Lacrosse: No. 7 Wildcats pick up 7th straight win at Penn State


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Selena Lasota makes a pass. The junior attacker tallied four points in Northwestern’s win over Penn State on Saturday.

Ella Brockway, Assistant Sports Editor


With under 13 minutes left against No. 14 Penn State, all was on the line for Northwestern.

The No. 7 Wildcats (12-3, 4-0 Big Ten) had built a 13-9 lead early in the second half, but the Nittany Lions (9-5, 3-1) were on a run, scoring 3 straight goals in 14 minutes to cut it to 13-12. NU’s six-game win streak and unbeaten Big Ten record were at stake.

And then the Cats fired back.

Sophomore midfielder Megan Kinna forced a turnover and NU pushed the ball up the field. Freshman midfielder Ally Palermo found junior attacker Holly Korn on the right side of the cage. Korn rolled around the crease and planted the ball in the bottom left corner of the net.

That goal was the game-changer, and kicked off a 4-goal run that would seal the Cats’ 17-13 win over Penn State on Saturday, their seventh in a row.

“That was a big, big momentum shift for the team,” coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. “We had a lot of opportunities before that, but we hadn’t finished them. (Korn) just came down and really put her stamp on it.”

Senior midfielder Sheila Nesselbush led the team in points, scoring 4 goals and adding two assists.

Nesselbush emphasized the group’s unselfishness, saying the Cats’ ability to work together and generate offense allowed them to rally back as Penn State was catching up in the second half.

“When things get close, our mentality is to take each moment and make it a championship moment,” Nesselbush said. “That’s shown because we never get deflated and we’re always trying.”

The Cats jumped out to an early lead to start the game, building a 7-2 advantage in the first 16 minutes. Penn State scored 3 goals in six minutes to cut NU’s lead to 9-7 with 2:03 to go in the first half, but senior attacker Danita Stroup found the net with one second left to put the Cats up by 3 at halftime.

NU came out strong again in the second, taking an 11-7 lead less than a minute into the half. The Cats and the Nittany Lions traded goals until a score from junior attacker Selena Lasota gave NU the 13-9 advantage.

Korn and freshman midfielder Jill Girardi each scored during the Cats’ 4-goal run at the end of the game to complete their hat tricks. Eight NU players scored in the win; at least five different players have scored in every game this season.

“Selena and Sheila get a lot of attention on offense, rightfully so, so sometimes when they get doubled, that really helps open up stuff for the rest of us,” Korn said. “If the rest of us attackers are making plays, it takes pressure off Sheila and Selena, so we were just staying calm and balanced and working our offense moving the ball.”

Senior defender Lindsay Darrell finished the day with two caused turnovers and four ground balls as the defense only allowed the Nittany Lions to convert on three of their 10 free-position shots.

Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Julie Krupnick again showed her reliability in net, finishing with 13 saves, including 10 in the first half alone. The win was Krupnick’s sixth double-digit save performance of the season.

“It was just a lot of confidence that the balls were just going to start to come our way,” Korn said. “We’ve really worked on staying composed from our offense to our D. We made a couple of mistakes on offense (but) we know our D’s got our back, so that’s really, really key.”

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