Northwestern field hockey (8-8, 3-4 B1G) trailed No. 6 Penn State 4-3 late in their Sunday afternoon game when Wildcat senior Puck Pentenga ran down the right side of the field and crossed the ball across the face of the Nittany Lions' goal. The ball hopped along and barely missed two Northwestern sticks trying to to redirect the ball on goal before it rolled out of play on the far side of the field. The missed opportunity was Northwestern’s last real scoring chance in a game where they almost pulled off a miraculous comeback.
While Northwestern was the first to score in the game with a Saar de Breij rebound goal five minutes in, the rest of the first half was dominated by Penn State. The Nittany Lions scored four goals, including one off a penalty corner on the final play of the first half.
The 4-1 halftime deficit appeared nearly impossible to overcome, especially considering how good Penn State was playing, but the Wildcats kept fighting. They scored two goals on penalty corners early in the second half and after the strikes by Maren Seidel and Charlotte Vaziri, a come-from-behind upset win was in the cards.
However, despite opportunities for the Wildcats to tie the game, Penn State also played very good defense in the final 10 minutes to stop the Northwestern comeback. Northwestern pulled the goalie with about two minutes to go to try to give one final boost to the offense, but the Penn State defense remained resilient and kept the Wildcats from scoring, resulting in the 4-3 loss.
The loss – Northwestern’s third in a row – drops the Wildcats down to 7th in an ultra-competitive conference. It doesn’t get any easier for the ‘Cats as they conclude regular season Big Ten play this week when they travel to No. 2 Maryland (13-1, 6-1 B1G) Friday night.