Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Rapid Recap: Penn State 14, No. 1 Northwestern 13 (OT)

Daily file photo by Henry Frieman
Graduate student attacker Dylan Amonte runs toward the cage.

After defeating then-No. 12 Johns Hopkins in its Big Ten opener last Sunday, Northwestern traveled east for the first of a two-game road trip at Penn State Friday. Coach Kelly Amonte Hiller’s team entered University Park, Pennsylvania fresh off seven consecutive victories and looked to knock off an opponent it has bested in five straight games.

With 60 minutes not enough to separate the teams, the Nittany Lions (6-4, 2-0) Big Ten stunned the Wildcats (8-2, 1-1 Big Ten) in a 14-13 overtime result for their first win over a No. 1 ranked opponent since 2005.

NU went down 3-1 early in the first quarter, but the ‘Cats managed to draw level courtesy of graduate student midfielder Lindsey Frank and graduate student attacker Izzy Scane to settle a 3-3 tie after 15 minutes of play.

Less than two minutes into the second period, graduate student attacker Erin Coykendall buried a player-up goal to hand NU its first lead of the night. Coykendall seemed to be having her way on the attacking front, but she left the game due to injury during second-quarter play — she’d return for the second half.

The ‘Cats piled on three more scores to build a 7-3 advantage, but Penn State midfielder Kristin O’Neill halted NU’s 6-0 run and attacker Erika Ho grabbed another goal for the Nittany Lions. With the result firmly in the balance, the ‘Cats headed into the half leading 7-5.

Penn State attacker Gretchen Gilmore brought the game back within one goal just 70 seconds after the break. Sophomore attacker Madison Taylor then buried a free-position goal, but Nittany Lion midfielder Meghan Murray and attacker Kelly MacKinney notched back-to-back tallies to tie the game at 8-8.

After Taylor found twine to regain the upper-hand, Penn State attacker Kayla Abernathy and O’Neill punched back to put the hosts in front for its first lead since the opening frame. Scane then completed her hat trick to set up a final period with the squads knotted 10-10.

Both teams rattled off three goals during the fourth quarter, setting the stage for one player to be the hero in a 13-13 deadlock.

Cometh the hour, O’Neill delivered her sixth goal of the day on an eight-meter finish to stun the ‘Cats.

Here are three takeaways from NU’s overtime loss to Penn State.

1. Defensive depth further tested

The ‘Cats have been without junior defender Sammy White since March 3, and Amonte Hiller said her staff has collected significant data on defensive players filling White’s shoes. With White sidelined, much defensive responsibility has fallen onto senior defenders Carleigh Mahoney and Kendall Halpern’s shoulders.

While the tandem has spearheaded a spirited shot-stopping unit, Mahoney missed Friday’s contest, creating another hole in the defensive scheme. Graduate student defender Alia Marshall received another starting nod, and freshmen midfielders Noel Cumberland and Madi Smith saw elevated minutes at defensive midfield.

The ‘Cats took some time to adjust defensively as the Nittany Lions raced out to a three-goal output, but the team cleaned up its effort late in the first quarter. Still, Amonte Hiller’s group certainly missed its defensive mainstays down the stretch.

2. Amonte bounces back from quiet day against Blue Jays

Six days ago, graduate student attacker Dylan Amonte didn’t record a point against Johns Hopkins, marking her first scoreless game of the season. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, though, as the graduate student fired four shots to no avail. 

Often making sacrificial cuts across the middle, the Massachusetts native does much of her work outside the stat sheet. 

Just one minute and 47 seconds into Friday’s conference clash, Amonte broke her scoring duck to equalize the score at one-apiece. She added a second goal on a falling effort in the second half’s early stages, fighting through contact in front of the cage.

3. NU struggles to neutralize O’Neill

When the ‘Cats comprehensively dealt with Penn State last season, O’Neill had experienced her fair share of injuries — and NU’s defense held her relatively in check. But with several key defensive cogs out of the lineup, the reigning Big Ten Midfielder of the Week packed game-altering potential. 

The ‘Cats have struggled to silence opposing stars throughout the season, and O’Neill carries such potent ability that switching off for a mere moment carries irreparable consequences. 

O’Neill quickly made her mark on the contest, scoring just 74 seconds into the game. She tallied another goal in the second quarter and took her game to another level in the game’s final two frames.

The midfielder marched in front of the cage with just over three minutes to play in the final quarter, rattling home a free-position goal for her fifth score of the night. She one-upped that effort with the game-winning goal to stun the visitors in overtime.

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Twitter: @jakeepste1n

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