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O’Donnell (Henderson, 5 goals), @PennStateWLAX top Florida in OT to advance to face @PennWomensLax in NCAA quarterfinals

Sunday, 15th May 2016

Categories College, Girl's/Women's  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/15/16
From Press Release

Ten tie scores, 11 lead changes and countless changes in momentum saw the 11th-ranked Nittany Lion women’s lacrosse team come out victorious over No. 2 Florida, 14-13, on Steph Lazo’s overtime goal in an NCAA Second Round game Sunday at Dizney Lacrosse Stadium.

Lazo went in all alone 15 seconds into the second half of the first overtime and slotted home the game-winner as Penn State (13-6) advances to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the fourth time in five years. The Nittany Lions will host No. 7 seed Penn on Saturday at noon in University Park.

Katie O’Donnell (Henderson) had a game-high five goals and the game-winning draw, Madison Cyr had six points on four goals and two assists and Lazo punctuated her four-point afternoon with her only goal of the game.

The Nittany Lions traded goals with Florida (18-2) in a fierce back-and-forth game, neither team earning more than a two-goal cushion. The barnburning shootout saw PSU own a 13-12 lead with 18:11 left in the second half and Jenna Mosketti’s equalizer with 11:21 would prove to be the final goal of regulation as Florida stalled the ball in the final 6:30 for the last shot. Mosketti finished with a game-high six draw controls.

On the final play of regulation, Florida’s Sydney Pirreca drew a free-position chance with 13 seconds remaining and her initial chance was stopped by Emi Smith and in the ensuing melee, the ball hit the right post and rolled on the goal line as Smith saved the would-be winner and sending the game to overtime.

The game took a weird turn as the first three-minute set of overtime saw Penn State win the draw control and unable to get a shot off as the Lions called timeout with 48 seconds on the clock. During the timeout, Florida requested a stick check and won the challenge, forcing a Penn State turnover and putting the Lions a woman down for the yellow-card infraction.

Smith came up big again, stoning another Gator chance as the Nittany Lions scooped the loose ball, successfully cleared and then drew a yellow card from Florida’s Nicole Graziano, to even the playing situation. PSU was unable to end the game in the first half of OT and the game went to another three-minute set.

On the ensuing re-draw won by O’Donnell, a foul was called and she sent a long outlet pass to Cyr who was by herself before she fed an even more wide open Lazo who scored her 32nd goal of the year, touching off a tremendous celebration for the Blue & White.

Penn State’s defense was led by senior Ally Heavens (Garnet Valley, 2 draw controls), junior Natalie Schmitt (Archbishop Carroll, 1 GB) and freshman Lucy Haubold (Great Valley).

Penn State won for the first time over the Gators at Dizney Stadium and is now 2-5 all-time at the stadium, with both victories coming this weekend. The Nittany Lions won a road NCAA game for the third time under head coach Missy Doherty and have won two in the past two seasons.

The Nittany Lions were scorching hot from the field, connecting on 14-of-23 shooting (60.9 percent), while limiting the Gators to 33 percent from the field. Smith was crucial in the second half when she made six of her nine saves. Florida’s goalie tandem combined for just three saves.

The first half saw Penn State take an 8-7 lead behind the power of a 3-0 run and Cyr’s four goals. Kelly Daggett (Bainbridge, Pa.) opened the scoring for PSU and Abby Smucker (Bel Air, Md.) added her first goal since March 9 to give PSU a 5-4 lead with 15:38 to go in the first. Smucker had three ground balls as well.

Florida opened the scoring in the second half to set off four straight goal trades before PSU put back-to-back goals together from O’Donnell with 21:33 left and a 12-10 lead.

Florida then ran off its second 3-0 run of the game to take a 13-12 advantage with 18:11. The game slowed down from its furious pace as each team coveted its possession more in the bright sun and heat.

The Gators had a 39-23 advantage in total shots, 23-22 margin in ground balls and 16-14 edge in draw controls. PSU also overcame 10 turnovers, while Florida only had five miscues. Both teams went 4-for-6 from the 8-meter.

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