Top Four Seeds to Meet in Big Ten Semifinals Friday

PHOTO BY CRAIG HOUTZ

Rutgers celebrates its 19-13 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten quarterfinals Thursday at Penn State's Panzer Stadium.


Rutgers is peaking at the right time.

The 17th-ranked Scarlet Knights scored a season-high 19 goals to defeat Ohio State 19-13 in the Big Ten women’s lacrosse quarterfinals Thursday in University Park, Pa. It was Rutgers’ third straight victory on the heels of a six-game losing streak and its third win over the Buckeyes this spring.

“It is hard to beat a team three times in one season, but we believed in ourselves to get the job done,” coach Melissa Lehman said. “Now the focus is on Northwestern."

A daunting task lay ahead, as the fourth-seeded Scarlet Knights will take on top-seeded Northwestern — undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 20 — in the first Big Ten semifinal Friday at Panzer Stadium (5 p.m. ET on BTN).

Rutgers (6-7) advanced with a balanced offensive performance in which six players scored at least two goals, led by a team-high four tallies from Cassidy Spilis. Hannah Hollingsworth added three goals and three assists for a game-high six points.

Ohio State (4-9) clearly missed second-team All-Big Ten goalie Jillian Rizzo, who could not play due to COVID-19 protocols. Backup Regan Alexander made just five saves in her stead.

Liza Hernandez (four goals, one assist), Lindsay Epstein (four goals, one assist) and Nicole Ferrara (three goals, two assists) each had five points for the Buckeyes, who kept it close before Rutgers closed the game on a four-goal run.

Maryland, Hopkins Survive and Advance

Rivals Maryland and Johns Hopkins will play in the other semifinal (8 p.m. ET on BTN). Both teams got up big early and survived spirited second-half rallies by Michigan and Penn State, respectively, to advance.

The second-seeded Terps coughed up most of a 12-3 halftime lead and needed all three of their second-half goals in a 16-13 win over the seventh-seeded Wolverines.

Hannah Leubecker scored a game-high six goals for Maryland (8-5), while Tewaaraton candidate Lizzie Colson became the just the third player in school history to reach 300 career draw controls.

The third-seeded Blue Jays also stormed to a large halftime lead. They were up 9-2 at the break and made it 10-2 early in the second half before the sixth-seeded Nittany Lions came back to pull within two.

Quinn Nicolai did it nearly singlehandedly, scoring all of her game-high five goals in the second half, but Penn State’s comeback stalled after it drew two yellow cards in the final three minutes and Johns Hopkins held on for an 11-9 win.

Mackenzie Heldberg scored a team-high four goals for red-hot Hopkins, which has won five of six games after a midseason pause due to COVID-19 protocols.

Maryland edged Hopkins twice this season, defeating the Blue Jays 9-8 in overtime March 12 and by the same score in regulation time April 14.

NIKE/US LACROSSE TOP 20

No. 12 Maryland 16, Michigan 13
No. 13 Johns Hopkins 11, No. 18 Penn State 9
No. 17 Rutgers 19, Ohio State 13
No. 19 Denver 10, Colorado 7







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