Penn edges PSU in NCAA Opener


Senior Katie O’Donnell (West Chester, Pa.) registered five goals, but it wasn’t enough as No. 16 Penn State dropped a, 15-14, decision in double-overtime to No. 14 Penn in first-round action of the 2018 NCAA Tournament this evening from Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
Penn State concludes its season 10-10 overall while Penn improves to 14-4 on the year and advances to the second round on Sunday to face fifth-seed and host Stony Brook at 12 p.m.
Junior Madison Carter (Davidsonville, Md.) added five goals of her own while sophomore Maria Auth (Street, Md.) scored twice for the Nittany Lions.
Trailing 14-13 in the final minute of the second half, Penn State caused a turnover and O’Donnell ripped home a free-position shot with just 22.6 seconds remaining to force overtime. The first extra session wasn’t enough to crown a winner as strong defense and goaltending on both sides forced a second overtime.
After saves at each end Zoe Belodeau ripped in the golden goal in the waning moments with just 1.8 seconds left on the clock as Penn secured the 15-14 sudden victory.
Penn State opened the scoring with back-to-back goals in just 39 seconds to grab the 2-0 lead at the 25:52 mark of the first half as both O’Donnell and Carter found the back of the net early.
The teams then traded goals with senior Shelby Wells (Timonium, Md.) and Auth registered the Nittany Lion goals at 22:27 and 17:21, respectively, to secure the 4-3 lead.
However, the Quakers used a 7-1 run over the next 14 minutes to grab the 9-5 lead after a Elyse Decker goal at the 3:22 mark. Decker and Caroline Cummings scored twice for Penn during that stretch with the lone PSU goal coming from Carter at the 6:43 mark.
Penn State grabbed some momentum heading into the intermission as O’Donnell scored twice in a 1:38 span with a Zoe Belodeau goal mixed in for the 10-7 halftime deficit.
Erin Barry opened the second half scoring for Penn, but the Nittany Lions scored back-to-back goals as Carter and Auth found the back of the net to cut the deficit to two. After a Zoe Belodeau goal stretched the lead back to 12-9 for the Quakers at the 19:33 mark, the Nittany Lions scored three-straight to tie the contest as Carter found the back of the net at the 17:58 and 9:36 mark with a goal from junior Kelly Daggett (Bainbridge, Pa.) at the 12:13 mark sandwiched between for the 12-12 score.
Freshman Lucy Lowe (Cockeysville, Md.) made just one save over the opening 18:19, but did not factor in the decision while sophomore Madison Cunningham (Davie, Fla.) stopped four shots over the final 43:45 to fall to 2-1 on the season.
·        O’Donnell became just the fourth Nittany Lion in program history to eclipse the 200-goal mark for her career as her time in Happy Valley comes to a close after scoring 203 goals and registering 227 points.
·        Daggett finished the season with at least one point with a pair of goals in the last three contests as a low defender.
·        Penn State is now 3-3 in NCAA Tournament overtime games in program history, but have lost each of three contests that have gone past the initial overtime.
·        Penn State falls to 10-7 overall against Penn and just 1-5 in the last six meetings.
·        The Nittany Lions held the 43-28 edge in shots and the 21-14 advantage in ground balls while Penn held the 18-14 margin in draw controls.
·        With their 14 goals the Nittany Lions tie the single-season program record for goals set last season with 303.
·        With her five goals Carter is now just three points shy of 200 for her career as she currently ranks 16th in program history with 197 points.
·        The Nittany Lions lose their first opening round contest since a 2014 first-round setback to Princeton and fall to 8-9 all-time in first-round games in the NCAA Tournament.

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