconds and we had a new game, 7-5. Save that thought. Lauren Gilbert, Coykendall, and another from Gilbert off-set the Penn State rally. Auth hit Kayla Abernathy (1g) but Scane hit for her 23rd of the season.
The Lady Lions went on a tear with three goals in just 2:24 with Lauren Craft (2g,1a) getting two with the second occurring on the advantage. A second advantage goal from Kristin O’Neill closed the thrilling first half with Penn State getting momentum and trailing by two at 11-9. A minute and three seconds in Maria Auth converted on a free position shot and we had a one-goal game.
That’s when the building collapsed on Penn State. Northwestern outscored the visitors by a 13-4 score. Scane, Jill Girardi (1g,1a) and Mueller pushed it to 14-10. Nealon answered :18 later but, undaunted, the Wildcats went right back to work. Hansen, Gilbert, Mueller and Gilbert’s sixth of the day made it 18-11.
Auth checked in before a six-goal surge generated by, Scane, Leah Holmes (1g), Taylor Pinzone (1g), Coykendall, Gilbert, and Mueller created a 12 goal advantage with 9:00 to play. Auth picked up her fifth point off a free position marker to close the curtain on the 24-13 contest. It was the 13th time in her NCAA career that Auth has picked up five points in a game.
Shots were closer than one would think with Northwestern having the edge, 38-33. Northwestern also had the edge in ground balls, 18-15. Penn State Takes One on the Chin.