No. 7 Penn State fell to No. 1 Maryland 20-10 Saturday afternoon. Despite efforts from standout players, the Lions were not able to hold off the undefeated Terrapins.
Emi Smith, a freshman goalkeeper, was replaced by senior Ayla Halus after Maryland took a 6-1 lead 12 minutes into the first half.
“Maryland was shooting really well, and we wanted to make a quick change and see if Ayla could give us a spark,” head coach Missy Doherty said. “I thought Ayla did okay. Maryland is a really good shooting team and we didn’t quite have the answer for that and I think it was a tough game not just for the goal keepers but for our defense as well.”
Penn State senior Katie Guy was issued two yellow cards in the first half, which didn’t allow her to return to the field for the remainder of the game. Doherty said that Guy’s absence on the field was tough for the team to overcome.
“Katie Guy started on the draw in the first half and she did a great job counteracting their good drawers, and unfortunately not having her in the second half hurt us a little bit in the draw controls,” Doherty said.
Sophomore Maggie McCormick scored four goals for the Lions, while senior captain Molly Fernandez also netted two goals and an assist in the loss.
“[McCormick] always has a great presence [on the field], and she has picked it up every game,” Doherty said. “It was great to see her have a good game, but overall I think our attack needs to continue to be aggressive and not sit back.”
Penn State had an explosive start to kick off the second half with four goals in the first eight minutes of play.
“We just wanted to come out more aggressive and make hard moves to cage and react quicker,” Doherty said. “When they got more aggressive they were definitely more successful.”
The Lions had a tough time reaching the cage throughout the game, sending 29 shots towards Maryland’s senior goalkeeper, Kasey Howard. Howard is ranked 10th in the nation in saves and had 14 of them against the Lions on Saturday.
“We got the possessions that we wanted, we just didn’t put our shots away and they did,” Doherty said. “When you’re going up against big numbers (Maryland was 12 for 18 in shots in the first half) it’s pretty hard to get momentum going and win the game when your shorts are falling and theirs aren’t.”
The Lions face No. 14 Cornell on Wednesday in New York, and Doherty noted that the team will take this loss as a learning experience.
“I was hoping we could have competed better [on Saturday], but the game gave us a couple of things that we could work on,” she said. “That’s why we play the top teams in the country because when you leave those games that when you understand what you need to do better to get better as a team.”