Behind two goals from senior forward Jenna Chrismer, Penn State field hockey outlasted Ohio State, 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Buckeye Varsity Field.
OSU senior co-captain and midfielder Kaitlyn Wagner made the game interesting late when she converted on a penalty stroke with 7:50 left to play in regulation to cut Penn State’s lead to one.
The Buckeyes (3-6, 0-2) couldn’t climb the ladder, however, and were unable to break through in the game’s final minutes.
Freshman midfielder Maddy Humphrey created the penalty stroke after she dribbled down the field and was tackled inside the scoring circle. She subsequently had to leave the game due to a right leg injury, but returned with less than four minutes to play.
OSU had one final gasp when junior back and co-captain Emma Royce fired on goal off a penalty corner with a little more than five minutes left, but redshirt-senior goalie Kylie Licata made a diving stop to preserve the game for Penn State (8-2, 2-1).
Despite the valiant effort toward the finish, OSU coach Anne Wilkinson said Sunday the game was lost in the opening minutes against the two-time defending Big Ten champions.
“We could have (done) a lot better job in the first 15-20 minutes of setting the tone and playing strong defense,” Wilkinson said. “We need to be able to take charge in the (defending) circle.”
Royce said the team’s mindset must change in order to dictate the pace from the start of each game.
“I think the best way we can stay focused for the first 15 (minutes) is instead of ball watching, focusing on our tempo and keeping possession of the ball,” she said. “The reason why we get turned over in our back third in the early 15 is because we give away the ball too easily. So it’s more attention to detail, which I think is the key.”
It took Penn State just 2:41 to get on the board when Chrismer scored off an assist from senior forward Taylor Herold from three yards out.
Less than eight minutes later, with the score 2-1, Chrismer connected again off a pass from sophomore midfielder Carly Celkos.
“I think we need to mentally prepare beforehand, have good warm-ups,” OSU junior forward Peanut Johnson said. “It starts there because I think it’s taking us a little bit of time to be on our game, which can’t happen.”
In the second half, OSU struggled with Penn State’s size and the pressure they put on the ball. The Buckeyes found it hard to get into scoring position, recording five shots in the second period.
Penn State had a 4-2 advantage in penalty corners in the second half. Penn State sophomore back Emilee Ehret converted off one a little more than 10 minutes into the frame with assists from Herold and senior forward Laura Gebhart. And Ehret’s goal proved to be the difference maker in the end.
Herold’s three assists Sunday put her one point away from 100 in her Penn State career.
The Buckeyes are set to go on the road for three consecutive games to start October against Maryland, Virginia and Rutgers. OSU is set to face Maryland on Friday in College Park, Md., at 3:30 p.m.