No.10 Penn State’s 13-12, exhibition win against No.11 Penn on Saturday gave the team plenty of ways to prepare for the regular season.
The team gained overtime experience, as the game was tied at 11 at the end of the second half. Both Penn State and Penn traded goals in the first overtime of three minutes, but Penn State scored the only goal in the second extra set when captain Molly Fernandez scored with only three seconds left.
Fernandez showed why she was given the captaincy as she scored three goals in the second half to keep the Nittany Lions in the game.
“Molly did great, she works well with her feeders and just does a great job on the draw and getting the controls,” coach Missy Doherty said.
The game was also the first taste of NCAA lacrosse for freshman goalie Emi Smith, who will be Penn State’s starting goalkeeper.
“It was nerve-racking, but I knew the entire team was behind me and they were supporting me the whole way through,” the Colorado native said.
Doherty decided to change Smith for redshirt senior Ayla Halus in the second half, but went back to the freshman keeper so “she has experience with overtime periods.”
In the beginning of the game, Penn State put pressure on Penn’s defense, but was unable to get shots off which lead to a low score in the first half.
“Penn’s always a great defensive team and we had to create good second or third options,” Doherty said. “We like to assist a lot, so we have to start opening up some drives for the people that are challengers on this team.”
The Lions’ first goal came from Maggie McCormick just 14 seconds into the game. At one point in the first half, Penn State led 5-2, but at the end of the half, Penn had scored three goals to cut the deficit to one.
Fernandez tied the game twice and scored to take the lead, but the Lions couldn’t hold it in the second half. Kelly Lechner scored with less than a minute left for Penn State to go up by a goal.
Penn’s Tory Bensen answered quickly with 20 seconds left in the half to tie the game, but Doherty liked what she saw from the team in the exhibition game.
“Penn is perennially a great team and for us to come out strong and look mature…it was really great to see so early on,” the third year coach said.
Penn State will play its first regular season game on Wednesday against Bucknell at home.