For the second straight year, the Penn State women’s lacrosse team watched its season end just one win shy of the national championship game.
Maryland — the nation’s unanimous No. 1 — scored early and often to cruise past the Nittany Lions, 20-10, Friday night in the NCAA semifinals at Gillette Stadium. The Terrapins will now face Boston College in the national title game at 11 a.m. Sunday; it will be televised on ESPNU.
Penn State also fell last year in the semis, to UNC 12-11, and hasn’t beaten national powerhouse Maryland since 2005. The Terps have now won 29 of their last 30 meetings with Penn State, including victories in the last 13.
“It definitely didn’t go our way today,” Nittany Lions coach Missy Doherty told reporters after Friday’s game. “I’m still proud of our players to get us here.”
Penn State struck first in the game, on a score 93 seconds in, thanks to Maria Auth — but the lead was short-lived. Maryland scored four straight goals over the next five minutes and sat on at least a two-goal cushion the rest of the game.
Katie O’Donnell paced PSU with four goals, and Maggie Gallagher followed closely behind with three. But it just wasn’t enough. Maryland boasted five players with hat tricks: Jen Giles (4), Kali Hartshorn (4), Taylor Hensh (4), Zoe Stukenberg (3) and Megan Whittle (3).
The Nittany Lions still finished the year with a 17-4 record, their highest win total since 1989, when they finished 19-1 and won the national title.