After coming just two goals short of ending the regular season with a victory against Johns Hopkins, Penn State will have a chance to exact revenge.
The Nittany Lions are set to face the Blue Jays Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
The two squads met twice during this season, with Johns Hopkins emerging triumphant in both encounters.
The first of the two contests took place in Baltimore, where Aurora Cordingley put on an offensive clinic for the Blue Jays by netting six goals.
During the regular season, Cordingley ranked fourth in the Big Ten in goals scored per game, consistently putting her team in the position to win games as Johns Hopkins is entering postseason play with a 7-5 mark.
The attacker accounted for almost half of the Blue Jays’ goals in their first meeting with the blue and white.
A hard fought and tightly contested game throughout saw Johns Hopkins secure a 13-10 victory over the Nittany Lions.
Johns Hopkins’ defense held Penn State to its second-lowest scoring output of the season, three goals fewer than the Nittany Lions’ average goals per game.
Much like the first game between these two squads, the second matchup featured a close contest that went down to the wire in University Park.
However, while the first contest was decided more by the Johns Hopkins defense, the second encounter was due to Penn State’s offense being unable to find any sort of synergy in the second half.
Despite Maria Auth recording a hat trick among Penn State’s eight first-half goals, the Nittany Lions’ offense was stagnant the rest of the way, scoring only three goals in the final 30 minutes of play.
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On the other side, two Blue Jays in Cordingley and Maeve Barker finished the day with three goals apiece.
Each half of the duo scored one of the final two goals in the second half for Johns Hopkins as it outscored the Nittany Lions 7-4 in the final period.
The game concluded in a 13-11 Johns Hopkins victory, as Penn State dropped its second-straight loss to finish the regular season.
Although Penn State was not able to secure a win in either matchup against Johns Hopkins, the third matchup has the looks of another dog fight.
Since the teams were able to play each other twice this month, each squad is quite familiar with one another’s tendencies and overall style of play.
In their pair of meetings, Penn State has demonstrated the ability to hang with a solid Johns Hopkins squad. However, the Nittany Lions have been unable to produce better than spurts of stellar play.
Should the blue and white want to defend its home turf, it will need to protect its own net better by holding Johns Hopkins to less goals than the combined 26 it yielded in their previous two battles.
But most importantly, Penn State will need to produce a consistent scoring output that spans more than just a half of lacrosse.