It was a battle for a spot in the Final Four — and for in-state bragging rights. And Penn women's lacrosse was on the wrong end of the final outcome.
Traveling to take on Penn State, the seventh-ranked Quakers took a early lead before falling, 8-4, at the hands of the Nittany Lions in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
Early on, however, it was the Red and Blue (15-5) in control. Sophomore attack Caroline Cummings got things started, finding the goal just over five minutes into the contest. Two minutes later, senior Catherine Dickinson gave Penn a 2-0 advantage on an unassisted score.
The Quakers' offense stagnated from there. The Nittany Lions (14-6) were able to score six unanswered goals over the next 20 minutes, taking a 6-2 advantage into the half.
"We weren’t attacking as hard in the first half, we were sort of doing one and done kind of things and I felt we changed that a lot in the second half," Penn coach Karin Corbett said. "We had a lot of opportunities in the second half and we made some good adjustments, our kids really started to fight harder and go to the goal more, we created a ton of looks and we just didn’t finish on the inside."
Leading the first-half charge for Penn State was senior midfielder Madison Cyr, who notched a goal and two assists in the run as six different players found the net for the hosts.
It was just too large of a deficit for the Red and Blue to overcome.
Although Cummings was first to score out of the break — off of a feed from junior Emily Rogers-Healion with 25 minutes to play. Again, Penn State responded. Cyr and freshman Madison Carter netted a pair of goals over the next four minutes, setting things at 8-3.
Once again, Cummings was the one to make things happen, scoring again with 15 minutes to play. It was part of a strong second-half offensive effort for the Quakers — outshooting Penn State, 16-9, on the half — the shots didn't translate into goals.
Following Cummings' third goal, neither team managed to score, and 8-4 was where things stood with the clock ran out.
"I wish that we had shot a little better we obviously had our chances in that second half with how many shots we were generating but we missed the net a lot and just didn’t capitalized," Corbett said.
"I was proud of my team for how much they fought till the end and that’s what this team has showed us all year, that they have a lot of fight and a lot of heart."
For Penn, the loss concluded a tournament run and the careers of nine seniors, including All-American and career Ivy League assists leader Nina Corcoran.
With the win, the Nittany Lions secured a spot in the Final Four, taking on third-seeded North Carolina and becoming the only unseeded team left in the tournament. They'll take on the Tar Heels on Thursday.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.