Strong Defense, Eight-Goal Run Power PSU Past Hopkins
BALTIMORE – Holding Hopkins to one goal in the first 52 minutes of the game, surged by an eight-goal run spanning the end of the first half into the second, No. 9 Penn State downed Johns Hopkins 11-7 on Wednesday evening at Homewood Field.
Senior midfielder Madison Cyr scored a game-high four goals as PSU built a 9-1 lead deep into the second half to earn the victory. Junior Steph Lazo trailed with three points, while Madison Carter and Jenna Mosketti had two goals apiece. Freshman Delaney Muldoon registered her first collegiate points during the second half. While the Nittany Lions outshot the Blue Jays 31-16, they only converted on 35.48 percent.
"It was a great win and a great credit to our team," said Penn State coach Missy Doherty. "I just want to get our shooting under control."
PSU rebounded from its 16-13 loss to Virginia on Saturday, despite outshooting the Cavaliers 37-29. Hopkins slips to 3-2 on the season after being upset by Loyola.
"Shooting has been a huge factor in the last two games," said Doherty. "It's plaguing us a little bit, but I think we're putting a lot of other aspects together on the field – good defensive pressure, good speed through the midfield."
Penn State (3-1) dominated the first half with a shot count of 17-5 and a 4-1 lead. The Nittany Lion attack came to lift in the second half as Cyr scored four goals and Carter added the first of her two goals during what would be a halftime-spanning 8-0 run for a 9-1 lead with 8:11 remaining in the game.
"We did a phenomenal job defensively, but we went 38 minutes without scoring a goal and to have your defense play as much defense as they did, that's just unfair," said Hopkins coach Janine Tucker.
A scoreless opening 10 minutes gave way to a Lazo free-position goal before Hopkins' Haley Schweizer evened the score with 15:41 to go. Hopkins failed to score again for the next 28 minutes as Penn State scored eight straight goals. Mosketti scored both her goals in the latter stages of the first half that sandwiched a Katie O'Donnell tally.
In the second half, Cyr scored at 27:49 for a 5-1 lead before Carter tallied with 20:23 to go for a 6-1 edge. Cyr then tallied three straight goals to up her team-leading total to 13 goals for the season and a 9-1 lead.
The Blue Jays weren't going away however, scoring six of the last eight goals to pull within four. Sophomore Emily Kenul ended the run with a free position goal, the first of her two on the day, at the 7:40 mark. The goal ended a scoreless drought of 38:02 for Hopkins.
Forty-seven seconds later, Carter scored off a goal line extended feed from Muldoon to make it 10-2. Hopkins responded with goals from senior Jenna Reifler and junior Alexis Maffucci just 17 seconds apart. Reifler took a feed from senior Dene' DiMartino and scored from close range at 6:38.
Kenul then drew a free position shot, and instead passed to Maffucci, who was open on the left post for the quick score. Hopkins would score three goals in the final 1:13 to make what was an 11-4 PSU lead the final 11-7 score line.
"That’s my team," said Tucker. "At the end there, that's the Hopkins lacrosse we want to play. I fully expected we were going to have a comeback. I fully expected that the girls were not ever, ever, ever going to quit, so I was pleased with that – but 100 percent a little too late."
While Penn State allowed Hopkins' comeback, Doherty noted the five-goal run to open the second half was "big enough that the late surge was OK."
Defensively, Penn State caused 13 of Hopkins' 23 turnovers led by double caused turnover performances by Natalie Schmitt, Lazo and Cyr, who also scooped five of Penn State's 24 ground balls.
"We were tentative. We were out of sorts. We didn't take good care of the ball. We turned the ball over far too many times," said Tucker. "I thought that we stood around offensively and were watching the kid with the ball, which was not the style of offense we play. To give Penn State a lot of credit, they got us on our heels. We allowed it to manifest itself as opposed to handling it sooner than later."
Penn State earned 24 of the game's 44 grounders. Led by Mosketti's six draw controls, PSU also won the draw battle 11-9. Goalie Emi Smith had five stops for her third win of the year.
The future Big Ten opponents got a taste of what 2017 might look like when Hopkins begins conference play as an affiliate member. For now, Doherty's team is trying to defend their 2015 Big Ten tournament crown.
"They're just really hard workers and really into taking Penn State to the next level and remaining as one of the top teams," she said. "Certainly when we get to the Big Ten, there's no game that you can take off. It's exciting. I can't wait for those games. We're in a little bit of a March Madness right now with two games a week, so we're just trying to get through March Madness and when April comes, it's Big Ten."
The Nittany Lions head home for their second home game of the season when they welcome Loyola at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Johns Hopkins travels to future Big Ten opponent Ohio State on Saturday, also at 1 p.m.
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