Christina Esposito led the team with four goals, and Selena Lasota added a goal and two assists, but it wasn't enough as the Northwestern women's lacrosse team dropped an important game on the road Saturday afternoon to Penn State, 17-13.
The loss makes next Friday's game at Ohio State a must-win for the team if it wants to qualify for the NCAA tournament, the year-end championship. Teams must have a .500 record or better to be eligible for the tournament. For a team which began the season ranked No. 5 and had high hopes for a deep postseason run, missing the tournament would be a major disappointment.
In the battle for second place in the Big Ten, neither team was able to pull away in the first half. Northwestern had a two goal lead with about ten minutes to play in the half, but Penn State battled back to take the lead, 7-6. Esposito, a junior, tied things at 7 just before the halftime whistle.
The second half started in a similar fashion, with both teams alternating goals until it was 13-13 with eight and a half minutes to play. It looked like things would come down to the wire, but junior Steph Lazo helped orchestrate a four goal run for the Nittany Lions, assisting on three of the four goals to help her team pull away down the stretch.
Kaleigh Craig and Shelby Fredericks each added a goal and an assist in the losing effort.