Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/22/16
From press Release
The unseeded and 11th-ranked Nittany Lions women’s lacrosse team is off to its first NCAA Semifinals since 1999 with an 8-4 victory over seventh-seeded and 14th-ranked Penn on Saturday at Penn State Lacrosse Field.
The Nittany Lions will take on third-seeded North Carolina in Friday’s national semifinals at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia.
“It was an awesome win for our program and just an awesome day in general,” said head coach Missy Doherty. “Our defense just played out of their minds today. They were stopping their main threats. I was so proud of them, how on top of things they were. Emi (Smith) made some crazy saves this game and our mark-up defenders did a great job on their key players. It was a little rattling there and you could see the nerves coming out cause of the immense stress this kind of game provides but I was so proud of them to come through strong and make huge plays when it mattered.”
Penn State (14-6) used a 6-0 first-half run over a nearly eight-minute span, while holding Penn (15-5) scoreless for 27:32 to punch its ticket to the final four. The Nittany Lions will be making their 10th all-time appearance in the national semifinals.
The game was played in a steady rain and certainly affected the quality of passing, eventually leading to 34 total turnovers. Penn, which came into the game ranked third nationally in turnovers per game (10.5), committed a season-high 18 turnovers, 11 alone in the first half.
The Nittany Lions were led defensively by Emi Smith (Denver, Colo.) who stopped eight shots and allowed only four goals. Smith was vital down the stretch, stopping five Penn opportunities. The Nittany Lion defense shut down Penn’s top three scorers including the NCAA leader in assists, Nina Corcoran, who didn’t record a point for the first time all season.
Junior captain Abby Smucker (Bel Air, Md.) had a game-high three-caused turnovers as Penn’s top three scorers–Corcoran, Iris Williams and Alex Condon–combined for 12 of the team’s 18 turnovers. The four goals allowed were a season-best for the Nittany Lions.
Offensively, senior Madison Cyr (Westminster, Md.) posted a four-point day on two goals and two assists. Freshman Madison Carter (Davidsonville, Md.) pitched in with a pair of goals and the scoring was filled out with tallies by Kelly Daggett (Bainbridge, Pa.), Steph Lazo (Stevensville, Md.), Jenna Mosketti (Fallston, Md.) and Maggie Gallagher (Bel Air, Md.).
Six different Nittany Lions tallied goals during its crucial 6-0 run that turned a 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 halftime lead. For the second straight game, Daggett diced up the opposing defense and scored PSU’s opening goal, cutting the two-goal deficit in half with 19:34 remaining in the first half.
Only 22 seconds later, Cyr connected on a free-position chance to even the score. Just 90 seconds after that, Mosketti scored from the 8-meter mark for Penn State’s first lead, 3-2. Mosketti finished with a game-high four draw controls as well.
Cyr moved to the feeding side of the offense, finding a cutting Gallagher for a 4-2 lead with 16:24 remaining and forcing a Penn timeout. Less than a minute later, Cyr again was finding a cutter, as Lazo scored her 33rd of the season for a 5-2 lead.
Penn State’s scoring run was capped by Carter faking off her defender and cruising down the middle of the field for an unassisted tally with 11:58 remaining as the two teams went into the break at 6-2.
With the rain picking up in the second half, Penn ended its scoring drought with Caroline Cummings’ second goal of the day with 24:59 remaining. The Nittany Lions responded 66 seconds later on a Carter’s free-position chance and a 7-3 lead.
The Nittany Lions made it 8-3 on Cyr’s 57th of the season as she dashed through the Penn defense and slid the ball home with 21:27 remaining.
Cummings’ hat trick trimmed the lead back to four with 14:59, but that would be the final goal of the game as the two teams traded empty possessions and missed passes down the stretch.
Penn State was out-shot for a second straight game as the Quakers held a 25-18 edge, including 16-9 in the second half. The Nittany Lions held the Quakers to just 22.2 percent shooting and 0-for-3 from the free-position. Penn State was 3-for-5 from 8-meter chances.
Penn also held margins in ground balls (18-13) and draw controls (8-3). The Nittany Lions kept slightly better care of the ball with only 16 turnovers and clearing 18-of-22 times, while Penn cleared on only 75 percent of its chances (12-for-16).