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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.

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a fruitful four years with Penn State women's lacrosse (11-4, 3-1 Big Ten), which included winning the inaugural Big Ten tournament championship in 2015, the class of 2016 left their mark during Senior Day in Happy Valley. No. 14 Penn State defeated No. 12 Northwestern (7-8, 2-2 Big Ten) 17-13 on Saturday.

"The senior class has helped us turn a corner for our program and you could really see that physically out on the field today," said head coach Missy Doherty. "So those guys coming up big was certainly not a surprise to me because they've done it for four years."

Senior midfielder Madison Cyr led the Nittany Lions by scoring four goals against the Wildcats. Known for her domination in the offensive zone, Cyr also contributed three assists and six shots on Saturday.

At the other end of the field, senior goalkeeper Emi Smith kept the Wildcats at bay as she made nine saves during Saturday's contest.

After a close first half, the Nittany Lions were tied with the Wildcats at seven apiece. During the second half, the Nittany Lions once again found themselves with a tied game at 11 apiece with 18 minutes left to play. With constant lead changes, this was the sixth tie of the game.

With 17:27 left a timeout was called by the Wildcats and Penn State set up in its defensive zone. A turnover caused by senior midfielder Ally Heavens gave the Nittany Lions possession of the ball, and they immediately took it into the Wildcats' zone. 

Junior attacker Steph Lazo's shot on net was saved and again the Nittany Lions found themselves on defense. Despite their relentless efforts, the Wildcats were unable to find the back of the net as junior midfielder Abby Smucker caused a turnover.

Once again on offense, the Nittany Lions weaved their way through traffic and down the field. Still tied, Cyr made every effort to bring the ball into the zone. Passing to Lazo, Cyr and her fellow teammates set up their play. A few passes later and it was freshman attacker Madison Carter who gave the Nittany Lions the go-ahead goal, assisted by Cyr.

The Nittany Lions took the lead, 12-11 with 11:16 left to play.

Another lead change forced Penn State to buckle down just a minute later. With the Wildcats up 13-12 and less than ten minutes left in the game, the Nittany Lions surged forward on offense.

Five unanswered goals at the end of the second half gave the Nittany Lions the edge they needed, and beat out Northwestern 17-13. Seniors scored two of the final five goals, one from attacker Jenna Mosketti, her second goal of the game, and one from Cyr, a fitting end to a day celebrating the class of 2016.

"I think we buried our shots and we had some momentum," said Doherty. "We hadn't necessarily gotten momentum in some of our games, we didn't have bad momentum but we just didn't get it but today we go it from Emi [Smith] making some big saves and then we got it from putting our shots away toward the end of the game. It was good to see us capture that kind of momentum and make some big plays when it counted." 

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By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With only two games left in the regular season, the senior women's lacrosse players are reflecting back on their time with the team and making the best of the time they have left.

Seniors Madison Cyr, Heather Herman, Ally Heavens, Jenna Mosketti and Emi Smith all agree that they are not ready to be done with the team that has brought that so many memories over their careers.

They have devoted so much of their time at Penn State to practices, games, watching film, and traveling together, and that is something each and every senior does not want to end.

The girls are upset to have only two games left in their regular season, but they are excited that their last ever regular season games are on their home field.

"It's sad to be ending, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Having Northwestern and Maryland be our last two games and be at home is awesome and we are going to go out with a bang," said Smith.

Smith also thinks that the team plays better at home and truly does have that home-field advantage. With the vibes from the crowd and from the team as a whole, she believes that it helps them to play their best.

Heavens also agreed that being at home for the end of their season is the best thing for the team. 

"It'll be to our advantage being at home. We will have a good crowd cheering for us and that makes it so much better," said Heavens.

The game takes up a lot of the players' time, which has helped them to keep their minds off of graduation and the culmination of their time with the team.

"I have been so consumed with lacrosse and it's nice to have the game to distract myself with, so it hasn't really hit me yet," said Heavens.

Cyr agreed and said that with so much time being devoted to the game and her schoolwork she hasn't had enough time to sit down and think about the end of her career as a player and as a student.

Smith took a slightly different stance, in the fact that their playing time continues through graduation, which makes the transition more manageable.

"We keep playing when school is done, so it's not like when we're done, we're done. We still have some time to keep playing after we graduate, so I haven't really thought too much about it yet," said Smith.

The girls also reflected back on their season so far and the success they have had as a team up to this point.

"We have had an incredible season. Our team has never had a record like we do right now and we are still having a great season," said Smith. 

The one criticism the girls had of their season, was how hard they were on themselves after a loss.

"We focus way too much on our losses even though we've had a great season. But I guess that's a good part of our team because we expect so much from ourselves," said Heavens. 

The girls are looking forward to the rest of the season ahead, and hope that they can look back after it is all over and be proud of the work they have done this year.

Penn State has been their home for the past four years and has given the girls an incredible opportunity to become a part of the community, build relationships, and integrate themselves into the amazing Penn State culture.

Although graduation is quickly coming upon them, the players are excited to be a part of the alumni base and to experience a different part of the school's culture.

"There is no place like Penn State and being on a team that has brought us all together from so many different places is awesome," said Heavens.

Smith also talked about how big the alumni base is and that she loves that no matter where she ends up she will always have someone yelling "We Are" at her whens she's wearing Penn State. 

These past four years also mean that the girls have had lots of time to bond and get to know each other. They spend all of their time together and they have become like their own little family.

"We are not just teammates, we are sisters and Missy (Head coach Missy Doherty) is like our mom," said Cyr.

These close bonds make it hard for the underclassmen to see the seniors go, but they are making sure to celebrate and honor the work they have put into the team with a Senior Day celebration this upcoming weekend prior to their game.

Before the game, the seniors will receive gifts and videos from their underclassmen teammates and will be walked onto the field by friends and family.

This will be a great way to honor the seniors who have put so much time, energy, and love into the team. 

The Nittany Lions will take the field this Saturday, April 23 at 12 p.m. against Northwestern.

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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- When you ask a student why they chose Penn State, you can get a countless number of answers. For freshman midfielder, Delaney Muldoon, she said it was a feeling that made her choose to become a Nittany Lion.

"I visited a bunch of schools, but once I visited Penn State's campus I just got this feeling and I knew it was the place for me," said Muldoon.

She was especially sure of her decision to come to Penn State and play lacrosse once she met her future teammates, who she said were very welcoming and supportive.

"After meeting the girls, who are all so down to earth, I just knew I wanted to be a part of the team," said Muldoon. 

When she finally got to Penn State, Muldoon said that her teammates immediately took in all of the new freshmen, making them feel as welcome as possible in their transition into college.

"The seniors were really awesome when we all got here. During our first week, they texted us to come over and they made us all dinner, which was so nice to be welcomed onto the team and to Penn State like that," said Muldoon. 

There is a huge transition players have to make coming from playing in high school to playing on a Division I team in college. Balancing school, practices, traveling, and games takes a lot of organization, which Muldoon says is something she has been working hard on.

"You have to plan ahead and stay on top of things, which was something I really had to get used to," said Muldoon.

"It was a hard change for me, but they do a lot to help us. We have eight mandatory study hours a week to make sure that we are always staying on top of our work."

Head coach Missy Doherty does an incredible job of ensuring that her girls do just as well as students as they do as athletes, and she has high expectations for each and every one of her players. 

Muldoon can attest to those expectations, especially coming onto a team that won the Big Ten tournament title last year.

"There are definitely some huge expectations this year, but it gives everyone the motivation to be a powerhouse team all of the time," said Muldoon

Every single player is fighting their hardest to win every game and they do their best to support each other and give the motivation that is needed to win.

Muldoon can be seen giving that motivation each game as she runs up and down the sidelines giving every player and coach a high five after any Penn State goal.

She shows such enthusiasm for her team during every game and it makes a huge difference to her teammates.

"The players always thank everyone for keeping high energy on the bench and I enjoy being one of those people to keep the players on the field pepped up," said Muldoon.

"It keeps the players in the game and hearing your teammates constantly cheering from the sides makes a huge difference."

The team is all about bonding and Muldoon said they are all very tight-knit, which is important as they spend almost all of their time together.

It is so vital for the players to create those incredible bonds in order to make a strong team and Penn State has done that with the help of their strong leaders and enthusiasm all throughout.

The one thing Muldoon said she is looking forward to in the rest of the season is that moment when everything clicks perfectly and the team is playing as one flawless unit. 

"We're really waiting for the team to click completely. It'll be kind of an a-ha moment and we'll just know that the team has clicked and that's what we are waiting for the most," she said. 

With only three games left in the regular season, we can hope that the team will find that a-ha moment that they are looking for.

Penn State has already had a good run so far this season with a current winning record of 9-4.  They hope to continue with that success and go far in the post-season play.

The Nittany Lions will continue their season this Sunday, April 17 where they will faceoff with the Wolverines at the University of Michigan, starting at 1 p.m.

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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State women's lacrosse team fell in their first loss at home against Cornell Wednesday afternoon, by a score of 10-7. The Nittany Lions fought hard, but the Big Red used their aggressive defense and dynamic offense to clinch a victory.

Penn State started off strong with sophomore Katie O'Donnell earning the first goal of the game, just three minutes into the first half.

After that, Cornell was able to gain possession off of the draw and brought the ball down to Penn State's goal, where they earned themselves the second goal of the game off a free position.

Junior Steph Lazo put in the next goal of the game to take the lead again, assisted by freshman Madison Carter, after beating out the defense and getting off a successful shot on an open goal.

Penn State continued their streak with senior Madison Cyr scoring another goal after gaining possession off of the draw.

Cyr followed that up with another yet another successful shot on the net, after she picked up a ground ball and was able to get an immediate shot off on goal around the 12-minute mark to give PSU a 4-1 lead.

At this point Cornell started to gain back momentum, netting five goals in the latter part of the first half, compared to Penn State's one goal, scored by senior Jenna Mosketti.

At the conclusion of the first half, Cornell held a lead of 6-5. This early lead was a result of Cornell's strong defense and long offensive possessions.

Head coach Missy Doherty discussed the team's play during the first half and how it affected the outcome of the game. 

"We needed to be aggressive and we were playing on our heels too much waiting to see what the other team was going to do," said Doherty.

She also talked about the game as a whole and what she would have liked to see from her team to earn themselves a win. 

"Cornell did a really good job of being aggressive and we just couldn't get into a rhythm. We weren't getting the draw and it's hard to get into a rhythm when you aren't getting those possessions," said Doherty.

Doherty also believes that it is essential for their offense to get shots off at crucial times to keep up the team's momentum, and that was just something that did not happen this game.

Going into the second half of the game, Penn State was only down by one point, giving them a good chance of earning a comeback.

Unfortunately, Cornell continued their four-goal streak from the first half and nabbed the next two goals in the second, bringing the score up to 8-5.

Cyr broke up this streak by faking it past multiple defenders and netting Penn State's sixth goal of the game, earning herself a hat-trick.

The momentum did not last long for the Nittany Lions, as Cornell came back and scored another two goals.

Senior Erika Spilker said that Cornell's frequent cuts on offense were a huge contributing factor to their success during the game, although she did say she thought the defense worked well together against their ivy league counterparts.

"Their offense does a lot of cuts and they had some good players, which made it a tough game, but we really worked as one defense today as opposed to individuals and that was good for us," said Spilker.

With the defense working hard to stop Cornell's strong offensive efforts, Penn State really needed to see some success from their own offense to try and even up the score.

The team was able to net one more goal in the game, thanks to Lazo, but it was not enough to earn a Penn State victory.

Lazo contributed much of Cornell's victory to their long possessions on offense, which took away many of the opportunities that she and the rest of the Penn State offense had to get off shots on net and score.

After a two-game losing streak, the Nittany Lions are looking to redeem themselves and earn another win in their season.  Their next opportunity to earn that win is this Sunday, April 17 against Michigan State starting at 1 p.m.

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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- This upcoming weekend is a big one for the Penn State women's lacrosse team. Not only because they will be playing one of their biggest competitors, Ohio State, but also because it marks the team's first televised game of the season on the Big Ten Network.

This is a huge deal for the team because it allows more fans to watch them in action and more importantly, it allows prospective players to check out what the Nittany Lions have to offer. 

Sophomore midfielder Katie O'Donnell talked about her experience before coming to Penn State, and how watching games on television had a role in her decision to commit to the Nittany Lions.

"I followed Penn State before and after I committed. I made an effort to watch them play and it was cool to watch and think that you'd love to be a part of that team," said O'Donnell.

These televised games give prospective recruits more opportunities to see how the team plays together, which is especially helpful for recruits who are not close by.

When thinking about committing it is important for these players to see the team playing in a game setting as many times as possible, and for those high school players who live further away from University Park, that is not always feasible. 

Penn State has many players who came from farther states, like seniors Emi Smith and Heather Harman who are from Colorado and Georgia respectively. 

"TV coverage helps for the game in general and it helps with recruits too, especially with recruiting from farther and farther away," said O'Donnell.

The coaches and players alike are excited to see more and more televised games during the season, as it raises awareness for Penn State's team and the sport in general.

Lacrosse is growing in popularity season by season, especially with Penn State moving up in the ranks in the Big Ten. Penn State wants the best players in the country on their team, and the publicity helps to get their name out there to players across the country.

O'Donnell's first televised game experience was last season as a freshman. She talked about how, although it is exciting at first to be on TV, the players do not see too much of a difference during televised games and that it thankfully does not have an impact on gameplay.

"You don't really think about it during the game; the game doesn't change too much, minus a few extra timeouts for TV," said O'Donnell.

"The first time as a freshman last year it was definitely like 'oh my gosh, I'm going to be on TV,' but after that first game it all becomes just the same."

The players do a good job of forgetting about the TV side of things, which is good because they can't afford to lose focus, especially during their Big Ten games and leading up to the postseason. 

Last year marked the first Big Ten tournament for women's lacrosse, and for players like O'Donnell it was an incredible experience to make a tournament run in her first year with the team. 

"It was a great experience coming in as a freshman and getting into the postseason play. It was new and exciting and it was fun to have that kind of win, especially with that group of girls," said O'Donnell

"It was the first Big Ten tournament in women's lacrosse and for Penn State to get that win was a really awesome experience," she added.  

O'Donnell said the team is even more motivated to get to the tournament again after knowing what they can achieve as a unit.

"When you accomplish something like that you only want to keep getting better and it's definitely a goal to get back to the postseason by improving every game," said O'Donnell. 

"It's not something spoken, but it's something we are always working for." 

With a 9-2 record so far in their season, Penn State is fighting hard to get back into postseason play and repeat as Big Ten tournament champions.   

The No. 9 Nittany Lions will continue their season on Saturday, April 9 against the No. 12 Buckeyes at Ohio State starting at 4 p.m.

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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Saturday marked the Big Ten opener for the Penn State women's lacrosse team, as they took the field against Rutgers. The Nittany Lions used a consistent offense and aggressive defense to dominate the Scarlet Knights, securing their first Big Ten victory of the year with a 16-9 win. 

The team started the first half off on a strong foot.  Penn State was scoring a goal almost every two minutes throughout the entire half, giving the girls a significant lead of 11-2 at the break. 

Kelly Daggett, Ally Heavens, Madison Cyr, Madison Carter, Steph Lazo, Jenna Mosketti, and Maggie Gallagher all scored during the half, lending a hand in their early lead and proving that there is widespread talent across the team's offensive end.

Cyr discussed how the connections between teammates had a positive impact on the success of Penn State's offense throughout the game.

"We were all working really well together and communicating, which helped us to pick up on the assisted shots," said Cyr. 

"Throughout the season we just start learning everyone's moves and what they're going to do next. It's the chemistry that the team has been building that has made us so successful," she added.  "We have been working well together and everything is starting to click, which was evident today."

Penn State could not have maintained their lead in the first half if it weren't for the joint work of the defensive end. The team's defense did a great job of forcing Rutgers' attack away from the goal, and keeping them from many scoring opportunities.

"The whole defense came out ready to play. We were really pressuring, which is something we have been really back and forth with all season and we are really working on getting that pressure out on defense," said senior defender, Erika Spilker.

Goalkeeper Emi Smith also talked about the team's defensive effort, and how it helped her to stop so many of the shots taken by Rutgers.

"I think our defense really put a body on the girls and they played aggressively on the cutters. We worked on that in practice and they forced them wide again, which was great, so I was able to get my body in front of a lot of the shots," said Smith.

In the second half, Penn State maintained the lead and continued their success offensively with Carter, Lazo, and Mosketti clinching the first three goals of the half.

Rutgers netted themselves a goal following the Penn State streak in an attempt to bring themselves back in the game, but Daggett followed up with another Penn State goal to bring back their 12-goal lead. 

Following the Daggett goal, Rutgers was able to make a late run and score six of the last seven goals of the game.

Spilker commented on Rutgers moves to shorten their lead, saying that even though PSU came out with a victory, their defense needs to work on keeping up the energy all the way through the end of the game.

Head coach Missy Doherty was overall satisfied with the performance she saw from her team throughout the game. 

"I think our defense stepped up and did well against some of Rutgers' leading scorers. Emi had some really good saves today and I think we kept a really good tempo on offense," said Doherty. 

Doherty and her players are excited to see what the rest of the season brings, as they have many tough competitors ahead and have to stay on their game as they go into the rest of the season with a 1-0 Big Ten record.

"It's going to be competitive, the Big Ten always is. We play Ohio State next weekend, who is always one of our biggest competitors, so we just want to be ready to bring our best," said Doherty.

The Nittany Lions' next contest is away at Ohio State on Saturday, April 9th, where the team will continue Big Ten play.

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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- There is endless talent on the Penn State women's lacrosse team.  With a winning record of 8-2, it is clear that the girls are doing something right. Senior goalkeeper Emi Smith knows that her team showcases incredible talent and leadership, and it's all across the board, not with just one or two players. 

One may think that the upperclassmen are the true leaders of the team, seeing as they have more experience than the younger players, but Smith says that just is not the case.

"We don't really have specific leaders. It's not just if you're a senior then you are a leader," Smith said.  "I think every single player contributes to the leadership we have on the team."

She also said that she does not see the underclassmen as younger players, but that she sees all of the players on the team on an equal level.

"I don't see them as younger girls, I see them as my teammates. I play with them every day in practice and I know that they can push it on the field during the game and they want to be out there," said Smith.

The younger members on the team have really been proving themselves on the field lately. Freshman Madison Carter has garnered a number of honors already this season and has 24 goals on the year. Sophomore Katie O'Donnell has also been an asset to the team, earning herself a hat trick in Wednesday's game against Drexel, bringing her total up to 23 goals this season.

Smith praised the younger players down on defense and said that she tries to positively reinforce her teammates to help them succeed.

"I think that me responding positively toward them on the field pumps them up and gives them confidence," she said.  

Smith said that she doesn't focus on the age of the girls helping her to defend the goal. She tries to focus more on tracking the ball, instead of worrying exactly who is on the field at any given time.

She also talked about the defense as a whole and the help they gave her during the Drexel game, a 14-5 PSU win. After an off week, the practice the team put toward their defense showed, and Smith praised her teammates' ability to fend off Drexel's attempts on goal.

"Our defense forced them wide and I had a lot of off-angle shots. I love off-angle shots just because they are easier to save," said Smith.

Smith mentioned that her teammates pushed her to do her best in the game, by inspiring her with the work they put in during the game. 

"They all did a great job," she said.  "I was in the mindset that my teammates forced them wide for me so I'm going to save the shots for them."  

The offensive end of the field has also been proving themselves lately, especially fellow senior Jenna Mosketti. Mosketti was a huge contributing factor in Wednesday's game, doing a great job of winning the draw and adding herself to the list of four players to get hat tricks against Drexel.

When asked about Mosketti's offensive game, Smith had only positive things to say, even when she talked about her ability to get the ball past her in the cage. 

"I love seeing Jenna play. Every time I see her at the draw I just know she's going to get it," said Smith.  "Her shot is amazing too. In practice she turns it a certain way that makes the ball go a totally different way than I could even predict, making it right by me."

Smith has a lot love and respect for her teammates, and that's evident in the positive way she speaks about the group. 

Team unity and communication has certainly been one of the many reasons Penn State has seen so much success this season, and when it's seen coming from the upperclassmen of the group it does even more for the team.

The Nittany Lions will take the field once again at home on Saturday, April 2 at 1:00 p.m. against Rutgers.

 

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