Women's Lacrosse vs Loyola, Murray (36)

Midfielder Meghan Murray (36) keeps the ball away from Loyola’s Sam Fiedler (24), Shay Clevenger (33), and Jillian Wilson (7) during the women’s lacrosse game against Loyola at Holuba Hall on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. Loyola defeated Penn State 22-12.

After a tough loss to Loyola last weekend, Penn State came out with a need to avenge its name in Wednesday’s afternoon game against James Madison.

However, the Dukes could not be budged and proved to be tough competition for the Nittany Lions.

With an ending score of 16-6 in favor of James Madison, Penn State will have to use Sunday’s game against Vanderbilt to rebound.

Midfielder Kristin Roberto started off the scoring for Penn State with one 12 minutes into the first half. Midfielder Olivia Dirks put another goal on the board for the Nittany Lions after the Dukes scored three consecutive goals.

Dirks and Roberto completed the scoring for the Nittany Lions in the first half.

Attacker Maria Auth added to Penn State’s scoring in the beginning of the second half. Attacker Lauren Craft and midfielder Yasmain Hamood followed not far behind.

Craft scored two goals for Penn State. She was the only multi-scoring player of the game for Penn State.

Attacker Maddie McDaniel put James Madison on the board shortly after Roberto. Midfielder Taylor Marchetti, attacker Kacey Knobloch, midfielder Ava Frantz, and midfielder Kelsey Reed also contributed to the scoring for the Dukes during the first half.

Frantz and attacker Logan Brennan all had two goals throughout the game for the Dukes.

Knobloch, McDaniel and Marchetti added hat-tricks for Madison onto the board. This being Knobloch’s first career hat-trick.

Attacker Isabella Peterson scored for James Madison not long after Auth put up Penn State’s third goal of the game. Attacker Katie Checkosky gave the Dukes their double-digit score.

Penn State unable to maintain draw controls 

Draw controls have contributed to the success of Penn State in the past. Against James Madison, midfielder Olivia Dirks could not compete with McDaniel.

The Dukes won eight out of nine draw controls that were taken in the first half, which allowed them to have possession for three of their goals.

Defender Sammy Helgeson finally won Penn State a draw control on the sixth draw control of the game.

McDaniel has 179 career draw controls and is on the rise of becoming one of the highest draw control takers, as of right now she is ranked 66th.

The Dukes continued to have dominance in draw controls throughout the rest of the game with 12, in comparison to the Nittany Lions six.

Defense starts to show more aggression

With minutes left in the first half, the Nittany Lions defense was able to keep the score 6-2 by pressuring the Dukes offense out of the eight meter.

Despite its defending resulting in a free shot on goalkeeper Taylor Suplee, James Madison brought the ball out in order to re-adjust its offense.

This resulted in Penn State’s defense being able to re-defend and allowed for Suplee to be able to save the ball as the James Madison offender had moved too close to the crease.

Even though the Dukes were able to score with seconds left in the game off of a free position, Penn State was still able to hold its ground on multiple occasions.

Height not a disadvantage for Penn State

At the beginning of the second half, the Nittany Lions were able to shut down Peterson, who, standing at 6-foot, towered over much of the Penn State team.

While the majority of Penn State’s team stands at about a range from 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-10, James Madison has several players including their top-ranked players, Peterson and McDaniel, who stand at 6-foot.

The difference in size forced Penn State to become more physically aggressive on defense.

When a team does not have a comparable body size, it must shine in its agility and aggressiveness, which players like Roberto did by weaving in and out of the taller players.

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Maddie Turner is a campus activities reporter for The Daily Collegian. She is a sophomore majoring in advertising with minors in French and digital media trends and data analytics.