In its final road game of the season, Penn State struggled to get into a groove all afternoon against Rutgers.
While the Nittany Lions had several difficult Big Ten matchups throughout the regular season, the Scarlet Knights were an opponent they had beaten 20-11 earlier in the year. However, a second win against Rutgers was not in the cards.
The blue and white fell to the Scarlet Knights 17-16.
Penn State opened up the scoring with a goal from senior Rachel Rosen, and her score was her first of the season.
Rutgers followed up with a goal of its own to tie things up at one goal apiece. The Scarlet Knights’ goal was registered by freshman Grace Curran.
The New Jersey-based squad proceeded to find the back of the net seven more times in the first half and the Nittany Lions did the same as the opening half ended deadlocked at eight goals each.
The first half for the Nittany Lions proved to be one of their most successful of the season. From the start, the road squad played in a way that was not common for them.
In the beginning of the second half, sophomore Olivia Dirks scored the opening goal of the half for Penn State. Dirks was also responsible for the second goal in the second half.
The blue and white team finished the game with 16 goals while Rutgers chipped in nine goals in the final frame to secure a victory.
Penn State lacks defensive organization
The Nittany Lions opened up the scoring for the game, which has not been a common trait of theirs this season.
However, this goal advantage did not last for long as the Scarlet Knights came back with vengeance by scoring three goals.
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Rutgers’ exquisite downfield passing and ability to get its defense off its line allowed the Scarlet Knights to dominate some of the opening moments of the game.
Free positions could be easy goals, but not for Nittany Lions
There is no doubt both teams played with aggression, which in turn led to free position opportunities for each side.
However, when Penn State was given those clear opportunities to score, they proved incapable of finding the back of the net.
Meanwhile, Rutgers turned such opportunities into numerous Scarlet Knight turnovers and goals.
Penn State and Rutgers both benefited from the turnovers it opposition gave it, but to varying degrees.
Seniors leave mark
Senior Sophia Triandafils has always been a symbol of grit for Penn State.
Despite suffering an injury early in the season, which hindered her ability to play, she has come out in the second half of the season on a mission.
Against Rutgers, Triandafils gained possession of the ball, rolled the crease and took a shot that was blocked by Rutgers’ goalkeeper.
However, because of her consistency, Triandafils managed to retrieve the rebound and send it right into the back of the net.
Fifth-year Maria Auth had a similarly effective game as well. She added several well-angled goals into the back of the net for the Nittany Lions.
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