UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) – Lacrosse was back outdoors Sunday in Happy Valley and provided some fireworks for the home crowd.
The No. 16 Penn State women’s lacrosse team withstood multiple runs to earn a 15-13 win over No. 8 Maryland on Sunday at Panzer Stadium. The Nittany Lions were leading or tied for the final 54 minutes of the game but held off the Terrapins with two late goals by freshman Olivia Dirks. Penn State earned its first win over Maryland since 2005.
Dirks led the Nittany Lions with a career-high six points, including five goals. Freshman Kristin O’Neill collected two goals and two assists, while junior Sophia Triandafils had two goals and an assist. Senior Maria Auth and sophomore Lauren Craft each tallied two goals. Kara Nealon recorded a goal and an assist, while freshman Gretchen Gilmore scored her first career goal. Sammy Dupcak was a major force in the middle of the field, collecting five ground balls, four draw controls and three caused turnovers. In goal, Taylor Suplee made 14 saves.
Maryland was paced by sophomore Libby May, who tallied four goals and two assists. Brindi Griffin, Hannah Leubecker and Catie May each had two goals. Emily Sterling made eight saves in net. Seven of Maryland’s 13 goals came on free-position opportunities.
The Terrapins won the draw control battle, but the Nittany Lions were aided by 16 Maryland turnovers, including 11 caused turnovers.
Maryland got on the board first, on a goal by Grace Griffin, however Penn State responded with the next three goals. O’Neill led off the scoring with a free-position goal. Auth added a goal before Triandafils scored off a feed from Nealon. The Nittany Lions led 3-1 with 19:16 to go in the opening period.
The Terrapins scored three of the next four goals to tie the game at 4-4 with 11:33 remaining in the half. Catie May recorded two of those goals with Libby May adding the third. O’Neill tallied her second of the game during that stretch.
Penn State rattled off four straight goals to go into halftime with an 8-4 advantage. Craft found the net off a dish from Triandafils at the 11:14 mark and Dirks scored her first of the day just 50 seconds later. Craft scored again, off an assist from Dirks, with 35 second remaining in the half.
Maryland registered the first three goals of the second half. Brindi Griffin, Shaylan Ahearn and Leubecker all scored on free-position attempts.
Triandafils stopped the Terrapins run at the 21:50 mark to put Penn State ahead, 9-7, but Brindi Griffin and Libby May each notched a goal to tie the game with 13:26 remaining.
Gilmore twisted into the middle to find the net to re-gain the lead. Dirks scored again to extend the lead to 11-9 with 11:28 to go.
After back-to-back goals by Libby May tied the game again, Nealon broke the tie on a fastbreak goal off of a draw. Maryland tied the game again with 7:17 left on a free-position goal by Victoria Hensh.
The Nittany Lions took advantage of a man-up opportunity as Dirks found the net off a feed from O’Neill. However, the Terrapins evened the score with a goal by Leubecker with 3:59 remaining.
That’s when Dirks took over in the final minutes, scoring with 2:09 to go to give Penn State a 14-13 advantage. She put the game away with another goal with 44 seconds left, off an assist by O’Neill.
The Nittany Lions are off next weekend before returning to action on Friday, March 5 for the start of a two-game series at No. 5/3 Northwestern. The second game will be played on Sunday, March 7.