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Dirks (Episcopal Academy) gets 12 draws, 2G, Nealon (Garnet Valley) 2G, 2A to lead Penn State in opener

Sunday, 14th February 2021

Categories College, Girl's/Women's, Posted 2/14/20 – From Press Release

The Penn State women’s lacrosse team opened the 2021 season with a 20-11 win over Rutgers on Sunday in Holuba Hall. The Nittany Lions benefited from strong balance of youth and experience. The 20 goals were Penn State’s most in a season-opener since 2017 vs. Albany and its most in a Big Ten opener.

Olivia Dirks

Freshman Kristin O’Neill led the Nittany Lions with six points, including four goals and two assists, and three caused turnovers. Senior Maria Auth contributed four goals and an assist. Junior Sophia Triandafils collected three goals, while sophomore Kara Nealon (Garnet Valley) tallied two goals and two assists. Freshman Brooke Barger added two goals and an assist, while 2019 Co-Player of the Year Olivia Dirks (Episcopal Academy) had two goals and a career-high 12 draw controls. Goalie Taylor Suplee made 12 saves.

Midfielder Cassidy Spilis (Shawnee) paced Rutgers with four goals and an assist. Marin Hartshorn added two goals and an assist. Alonna Gliksman made five saves, while Sophia Cardello had six stops.

Regan Nealon (Garnet Valley) added a draw control.

Rutgers got on the board first on a tally by Julia Lytle, but the Nittany Lions responded with three unanswered goals. Dirks scored on a free-position attempt and Kara Nealon found the net less than two minutes later. Auth had a snipe off a feed from O’Neill to give Penn State a 3-1 lead at the 21:58 mark.

After a goal by the Scarlet Knights’ Ashley Campo (Haddonfield), PSU’s Nealon scored again before a goal by Triandafils extended the lead to 5-2.

A goal by RU’s Taralyn Naslonski was answered by Penn State’s Barger, off an assist by freshman Kayla Abernathy, and a tally by Auth. Rutgers’ Marin Hartshorn scored back-to-back goals to cut the PSU lead to 7-5 with 13:13 remaining in the half.

Freshman Meghan Murray scored off a feed by Auth with 11:05 to go in the half. RU’s Spilis found the net, but was answered by Auth’s third goal of the half. The Scarlet Knights scored on goals by Mikayla Dever and Hannah Hollingsworth before Penn State’s O’Neill closed out the half with a free position goal. Penn State led 10-8 at the break.

The Nittany Lions started the second half with a 3-0 run. The first two goals came from Triandafils, one on a free-position look and one off an assist by Nealon. The third goal was recorded by O’Neill to give Penn State a 13-8 lead with 27:18 remaining.

Rutgers scored the next two goals on tallies by Spilis, but Penn State responded with a 4-0 run. Lauren Craft send one to the back of the net off an assist by freshman Sammy Dupcak. PSU extended the lead on a man-up goal with Barger finishing off a feed from Abernathy. O’Neill scored the next two goals, the first on a free-position attempt, to push the lead to 17-10 with 13:46 to go in the game.

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