NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No. 11 Penn State staged an epic comeback on Sunday afternoon in Nashville, rallying from as many as five goals down in the second half to defeat No. 8 Vanderbilt (5-2, 0-1) 12-11 in overtime. With the win, the Nittany Lions remain undefeated on the road for the season, moving to a perfect 5-0.
After scoring five goals in Penn State’s win against Hofstra on Wednesday, freshman Tatum Coffey outdid herself with a fantastic encore performance versus the Commodores. She netted six goals, including the game winner in overtime, giving her a team-high 23 for the season. The Nittany Lions never led in the game until Coffey’s goal with 3:10 remaining in the extra period put PSU on top.
Sophomore Mackenzie Cyr was also locked in offensively, tallying two goals and three assists. Freshman Maggie McCormick notched just a lone point in the game but it was a big one, assisting on Coffey’s game winner, to give her a team high 14 on the season.
Senior goalkeeper Dana Cahill was key to the win on the defensive end, totaling 11 saves, including six in the second half as Penn State clawed its way back into the game. None was bigger than the stop she made with two seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime.
Penn State (7-2) dug itself an early hole, falling behind 5-1 less than eight minutes into the game. Coffey kept the Nittany Lions in the hunt, scoring the team’s first three goals, including back-to-back scores within a six-minute span to pull PSU within two at 5-3 at the 14:14 mark.
Vanderbilt outscored Penn State, 2-1, in the remainder of the first half and headed to the break with a 7-4 lead.
Coffey scored just a minute into the second half and it looked like Penn State may have reversed the momentum. However, Vanderbilt answered back strong, scoring three consecutive goals in the span of nearly five minutes to fashion a seemingly insurmountable 10-5 lead. But Penn State went to work and began chipping away at the Commodores’ advantage.
Coffey kicked the rally off with her fifth goal of the game at the 23:18 mark. Then, senior Theresa Zichelli stepped up, netting back-to-back goals. Mackenzie Cyr scored her second goal on the day with 18:03 remaining to pull Penn State to within one and freshman Kelly Lechner followed it up with the equalizer with just under 15 minutes left in the game.
The tie didn’t last long, however, as Vanderbilt once again regained the lead with a goal at the 13:12 mark.
In the next 10 minutes, Penn State had numerous chances to retie the game but shots were either saved by replacement VU goalkeeper Chelsea Pasfield, sailed off target, or hit the post. Persistence paid off with just 2:33 remaining when senior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) came through in the clutch, pulling Penn State even with a goal off a pass from Cyr.
Vanderbilt won the ensuing draw and held the ball until the game’s final seconds when its top offensive threat, senior midfielder Ally Carey, was stymied by Cahill.
The Commodores also won the draw to begin overtime and again had designs on maintaining possession for a final attempt before the expiration of the first three minutes. Vanderbilt’s Alex Priddy got off a shot with 35 seconds on the clock but Cahill was once again up to the task, making the save. Coffey then scored the game winner 25 seconds later.
No shots were registered by either team in the overtime’s final three minutes, securing the win for Penn State.