April 26, 2014

No. 13 Penn State Hangs On to Beat No. 19 Princeton

by Joe Kearns | LaxMagazine.com | Blog Replay

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - When No. 13 Penn State senior attacker Mackenzie Cyr scored to extend her team’s lead over No. 19 Princeton  to 13-7 with 9:57 remaining in the second half, it appeared she put the final nail in the coffin. Instead, this goal turned out to be the calm before a forceful storm.

The Lions held off Princeton’s potent offensive resurgence just long enough to emerge victorious on Senior Day in a game decided by a score of 13-12. 

“All season long, we’ve really challenged ourselves with our schedule,” Penn State coach Missy Doherty  said. “I think Princeton’s a really great team. They’re ranked a little lower than they probably should be. We knew it when we saw that battle today.”

Momentum shifted dramatically, beginning with the first sixteen minutes of the game. At this stretch of the game, the score was 3-3 and neither team had scored back-to-back goals.  
Penn State junior attacker Jess Loizeaux  scored with 12:44 remaining in the first half to gain a 4-3 lead for her team. This goal commenced the Lions’ scoring streak of three consecutive goals, as well as a span in which they would score five of six goals to take an 8-4 lead at halftime. 

Loizeaux bookended this scoring frenzy, as she scored Penn State’s eighth goal with 1:58 remaining in the first half.  Penn State junior midfielder Kelly Lechner, sophomore midfielder Jenna Mosketti, and senior attacker Mackenzie Cyr  scored goals in that span as well.

“All week, we’ve been implementing new plays and we stuck to that,” Mosketti said. “We stayed calm, cool, and collected. We just stuck it out.”

In the beginning of the second half, Princeton sophomore midfielder Anya Gersoff and senior midfielder Sarah Lloyd  gave Penn State a taste of the pressure it would feel at the end of the game.

Gersoff and Lloyd each scored a goal to narrow Penn State’s lead to 8-6, after just one minute and nine seconds had expired in the half. Gersoff finished the game with two goals, while Lloyd tallied four. 

Mosketti responded with her third goal of the game with 25:53 remaining in the second half to extend the Lions’ lead to 9-6.

Following a goal by Princeton freshman midfielder Olivia Hompe, Mosketti once again spearheaded the Lions’ offensive attack and earned her fourth goal of the game with 22:55 remaining. It was her 28th goal of the season. 

“We scouted Princeton’s defense and offense, and were prepared for all of their plays,” Mosketti said. “We worked hard all week in a long week of practice.”

Cyr and her sister, sophomore midfielder Madison Cyr, picked up where Mosketti left off.
After Mackenzie scored her second goal of the game, Madison matched her sister’s game total with 17:46 remaining.

By doing so, she provoked Princeton coach Chris Sailer to make a pivotal decision.
Sailer pulled junior goalie Annie Woehling  from the game after she allowed 12 goals and made five saves.  In her place, senior goalie Caroline Franke  gave up one goal and two saves in a span of 17:42.

The Penn State defense was stout in a stretch of 13:08 in which it did not allow a single goal.  Freshman goalie Cat Rainone  finished the game with seven saves and 12 goals allowed. 

The Tigers eventually put an end to its offensive struggles when Princeton junior attacker Erin McMunn  shot the ball past Rainone with 9:26 remaining.  McMunn is Princeton’s leading scorer with 30 goals this season. 

Sophomore attacker Alexandra Bruno  narrowed the lead to two goals with 3:10 remaining in the second half,  forcing the Lions’ defense into a race against time to hang onto the lead.

“I think they just went on a run with the draw controls,” Mosketti said. “That’s something we really needed to pick up. It made it a little exciting.”

The Tigers failed to put another dent in the Lions’ lead until Lloyd scored her fourth goal of the game with 12 seconds remaining. 

Princeton gained possession one more time with a chance to tie the game. The Tigers never got a shot off on this possession, which sealed the win for Penn State.

“You never know when the winning goal is going to happen,” Doherty said. “We were happy to get the lead that we did and dictate things, so that they had to speed up their offense a little bit.”

Penn State will compete in the ALC Championship on May 1 at 3 p.m.  against No. 7 Johns Hopkins . The game will be played in Evanston, Ill. 

Princeton will attempt to win the Ivy League Tournament, beginning with a matchup on May 2 at 4 p.m.  against either No. 20 Penn or Harvard.

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