Oct. 10, 2009

Courtesy of Penn State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State field hockey team clawed back to tie the score twice in the second half, but were unable to do it for a third time, dropping a tough 3-2 decision to No. 18 Northwestern on Friday evening in a game that featured five yellow cards and a disputed finish. Goals from redshirt senior Christine Dudek and redshirt freshman Hannah Allison weren't enough as the Wildcats prevented the Nittany Lions from winning their third straight over a ranked opponent.

It was also Pink Day as the Lions wore special pink jerseys and pink T-Shirts were handed out to fans to promote Breast Cancer Awareness.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first half, the Penn State responded with a goal only 1:16 into the second to tie the score at one. Dudek's shot was blocked before deflecting over the head of Northwestern goalie Amanda Wirth and into the cage at 36:16.

Despite the goal, Northwestern came right back with a score only 1:09 later. Courtney Plaster-Strange made a move to set up an open shot, which was eventually tipped by Kaylee Pohlmeyer past Penn State goalkeeper Ali Meves to make it 2-1.

The Nittany Lions continued their pressure and tied the score again at the 44:45 mark off a penalty corner. Allison took the shot off a Kristen Schaefer stick-stop, beating Pohlmeyer with a rocket for her second goal in as many games. Dudek also extended her team-high assist total to five on the play.

The Wildcats scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal at 52:12 when Chelsea Armstrong corralled a loose ball off a broken play in the circle and fired it just inside the right post to finish an impressive individual effort.

The teams played even the rest of the way with Penn State's best chance coming late. With just over two minutes remaining and down by one, a high Kelsey Amy shot on goal hit a Northwestern defender. The officials blew the play dead, but Penn State argued for a penalty stroke to no avail. The Nittany Lions were subsequently handed two yellow cards in a nine second span to put them down two players the rest of the game.

The two yellow cards upped the game's total to five (six total cards). Northwestern finished with two yellow cards and a green card while Penn State was handed a season-high three yellow cards.

The first half was up and down with no one finding the back of the cage until the Wildcats got on the board at 30:20 off a penalty corner. Zoe Almquist deflected an Armstrong shot for the all-important first goal.

Final shots were 15-11 in favor of Northwestern while penalty corners stood even at nine. Meves finished with seven saves while Wirth had two.

The Nittany Lions are back in action on Tuesday to round out their four-game homestand as they host intrastate rival Bucknell at 6 p.m. They then head to Iowa on Sunday for a clash with the Hawkeyes which will be broadcast via tape delay on the Big Ten Network.

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