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Nittany Lions Draw Familiar Foe To Begin NCAA Tournament

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Right around 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, room 133 in the East Area Locker Room exploded as the Penn State Nittany Lions learned they had been selected as one of 26 teams to compete for a national championship in the NCAA Tournament.

The celebration lasted around 60 seconds before head coach Missy Doherty addressed her team and the focus shifted from celebrating to preparing.

Penn State drew Princeton in the first round of the tournament, and will travel to the Charlottesville, Va., home of the University of Virginia to open play on Friday.

"I think it's awesome," Doherty said of her program making the tournament. "This is where Penn State should be. I'm excited for our team, that we made it to the NCAAs again. It's a great goal to have every year. And to be ranked as high as we are in the country as well is just a credit to what they have done all year."

The Nittany Lions and Tigers have become very familiar with one another over the years and the two programs just met on the lacrosse field 11 days ago. Penn State defeated Princeton, 13-12, in their regular-season finale.

"Yeah, I mean, I think it's been a good week," Doherty said. "I think we could rest after our ALC tournament; the girls have been in exams all week, so it's been a good pace to work up towards this weekend. [We] potentially have two tough games, especially facing Princeton, who we just beat by a narrow margin, we know it's going to be a battle come Friday."

Princeton poses an interesting challenge for Doherty's squad. The Tigers will enter the game hungry for a win after falling to the Nittany Lions in their last matchup. They are a quick team, who likes to outhustle their opponents, and they are very effective on offense.

In their matchup on April 26, the Nittany Lions ended the first half with an 8-4 lead after outscoring the Tigers 5-1 over the last 12:44. A strong start to the second half widened the lead to 13-7. Princeton responded well, but the stingy defense from the Nittany Lions limited the Tigers offense and helped secure the victory.

For Doherty and her team, the schedule will remain the same and their focus will remain the same - win. Penn State has been hungry for this opportunity all season long. The Nittany Lions have qualified for the NCAA Tournament the previous two seasons, and have yet to advance beyond the quarterfinals. This season, they feel they have a better opportunity to make their mark on this tournament and move beyond the quarterfinals.

One of the factors heading into this game is the Nittany Lions already having experience playing at Klöckner Stadium. They traveled down to Virginia earlier this season to take on the Cavaliers and have become familiar with the stadium and all its nuances.

Historically, balanced teams also have tremendous success in this tournament. Nineteen Nittany Lions have registered at least one point this season, and it seems as if the offense can come from anyone on the roster. Heading into this first round game, the balanced attack Penn State has should be very helpful as they try to make a postseason run.

The Tigers enter their matchup with the Nittany Lions after falling to the University of Penn in the Ivy League title game, 9-6, while Penn State enters after falling to Johns Hopkins in the first round of the ALC tournament.

After a long week of practice, the moment has finally arrived in just a few days. Game time is set for 4 p.m., on Friday and you can bet Doherty and the Nittany Lions will be ready to go.

"NCAAs are one-and-done," Doherty said. "You have to go in, be ready to take advantage of each play, each moment, and play those out and have a good game."

Nittany Lions Ready To Take On Johns Hopkins

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSIT PARK, Pa. - For the third time in four years, the Penn State Nittany Lions and Johns Hopkins Blue Jays will meet in the first round of the American Lacrosse Conference Championship. This is the second time these two teams have met in the last 13 days, with the Nittany Lions winning the first game game, 12-10.

Penn State and Johns Hopkins have had several close games over the years. It seems as if every time these two teams get together, they play a classic American Lacrosse Conference game with a lot of scoring, high-intensity defense, and tremendous tension over the full 60 minutes.

As far as ALC rivalries go, these two teams have arguably played their best lacrosse against one another. They matchup very well, and both have an extraordinary amount of respect for the other team.

"...We were coming off of two really tough-fought wins, so I think that's good going into a game like today," head coach Missy Doherty said. "Playing Hopkins so recently, you know, preparation wise, it's still hard. But at least we are familiar with them."

Thursday's game should be fairly similar to the game played just two weeks ago. The Nittany Lions won, although they left the field feeling they could have played better.

The game between these two teams on April 18 was tightly contested affair. At the end of the first half, the Blue jays had a 7-4 lead and were keeping the Nittany Lions offense out of groove and out of sync.

In the second half, Penn State put together a strong comeback and earned the win. It might have been the NIttany Lions' best half of the season en route to a 12-10 victory.

The Nittany Lions are a high-tempo team, while the Blue Jays are more of a patient team. Both, however, like to move the ball and move it effectively throughout the game. Penn State and Johns Hopkins' attackers are very decisive and know when to feed their cutting midfielders, while the defenders are in constant pursuit of the ball and are notorious for forcing turnovers.

It's no surprise the last five times these two teams have met, including postseason action, the games have been decided by three goals or less.

The one glaring difference between the two teams in their regular-season matchup were the shot totals. The Nittany Lions had a clear advantage in shots in both halves. Penn State finished the game having outshot Johns Hopkins, 28-16.

"We are trying to just build off of the things that we think we can build on," Doherty said. "We want our offense to be a little more threatening, but it's not about Hopkins as much as there are certain areas we need to continue to improve on."

Earning a close win in the regular season is always gratifying to the winning team. Penn State has a tough matchup with a Johns Hopkins team eager to get a win over the team that beat them just two weeks ago. 

Game time is set for 2 p.m. at Lakeside Field in Chicago, Ill., the home of the Northwestern Wildcats. Whatever team wins will advance to the second round and matchup with the No. 1 overall seed, Florida.

The key for the Nittany Lions will be to keep things simple and play together. The team will keep their practice routine pretty regular and do their best to enjoy the time they have in Chicago.

"It's always good to get the girls on the road," Doherty said. "I think we are a team that is really close and we enjoy being together and playing together, so it will be nice to get out and head to Chicago.

"We keep it somewhat similar, but we will add some things in to make sure they get the most out of their experience here. With the tournament, it's a little bit tough because you are potentially playing Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, so it doesn't leave much time to get out and do anything extra. But overall, I think we have had some great road trips and we want to hopefully bring our best to Chicago."

Breaking Down The American Lacrosse Conference Tournament

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

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Florida
ALC Seed: #1
Record (Conference): 15-2 (6-0)
Top Scorer: Shannon Gilroy
Last Year: Lost in ALC Title Game

The Florida Gators enter the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament as the No. 1 seed. Coming off a 15-win season, the Gators finished undefeated in conference play for the third time in four years. They rank No. 1 in the conference in shots (539), goals (265), scoring offense (15.59 GPG), and draw controls per game (16.29). Freshman Attacker Shannon Gilroy has been the focal point of the Florida offense this season. Gilroy has 91 points, while nine gators have at least 12 points or more.

Between the pipes for the Gators this season has been two goalies in Cara Canington and Mary-Sean Wilcox. Both have seen over 500 minutes of work this season. Canington has a goals against average of 8.31; Wilcox has a goals against average of 8.40. Both goalies have allowed 71 goals this season.

The Gators are a high-tempo team that attacks on both the offense and defensive ends. A majority of their success comes off of draw control wins, and they are able to turn those wins into offensive chances and goals.

Florida has a bye the first round and plays the winner of Penn State-Johns Hopkins in the second round.


Johns Hopkins
ALC Seed: #5
Record (Conference): 14-3 (3-3)
Top Scorer: Attacker Taylor D'Amore
Last Year: Lost in ALC Quarter finals

The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays enter the tournament fresh off a win over ALC Rival Ohio State to close out the season. Despite having the second-highest total number of wins in the conference, the Blue Jays 3-3 conference record earned them a No. 5 seed in the tournament. Leading the Hopkins offense this year has been senior Taylor D'Amore, who has 91 points in the team's 17 games this season. Thirteen Blue Jays have at least one point this season, while six of them have 23 points or more.

The Blue Jays finished near the top of the conference in several offensive categories this season including second in shots (487) and goals (220), while finishing third in scoring offense (12.94 GPG) and assists (89). The Blue Jays are a strong defensive team, only allowing 6.87 goals per game, and forcing their opponents into an average of 9.53 turnovers per game. Johns Hopkins is a very patient team on offense, but an aggressive defensive team. They maintain possession of the ball very well, generate strong offensive chances and allow the play to develop before they force a shot.

Johns Hopkins opens play against Penn State.

 

 

Michigan
ALC Seed: #7
Record (Conference): 4-12 (0-6)
Top Scorer: Anna Schueler
Last Year: Not an ALC Member

In their first year in the ALC, the Michigan Wolverines took major steps towards becoming a legitimate contender for years to come. A team comprised of just freshman, the Wolverines battled several key ALC opponents hard this season, but fell short each time.

The Wolverines are led by midfielder Anna Scheuler, who has 41 points through 16 games this season. Her 23 ground balls, 51 draw controls, and 16 caused turnovers are all team-highs this season. In net for the Wolverines this season has been Allison Silber. The freshman goalkeeper has a conference-high 137 saves this season, while putting together a 4-12 record.

The Wolverines are a young team still finding their groove. They have had several solid offensive outings this season, and play a very fast-paced game. Their ability to quickly pass the ball leads to offensive chances. The defense, however, has been struggling to get its feet set this season. Despite being a first-year program, the Wolverines are a very competitive team.

Michigan opens play against Ohio State.

 

Northwestern
ALC Seed: #3
Record (Conference): 10-5 93-3)
Top Scorer: Kat DeRonda
Last Year: Tournament Champion

The Wildcats, the host of this year's tournament, come into their first matchup having beat Southern California last weekend. Their three conference wins this season are the lowest total number of conference wins since the 2010 season. Northwestern, a regular title Contender, has won the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament every single season except once in 2011-2012. The Wildcats are led by senior midfielder Kat DeRonda, who has 39 points through the team's 15 games this season. In net for Northwestern this season has been Bridget Bianco. The Junior has started all 15 games this season and has made 106 saves. She has a goals against average of 7.86 and has allowed 116 goals this season.

The Wildcats are an incredibly patient offense, and will always allow the play to develop prior to making their move. Defensively, Northwestern is a high-pressure, in-your-face type of defense. They are in constant pursuit of the ball and have a knack for generating turnovers.

The Wildcats open play against Vanderbilt.

 

Ohio State
ALC Seed: #2
Record (Conference): 12-5 (4-2)
Top Scorer: Jackie Cifarelli
Last Year: Lost in the ALC Semifinals

The Buckeyes might be the surprise story of the ALC this season. They have secured themselves a No. 2 seed and seem to be playing their best lacrosse at the right moment. This season marks the first time they have finished with an above .500 conference record since the 2003 season. Junior attacker Jackie Cifarelli paces the Buckeyes. Cifarelli has 59 points this season. Her 43 assists are a team-high and eight buckeyes have at least 18 points or more.

The story of the Buckeyes this season has been junior goalkeeper Tori DeScenza. She has a 12-5 record in 16 starts this season, with a 7.89 goals against average and has made 129 saves this season, good for second overall in the conference.

As a team, the 101 assists the Buckeyes have this season ranks No. 1 in the conference.  They are an offense that moves the ball very effectively, and makes quick decisions to catch the opposing defenders off guard. This has been their best year in over a decade, and the Buckeyes enter the tournament with a ton of momentum.

Ohio State opens play against Michigan.

 

Penn State
ALC Seed: #4
Record: 10-6 (3-3)
Top Scorer: Madison Cyr
Last Year: Lost in the ALC semifinals

The Nittany Lions enter the ALC Tournament riding a two-game win streak, having beaten Johns Hopkins and Princeton over the last two weeks. This the third season in the row they have secured at least 10 wins by the end of the regular season. Sophomore Midfielder Madison Cyr leads Penn State. The midfielder has a team-high 45 points, and 39 goals. She has been the driving force for the Nittany Lions and is in the midst of a breakout season. 19 Nittany Lions have at least one point this season, and eight have thirty points or more to contribute to a balanced offensive attack.


Cat Rainone finished the season as the Nittany Lions' starting goalie. The freshman goalkeeper has become well known for making pivotal saves late in games, while posting a 5-3 record and making 47 saves. She has a goals against average of 9.23 and has allowed 63 goals this season.

Penn State boasts an aggressive offensive style. Their transition play has been solid all season long, and they love to push the tempo of the game up and drive the net. Defensively, the mentality is the same. They swarm the ball, regardless of where it is on the field, and do a great job of generating turnovers and moving the ball back into the offensive zone.


The Nittany Lions open play against Johns Hopkins.

 

 

Vanderbilt
ALC Seed: #6
Record (Conference): 5-11 (2-4)
Top Scorer: Abby Wheeler
Last Year: Lost in the ALC quarter finals

Vanderbilt enters the game having lost five of its last six games. Vandy's two conference wins ties its most in a single season since 2009-10. Abby Wheeler leads the Commodores. The senior attacker has 45 points this season and a team-high 38 goals. Eight members of the team have at least 11 points this season.

Maddie Kratz has been the primary goalkeeper for Vanderbilt this season. The junior has a 3-10 record and a goals against average of 13.18. She has made 110 saves this season, but has allowed 178 goals in 15 outings.

Vanderbilt, similar to Northwestern, is a patient team that likes to run their offense and wait for the right opportunity; their 85 assists this season ranks fourth in the conference. The Commodores have been very effective off the draw this season, controlling an average of 12.80 per game.

Vanderbilt opens play against Northwestern. 

Nittany Lions Get Hard-Fought Win on Senior Day

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the day they were honoring their senior class, the Penn State Nittany Lions held off a late push from the Princeton Tigers to secure their 10th win of the season.

Prior to the game, 10 seniors received their blankets and flowers to celebrate their outstanding careers. It was no surprise that one of those seniors, attacker Mackenzie Cyr, was the driving force behind the Nittany Lions' win. She finished her day with six points, scoring a hat trick and assisting on three other goals.


From the opening draw, the energy in the air at the Penn State Lacrosse Field was high. Penn State was in need of a win to gain momentum heading into the American Lacrosse Conference tournament next week, and the Nittany Lions had lost their last five meetings against the Tigers.

That would all change in front of 1,621 fans, the largest crowd of the season. 

With 14:50 left, the two teams were tied, 3-3. It had been a close game, and each time the Nittany Lions made a move to gain momentum, the Tigers responded and vice versa. Then, the Penn State offense got rolling and outscored Princeton 4-1 over the last 12:44 to take an 8-4 lead into halftime.

"Yeah, I mean I think it's just an exciting game," head coach Missy Doherty said after the win. "All season long, I think we really challenged ourselves with our schedule. I think Princeton is a really great team. I think they're probably ranked a little lower than they should be. We saw that battle today.

"Our offense came up with some great transition goals today and our [defense] came up with some huge stops and it was great to come out with a win."

The Nittany Lions seemed to find the same groove they had against Cornell and Johns Hopkins. The offense, spearheaded by Cyr, was very crisp and effective, while senior defenders Lauren Purvis and Evan Foulsham kept the Princeton offense off the scoreboard. Purvis had a team-high four caused turnovers.

As the second half got started, the NIttany Lions were caught on their heels early allowing two goals from the Tigers, but again the offense put together a fantastic run of their own to widen their lead to 13-7.

Now, it was time for the defense and freshman goalkeeper Cat Rainone to shine. Time and time again, the Tigers threatened to score, but each time the Penn State defense held its ground. The hustle displayed by the girls in blue and white was extraordinary as they continued to feed their attackers and generate offensive chances while limiting the Princeton offense.

The Tigers brought their deficit to within two with 3:10 left, but they never would gain the lead because of a hard-working defense and some timely saves from Rainone.

"I think they just went on a run with the draw controls, and that is something that we just really needed to pick up," midfielder Jenna Mosketti said. "But it was a little exciting; we just made it exciting. But you know, defense stuck it out and came up with big plays."

Mosketti was another Nittany Lion with a strong afternoon. She finished with four goals and a game-high four draw controls.

At the end of the day, however, this game was huge for the senior class. The underclassmen helped lead the rally to get a win for the 10 Nittany Lions playing their last home game.

"Before the game we had all the senior day traditions," Mosketti said, "so we were just really excited to win it for them. They deserve it."

Penn State will now prepare for the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament in Chicago, Ill. The Nittany Lions open tournament play on Thursday when they take on the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.  Game time is set for 3 p.m.

Cyr Leaves Lasting Legacy

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By
Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Putting your name in the history books at Penn State is no easy feat. It takes hard work, dedication, desire and a work ethic that goes above and beyond what is expected of college athletes. 

To leave behind an impression as powerful as the one Mackenzie Cyr leaves Penn State Lacrosse, well, that takes a work ethic very few have had. 

Cyr will play her last game in front of the home crowd on Saturday.
  She will receive her blanket, her flowers, and a big hug from the coaching staff. It will be a highly-emotional moment for everyone involved, but it's just a singular moment from an amazing career. 

"It's going to be bittersweet," Cyr said. "It's going to be sad that it's ending, but I'm ready to go out with a bang and beat Princeton because we haven't beat them yet. So I'm ready to do that."

For the last four years, No. 15 has been solid, to say the least. She has been as reliable as any attacker in the country and she has grown into one of the best attackers in the country. Her sense for her teammates and the game is terrific, and her ability to see a play develop steps ahead of the girls defending her has always given her an edge. 

She has finished second on the team in points in each of the last three years, including 2010 when she lead the team as a freshman in assists. The Westminster, Md., native has seen it all over her career, and she has been successful in her own style.

It is no surprise she was named a captain this season, because Cyr is constantly setting a tone for her teammates. She works tremendously hard at practice, and has always sought more from her fellow Nittany Lions in all aspects of their game. You never see her complaining about a call, or getting frustrated on the field. She just lowers her head, and keeps moving forward, as she has done her whole career. 

After putting together a three-assist performance against Johns Hopkins, Cyr currently ranks third in program-history with 102 career assists, an ode to that work ethic. It seems as if every time she has the ball in her stick, she just seems to know where she wants it to go and she is going to do everything in her power to get it there. 

"I had no idea I even had that many until they announced it at the game," she said with a laugh, "but it's pretty exciting, good accomplishment. It's just exciting. It's a great accolade to have."

Cyr's successes on the lacrosse field are sure to continue. Against the Princeton Tigers, the senior has five career points and always plays them well. This season, her 21 assists are tied for the team-high and rank her third in the American Lacrosse Conference. Her 34 points on the season are the third highest on the team, and she has done it only 29 shots, the lowest of any player with 24 points or more. 

Cyr has been the example for players like her younger sister, Madison, and Maggie McCormick. She has helped countless Nittany Lions develop into stellar players, and she has helped Missy Doherty build this program into a national championship contender.

As she prepared to take the practice field, in a humbled voice she spoke of her legacy: "I just hope to leave some sort of impact on the program."

Well, Mackenzie Cyr has done just that.

For one last time, after a fantastic career, Cyr will take the Penn State Lacrosse Field. Game time is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Nittany Lions Win Pivotal Game Against Johns Hopkins

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On a beautiful night in State College, the Penn State Nittany Lions turned in a superb performance, beating the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, 12-10, to earn their ninth win of their season.

Simply put, the Blue and White buckled down, did their jobs, and got the win.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Nittany Lions went into halftime trailing the Blue Jays, 7-4. Penn State had some success in the first half, but Johns Hopkins made huge defensive stops to limit an offense getting into their groove.

That all changed as soon as the second half got underway.

"Well, again, I wasn't necessarily mad about the first half," Doherty said. "We needed to make some saves, we needed to come up with some momentum-turners, and we needed to put our shots away. Thankfully, [in] the second half the girls got their heads up; we put our shots away, got a couple goals in transition.

"We know we can score quickly, so the girls took advantage of that in the beginning of the first half. I was saying, 'we need to make them stop us,' because sometimes we're going up and we're not being stopped yet. So keep going until they stop you and they did a good job of doing that."

As we have seen before, the Nittany Lions seemed to just turn a switch and dominant games. They opened the second half by scoring five goals in a row to take an 8-7 lead. Madison Cyr scored three goals in a 26-second span and completely put the Blue Jays on their heels.

"You score one you want to keep going," Cyr said. "You score two you want to keep going. It definitely helped."

The three goals in 26 seconds are not that unusual for a player like Cyr, according to her coach.

"We're trying to get her to score four in 30 [seconds]," Doherty said with a laugh. "So we just missed the mark. She's great. She's great because she is a smart cutter and a smart challenger. She knows when to come in and make the most of a situation and she did that tonight."


Part of what made the Nittany Lions' comeback look so smooth was their play in transition. The turnovers they were creating on the defensive end were becoming excellent offensive opportunities, and they were continuing to capitalize on the Blue Jays not having their feet set defensively.

"Despite Hopkins, I think we are a good transition team," Doherty said. "I think we see each other well. We go hard to goal well. We can score quickly. We took more advantage of it in the second half than we did in the first half."

With just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, the game was tied at 9-9. Cyr scored her fourth goal of the game when fellow midfielder Jenna Mosketti hit her in stride and she beat goalkeeper Caroline Federico five-hole to take the lead. The Nittany Lions outscored the Blue Jays 2-1 in the games final minute to secure the victory.

One of the major storylines in the second half was the play of freshman goalkeeper Cat Rainone. She stepped in mid-way through the first half and helped provide a serious spark to the Nittany Lions. She made five saves to earn the win, including some sensational saves on free-position shots.

"In the cage, it's not a mental thing," Rainone said. "You just have to go in there and do it. Get your body behind the ball and just make the save.

"It was a great game for everybody; it's definitely a team effort. The one play that I made doesn't make he game. So I am definitely proud of everybody on the field, especially our sideline, being our support system, being there when we have turnovers and when we make good, big plays. They are always there to support us."

The Nittany Lions will now head back to the practice field as they prepare to go for win number 10 against Princeton on Senior Day this Saturday.

"We have great character on our team," Doherty said. "We work hard all game long and sometimes the breaks go your way, and sometimes they don't. This game we were able to put our shots away when it counted and we were able to make huge defensive stops. We had a great couple charge calls when the girls got in position to take that charge, and those were momentum-turners for us. They stepped out when they needed to, defensively, and got in front a lot of the players. They were just on it tonight; it was great to watch."

Loizeaux Making Her Comeback Complete

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's very rare to see a transfer player come in and make an immediate impact. They have to pick up a new system, develop new chemistry, and understand what exactly it is that the players around them want to do.

It is especially challenging in a sport like lacrosse, where you have to be on the same page with your teammates on the field throughout the entire 60-minute game.

But for junior-transfer Jess Loizeaux, the transition has been no problem.

As a matter of fact, she has made the transition look easy and she has done it very smoothly, and with her own style.

The attacker is coming off an injury that caused her to miss her sophomore season at Virginia, and so far she has thrived in her new offense with her new team.

"I like it more," she said. "It's really hard to be out for a full season with an injury, mentally. It definitely messes with your mind. In the fall, it kind of gave me that period to get back to playing full swing and in competition in the fall ball games.

"Playing games is so much more fun for me. Just being able to compete and go to practice everyday and compete is just so much fun. "

Through the Nittany Lions' 14 games this season, Loizeaux's consistent play has proven to be invaluable, as she has become one of offensive leaders on this team. Currently, she boasts a 12-game point streak and is sixth on the team in points.

In her freshman season as a Cavalier, she scored eight times and assisted on three goals. As a Nittany Lion, her production has nearly tripled as she has 18 goals and 12 assists on the season.

Part of what has made her so effective in this offense is how well she has gelled with the other girls in blue and white, and how her playing style is very similar to the one head coach Missy Doherty has installed over her four years at the helm.


When the Mullica Hill, N.J., native has the ball in her stick, the aggression and tenacity she displays is tremendous, but her intelligence also stands out. She is always looking to get the ball to goal and beat the opposing goaltender. But at the same time, Loizeaux is very selective with her shots and will always pass up something forced for a better play.

Her style is similar to that of her teammates and the connection was instant from the first moment they stepped on the field together. 

"I really, really enjoy playing with Maggie [McCormick] and Mackenzie [Cyr], especially on attack," Loizeaux said. "I think we all kind of play similar. Everyone on the team is unselfish. No one is a ball-hog or anything like that. It works really well with how I play.

"I like to get feeds inside and that kind of stuff. I think that our team all plays very similar and we are all equally good and we are not selfish, so I think I fit in pretty easily. But it was hard to get back into remembering how to play the game and that sort of thing."

Getting back on your feet and making an immediate impact is no easy task, as Loizeaux will attest to, but so far so good for the New Nittany Lion.

Loizeaux and the Nittany Lions return to action when they welcome ALC rival Johns Hopkins on Friday night for a pivotal game. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Doherty, Nittany Lions Ready to Make a Push

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSIT PARK, Pa. - As the lacrosse season begins to draw to a close, the practice intensity picks up, the games become more crucial, and the competition gets stronger and stronger.


With a talented, tough team, the Nittany Lions and head coach Missy Doherty are ready to make a push and get back into the NCAA Tournament after losing in the quarterfinals last season.

The long journey to postseason action continues this weekend when the team travels to Columbus, Ohio, for an ALC showdown with Ohio State.

Penn State is fresh off a 13-8 victory over Cornell, and with an opportunity to get to nine wins on the season this weekend, Doherty and her team understand how well they have to practice and how well they have to play against the Buckeyes.

"I think we have to be ready to take care of the ball and play smart," Doherty said before Thursday's practice. "They have a lot of really good weapons on attack, so collectively, defensively, we need to be ready to stop all their threats. That's the challenge of playing them. It's not just one or two scorers."

The matchup with the Buckeyes should be a good test for the Nittany Lions. Their last three matchups have been decided by three goals or less, including a double-overtime win coming in Doherty's first year as head coach.

The fast pace intensity that she has instilled in her players will be crucial as they take the field Sunday. The Buckeyes are a patient team, so the Nittany Lions will be looking to force the issue and control the tempo of the game.

"Ohio State is a big game," Doherty said after the Cornell victory. "They've done really well this season and it's always kind of a grudge match there and we're just ready to come out, fight, and try to bring our best game."

The Buckeyes are a strong team, according to Doherty, and are another step in the process to get her team ready for to take on the challenges that lie ahead. The offense is going to be looking to get going early, and take advantage of the depth of talent they have.

"We're using all of our scorers and we are hard to stop, that's why it's always such a good game," Doherty said. "I think all their losses have been by one or two goals, and they beat Northwestern by one. So they are playing really good teams, really close and we have to be ready for that."

Through 13 games this season, the team has had a lot of high moments, like winning five games in a row and beating teams like Cornell, Vanderbilt and Loyola. But moments like that aren't enough for this group of players and their head coach. They want more.

The Nittany Lions currently have an 8-5 record overall, 2-2 in conference play, and Doherty knows her team needs to take the next step and move forward. She sees the desire and the effort from the girls in blue and white, and she knows they are just a few plays away from having a better record, and from separating themselves from the other teams in the ALC. As the push for the NCAA tournament begins, the Nittany Lions seem ready to go.

"NCAAs are right around the corner and if we're not going to win these games," Doherty said, "that's going to be a hard thing for us to get into. Each game is really important and bringing our best out is important, especially in crunch time."

Game time is set for 1 p.m.

Nittany Lions Back On Track With Win Against Cornell

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions took to the Penn State Lacrosse Field on Tuesday evening with only one thing on their minds - beat Cornell.


The Nittany Lions had dropped two hard-fought games against ALC rivals Florida and Northwestern, but they were determined to show their fans, their coaching staff, and themselves the kind of a team they are and the kind of team they can be. It's a team that doesn't quit, makes the smart play, and stays focused on its goals.

That was the team the Penn State faithful saw beat Cornell, 13-8, and get back to its winning ways.

The Nittany Lions and the Big Red went back and forth to start off the game. Cornell was having tremendous success off the draw, but that didn't seem to slow down the girls in blue and white. After Cornell sophomore Lindsay Toppe gave the Big Red a 3-4 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the first half, the Nittany Lions just took over the game.

Penn State scored six goals - four of which came from the stick of Madison Cyr - over the last 11 minutes to Cornell's two goals, and they ended the half with a 9-6 lead. Missy Doherty's squad started to win draw controls, 50-50 balls and took complete advantage of their opportunities.

"...But that's challenge of every game we have, is to be able to keep that energy up," the head coach said. "Especially with the three remaining games we have, they are going to be just like this one. It's a hard fought battle and we have to be ready to bring our best."


Cyr was the story to end the first half. The four goals she scored were the result of hustle and strong willpower. She received a well-deserved applause from teammates and fans when she took a break with two minutes left in the first half after spearheading the comeback.

In the second half, after a very inspiring speech from Doherty, the Nittany Lions continued their dominance and made all the necessary plays to secure the victory. Their possessions on offense were crisp, and well executed and the defense continued to be ball-hawks and create turnovers, while keeping the Cornell offense at bay.

Six Nittany Lions found their way onto the score sheet and helped contribute to the win. It was a total team effort on offense and defense and the Nittany Lions seemed to hit a stride and never look back. Attacker Jess Loizeaux continued to play well and helped contribute to the win with an early goal and a few helpers throughout the evening.

"Playing here," Loizeaux said, "it reminds me of having fun and playing the game. I know I'm playing better here than I did at [University of Virginia] and I think that's part of the reason why, because I'm having fun while I'm playing. I enjoy coming to practice every day and I think its fun to play with the teammates. I love playing with Maggie [McCormick], and Mackenzie [Cyr], and Madison [Cyr], and Jen [Mosketti] and all the other girls on the attack."

Along with Cyr and Loizeaux, midfielders Abby Smucker, Ally Heavens, and Tatum Coffey all finished the day with two goals. Coffey also recorded an assist on Heaven's goal to open the game, giving her 11 on the season and tying her career-high.

"I think that's one of the thing we wanted to take advantage of this year is not having three to four main scorers, [but] to have a lot of threats so they're not really sure where the goals are going to be coming from," Doherty said. "Thankfully for the girls, every game a different player steps up and it's been nice to see everybody contribute."

This win will be a huge momentum boost as Penn State prepare for a showdown with ALC Rival Ohio State. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions have gone back and forth over recent years, and both teams have a lot riding on the game. Doherty and her staff know the game will be a challenging one, but they also know they will be ready for what the Buckeyes bring.

"Ohio State is a big game," Doherty said. "They've done really well this season and it's always kind a grudge match there and we're just ready to come out, fight, and try to bring our best game."

Nittany Lions Fall to Northwestern, 5-4

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By Michael Renahan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On a cold, rainy night in State College, the Penn State Nittany Lions and Northwestern Wildcats went back and forth in a classic American Lacrosse Conference game at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.

It was their fourth matchup within a year, and the Nittany Lions were hungry for a win against the team that ended their season last year. As game time got closer and closer, the intense feeling between the teams was palpable and both were ready for the challenges ahead.

The game kicked off with the Wildcats scoring two goals in the game's first 10 minutes. The Penn State defense was playing well, but tremendous plays from the Wildcats led to the early lead. The Nittany Lions, however, kept their heads high and were determined to battle back into the game.

And battle back they did.

Penn State started to take control off the draw and create turnovers, leading to offensive chances. Emi Smith tightened up her play in net, and the Nittany Lion offense seemed to start to discover a groove against their rival.

Kelly Lechner got the scoring going for Penn State when she took a draw control right down the field and beat Wildcat goalie, Bridget Bianco, with a goal to her high right side. The goal captured the energy of the Nittany Lions, as Lechner was knocked down while shooting but got right back up. Her tenacity clearly inspired the team and the momentum was starting to swing in favor of the girls in blue and white.

Then, with just over three minutes remaining in the first half, Tatum Coffey fed a cutting Madison Cyr for a one-timer to bring the game to 3-2. Penn State battled hard to get back into the game and carried the game's momentum into half time.

"I think I focused on the crashing aspect more this game," Madison Cyr said. "Last game we were crashing more stick and this time we were more focused on crashing the body and being there for each other. If someone got beat on a one-on-one, we wanted to be there for each other and I think it all worked out in the end because they did only score I think five goals. We held them to it."

The Nittany Lions and Wildcats went back and forth in the early parts of the second half with each team answering their opponent's goals.

"They are really a patient team," head coach Missy Doherty said. "I don't really know that approach and its obviously working for them. We like and enjoy playing high tempo and high pressure and I don't think that's really going to change.

"Tonight, we just couldn't really put our shots away. I think when you're not on attack as much, and you're playing a lot of [defense], the attack gets a little bit antsy. Even though we had some great shots, their goalie played great and we just weren't able to put our shots away."

Penn State had one final chance to equalize the game when Lauren Purvis made a terrific interception - man down, nonetheless - and found teammate Erika Spilker to start the rush. Spilker hit Madison Cyr in the midfield, who took the ball to net. Cyr, already with two goals, drove the net hard and put up a shot with just seconds remaining, but Bainco made the save to preserve the lead.

Cyr's effort on the play was tremendous and she came within mere inches of tying the game. Her two goals extended her impressive point-streak to nine games.

At the end of the day, according to Doherty, this is another excellent learning opportunity for the Nittany Lions as they prepare to take on more teams like the Wildcats before postseason play begins.

"They did a great job," Doherty said. "Our [defense] came up with some good stops and I think when they were trying to score, we did a great job of getting on their top scorers. I think attack really could have dictated this game a little bit more and maybe put some shots away. Instead of losing 5-4, maybe we win 8-4. That was disappointing today, but the girls fought the whole game, so it's hard to be mad at them. I told them after the game our goal is not to lose close games to good teams we want to start beating some of those teams. We still have a lot of time and a lot of teams to do that on our schedule."