Penn State had an impressive showing against No. 7 Virginia in front of a record-high 903 fans at Panzer Stadium.
But the Nittany Lions fell short by a final of 16-13 on Sunday afternoon.
“I think it was a great game today, you know I think that we’ve really really progressed from the middle of the season until now - we’re being competitive and playing really well.” coach Missy Doherty said about the overall team performance.
After a turnover by each team, the Cavaliers threatened the cage around freshman goalkeeper Taylor Suplee. With a minute of possession by the Cavaliers, sophomore defender Alyssa Sloane drew the foul after a minute a possession to give the ball back to the Nittany Lions.
Virginia continued to dominate the ball and quickly scored three goals in the first five minutes of the game. However, sophomore Quinn Nicolai caused a turnover and got things going.
In the open field, she passed the ball to a charging sophomore midfielder Sophia Triandafils who scored Penn State’s first goal of the game.
However, Nicolai wasn’t done yet. After another Penn State possession, Nicolai finished it off past Virginia’s junior goalkeeper Charlie Campbell.
Soon after, Auth continued her hot streak with her first goal of the game to tie the game and another one in the second half. Since Auth scored twice, she has scored 11 goals in the past four games and has been of the main contributors to this developing offense.
Suplee and the defense limited Virginia to a couple of goals more goals a few minutes later, despite lacking possession of the ball. Then, Nicolai wins a draw to get things going once again on offense.
“I think they’re really starting to get the confidence and the vibe of an impact player, rather than someones that’s just kind of sitting back. They know we’re looking to them to make plays.” Doherty said about the performance from Nicolai and Auth in today’s game.
Traindfilis saw a charging attacker senior Delaney Muldoon who finished it off. A minute later, senior midfielder Kayla Brisolari stepped up to tie the game at five a-piece.
After another Cavaliers goal, Brisolari answered again for the equalizer. Both teams had bouts of possession of the ball and each time Penn State answers.
With a few minutes left in the first half, Suplee had the two most critical saves of the day to keep the squad within striking distance.
For the third time, Brisolari answered with a goal being behind by one as she took it into the cage herself.
Suplee once again had a pair of saves to keep the game tied seven a-piece in the first half. Out of 15 shots on goal, Suplee put up an impressive performance with eight saves.
“She's been solid all year long. I think in the first half she had some ridiculously awesome saves,” Doherty noted about Suplee.
Doherty emphasized that draw controls equate to goals scored. To start the second half, Muldoon proved that point as she scored a goal off a draw won by Brisolari.
Soon after, however, the Cavaliers struck back twice. Senior midfielder Maggie Jackson quickly scored two goals to put her team back up ahead by one.
A couple of minutes later, Nicolai picked up a ground ball and began to threaten on Virginia’s defensive half. Soon after, she finished it off behind the cage for her second goal of the game.
Midway through the second half, senior defender Kelly Daggett carried the ball up the field as the offense began to threaten once again with a tie score. Daggett caught Trainadfilis in the middle of the field as she scored in one diving motion to give the squad a 12-11 lead.
With under 10 minutes to go, Brisolari put her team ahead with a free position shot for her fourth goal of the game.
“This game was very back and forth by no more than one or two until the end so it’s important to score all of your goals that you can,” Brisolari said. “That’s what I was trying to do, to hopefully give my team a spark.”
However, Virginia’s talented offense began to control the ball more often, putting a strain on Penn State’s defense. Despite a solid performance by Suplee with 12 saves, the squad gave up three unanswered goals.
“I think the last two games and despite today’s loss, we saw a lot of growth in our team. I think we did a lot better on the offense and defensive side of the ball,” Brisolari said.