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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Seniors Rainey Hodgson and Cian Dabrowski combined for 15 points and classmate Katie Frederick made 13 saves in goal as No. 12 Ohio State knocked off No. 9 Penn State, 16-13, Saturday afternoon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Senior Day.
Hodgson had four goals and four assists and Dabrowski had four goals, three assists and four draw controls as the Buckeyes won their ninth consecutive game and improved their program-record start to 11-1 and 2-0 in the Big Ten. Penn State falls to 9-3 and 1-1 in conference play.
The win also is the 45th overall for the Ohio State senior class, tying the 2015 seniors for the most wins over a four-year span.
“The past few games with Penn State have been really close and the seniors and the team made it a mission this week to come out and get the win,” head coach Alexis Venechanos said. “We had a lot of different people step up today. We had Gizmo (Christine Easton) step up. Katie Frederick made a lot of saves for us. So overall we needed a team effort and I think we had that.
“We’ve been winning a few games in a row now and every game we’re learning and getting better. This group is really hungry. They’re students of the game as well, we’re gaining confidence, but I also think we’re looking forward to getting even better down the stretch.”
Ohio State built a 13-7 lead with 20 minutes left after Paulina Constant’s goal at the 20:49 mark. However, Penn State battled back with four straight goals, trimming the Ohio State lead to 13-11 with 14:12 left.
But the Buckeyes answered the call, scoring three of the next four goals, beginning when Hodgson found Constant less than a minute later. After PSU’s Madison Cyr cut the lead back to two with 9:43 left, Ohio State put the Nittany Lions away with two straight goals. First, Hodgson found Morgan Castelein in front of the cage at 8:46. Then, Hodgson capped off the Ohio State scoring with the dagger at 3:45 off a nice feed from Dabrowski to make it a four-goal lead and taking the wind out of the Penn State attack. The Nittany Lions added a late goal by Steph Lazzo at 1:56, but it was too little too late as the Buckeyes ran out the clock.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle during the first 15 minutes with the score tied at 5-5 at the 14:27 mark. But Ohio State poured it on during the rest of the half, scoring four consecutive goals, capped by a Christine Easton diving shot at the halftime horn to give Ohio State a 9-5 lead. With the final seconds ticking away, Ohio State’s attack remained patient and Hodgson, playing behind the net, found the cutting Easton in front of the goal who fired it into the back of the net as the clock ran out.
“(That run) was big and we hadn’t really played much with a big lead going into halftime,” Venechanos added. “That was new for us. So we talked at halftime about them coming after us, stopping their runs and closing the door. Penn State definitely had their run with four goals there, but we kept our composure.”
Defensively, Ohio State forced seven Penn State turnovers in the first half, four of those coming during the 5-0 run that extended into the second half. Christina Turner led Ohio State with four caused turnovers on the day.
Easton finished the game with three goals and four draw controls while Molly Wood had two goals, an assist and a team-high five draws.
Despite allowing 13 goals, Frederick played solid in goal with her 13 saves after Penn State took 36 shots on the day. The Lions were led by Katie O’Donnell’s four goals while Emi Smith (8-3) took the loss in goal with nine saves and 16 goals allowed.
The previous seven meetings between these two teams had been decided by three goals or less, and Saturday was no different as Ohio State and Penn State added another chapter to this intense rivalry with another classic. Last season, Ohio State dropped a 14-13 decision at Penn State before falling 13-11 in the Big Ten tournament championship game at Rutgers. Two years ago in Columbus, Ohio State scored five unanswered goals in the second half to pull off a comeback win in the final minutes.
Ohio State will take its nine-game win streak to No. 1 Maryland next Saturday. Game time is scheduled for Noon ET on BTN Plus.
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