The fight never left Penn State in Baltimore.
Despite its 12-8 loss to Stony Brook, the blue and white showed no signs of giving up in the first round of the NCAA Tournament — even when it got sloppy down the stretch.
The Seawolves blitzed the Nittany Lions to start the contest, building a 3-0 start before five minutes passed in the first quarter.
The blue and white found the board after calling a timeout, signaling a successful regroup thanks to the needed break. Freshman midfielder Emma Kelly found the back of the net for her unit, cutting the deficit to two in the process.
Disorganized offense on both ends ensued for the next few minutes before Nittany Lion goalie Ashley Bowan shut down a pair of Grade-A saves from her opponent around the 90-second mark.
Lapses in defensive pressure set up the Seawolves with two quick-firing opportunities against Bowan one-on-one, but she shut both down to keep her team from falling behind by three goals again.
In the second frame, Penn State quickly found the board on a fancy behind-the-back finish from sophomore attack Brooke Hoss. On the other end, Bowan continued to be a brick wall for her squad as it battled back from the early three-goal deficit.
Hoss fired off another highlight-reel goal, battling through contact and earning the and-one tally, for the Nittany Lions to tie things up at three.
Senior Regan Nealon’s goal on the advantage gave Penn State its fourth unanswered tally and its first lead of the contest at the 7:32 mark in the second.
The dominant run for the blue and white didn’t end there, though. Kristin O’Neill gathered her first goal of the day on a free-position shot to give her unit its biggest lead of the evening at the 3:30 mark.
Stony Brook wasn’t going to just roll over, however.
The Seawolves responded with three straight goals to take a 6-5 goal lead by the half.
In the second half, the blue and white once again brought the game to a tie with a Meghan Murray goal — but its opponent responded strongly.
Tallies from midfielders junior Jaden Hampel and senior Charlotte Verhulst gave Stony Brook its largest lead of the game since early in the second quarter.
A media timeout at the eight-minute mark allowed Penn State to gather itself and resulted in a brief gap in goals. Later in the third, O’Neill gathered her second of the day and 50th of the year to make the score 8-7 in favor of her opponent.
Quickly after what appeared to be the game-tying tally for the blue and white, the goal was called off. Murray was sent to the bench, and Stony Brook went a player up.
The Seawolves rapidly took advantage of its situation, scoring with 28 seconds left in the third to take another two-tally lead.
The fourth quarter began as a bit of a snooze fest, defined by strong defense and unforced turnovers. A quality save from Bowan kept the blue and white in it at the 9:58 mark before the Nittany Lions called a timeout 15 seconds later.
The Seawolves put in the dagger in Penn State’s side not too long after, scoring to take a three- and eventually, four-goal lead by the 6:44 mark. The 10th-ranked squad added insult to injury at the 4:12 mark, taking a game-high five-goal lead.
Though it meant little as far as the outcome of the game goes, O’Neill collected another hat trick for the blue and white with just under 30 seconds left.
Unforced turnovers and penalties led to the blue and white’s 12-8 demise in the Big Dance and eventually ended its 2023 season.
MORE WOMEN'S LACROSS COVERAGE
Penn State Women’s Lacrosse was cooking this season.