NU beaten soundly by Penn State 14-10

Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

NU came back, but the mountain was just a little too steep to climb.

After getting smacked in the first half to the tune of 10-4, Northwestern came out of halftime smoldering hot and went on a quick 4-0 run to cut the Penn State lead to 2. But Penn State recollected themselves and reasserted themselves, pulling away to win 14-10.

It’s decidedly unusual to see Northwestern get generally outclassed by a team like Penn State. Penn State is a good team with a bevy of scoring options, but they’re no Maryland. Northwestern fans are used to using NU tune up teams in that second tier of women’s lacrosse. The 12th ranked Nittany Lions were having none of that.

With Steph Lazo, Madison Cyr, Tatum Coffey, Kelly Lechner, and Katie O’Donnell all scoring multiple goals for the Nittany Lions and Maggie McCormick dropping dimes all game (she finished with 5 assists), the depth of Penn State’s attack gave NU’s defense fits. Northwestern doesn’t give up 14 goals in a game. A lot of credit goes to PSU for that.

Northwestern’s bugaboo on offense, an overreliance on freshman stud Selena Lasota, was actually not the issue today. Kaleigh Craig scored 4 times on 7 shots for the Wildcats, as the junior became the focal point for the Northwestern offense. Lasota got her multi-goal game as well, which at this point is nothing more than a formality. But NU struggled with turnovers, and that coupled with a dominant performance in net from Penn State’s Emi Smith meant that NU’s 16-10 edge in draw controls was for naught.

Northwestern Lacrosse is not where we are accustomed to seeing them. With the Wildcats now 10-5 and 2-2 in conference with only one more regular season game left, Northwestern’s ridiculous Final Four streak is in jeopardy. Northwestern needs to figure out its draw control situation (Northwestern tried out a handful of people in the draw control circle, including Lasota, Shelby Fredericks, and Lauren Murray) and find its form that has helped them beat 5 top 15 teams this season.

Northwestern’s last regular season game will be Saturday the 25th against Ohio State before the Big Ten Tournament starts April 30th in Piscataway, New Jersey. You can listen to the Ohio State game here on WNUR.

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