By Michael Renahan,
GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - The Nittany Lions started their 2013 season beating the Bucknell Bison, 18-2, Wednesday night at Holuba Hall.
The No. 9/10 ranked Nittany Lions have dominated the Bison historically, failing to lose in 35 years and racking up 17 wins over that span. Over the last three seasons, under head coach Missy Doherty, Penn State has outscored Bucknell 59-7.
Penn State (1-0) got solid play from their returning players like Mackenzie Cyr and Molly Fernandez, but it was the freshmen that stole the show against Bucknell (0-2).
Doherty said she is looking for the freshmen to step up, become leaders and play up to their potential. And while she knows they are young, she is confident the Lions can be contributors.
Three freshmen scored their first career goal, while freshman goalkeeper Emi Smith was strong between the pipes for the Nittany Lions.
Smith, named the starter just over a week ago, recorded a shutout in the first half saving five shots and snatching the first win of her college career. Looking to find more consistency after competing against Penn on Saturday, the Colorado native looked much improved in the season-opener.
"I just took it as any other game. I went into it with a strong mindset, that I was going to do well and that my team would be in front of me supporting me and I would be behind them support them," Smith said.
Along with Smith, Jenna Mosketti, Madison Cyr and Ally Heavens all stepped us a freshmen to play a huge part in the win. Mosketti ended her night with three points, scoring three goals on four shots. She added a groundball and a draw-control.
"It was a good first game," Mosketti said. "It's exciting, it's a little nerve-racking but it's good to get this first win and we have Loyola next and they're pretty good."
Mosketti was one of the key freshmen Doherty highlighted at media day prior to the season starting. She also mentioned Madison Cyr and Ally Heavens, saying they would be a huge part of this team's success.
Heavens got her first goal 10 minutes into the first half on a free-position shot. Madison Cyr would get her first goal just five minutes later, assisted by her sister Mackenzie. Both players were a crucial part of the dominance on both ends of the field, and Doherty recognizes how important it is to get off on the right foot as a freshman.
"I think it was really important. We have a young team, so the more experience they can get, the better. We're looking for them to continue to contribute and getting experiences like today was definitely helpful," Doherty said.
Along with the freshmen playing well, the Nittany Lions had solid play from returning players. Mackenzie Cyr started the game with a hat trick to put Penn State up 3-0. She finished the game with seven points, scoring four goals on seven shots and assisting on three others.
Fernandez, Avery Curley and Maggie McCormick beat the keeper twice in the victory. McCormick, the leading goal scorer in 2012, took five shots and grabbed two ground balls.
Fernandez took seven shots and created two turnovers for the Nittany Lions. Fernandez said on media day that the freshmen have impressed her, and that although this is a young team, this is a competitive team.
"These younger kids, the freshman, they are so good and just like any little bit I can do to give them the confidence they need is going to help them," Fernandez said.
The Nittany Lions also got goals from pre-season All-American Tatum Coffey, Haley Ford and Shannon Lechner in the victory.
The Nittany Lions now turn their attention to the No. 6-ranked Loyola Greyhounds for a showdown this weekend. It's the first of three consecutive road games for the team.
The Greyhounds are coming off a 10-9 loss against No. 8 Virginia last Saturday.
Penn State has lost the last two matchups against Loyola, including an overtime heartbreaker at home last season. Doherty said the team will rely on the returning players for leadership against a solid Loyola team.
"We're playing Loyola on Saturday, so I think they're ready for that competition and they're ready to come in and go hard. It's going to be a really tough game, so I think they're ready to hopefully lead the attack," Doherty said. "Loyola is a really great opponent and we're really excited fort that game. I think they bring in similar attributes, like our team, and we're really going to have to be on our toes."
Loyola is similar to Penn State with 17 freshmen and sophomores making up their roster, and their starting goalkeeper, Molly Wolf, is a freshman.
Penn State will travel to Loyola, Duquesne and Maryland before returning home on March 6 to take on James Madison University.
Perfect Storm for Nittany Lions in Season-Opener
By Michael Renahan,
GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
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