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Experience and Willingness to Learn Have Penn State Prepared for Season's Final Stretch

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By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This year's 11-1 Penn State squad has already proven to be a team to be remembered, but last game the team added another line to its storied season thus far.

On Wednesday against Drexel, Madison Carter (102) became yet another player in Penn State's history to be granted admission into the career 100-point club, as she tallied five points off three goals and two assists. She joins Katie O'Donnell (125) as the second Nittany Lion this season to reach the plateau and now is one of three players on the team who have achieved the mark (O'Donnell and Steph Lazo). Lazo (188) has the likely opportunity to become the 12th person to ever don the Blue and White and crack 200 points.


"To hit that mark is a credit to her and how hard she's been working and how hard the team has rallied around her," head coach Missy Doherty said on Carter's accomplishment. "I think it comes from great team play and the ability to assert yourself, and it's nice to see on the team we have different players stepping up and doing that every year."


The three, comprising of one sophomore, a junior and a senior, showcase and represent Penn State's solid mix of age throughout the roster while also showing that regardless of the age, players of all sorts have big-time experience and have contributed immensely on the field.


Each game has presented its own unique set of challenges, and with that constant pressure from tough competition as they go down the backstretch of the season, Doherty believes it will make her team that much more ready to show up when it matters most.


"We've had a lot of really tough games this year and every game there's been different scenarios we can learn from," Doherty said. "It's nice to see when the game is on the line and your leaders step up. You get big plays from different people each game, so we never really know who's going to pull away, but we certainly have the people that can make big plays in big-time."


Penn State will need as many big plays as it can get down the latter part of the schedule since the final five games present collisions with some of the best programs in lacrosse.


Still on the slate are three top-20 teams in the country, including No. 1 Maryland in the regular season's penultimate game. Also in the way stands Big Ten foes in Michigan and Ohio State, with the Buckeyes having the Nittany Lions number in two of the last three regular season contests.


While it's a challenging road that lies ahead, Penn State welcomes the challenge as they plan to use it as fuel and preparation for the postseason that stands ahead.


"I think any time you go into postseason you want to make sure you have a great road to it, and you know I think our last five games kind of reflect our entire season," Doherty said. "We have a good mix of games of great, tough teams to play, so it's a great way to get ready for postseason with the teams we have left on our schedule."


With that same mindset of taking each game as a chance to better yourself, Doherty and her Nittany Lions plan to run through the gauntlet that remains at full force in order to make the most out of each one. Looking at the schedule, it appears the final five games should present plenty of opportunities do just that


"It's just continuing to grow and get better, and taking each lesson we learn from each game we're playing in order to build on the last one," Doherty said. "We've learned a lot of things about our team as the season's progressed, and we're looking to get better on Saturday."


Penn State will take on the visiting Ohio State Buckeyes at the Penn State Lacrosse Field this Saturday, April 1 at 1 p.m.


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