Junior defender Elle Hempt had IU back within one goal of No. 6 Penn State after a penalty corner with 21 minutes left in the game, but a quick response by the Nittany Lions was just too much to overcome.
IU couldn’t get two goals in the time remaining and, as a result, suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Penn State in College Park, Maryland, in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. The Hoosiers finished the season at 8-12 overall and 3-6 in the Big Ten. IU struggled against ranked opponents throughout the season and fell short in nine of 11 encounters. IU only registered victories against then-No. 12 Michigan and then-No. 6 Northwestern.
“We are just really pleased with our team’s effort,” IU Coach Amanda Janney said. “The entire season I think we really improved every weekend, and we were playing some really great hockey at the end of the season but frustrated that did not show on the scoreboard today.”
The Nittany Lions’ high octane offense kept the Hoosier defense on its heels on many occasions and forced sophomore goalie Noëlle Rother to stop six shots on goal before allowing her first goal.
However, in the 27th minute of the first half, Penn State midfielder Gini Bramley was able to bypass Rother to put the Nittany Lions on the board. The Nittany Lions capitalized on a rebound in the second half to up their lead to 2-0.
Hempt’s first career goal briefly gave IU a chance, but after Penn State’s third goal Janney’s decision to pull Rother, who had 10 saves in the game, for an extra field player didn’t result in more Hoosier goals.
This was the second consecutive time Penn State has knocked IU out of the Big Ten Tournament in the quarterfinals with a 3-1 score.
Senior Kate Barber ended her collegiate career as IU’s top scorer and record holder for single-season goals and points with 18 and 40, respectively.
“We are so proud of our seniors,” Janney said. “They had a great year for us and each one of them stepped up today and made some big plays to put us in a position to win. Knowing we have such strong underclassmen coming up is bright for the future.”
Hempt said even though the Hoosiers were not able to get the results they wanted this season, they are already setting their minds on finishing as Big Ten Tournament champions next year.
“We worked really hard and did not get the outcome we wanted, obviously,” Hempt said. “So, we just have to work twice as hard next year to hopefully come up on top.”
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