COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State rallied with five unanswered goals in the second half to defeat No. 8 Penn State, 10-9, on Sunday afternoon. Katie Chase scored the game-winning goal with 1:37 to play when Jackie Cifarelli found her open inside from the 12-meter mark and buried in a shot into the top of the net. With the win the Buckeyes improved to 11-4 and 4-1 in ALC play, while the Nittany Lions fell to 8-6 and 2-3 in conference action. The victory also marked the first time the Buckeyes have defeated Penn State since the 2008 season.
“I thought we showed a lot of resiliency today,” said head coach Alexis Venechanos. “Our backs were against the wall for the majority of the game and I’m really proud of how our team stepped up mentally from playing from behind against a great team like Penn State. Our defense was able to step up and we took advantage of our opportunities late. It was a fought-hard win against a great Penn State team.”
The 2014 senior class -- Tayler Kuzma, Heather Gravinese, Kaila Gottlick and Cara Facchina -- were recognized before the contest. With the win, the 2014 class now has 40 wins in four years at Ohio State, which is currently tied for third-most all-time.
“Our senior class has been playing like this for the last four years and I’m really happy we could give them this win today,” said Venechanos. “Individually, they stepped up at different times during the game. I thought defensively in the second half, Heather and Tayler showed a lot of courage for us. Cara kept us organized on the offensive end and Kaila’s contagious spirit on the sideline was something that we needed today.”
Offensively, Cifarelli led the Buckeyes with a game-high six points on one goal and five assists, while Chase posted four goals against the Nittany Lions. Chase, who leads the team with 41 goals in 2014, capped the 100-career point milestone following her first goal of the afternoon. Also having big days on the attack were junior Jennifer Porretto, who had three goals, while Cian Dabrowski had a pair of scores for the Scarlet and Gray. Cifarelli leads the nation with 41 assists in 2014.
Junior goalie Tori DeScenza had eight saves to improve to a season-high 11 wins and four losses. Porretto and junior defense Emily Valli also collected four groundballs each. The Buckeyes improve to 8-1 at home in 2014 -- the most home wins by a team in school history.
The Buckeyes began the afternoon with the first goal of the contest when Chase and Cifarelli connected for the first of four different times against the Lions at 28:25. Chase now has 95 goals in her career.
A back-and-fourth battle then begun with each team trading goals throughout the first half of competition. Porretto scored at 26:01 to give OSU a 2-1 lead when she spun her way inside the crease for the goal. Dabrowski gave the Buckeyes their third lead of the afternoon when she scored on a give-and-go with Cifarelli following a foul called on Penn State at 18:57 from the near side. Chase and Cifarelli made it 4-3 with a goal at 16:25. Ohio State held a two-goal margin for a four-minute span when Cifarelli scored her 14th of the year following a wrap-around shot at 14:27. Penn State would then go on a 6-0 run to take a 9-5 lead with under 23 minutes left in the second half. At halftime, the Lions lead, 8-5, with an 18-8 lead in shots and a 8-5 advantage in draw controls.
Down 9-5, the Buckeyes would not cave in and fought their way back in the contest in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Dabrowski began the momentum when she scored on an unassisted score at 19:36 after sprinting through the Penn State crease and firing a shot into the net. The scoring opportunity was set up following a groundball that was picked up by junior defense Taylor Donahue before Ohio State claimed one of its 11 good clears of the afternoon.
Ohio State cut its deficit to just one goal following two crucial back-to-back goals by Porretto at 18:57 and 14:05, respectively. She had her own wrap-around goal for the unassisted score at 18:57 after a controlled draw by Chase to make it 9-7. Down a player, Porretto then scored her 24th goal of the year when she fired in a blast at 14:05 to put the Buckeyes within one goal.
Down by one, Chase and Cifarelli found each other for the third time with a goal at 9:50 to knot the score at 9-9. Chase broke inside and received a perfectly-timed pass from Cifarelli for the game-tying score. A yellow card was then issued to Penn State at 2:52 to set up the man-up gamewinning goal for Chase. The Nittany Lions were down a player for the final minute of play, allowing the Buckeyes to run out the clock on the attack and earn the big win.
Overall, shots were 24-19 in favor of Penn State, while the Buckeyes came back to win the draw controls, 10-9.