Women's lacrosse tops Vanderbilt to advance to ALC semifinals

BALTIMORE -- Sophomore midfielder Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.) matched her career high with five goals and senior attacker Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) and sophomore midfielder Haley Ford (White Hall, Md.) recorded three goals and an assist each as the No. 8 Penn State women's lacrosse team defeated Vanderbilt, 16-14, in the ALC quarterfinals at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field.

Lechner, who coincidentally netted five goals against the Blue Jays at Homewood Field April 21, scored five markers for the second time in three games. Fernandez fired three goals for the third time this season, while Ford tied her career best with four points. Junior attacker Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md./1g, 2a) and sophomore midfielder Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J./1g, 1a) also added multi-point games.

Senior defender Katie Guy (Whitby, Ont.) collected a game-high five ground balls, while freshman midfielder Jenna Mosketti (Fallston, Md.) led the team with four draw controls. Classmate Emi Smith (Denver, Colo.) recorded eight saves.

Penn State outshot the Commodores (2-15) by a 37-24 margin and collected more ground balls (22-16) and caused turnovers (13-8). Both teams gathered 16 draws and were 2-for-4 on free-position shots. Alexa Kunowsky led Vanderbilt with five goals, while Chelsea Pasfield made 11 saves.

The Nittany Lions (12-5), who improved to 6-1 in their first game of the league playoffs, secured their second straight 12-win season with the victory and advanced to the ALC semifinals against second-seeded Northwestern Friday, May 3. Game time is set at 6:30 p.m.

Penn State opened the game on a 4-1 run within the first 11 minutes. After Coffey gave the Nittany Lions a 1-0 advantage at 4:26, Abby Wheeler scored her first of four goals to tie the game with 24:21 left in the opening stanza. Lechner responded with a pair of strikes in a 2:58 span to give Penn State a 3-1 lead before Fernandez fired a free-position shot to the back of the net just 22 seconds after Lechner's second goal.

Beginning with 19:01 remaining in the half, Vanderbilt responded with three of the next four goals. Meggie Ramzy made it a 4-2 game before Ford took Mosketti's pass and tallied with 17:23 left in the stanza. Wheeler added two goals for the Commodores at 13:01 and 15:02 to cut the Nittany Lion lead to 5-4.

Penn State rebounded with its second three-goal run of the half. Cyr netted her lone goal of the game with 14:15 left in the stanza before Lechner and McCormick added strikes at 22:20 and 22:43, respectively, to extend the Penn State lead to 8-4.

The Commodores outscored Penn State by a 4-3 margin for the remainder of the half as they made it a three-goal game. Mallory Schonk and Kunowsky scored to make it an 8-6 contest before Fernandez added her second of the game with 3:39 remaining.

Down by a 9-6 score, Vanderbilt's Kunowsky brought the Commodores to within a pair of markers before Fernandez and Ford added tallies in a 31-second span to give the Nittany Lions an 11-7 lead. Schonk scored for Vanderbilt with 12 seconds remaining in the half as Penn State took an 11-8 halftime advantage.

After the Nittany Lions began the second half with three of the frame's first five goals, Vanderbilt responded with four straight markers as it tied the game with 9:48 remaining. Freshman Madison Cyr (Westminster, Md.) gave Penn State a 12-8 lead with 26:32 left before Kunowsky and Amanda Lockwood netted markers to cut the Nittany Lion lead to 12-10.

McCormick and Lechner responded with a pair of goals in a 1:19 span to make it 14-10, but Vanderbilt stormed back to force the game's first tie since it was 1-1. Wheeler started the outburst with 12:22 remaining before Lockwood made it 14-12 with 11:59 left. Kunowsky then added a pair of goals at 19:23 and 20:12 to draw even.

With 8:59 left in the game, Ford netted her third of the contest before Lechner closed out the scoring with 6:52 on the clock to account for the 16-14 final.  

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Last Updated May 03, 2013