#8 Penn State Comes Back But Falls to #17 Princeton in OT

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 28, 2012 A furious second half comeback by eighth-ranked Penn State came up just short, as the Nittany Lions fell to No. 17 Princeton (8-7), 13-12, on Saturday afternoon at Penn State Lacrosse Field.

Down 9-4 with 22:38 remaining in regulation, Penn State (11-5) rallied to outscore Princeton 7-2 down the stretch to tie the game at 11-11 and send it to overtime. But a crucial call late in the overtime awarded the Tigers the ball and Charlotte Davis scored with just 17 seconds remaining to provide Princeton with the winning margin.

On a day in which six Penn State seniors were honored for their careers and contributions in a special pregame ceremony, it was freshman Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.) who stepped to the forefront, leading the team with six points (4 goals, 2 assists). Sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) added three points (2 goals, 1 assist) while junior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) and freshman Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.) contributed two goals each.

The first half was marred by sloppy play, as the teams combined for a total of 22 turnovers. Penn State opened the game on a 3-0 run, getting goals from Cyr, Lechner, and McCormick to build an early lead. After being held off the scoreboard for the first 16:38 of the game, Princeton heated up, scoring the last three goals of the half.

The Tigers continued to carry the momentum in the second half, as they roared from the second half gates to score three unanswered goals and fashion a 6-3 advantage. Freshman Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.) netted her only goal of the game at the 25:53 mark to stem the Tigers' tide but it was only temporary, as Princeton embarked on another 3-0 run to take its biggest lead of the game at 9-4.

Following a timeout, Penn State began to mount its comeback. Senior Aly Adams (Springfield, Pa.) ignited the rally, converting on a free position attempt. Cyr quickly followed up Adams' goal with her second of the game to pull the Nittany Lions within three. After Princeton got one back, goals by McCormick and Lechner moved Penn State within close striking distance at 10-8.

After nearly three minutes of scoreless play, Princeton upped its lead back to three when Erin McMunn netted an unassisted goal. With just 10:38 remaining in the game and Penn State down three, its chances looked bleak.

But looks were deceiving as the Nittany Lions immediately began to fight back again. Fernandez scored her first of the game at the 9:15 mark, stretching high to snag a McCormick pass and flick in a shot from up close. Neither team could find net until under the two-minute mark, when McCormick gained her hat trick and pulled Penn State to within one goal of Princeton. Fernandez completed the comeback with 1:26 remaining, receiving a pass from Cyr and netting a goal to tie the game at 11-11. Princeton won the ensuing draw but could not score, sending the game to overtime.

The Tigers struck first in overtime, as Jaci Gassaway scored her game-high fifth goal of the game to give Princeton the lead. Less than one minute later, McCormick netted her fourth and final goal of the game to knot it up at 12-12.

With time dwindling down and the action taking place at midfield, players were battling for control after an errant Princeton pass sent the ball to the turf. The whistle was blown and possession was awarded to the Tigers. Moments later, Davis sent a low shot into net, securing the win for Princeton.

Penn State will serve as the No. 3 seed for the ALC Championship, which is scheduled for May 3-5 in Gainesville, Fla. The Nittany Lions will play an opening round game on Thursday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. at host Florida's Dizney Stadium against sixth-seeded Johns Hopkins (8-8). Penn State is 5-0 all-time in first round ALC Championship contests.

2012-04-28



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