No. 20 Ohio State falls to No. 7 Penn State in Big Ten championship
Katie Chase recorded four goals and a career-high three assists.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - No. 20 Ohio State fell to No. 7 Penn State Sunday afternoon, 13-11, in a wild, back-and-forth Big Ten tournament championship game at High Point Solutions Stadium at Rutgers University.
The Buckeyes were playing in their first conference tournament championship game in program history after knocking off No. 1 and previously undefeated Maryland Friday, 11-10.
"I was really proud of our effort," head coach Alexis Venechanos said after the game. "We had our backs against the wall almost the entire tournament, playing three games in four days. We knew it probably wasn't going to be the prettiest game today, but we definitely had our opportunities. You have to give credit to Penn State, they definitely played a great game. But I'm really proud of the way we competed. I think we played really unselfish and we're excited for what's next."
Much like the first meeting between these two teams a month ago, this one came right down to the final minutes. Trailing 12-9 with 13:53 left, Ohio State scored two straight goals by Jennifer Porretto and Katie Chase to cut the lead to 12-11 with 9:19 left. Unable to record the neutralizer, Penn State's Tatum Coffey streaked down the right side of the 8-meter arc less than 2 minutes later to push the lead back to 13-11. Ohio State would have a few chances down the stretch, but were turned away by the Penn State defense.
It was another game of runs as Ohio State struck first less than a minute into the game when Cifarelli found Chase to make it 1-0. Penn State responded, however, with four straight goals to take a 4-1 lead midway through the half. Hodgson and Kelsea Ayers would answer for the Buckeyes at 13:15 and 8:52 to cut the lead to one. From that point, both teams traded goals until PSU scored two straight by Coffey and Jenna Mosketti to end the half and take an 8-5 lead into the locker room.
But it was Ohio State who came out the aggressor in the second half, scoring three straight goals in the first 7:15 to tie the game at 8-8 - and Chase played a hand in each one. First, Chase found Cifarelli from behind the goal streaking in front of the crease to make it 8-6. Cifarelli then returned the favor just over a minute later, finding Chase again to make it 8-7. Chase then assisted freshman Molly Wood to tie the game less than 3 minutes later, forcing a Penn State timeout. The timeout worked in PSU's favor as the Nittany Lions answered with three straight goals to make it 11-8 with 17:09 left.
At that point some were probably wondering if the Buckeyes, playing in their third game in four days, had enough left in the tank for one more comeback. And the answer was yes as Dabrowski, Porretto and Chase helped Ohio State score three of the next four goals to make it 12-11 with 9:19 left, setting up the exciting final minutes.
Ohio State assisted on 10 of its 11 goals, with the lone unassisted goal coming off a free-position goal by Chase with 5:10 left in the first half.
Chase led Ohio State with four goals - setting a new Ohio State record for goals in a season (57) in the process - and notched a career high with three assists. Cifarelli contributed with four assists and one goal. Porretto finished with two goals and Hodgson, Wood, Dabrowski and Ayers all had one.
Tatum Coffey led Penn State with four goals.
Draw controls were even at 13 apiece. PSU had a slight edge in shots, 25-24.
Chase (11g, 3a), Dabrowski (7g, 3a) and Cifarelli (1g, 8a) were named to the all-tournament team.
Ohio State (13-7) will now await its NCAA tournament fate, which will be announced at 9 p.m. ET tonight on NCAA.com.
2015 Big Ten All-Tournament Team
Lauren Sbrilli, M, Rutgers
Anna Schueler, M, Michigan
Kaleigh Craig, M, Northwestern
Kara Mupo, A, Northwestern
Brook Griffin, A, Maryland
Megan Whittle, A, Maryland
Katie Chase, A, Ohio State
Jackie Cifarelli, A, Ohio State
Cian Dabrowski, M, Ohio State
Tatum Coffey, M, Penn State
ABBY SMUCKER, M, PENN STATE (MVP)
Emi Smith, GK, Penn State
Jenna Mosketti, M, Penn State
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