No. 9 Virginia Holds off Late Rally by No. 8 Penn State

After the first half ended in a 5-5 tie, the Nittany Lions opened the second stanza with two strikes before Virginia capitalized on a six-goal run en route to an 11-7 advantage. The teams swapped a tally each before the Nittany Lions scored three straight to make it 12-11. Both Penn State and Virginia launched 32 shots with Penn State goalkeeper Emi Smith (Denver, Colo.) making a career-high 16 saves.

Virginia held advantages in ground balls (19-15), draw controls (13-12) and caused turnovers (6-4). The Nittany Lions completed 16 of 18 clears and went 1 for 6 on free-position shots, while the Cavaliers were 12 for 15 and 4 for 6, respectively.

In a back and forth first half, Virginia took a 2-0 lead before the Nittany Lions answered with a pair of their own. With 19:50 left, sophomore Jenna Mosketti (Fallston, Md.) netted a free-position shot before McCormick evened the game off Loizeaux's feed with 17:21 remaining.

Mary Alati and Liza Blue helped the Cavaliers retake their two-goal advantage, but Penn State answered again with two goals in a 20-second span. Sophomore midfielder Ally Heavens (Garnet Valley, Pa.) made it a 4-3 score when she finished off Loizeaux's pass with 8:34 left. Freshman Natalie Schmitt (Malvern, Pa.) wasted little time to knot the score with an unassisted marker.

With 7:38 left in the first half, Morgan Stephens gave Virginia a 5-4 lead, but Loizeaux took a pass from Mackenzie Cyr and sent a behind-the-back shot past Cavalier goalkeeper Liz Colgan with 12 seconds remaining to tie the game.

In the second half, sophomore Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.) gave the Nittany Lions their first lead 3:05 into the half, while Smucker extended the advantage to 7-5 with 23:24 left when she converted McCormick's pass.

After the Smucker strike, Virginia responded with a six-goal run in a 9:39 span. Penn State's Madison Cyr and Virginia's Courtney Swan then exchanged markers with 4:26 and 3:37 left, respectively, before the Nittany Lions ended the game on a 3-0 run.

Smucker netted her second of the contest when she scored off a pass from Loizeaux with 3:22 remaining before Mackenzie Cyr and McCormick connected for the former's first of the game with 2:17 left. Madison Cyr netted her second of the contest 12 seconds later to account for the 12-11 final.

The Nittany Lions will return to action Wednesday, March 5 when they face James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va. Game time is set at 4:00 p.m.

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