UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — No. 9 Penn State extended its season-best winning streak to four games on Sunday afternoon, edging out William & Mary (2-8), 9-7.
Penn State (8-2) had little trouble generating shots in the non-conference victory, totaling 33 for the game, including 20 in the first half. But, the Nittany Lions struggled to consistently find the target, as just 20 total made it on goal.
However, Molly Fernandez, Mackenzie Cyr, and Maggie McCormick helped Penn State stay alive.
Fernandez led the Lions with three goals while McCormick tallied the most points four (one goal, three assists). Cyr chipped in two goals and one assist.
Penn State got off to a fast start, as Tatum Coffey netted her 24th goal of the season just 37 seconds into the game. However, her goal would be the Nittany Lions’ only score for the first 20-plus minutes of the game and Penn State’s lead would be its last until the 7:44 mark of the second half.
William & Mary got possession and slowed the game, patiently holding the ball and waiting for the right moment to strike. The tactic worked as the Tribe went on a 3-0 run to match what would be its largest lead of the game.
With 9:12 remaing, Penn State cut the William & Mary lead in half, as Cyr scored her first goal of the game, unassisted. But, the Tribe responded as Kyrstin Mackrides scored her second goal of the game at the 5:54 mark.
Penn State quickly answered back with the final goal of the half, as Coffey netted her second of the game just 45 seconds later to make the game 4-3 in favor of the Tribe at the break.
After William & Mary’s Mackrides finished a on a hat trick five-plus minutes into the second half, Fernandez scored key back-to-back goals to lift Penn State into a 5-5 tie.
But each time that it appeared that the Lions were going to seize control of the game, William & Mary resisted and fought back. The teams traded goals during the next nine minutes, forcing two more ties.
With 11:05 remaining in the game and the Tribe leading, 7-6 the tide finally turned in favor of Penn State, as the Nittany Lions would score the final three goals of the game to secure the victory.
Fernandez triggered the game-ending run and tied the contest at 7-7 by converting on a free-position attempt. McCormick then netted the game winner, scoring off a beautiful pass from Cyr to give Penn State its first lead in more than 51 minutes.
When the Nittany Lions needed a goal in the final minutes to salt the game away, Theresa Zichelli stepped up. With 4:32 left on the clock, she took a pass from McCormick and blasted a shot into net for her 12th goal of the season.
Dana Cahill registered seven saves, including three key stops in the second half, as Penn State rallied from behind.