By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Head coach Missy Doherty and her players, Emi Smith and Madison Cyr, had a lot to talk about as they took part in the 2016 Spring Sports Media Day on Monday at the Bryce Jordan Center. The sixth-ranked Nittany Lions have big plans entering the upcoming season coming off of their 2015 Big Ten Tournament win.
Doherty put emphasis on how being a part of the Big Ten has helped the team to grow and to establish themselves as a standout program in women's lacrosse.
"Being in the Big Ten is the best. It's an exciting conference to be a part of. We're one of the fastest growing sports in the country, so to be able to do that within one of the biggest conferences in the country does a lot for our program, Penn State, and our players and coaches," said Doherty. "To be a part of not only a great conference, but to be among some great teams in the country is a great way for us to continue to get better as a program and spread our word across nationally."
There was also talk about how the team is coming in looking like a threat this season, so while their big win last season is exciting, they need to keep their heads in the game moving forward.
"We won the championship for the first time ever and since we did win I think we have a target on our back, but we are going into this season ready to compete," said Cyr.
Even with their success in the past season, the Nittany Lions still have to come with their A-game because with new a season, come new talent to rival teams.
"Teams can be totally different when a whole year passes," said Smith. Who added she tries to go into each game the same way mentally no matter who they're playing, and if she makes a mistake to just go in and learn from it.
The new season also brings new players to the Nittany Lions as well, and with a number of talented players graduating last season, there are some pretty big shoes to fill. Fortunately, Doherty thinks that they are up to the task.
"We have some good freshman coming in. Madison Carter is hopefully one of our good scoring threats this year. We also have a couple of middle fielders, Kayla Brisolari and Kelly Dagget, who have come in and contributed really well at the mid-field," said Doherty.
"The freshman boost has been a huge help to the players that we lost last year. Them coming in and being able to assert themselves quickly has really helped us stay on the same level and compete against some good team."
Doherty also added that the leadership of the upperclassmen players has really helped the freshman players to adjust to the team and thrive on the field.
"We have a great family atmosphere on our team. Our girls want to win and be successful and seeing what the freshmen can bring, they've really embraced them as teammates and players," said Doherty.
"To have upperclassmen players on the team that can really nurture the players and encourage them to do well and encourage them to succeed has really made their transition to become competitors seamless."
With lots of young and talented players joining the team, the upcoming season looks hopeful for Penn State. After a successful exhibition game last week against Towson, the team has already gotten a small taste of the upcoming season.
The Nittany Lions were set to open their season this Saturday at Lehigh University, but the game has since been moved up to Friday at 3:30 p.m. due to expected inclement weather conditions.