Cesan's overtime goal propels No. 4 Princeton past No. 8 Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Under the bright game lights at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, No. 8 Penn State fell 3-2 to No. 4 Princeton after sophomore Katie Andrews forced overtime with a late second-period goal. The Tigers remain undefeated with a 3-0 record, while the Nittany Lions move to 3-2 on the season.
"I thought that there was a total team effort and that they left everything on the field," Penn State head coach Charlene Morett said. "I can't ask for more than that...I think that we definitely played a full 70 minutes, that's what we talked about, and you could see their intensity and their pride. They definitely came to play today."
Junior Michelle Cesan, who served as an alternate for Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics, scored the game-winning goal for Princeton just over two minutes into the overtime period. With the Tigers offense applying pressure in front of goalkeeper Ayla Halus, Cesan took a quick pass from leading scorer Kathleen Sharkey and fired a tough shot into the right corner of the net.
The majority of the first half was played for possession in the midfield. Sophomore Katie Breneman stepped up immediately for the Lions, serving as a force at back throughout the entire game. The defenseman caused several turnovers for the Tigers, along with fifth-year senior Hannah Allison.
"I thought that Hannah and Ashtin [Klingler] were amazing," Morett said. "I thought that Katie Andrews was outstanding...She's a kid that actually came off of the bench and was a difference maker in the game. She played very, very well."
Princeton, however, struck first, with Olympian Katie Reinprecht scoring her first goal of the season at the 12:01 mark of the game. Taking an excellent pass from sophomore Allison Evans at the top of the box, the midfielder shot from the right corner to put the ball past Halus. The Tigers had an early 1-0 lead.
Senior Kelsey Amy had several chances before finally tying the game at 1-1. Amy flew down the field on two back-to-back breakaways by the 20-minute mark, being fended off by Princeton defenseman Charlotte Krause and goalkeeper Christina Maida each time. After Penn State's fourth penalty corner of the period, the senior hammered a shot past Maida for her fifth goal of the season. Sophomore Laura Gebhart aided Amy with her fourth assist at the striking circle.
The Lions seemed to be pulling away with momentum as the half drew to a close, with junior Whitney Reddig sending a terrific pass to sophomore Taylor Herold from the midline. Herold pulled away down the left wing to move into scoring position, but was denied by a Princeton defenseman. That energy would carry over into the second period as Allison drew a penalty corner 46:45 mark.
Unfortunately, Penn State was unable to capitalize, and the Tigers took control of the offense. After nearly 50 minutes of play, Princeton earned a penalty corner, with Sharkey taking an initial shot at Halus. Gebhart stepped up for a defensive save, forcing the ball out of bounds. Sharkey then regained possession and shot from the hash marks to take a 2-1 lead.
With time running out, the Lions hustled to try and force Princeton to make mistakes. Finally in the Tigers' zone, junior Annie Abdo made a lunging pass across the front of the net, finding Andrews in the right place at the right time. The sophomore quickly swung back and fired the ball into the right corner of the net. It was her first career goal on her first career shot.
|PRINCETON VS. PENN STATE|
"Right spot at the right time," Andrews said. "I just got it in and got it finished. The build up off of it was awesome. A lot of our forwards touched it, and I was just lucky to get the last one...Our attitude and our effort was a full 70 minutes out there on the field today, and it was a full team effort."
Now tied up at 2-2, both squads buckled down on defense to create an offensive stalemate. Princeton freshman Teresa Benvenuti protected Maida with a defensive save on Amy, while Breneman, Gebhart and Reddig held Penn State's line. With four minutes of regulation, junior Ashtin Klingler made a tremendous play to hold the Tigers without a shot on a penalty corner and regained possession for Penn State. Halus then came up huge for the Lions as time expired, stopping a commanding shot from Sharkey to send the game into overtime.
The extra period began with an immediate back-and-forth field rush, with both squads trying to find an offensive edge. The Lions continued to battle as Andrews made a defensive save on Katie Reinprecht at the 72-minute mark. But Cesan's shot would prove to be the final play in the game, giving Princeton a 3-2 win over Penn State.
The Tigers outshot the Lions 16-12, with 10 of those shots coming in the second period, and both squads came away with six penalty corners. Halus made eight saves during the contest, while Maida stopped four shots.