No. 14 Cornell Topples No. 7 Penn State in OT
from press release
ITHACA, N.Y. – Caroline Salisbury missed a perfect chance to complete a four-goal comeback against a top-10 team in the first overtime.
She didn't miss her chance in the second.
Salisbury, a senior captain, fired a bullet past Penn State goalie Emi Smith with 1:17 left in double overtime, giving the No. 14 Big Red women's lacrosse team a 13-12 comeback victory over the No. 7 Nittany Lions at Schoellkopf Field on Wednesday evening.
"This was one of the most exciting games I've ever had the pleasure of coaching," Cornell head coach Jenny Graap said. "I'm so proud of the team. They were composed down the stretch. ... All those overtime periods are only three minutes, but it seems like a lifetime."
With the game tied at 12-12 and Cornell stalling for the final shot in overtime, Salisbury earned a free position opportunity with 17 seconds left and missed wide right. The whistle blew to signal the end of the overtime shortly after, and Penn State got the first possession of the second, sudden-death overtime.
After a minute of controlling the play, the Nittany Lions' Kelly Lechner took a shot that bounced off the crossbar, and Cornell senior defender Kate Ivory picked up the ground ball. A successful clear by Amanda D'Amico gave Cornell the ball with an offense to run, and Salisbury converted on a low shot from the right side to send the Big Red bench storming onto the field in celebration.
Salisbury's game-winner was her third of the game. Amanda D'Amico led all Big Red players with a career-high five goals, and Lindsay Toppe scored three more to up her total to 21 on the year. Courtney Gallagher earned another win by making eight saves including five in the second half and overtimes.
"As a junior, Amanda D'Amico is a little bit of an unsung hero," Graap said. "Toppe's a force and Caroline Salisbury's a force, but to see D'Amico step up with five goals, that was huge. That put us in a position to even take this game into overtime."
The win keeps Cornell undefeated at 5-0 and moves Penn State to 4-3. Penn State's losses have all come to teams ranked in the top 15.
Well before Cornell stormed back, the contest appeared to be going the Nittany Lions' way. Penn State never trailed and held an 11-7 lead with 14 minutes left in the game, but the Big Red rattled off four straight goals to force overtime. Included in that span was Salisbury's first goal of the day with 13:47 left, D'Amico's fourth and fifth of the day, and Toppe's third.
Cornell held the ball in the final three minutes of regulation to try to win the game, but a shot by Toppe went wide and the final buzzer sounded before Emily Tripodi could get off a quality chance.
In the first overtime, Salisbury scored her second goal of the game just 36 seconds in to give Cornell its first lead of the evening at 12-11. Penn State answered back with a Maggie McCormick goal with 47 left in the period to knot the score at 12-12, and neither team scored in the second half of overtime. Salisbury's free position attempt came in that frame, but she could not put the ball on target.
The Big Red picked up its first overtime win since a 13-12 double overtime win at Princeton on March 31, 2012. The Big Red's last game that went to triple overtime was a 6-5 victory against Notre Dame on March 20, 2011.
The Big Red, which had not trailed all season coming into Wednesday's contest, fell behind early and stayed behind for most of the first half.
Down 1-0, D'Amico got the Cornell scoring started with an unassisted strike. She re-tied the game with her second goal 11 minutes later after the Nittany Lions took a 2-1 lead.
But after that, the Big Red offense went cold as Penn State went on a 4-0 run over the next five minutes. The Nittany Lions controlled the draws in that span and got two of their four goals on free positions. Another came right after the draw on a breakaway to give Penn State a 6-2 lead with 11:19 left in the first.
The Big Red closed the half strong, scoring three of the next four goals to make it a two-goal deficit at the half. Kelly Lang, Sarah Hefner and Lindsay Toppe all found the back of the net, and Toppe's goal came with just 1:46 left in the half. Cornell also had possession as the clock wound down, but the team turned the ball over and was unable to bring the deficit within one.
Penn State recorded the first goal in the second half to take an 8-5 lead, but Cornell got the next two from Toppe and D'Amico to make it 8-7. That's when the Nittany Lions scored three straight, threatening the Big Red's undefeated season. That's when the comeback began.
"The whole game for us was coming from behind," Graap said. "I'm just proud of our ability to stay poised and keep chipping away at that lead."
Cornell controlled ground balls by a 10-5 margin in the second half, and the Big Red caused eight turnovers to Penn State's three in the game. Cornell is now 5-0 for the second consecutive season and picked up its second ever win against the Nittany Lions.
The Big Red now embarks on a long road trip, first taking on Albany in Baltimore on Sunday. Cornell and the Great Danes face off at 1 p.m. Cornell then faces No. 3 North Carolina on the road on March 20 before finishing the three-game road trip with Penn in Philadelphia on March 24.
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