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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Prior to their arrival on Penn State's campus, a trio from the women's lacrosse team were already great ambassadors for their school and their sport. Freshmen Maria Auth, Madison Cunningham, and Katie Schluederberg traveled to Jamaica in July as a part of Fields of Growth, a volunteer program that connects athletes and local kids together.

The mission trip was a week trip in Kingston, Jamaica. They heard about the opportunity to share their love for lacrosse from fellow teammate, freshman Yasmain Hamood, who had participated in mission trips with the same program before.

There were 20 other volunteers on the girls' trip, mostly fellow lacrosse players and coaches.

"We ran free clinics almost every day we were there," Schluederberg said. 

Auth added that in the mornings during the week they worked with high school students, but also traveled to visit the elderly and brought care packages to Dupont Primary School. The girls also visited Maxfield Park Children's Home and hung out with the kids.

The girls brought bags of clothing, lacrosse equipment, and toys to give away during their stay. Auth said she gave away all her extra lacrosse sticks so that the kids could keep playing after the volunteers left. 

"The last day when we gave out all our donations, you give stuff to girls who have been doing well in the camp or the girls who you think might need them," Cunningham said. "And there was this little girl who I noticed her shoes were bothering her."

Cunningham saw that the girl's toes were popping out of the top of her shoes, so later that night she set out to find a replacement pair.

"We spent all night looking for a pair of shoes for her," Cunningham said. "So that was really cool when I gave her the shoes and she was so happy." 

All three talked about how although the trip's primary focus was on lacrosse and sports, they were mostly impacted by the relationships they built with the local children. 

"It's pretty awesome that we were able to make that connection after just a week," Auth said, who added she keeps in contact with the girls she met through Instagram.

The three Nittany Lions were also grateful for the opportunity the trip provided for them to get to know one another before starting their first year at Penn State. All three credit the trip for creating their unique bond.

Currently, all three have settled in to their first semester of college, and have started to get into the swing of things during fall workouts. The Nittany Lions have competed in several fall tournaments so far, and the freshmen have absorbed a lot from these games.

"It's a good change of pace from scrimmaging each other every day," Auth said. "It's going to be cool to see where we're at right now and then in a couple months in February when we have our first game, how much we've improved over that time." 

The Nittany Lions conclude their fall schedule this weekend, hosting contests against Syracuse, Temple, and Cornell this Saturday, Oct. 15.

 

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By Julie Bacanskas

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Coming into Friday night's matchup, the talk was at an all-time high. The only unseeded team to reach the Final Four this season, Penn State women's lacrosse was prepared to compete in its first NCAA semifinal game since 1999. Throughout the night the team proved one important fact.

The Nittany Lions are among the nation's best, a team that more than belongs in this group of elite programs.

Although Penn State saw its season come to an end at the hands of North Carolina for a second consecutive year, the Blue and White never gave in, competing until the very end. In a match that began with a three-goal Tar Heels' run, the Lions clawed their way back before dropping the 12-11 decision in the final seconds.

"It was a great game. That's really what Final Fours are all about - team's going on runs and competing hard and coming up with big plays at big times," head coach Missy Doherty said. "Thankfully our players were competing for 60 minutes. We fell a little short there at the end but I was so proud of how they worked and how hard the game was. I think we wanted to show everybody in the Final Four that there's a reason we're here and that's because we were ready for it. I think they certainly showed that today."

Down 12-9 in the second, an illegal stick called on Carolina began a momentum shift. An Abby Smucker free position goal, her second of the game, brought the team back within two and another quick score with 7:13 remaining made it a one-point game.

However, UNC was content to keep patient after regaining possession of the ball, aiming to let time tick off the clock.

"It definitely is frustrating having UNC pull us out a little bit, trying to keep possession of the ball so that we couldn't swing it back the other way," Smucker said. "We had some practice with that in our previous games. Florida used that tactic against us too. We just wanted to stay composed, stick to our game, not let them get anything easy on us. I think we did a good job on that."

Madison Cyr, who finished with two goals and an assist, forced a turnover, but a stop by Carolina's Megan Waters on a Steph Lazo shot with 40 seconds left sealed the team's fate.

Regardless of the outcome, the Nittany Lions showed their grit and determination, keeping close in a game they had already been counted out of yet again this season.

Understanding how and why Penn State reached the Final Four isn't difficult. They not only played No. 3 UNC, but also the top- two teams in No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Florida. Those two games were also decided by a single point - Maryland a 10-9 loss in the regular season finale and Florida a 14-13 overtime win in the tournament.

It's time to stop counting the Nittany Lions as underdogs and start recognizing their capabilities. The Blue and White is becoming a lacrosse powerhouse and it has no intentions of going anywhere.

"Everyone's talking all week long (that) it's the first time we've been back," Doherty said. "I told the team, 'Listen, we've been here before. We've played these games all year. It's not like all the sudden we get to the Final Four we try to play a different game.' I think they did a great job of that. They competed. We didn't have too many crazy turnovers. If anything, we were forcing some of those, keeping their composure, getting some good shot opportunities in the second half. I don't think we force opportunities. We had some good ones to make."

"Seeing their composure, I thought it was a championship composure," she added. "We didn't pull it out there in the end but I was so proud of them and the way they competed - even when they're down by three goals or by more goals. They just kept competing. They didn't give in. You could see the fight, the resilience of this team. I thought it was awesome."

Seventeen Years Later: Penn State Returns to the Semifinals

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By Jeremy Falls, Assistant Director of Penn State Strategic Communications

 

Seventeen years.

 

The Nittany Lions return to the grandest stage in collegiate lacrosse for the first time since a similarly talented, yet underdog-type outfit, upset a national power along the way to crashing the NCAA Semifinals.

 

What wasn't known then, as Penn State made its ninth semifinal appearance in the then 18-year history of the NCAA Tournament, was that it would be 17 years for the Nittany Lions to reemerge as one of the final four teams standing.

 

Seventeen years later, another Penn State women's lacrosse team awaits a semifinal game as the Nittany Lions take on No. 3 North Carolina on Friday at 5 p.m. in Chester, Pennsylvania.

 

On that 1999 team, senior captain and three-time IWLCA All-American Jen Johnson (1996-99) would help lead her squad to Homewood Field, site of that year's NCAA Championship Weekend. Johnson and her teammates enjoyed certain traits all championship-caliber teams encompass.

 

"I think we had a very tight knit team," Johnson said. "We had a lot of great chemistry on and off the field and I think that helped our success. We had a lot of talent."

 

Another alumna, B.J. Johnson (nee Lucey), was a freshman on the team and remembers a similar kinship.

 

"We had a lot of fun, we got along very well," B.J. said. "We had some characters like JJ (Jen Johnson). It was a very happy, fun team. We played really well together. It truly was a group effort from goaltending all the way up to attack."

 

One thing B.J. has a hard time processing is how fast time has gone by.

 

"I can't believe it's been 17 years," B.J. said laughingly. "I don't think I'm that old. I saw that on Twitter and I said, 'I think I'm going to vomit.' It feels like it was 17 minutes ago."

 

Dialing the clock back, Penn State had to travel to Princeton in a quarterfinal matchup for the right to reach the 1999 semifinals. The Tigers were able to force overtime late after a few Penn State missteps, but it was the Nittany Lion seniors who stepped up and prevailed in a 9-6 overtime win.

 

That was a very exciting game," Jen Johnson added. "It was close the whole time, we made a couple mistakes down the stretch, but we ultimately did what we needed to do to secure the win. That was a very good Princeton team. We just played at a really high level to keep it going and not have it be our last game."

 

This year's team possesses many of the same characteristics of that 1999 team: a talented bunch that relies on senior leadership and had to overcome a heavy favorite along the way. The Nittany Lions downed No. 2 Florida on the road in the second round, while the 1999 team took down Princeton, who went on to win the 2002 and 2003 national titles. 

 

Johnson served as a head coach at the University of Vermont for the past 12 seasons and is able to assess Penn State's accomplishments as both an alumna and a coach.

 

"They've been really fun to watch," Jen Johnson noted. "They're just really impressive. I think they have a lot of skill and a lot of athleticism and speed. I've been really impressed with their confidence in key moments."

 

A volunteer assistant at Rutgers, B.J. Johnson might know the team as well as any graduate of the program. She not only coaches against this current team as a Big Ten foe, but after graduating in 2003, Johnson returned to Happy Valley as an assistant for four seasons (2007-10).

 

"This is a little bit of an unlikely team,' B.J. stated, noting that this year's team wasn't as highly ranked as the 2015 team that fell in the quarterfinals. "They're playing well at the right time and they're doing everything they need to do. They have this great opportunity and it shows how hard it truly is and how special to be among the last four standing at the end of the year."

 

Both B.J. and Jen have been rallying their teammates from that special 1999 team and others to support the squad on Friday night in Chester.

 

"I think they have a great shot of going the whole way," Jen Johnson said. "I'm really excited to be there first hand. I'll be bringing my parents. This is big, not just for the alums, but the parents. It's a reunion for them as well. I'm expecting a huge, huge turnout."

 

"We're getting tailgating stuff together," said B.J. Johnson. "Purchasing tickets and getting t-shirts made so we can all be together. That's all we want, is to have one, big happy group of Penn Staters."

 

As for the task at hand, Penn State faces a potent North Carolina side that is seeded third and ended the Nittany Lion season a year ago in Chapel Hill. Friday may see more of the Penn State Blue & White in the stands and a Missy Doherty-led squad is ready to embrace that challenge.

 

"To be able to represent our fans and alums in the final four in Philly is an awesome thing," Doherty noted.

 

As for any home-field advantage, Doherty expects to have one.

 

"I would hope so. We are Pennsylvania's team so we're looking forward to that advantage and making our Pennsylvania residents and our Penn State fans proud our team and our program. Hopefully everyone will be close by on Friday night."

 

One thing is for certain, Doherty and her charges have already made the alums before them proud of this team. Jen Johnson heaped praise on the sixth-year head coach.

 

"I think she's a great person, a great leader," Johnson said. "She's done a great job recruiting and I think she has two great assistants in Amy (Altig) and Brooke (Matthews). I think she's done a really good job with this team and I've been really impressed with what I've seen on film."

 

Jen Johnson went on to add what it means that Penn State gets to play in its home state.

 

"I've spoken to a lot of Philadelphia-area alums and colleagues and everyone is rooting for Penn State because people are happy to see what a great job Missy has done and a new team in the mix."

 

As for whether this team can reach Sunday's national championship game, it would be an achievement unto itself.

 

"It would be incredible," said Jen Johnson. "I think it's definitely something that can be done, they have the talent. They showed it by almost upsetting Maryland."

 

She went onto add there's something a little special of a potential championship game matchup as well.

 

"We (the 1999 team) lost to Maryland in the semis, and we'd love to see a Penn State-Maryland final on Sunday and for PSU to knock off Maryland."

 

Nevertheless, if things don't go Penn State's way Friday night, all of Nittany Nation will have full support.

 

"I'm a proud Penn Stater win, lose or draw," B.J. Johnson added. "And I bleed Blue & White and I always will. This is super special."

 

 

VIDEO: Women's Lacrosse Primed for NCAA Semifinals

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the 10th time in program history, the Penn State women's lacrosse team (14-6) will compete in the NCAA semifinals when the Nittany Lions take the field to battle third-seeded North Carolina (18-2) on Friday at 5 p.m. (ESPN3)  in Chester, Pa.

Making their first appearance in the national semifinals since 1999, the Lions have built a great deal of momentum during a stout run through the NCAA Tournament bracket. After knocking off Winthrop in the opening round, Penn State has ousted second-seeded Florida (14-13) and seventh-seeded Penn (8-4) in back-to-back gains to earn a spot in the final four.

"I'm super proud of our players and of the program," said head coach Missy Doherty. "For our fans and alums, just to be able to represent them in the final four in Philly is just an awesome thing...We are looking forward to that. We are looking to make our Pennsylvania residents and the Penn State fans proud of our team and our program."

A tight-knit group, the players have relished the opportunity to extend the season one final week.

"This is a huge step for our program, and we are just so excited to finally get past the elite eight," said senior Jenna Mosketti. "In our four years here, we've made it to the elite eight almost every year, and to be in the final four now our team has been super pumped. And this week is really exciting."

"I'm so happy to be a senior and experience all of this with everyone," said senior Ally Heavens.

Looking at the matchup, the Lions are familiar with North Carolina. The two teams played in the NCAA quarterfinals last spring, with the Tar Heels topping the Lions by a score of 11-8. Penn State built an 8-4 edge over UNC in the second half before North Carolina ended the game with a surge.

Confidence is high for the Lions, who head to Philadelphia playing some of their best lacrosse of the season.

"I think transitions will be a big key for us," said senior Madison Cyr. "North Carolina is really good at riding back on the opposite end of the field. We need to take care of the ball on transition, and I think we will be successful."

Before the team's departure on Wednesday, GoPSUsports.com caught up with Coach Doherty, Cyr, Heavens and Mosketti for their thoughts on advancing to the national semifinals.






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By: Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The seniors on the Penn State women's lacrosse team have three NCAA quarterfinal appearances on their resumes in four years wearing the Blue and White in Happy Valley.  They can now add a Final Four trip to that list.  The Nittany Lions advanced to the round of four on Saturday afternoon, taking down the 7th seeded Penn Quakers, 8-4, to move on.
 

The win secures the program's first trip to the Final Four since 1999.   

"I can't even talk right now," said Penn State head coach Missy Doherty as she sat down to the podium postgame.  "It was awesome.  It's an awesome win for our program and just an awesome day in general." 

"We've been kind of knocking at the door the past couple years and every year's been a little bit different," she added on the program and seniors getting over the hump.  "We've been really fortunate in this tournament so far with some big wins and good learning experiences to go into such a tough Final Four next week."

Awesome was one way to describe Penn State's performance on this rainy afternoon.  Even with Penn jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes of play, Penn State battled. 

"You could see the nerves coming out because of the immense stress this kind of game provides," Doherty said.   "But I was so proud of them to come through strong and make huge plays when it mattered."

Freshman Kelly Daggett got the ball rolling with big plays for Penn State, as her goal down the right side put Penn State on the board 11 minutes into the game, and the Nittany Lions never looked back. 

Once Daggett found the net it was time for the senior class to shine.  Seniors Madison Cyr and Jenna Mosketti scored back-to-back goals to give Penn State a 3-2 lead they would not give up. 

The Nittany Lions continued that strong play into halftime, taking a 6-2 lead into the break.  While Penn opened the second half with a goal of their own to cut it to 6-3, that was the closest they would get the rest of the day. 

"We've shown a commitment all year to the play that we're in," Doherty said on the team being able to respond.  "We know we have great scorers and we know we were playing well defensively." 

Cyr was one of those great scorers on Saturday, as her first goal wasn't her only strong play on the afternoon.  She led the attack with two goals and two assists in the win.  

"I'm just thinking move as fast as you can and get around them," Cyr said on her offensive mindset. 

"She does a great job just seeing the cage," Doherty added on Cyr's efforts.  "She's not worried about this person or that person.  Her head is up seeing the cage and she came up with some awesome plays today."

While the offense gave Penn State the lead, it was the Nittany Lions' defense that helped secure in win.  The Blue and White held Penn's top three point scorers, including the nation's leader in assists, Nina Corcoran, to a combined zero points on the day. 

"Momentum-wise today we just got it from our defense," Doherty said.  "Emi (senior goalie Emi Smith), made some crazy saves this game and our mark-up defenders did a great job on their key players." 

Following Penn's two early goals in the game's first eight minutes, the Quakers would not find the back of the net again for 27:32 of game action. 

"The defense did a great job forcing them in a certain direction where I could make an easier save than just a one-on-one.  They work so hard down the field and on just want to back them up," said Smith, who finished the day with eight saves in the win. 

The strong play led to a great win, and that great win is a big step for women's lacrosse at Penn State.  

"It's a huge step for our program.  I love Penn State, I love our players," said Doherty.  "They work so hard and to see them experience something that they'll never forget, that's why you love to coach."

The seniors are not ready for this ride to end.

"The timing is perfect, happening our senior year we just want to stay here as long as we can," said Cyr. "We're just happy to make the Final Four."

"Being back on this field one last time, it was kind of like just give it your all, one last time," added Smith.  "It was an all or nothing type of feeling for our seniors and I definitely think that showed on the field." 

Doherty, the seniors, and the rest of the Nittany Lions will look to make a few more special memories next weekend in the Final Four in Philadelphia.  Penn State will take on the third-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels Friday night with a trip to the title game on the line. 

VIDEO: Women's Lacrosse Gearing Up for NCAA Quarterfinals

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a thrilling overtime victory at No. 2-seeded Florida on Sunday, the Nittany Lion women's lacrosse team (13-6) will host an NCAA quarterfinal game for the first time since 1995 when it meets seventh-seeded Penn (15-4) on Saturday at noon.

Playing in the quarterfinals for the fourth time in five seasons, the Lions are seeking their first trip to the NCAA Semifinals since 1999. Junior All-American Steph Lazo netted the game-winner on Sunday to help lift the Lions into the round of eight.

Now, the Lions are thrilled to play on their home field in the quarterfinals. GoPSUsports.com caught up with head coach Missy Doherty, along with Lazo, senior Madison Cyr, sophomore Katie O'Donnell and senior Emi Smith for their thoughts leading up to Saturday's game.






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VIDEO: Women's Lacrosse Set to Open NCAA Tournament

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the fifth consecutive season, the Nittany Lion women's lacrosse team is set to compete in the NCAA Tournament.

Earning their 22nd selection all-time, the Lions open competition with a matchup against Winthrop on Friday (4 p.m.) in Gainesville, Fla. The Penn State-Winthrop winner moves on to face No. 2-seed and host Florida in the second round of the tournament on Sunday (1 p.m.).


Winthrop enters the tournament with a 20-2 mark after winning the Big South. The Lions earned an at-large bid after finishing second in the Big Ten regular season standings. Penn State and Winthrop have never played before.

GoPSUsports.com caught up with head coach Missy Doherty prior to the team's trip to Florida to preview the NCAA Tournament. Take a look.




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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- As the rain poured down over the lacrosse field yesterday evening, the Penn State Nittany Lions took on the undefeated Maryland Terrapins in a tough battle looking to tie for the top spot in the Big Ten. Although Penn State fell to Maryland with a final score of 10-9, the girls put up a tough fight and gave the Terrapins a run for their money.

Penn State is one of only two teams to get within one goal of Maryland in the final score this season, which just goes to show that the Lions made themselves a worthy opponent last night.

At the start of the game Maryland won the draw, bringing the ball down to Penn State's goal.

The Lions were able to gain back possession for a while, as a result of some slipping and falling due to the weather, but unfortunately, Maryland got the ball back and earned themselves the first goal of the game. 

Maryland followed up with another two goals to bring the score to 3-0.

Penn State won the next draw allowing Jenna Mosketti to net a goal off an assist from Madison Cyr.

Another goal followed that at the hand of Steph Lazo as she came in from the side and beat out her defender to the net.

The team was proving that they could hold their own against the No. 1 team in the country, and they were able to maintain a close score throughout the game.

Lazo spoke about their performance against Maryland and how well they were able to keep up with the reigning Big Ten regular season champions.

"Maryland is number one and it's a great challenge to rise against, but we hung with them and I'm so proud of the team today," said Lazo. 

Throughout the rest of the first half, both Maryland and Penn State each netted three goals apiece, with Penn State getting the last two goals of the half.

Going into halftime down only one goal, the team was feeling confident for what was to come in the second half, and the girls were ready to keep fighting hard on both sides of the field to keep up with their Big Ten rivals.

A huge contributing factor to the team's performance in the first half was the efforts of their defense and goalkeeper Emi Smith, who praised her team for helping her to succeed in stopping Maryland's shots. 

"My defense did an insane job today; the shots I saw were because of them and they hustled the entire time and stopped a lot of Maryland's shooting opportunities," said Smith. 

The second half did not start off in Penn State's favor, as Maryland scored the first goal of the half, once again bringing them further into the lead.

To follow that up Penn State was forced to play with a man down after senior Ally Heavens got a yellow card.

With the ball down by Maryland's goal, the girls passed it around until Heavens was back on the field.

With the all their girls back in play, Penn State pulled it together and netted another three goals, bringing the Lions into the lead. 

A majority of those goals were with the help of Steph Lazo, who assisted both Jenna Mosketti and Kelly Daggett in pulling the team ahead.

Head coach Missy Doherty commended Lazo for her performance in the game and her ability to see her open teammates and feed them the ball, while also seeing opportunities for herself and being able to put away her own shots on goal. 

Unfortunately, the girls were not able to keep their lead and Maryland scored three consecutive goals to bring back their lead.

Penn State got off one more successful shot to bring them within one goal of tying up the game, but despite their best efforts they were unable to tie up the game and force the contest into overtime. 

Although they lost, the entire team and their coaches agreed that they played one of their best games all season last night.

"Losing isn't the greatest feeling, but to know that they are the number one team in the nation and that we can hang with them, that is great for us," said Lazo. 

Next week the team will enter into postseason play in the Big Ten Tournament, and with that the team is noting the improvements they can make based off of tonight's game to come back and try to win another tournament title. 

"I think we just really needed to put our shots away. We had some good looks on cage, but we didn't put our shots away," said Doherty. 

Lazo also spoke of the improvements that can be made on the offensive end heading into the tournament.

"We're a very diverse and powerhouse offense and we just needed to stay calm and composed because we can get those shots," said Lazo. 

The team will begin postseason play next week in their quarterfinal game of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday, May 5th at Northwestern.  The game will be aired on the Big Ten Network.

Lacrosse Programs Eye Stadium Expansion

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11904386.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State lacrosse programs are looking ahead to the potential expansion of the current lacrosse field into a state-of-the-art facility for both the men's and women's teams.

The current field, which has bleacher seating on one side and a grass hill on the other, provides few amenities beyond the basics. However, Penn State is looking to enhance both player and fans' game day experiences by adding a new structure to the complex.

The expansion will include stadium style seating where the hill currently is, while keeping the integrity of the hill fans have grown to love.

Men's lacrosse head coach Jeff Tambroni knows the important role facilities play for student-athletes of all programs, and he hopes fans recognize that the design of the new facility pays homage to the tradition of Penn State lacrosse, while also allowing for future program growth.

"I think what we saw was an opportunity to match some things in the landscape here at Penn State and make it very classy, putting a first-class facility up there," said Tambroni. "But at the same time keeping the integrity of the hill and allowing some of that seating to still run out into that grassy hill and overlook some of the greatest facilities in the country with the Bryce Jordan Center to the left and Beaver Stadium as well."

In addition to new seats for fans, the expansion will also boast permanent concessions, more bathrooms, and a ticket office, amenities unavailable with the current stadium set up.

"I think if you just look at everything that fits under the umbrella of the fan experience," said Tambroni. "Coming to the game and being able to grab something to eat in a reasonable location, being able to sit comfortably perched up on the hill, being able to go to the bathroom in a convenient location, those are things you maybe take for granted that are in all stadiums that we just don't have."

Lastly, a press box will be built above the new seating, with full broadcasting capabilities for radio and television.

As both Penn State lacrosse programs continue to excel in the Big Ten, it is only fitting the teams have a top-notch stadium to match. The enhancement to the lacrosse facility, budgeted at $8.4 million, and with a fundraising goal of $5.5 million, would bring the current field into the modern age and allow student-athletes to further their successes at the University.

Both the men's and women's programs will benefit from the expansion, as the two teams will remain the sole users of the future facility. It's rare for a collegiate lacrosse team to have it's own facility that isn't shared with sports such as soccer or field hockey, but Penn State continues to stand out.

By providing all the above enhancements to a facility for two already stellar programs, Tambroni explained it would add further incentive for potential recruits to join Penn State lacrosse down the road.

"There's an enormous difference between a vision conjured up in your own mind and progress you can actually see," said Tambroni. "It's symbolic of our own program, you can communicate your vision of where you want this program, the program's culture to be, today, tomorrow, next year, but until someone actually sees it growing and developing it's just human nature for it to be tough to believe."

Tambroni explained how when talking with recruits he is realistic, knowing that they haven't broken ground just yet on the expansion.

"You can talk all you want about the expansion of phase one to phase two, but until someone actually sees the shovel going to the ground it's tough for people to believe it."

Tambroni and the rest of the coaching staff don't make any promises to recruits when talking about the stadium project because details of the groundbreaking aren't set in stone.

More information about the project can be found under the "Facilities" tab of both the men's and women's lacrosse pages on GoPSUsports.com or by clicking here - Lacrosse Stadium Project.

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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With the last game of their regular season against a Big Ten rival, the Nittany Lions women's lacrosse team is pumped up and ready to take on the Terrapins on their home field. This is a big game for Penn State, and if they clinch themselves a win they will tie with Maryland for the top spot in the Big Ten.

For team co-captain Abby Smucker, who is a Maryland native, this is an exciting game as the end of the season nears. 

The team plans to go into the game as if it is any other team and play the best that they can, but Smucker admits that there is a different feeling going into this last game of the season.

"As a player, personally it brings more of an emotional and motivational factor knowing that it is a chance to play for the Big Ten regular season championship," said Smucker.

She has come a long way from her first season on the team and she cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by.

With the seniors graduating in a little over a week, it is only a matter of time before the reins are turned over to the rising seniors.

"I think just yesterday I was a freshman and the years have just flown by. Next year we are still going to have a great group of upperclassmen that are willing to lead the way and show the underclassmen the ropes," said Smucker.

Playing Maryland is a big deal to the team, they are excited to end their season against such a good team and believe that they are more than prepared to take on the Terripans.

"I love playing Maryland last. It's an awesome way to end our season and I think we are ready to take them on," said Smucker.

"We've had our ups and downs this season, but I think we've played that out. We've grown a lot as a team and we're peaking at the best point in our season against Maryland."

The girls have a lot to take on, as Maryland is a very fast and talented team, but Smucker is confident that with all of the practice the team has put in, that they are ready to take on a top rival. 

"Maryland is very fast in transition and they are going to have all seven attackers that can come at us hard," said Smucker.

"We are looking to play good, hard defense and really have each other's back to make those 1 v. 1 stops."

Smucker said the team is also going to continue to focus on communication and keeping up quick ball movement in their last game in an effort to outplay Maryland.

Although it is the beginning of the end for the seniors, they are going to push their hardest against Maryland and through the postseason to make the most of their time left with the team.

Smucker said she was going to miss the upperclassmen that have led the team for the past year, and thanks them for their dedication to the program over the past four years. 

"The seniors have done an amazing job of inspiring all of the underclassmen and showing us the way and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors," said Smucker. 

The Nittany Lions are so close to snagging that number one spot in the Big Ten alongside Maryland, and the team is highly motivated to get that spot.

The two teams will face off in University Park on Thursday, April 27 starting at 7 p.m.

@GOPSUSPORTS

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