Skip to main content Skip to footer

Recently in Women's Lacrosse Category

12431152 (1).jpeg

By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - How teams finish often translates directly into the final score, showing who was able to put the game away and be better than their opponents in the most crucial part of the game. While Penn State's spotless 5-0 record speaks for itself in that department, often times it's the front end of the game where the Nittany Lions leave the biggest mark.

In four of the five games played this season by the Blue and White, Penn State has struck first with the opening goal in each of those games. The only game the team was unable to do so was on the road against Duquesne, at which the Nittany Lions responded by scoring 10 of the remaining 13 goals scored in the first half which included a stretch of six unanswered goals.


Head coach Missy Doherty credits, among other things, the strong-minded nature of the team as the players don't second-guess themselves out on the field.


"Our offense has to be ready to play aggressive and do the simple things well. I think sometimes our decision making is a little slower, but when its fast and we're decisive about what we want to do we really have some people that are hard to stop," Doherty said.


In the first half alone, Penn State only outdoes its own second-half scoring by a single goal, but when it comes down to how much it overmatches its opponents, the numbers are pretty lopsided. The Nittany Lions have put up 40 goals on the year in the first 30 minutes of action, which is good enough to double the competition at just 20 total goals in the first. When it comes down to sheer volume of shots, it's all Penn State again as they lead in total first half shots 80-50 and shots on goal 63-32.


That production stands out in the first handful of minutes as well. When looking at the first 10 minutes of play, the Nittany Lions outscore their challengers at a 14-4 clip, allowing them to usually have a commanding lead right out of the gate.


A good deal of that kind of output can likely be chalked up to winning the battle at draw control. Penn State has won every first half battle from the draw this season, doing so at a whopping 2.5-1 ratio (46-19).


"The draw control has been a huge, huge factor this year for us in a lot of those games, because when you get possession, obviously you have a better chance to score," Doherty said. 


Despite the vast early success, the team says dominating early is not something it necessarily preaches, as everyone's eyes are set on the long haul.


"I think we're bought into this 60 minutes sort of philosophy, it just so happens that we've been able to start some games off efficient," Doherty said.


But of course, the team says it's still a big boost early on that allows them to get settled in.


"It's not like we're always stressing that we have to be the first one to score, but it's always nice to get the ball in the net first, kind of get the momentum going," senior Steph Lazo said.


Coach Doherty says holding onto that full game mentality with an early lead can sometimes make the task at hand that much harder though, as her team needs to be careful not to let too much off of the throttle.


"I think the early lead is nice, sometimes I think it's deceptive if you get it quickly but its only been four minutes into the game we still have 56 minutes to go," Doherty said. "You have to buy into those full 60 minutes."


The team has been able to do just fine in that department, even if some games get closer than the team would like, as the team continues to produce throughout each game into the closing minutes.


Even with the fast starts, the squad knows that in order to win, they can't take plays off and play like every second counts, because during the course of a game you never know what is going to end up being the deciding factor.


"You never know what plays gonna win the game," Doherty said. "Sometimes when you look back on the full 60 minutes, that first 5-minute stretch was where we won the game. So I'm always telling them that and to take advantage of every second because you never quite know what's going to give you the edge."


Penn State will travel to Baltimore to take on Loyola Maryland on Saturday, March 4. The opening draw will commence at 3 p.m.


By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the No. 6 team in the country, Penn State is stockpiled full of seasoned veterans that have no shortage of in-game experience under their belts. But, while the upperclassmen may do the heavy lifting, the Nittany Lions still have a healthy dose of young talent on their roster.


One such player is freshman attacker Maria Auth, who introduced herself to the Penn State faithful against Duquesne on Wednesday. In the first road game of her collegiate career, the young shooter stuffed her stat sheet with three goals en route to her first collegiate hat trick.


"I was just excited to be able to contribute in a big way to the team," Auth said as she talked about trying to make the most out of her minutes. "That was definitely a big accomplishment for me and it was exciting."


Head coach Missy Doherty also praised her abilities on the field during the game, as she led the younger players in giving Penn State some extra life with the sticks.


"She did a great job and really in Duquesne a lot of players went in and really brought up the level of our game," Doherty said. "[The underclassmen] did a great job of lifting our team up when we maybe needed a little more energy."


Auth is one of several younger players that has been able to leave their mark on the field this season. Coming off of her big game, she now sits at five points on the season off of four goals and an assist. The attacker is also doing it at an efficient clip. While her numbers may still have a small sample size this early in the season, she currently sits tied for the team's second-best shooting at a .667 clip, trailing only the team's leading point-getter in Steph Lazo (.739).


Early on, coach Doherty already sees things she likes in the freshman as a lefty attacker that adds another wrinkle to the offense.


"She's just a really skilled attacker, a great scorer and competitor, so you know getting some more goals from that left side," Doherty said. "It just adds to our arsenal there on offense."


The Maryland native is one of 13 imports on the team from the state, hailing from the rural community of Street which resides just five miles south of the Pennsylvania border. In her time in the "Old Line State," Auth had an impressive resume not just on the field but in the classroom as well.


In four years of action, she racked up accolades as a US Lacrosse First-team All-American, a two-time Crab Draw All-Star game MVP and a two-time Lacrosse Academic All-American, among many others. Coming off an 87-goal season her senior year with 68 draw controls and 20 caused turnovers, the college lacrosse scene was her oyster, and it was the big-time atmosphere of Happy Valley that caught her eye.


"I just always wanted to come to a big school.  I could never really see myself at a small school and the athletic environment definitely helped," Auth said. "There's just so much tradition with athletics and academics here that it just drew me to Penn State"


Now that she has nearly a year under her belt, Auth says she has the hang of things, but it took her a while to ease into the whole process. Like many student-athletes, time management was a habit she had to pick up quick in order to stay on top of things both in practice and with the books.


The strong foundation of upperclassmen and leadership on the squad helped her find comfort instead of commotion, however, as they helped her transition as both as teammates and role models.


"The upperclassmen are amazing. They're great leaders on and off the field at both academics and athletics, so it's always great to have someone to look up to," Auth said. "I definitely couldn't have transitioned as well without their help."

Now with a few games under her belt, the first-year player is gaining confidence as she continues to contribute more and more. With more time and more reps, Auth will find her place as a member of the Blue and White while she continues to live her dream.


"Everyone dreams of coming to a D-1 school for sports, and to have it be everything I imagined it would be, it's an awesome feeling to be a part of something so big," Auth said.

VIDEO: Women's Lacrosse's THON 2017 Pep Rally Dance

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Another highly anticipated THON event, check out women's lacrosse's full pep rally dance! 



By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Behind the lead of some quality individual play, Penn State was able to capture a solid team win over Lehigh, 18-9.


The Nittany Lions were able to hold the Mountain Hawks to under double-digit goals, but it was a strong offensive outburst to start the game that got the ball rolling for the Blue and White.


Both teams traded goals in the first two minutes, with Lehigh scoring the latter of the two, but it would be the visitors' last goal for over 20 minutes as the Penn State offense took over by dominating possession. The team went two big runs; one that saw three more goals in the first ten minutes of action, and another that had the Nittany Lions four goals in a three-minute span that started with 10:44 left in the half. The seven unanswered goals would give them an 8-1 lead heading into the final 7:30 of the first half.


Sophomore attacker Madison Carter was the main cog in the Nittany Lion offense, as she scored a team-high five goals and added an assist on the day. Along with the likes of Katie O'Donnell, who found the back of the net four times, and Steph Lazo, who played more of a facilitator role with two goals and two assists, the offense found a lot of chemistry out of the gate and was able to find a lot of open lanes.


"We're really working well as a team. We're really working all of our options hard, so it opens a lot of things up," Carter said. "We're really understanding each other, reading each other, so it looked really good today."


After a late run in the half by Lehigh, the teams would enter the break with a 9-5 Penn State lead.


Senior Steph Lazo opened up the scoring in the second half with her first goal of the game to get Penn State into double digits. This started the chain of events that saw the Nittany Lions add three more to the scoreboard in under a minute, making it 12-5.


Following another Carter goal, the Mountain Hawks answered back with four goals of their own to tighten things up. First-time starter at goalie Madison Cunningham showed promise early on, but coach Doherty felt like it was the right time to make a move to give her team back some momentum and brought in senior Cat Rainone with just over 15 minutes remaining in the contest.


"We needed a momentum changer there and I was happy to be that person," Rainone said.


She came in and did just that, becoming a stalwart for her team as she denied every opportunity by the opposing team. In her brief time in between the pipes, she recorded five saves and did not allow a single goal the rest of the game.


With a reliable defense and more chances with possession, Penn State's offense was able to close the game out strong, scoring the game's final five goals in order to double Lehigh, 18-9.


Rainone said postgame her strong performance gave her a lot of confidence for herself and her team, and believes this game can give the unit some fuel moving forward.


"I feel really good with my team, feel good how everyone's playing and things like that," Rainone said.  "I'm excited to see the rest of the season,".


The Nittany Lions now move to 3-0 on the year and coach Doherty said she has been very proud with what her team has been able to accomplish so far after all their hard work.


"They've worked super hard this whole year," Doherty said. "They've consistently worked hard in practice and I think it showed in the first three games. Regardless of their runs the other team went on, we still competed hard and finished the game pretty well."

Penn State's next test will be on the road as they travel to Pittsburgh to take on Duquesne on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m.


By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the most admired things about sports is its ability to take one's minds off of things. It's one of sports' best qualities, and sometimes for those who follow and play sports it can be easy to get carried away, passing around terms like 'hero' and 'sacrifice' as normal descriptions of the incredible things that can happen between the lines.


Every year in the Penn State community, however, something happens that breaks beyond those barriers of thinking just between the lines, branching out into something greater.

Friday marks the start of the 44th annual Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, also known as THON.  THON is a 46-hour event where Penn State students raise money for the fight against pediatric cancer. Over the year it has been a staple of the Happy Valley community and has raised upwards to 137 million dollars for the cause.


The yearly event brings a level of excitement to University Park, and the women's lacrosse team is one of the marathons biggest supporters.


"We love THON," head coach Missy Doherty. "It's such an amazing experience and kind of a life-changing event when you go in and you see all the passion that Penn State and the students have for kids suffering from pediatric cancer. It kind of takes your breath away."


The dance marathon brings a lot of traffic, alumni, and others onto the University's campus each year, and with that creates not only a larger mass of support for those dancing, but also for the rest of the Penn State community like with the athletics programs that still have home games on THON weekend.


During the festivities, the women's lacrosse team will be taking on Lehigh Saturday afternoon in the Blue and White's first outdoor game of the season. With the field right next door to the Bryce Jordan Center, Doherty thinks it can provide an essential boost in support for her squad.


"We'll see all the people walking by in their tutus and their high rainbow socks, giving us a couple shutouts as they walk up to THON, so the energy level is greater and just to feel that school spirit during our game is awesome."


Saturday night, following the game, the team will join many of the other sports programs here at Penn State for the highly celebrated Athlete Hour.  During the designated hour of THON, athletes from all across campus will compete with each other not on a field, but on the event's stage in a dance battle to try and prove their team has the best moves on campus.


The hour is one of the marathons most anticipated each year, and the women's lacrosse team will be throwing its hat into the ring as one of the teams competing. It's something the team is putting a lot of effort into, but coach Doherty says their talents might be best suited for the turf.


"The girls are practicing diligently their dance act for athlete hour and I'd have to say they're way more talented thankfully on the field than they are on the dance floor," Doherty said. "But the energy they bring and the excitement is really fun and you know they're really excited to contribute to that event."


Coach was unable to be able to provide any details on the dance number the team plans to do, saying "music nowadays is not my thing," but she did say that the team was working hard on their moves.


But even with the event is all about having fun and providing moments of joy to those in need, the team understands the deeper meaning the annual marathon represents and takes that message to heart when approaching their duties on the field.


"It gives you a life perspective, especially heading into these games where you think ground balls are a big deal and then you get a hit in the gut with what life's all about. It's good to have those reminders and be supportive of such a great cause," Doherty said.


The Nittany Lions will take on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks outside at The Penn State Lacrosse Field this Saturday at 3 p.m.


By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Separated by a mere 3,450 miles, two teams from two different countries and two different continents came together to compete and represent some of the best their nations have to offer on the lacrosse field.

That's what happened Wednesday afternoon, when the Wales Women's Lacrosse National Team came to Holuba Hall to partake in an exhibition with the Nittany Lions, edging Penn State 13-12 with a goal in the closing seconds. It consisted of two 30-minute halves of action with a continuous clock and featured a mixture of international and collegiate rules.


Penn State, coming off a 2-0 start to the season, was able to use the scrimmage as both a chance to regroup and to get a look at some of the younger and less-experienced players on the team. Coach Missy Doherty utilized a lot of her less-seasoned players and was pleased with how they handled their time on the field.


"Tonight we were really able to see a lot from the players that are up-and-coming players. So it was an interesting game to see who emerged as maybe our next leaders of the future," Doherty said. "It was just good to see that the people you think are the possible next leaders were the ones that did really stand out."


Among the young standouts mentioned were freshman attacker Maria Auth, freshman midfielder Shannon Moore and sophomore midfielder Reilly Masterson, all underclassmen who made major contributions throughout the duration of the exhibition.


On the other hand, Wales was in the midst of its trip through America's lacrosse capitals for its annual USA tour. Penn State marked the fifth of nine stops in Wales visit to the States that lasts from the 12th to the 18th, spanning three states. Wales already had finished its tour of several Virginia schools and now is working through Pennsylvania and Maryland in matchups against some of each state's top lacrosse schools.


The tour acts as an opportunity for the national team to get better as well, as they are in a World Cup year. Wales is one of just six national teams to play in every single Women's Lacrosse World Cup since its inception in 1982. This year's July tournament will feature 28 teams, including Wales, as they compete to be called the world's best.


Being a national squad, the team boasts players from all different backgrounds and styles of play, making them a special task for the Nittany Lions.


"The players were telling me the ages vary from 17 to 32 on their team, so it's just a wide variety of different styles and what they're bringing," Doherty said. "They were just so gritty that you don't know quite what to expect."


The match was competitive all throughout as the teams traded runs and were equally matched across the board. But even at the end of an hour of battling, pushing one another to the limit, both teams met at midfield to congratulate one another and share a moment as friends, taking a group photo together to encapsulate it all.


After traveling to Amsterdam and Greece last summer to play international competition and now expanding that to an in-season exhibition, the Blue and White continue to play teams from across the border, something the team hopes they can continue in the future.


"Being able to play someone new, especially from a different country, is always kind of a cool thing," senior Steph Lazo said. "I'm pretty honored we get to do that."


Penn State will continue its regular season schedule this Saturday at 3 p.m. when the team hosts Lehigh.


By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - At Holuba Hall, it was a tale of two halves for Penn State as it took on a physical Towson team that took the game down to the wire. The Nittany Lions ended the game on top, 13-11, but the team ran through a series of ups-and-downs in a roller coaster of a game.


Like all great roller coasters, there is the steady rise that takes you to the very top. That incline would last about the entirety of the first half for the Nittany Lions, as the contest was one-sided in their favor.


Within the game's first 90 seconds, Penn State drew first blood behind the stick of Steph Lazo as she recorded the first of her five goals on the day to put her team up 1-0. Just past the midway point of the first half, Penn State had grew its lead to a healthy seven goals, up 7-0 as a result of a six goals in a seven minute stretch of play.


The Blue and White's early success stemmed from their ability to win off the draw, going 10-2 in draw controls during the half. The ability to control the ball then translated onto offense as the Nittany Lions continued to have more and more opportunities.


On the other hand, Towson struggled without possession, as it did not have a shot until about 14 minutes into the game, while at the same time Penn State already had seven goals on 11 shots. The Nittany Lions would outshoot Tigers in the first 17-3.


Entering the half up 9-2, Penn State would feel the roller coast again, as Towson responded. Out of the gate, Towson began winning more draw controls, opening up more offensive chances for the Tigers. The visitors would then rack up six unanswered goals to draw within one in a 9-8 contest with 9:12 left in the game.


Needing to turn the tide, head coach Missy Doherty called a timeout and turned towards the bench to give freshman goalkeeper Madison Cunningham a chance within the pipes. Doherty told her team to focus on what was still left in the game rather than what had already occurred.


"I just reminded them that the game is long and that's how lacrosse goes, up and down, but just be ready to compete for every play," Doherty said.


Lazo also encouraged her fellow attackers to capitalize on more opportunities and to finish strong on their shots. She was determined to make sure her team came out on top.


"We're not losing this game," she told her team just before heading back onto the field.


After the break, the squad came back out with a sense of reestablished confidence. Penn State rallied to hold the Tigers to the full 90 seconds of their shot clock without scoring, then went down and scored four goals in four straight possessions that took a whole 85 seconds to complete.


Now up 13-8 with 3:41 remaining, Towson had its back to the wall and needed to make a run. The Tigers fought back by winning the draw controls and finding open shooters on the offensive end to tally three more goals to their total.


Now just up two with 40 seconds left and having to make a defensive stand, it was Cunningham who came up in the clutch to make her lone save of the day, giving Penn State back possession that it would not lose the rest of the game.


After all the ups and downs, the ride that was the game finally came to a halt as the final buzzer sounded, and all those who went along for the ride exited, having witnessed a great back-and-forth contest and a Penn State win. 


By Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the most important things practice can do for a team is help set up a game-like simulation of live action, preparing the players for potential problems they might have during an actual game in real time. Practice can usually do so much, while scrimmages are as close as it gets to the real thing.  Penn State though, did not get that scrimmage luxury, as it instead opened up the season with an eager opponent.

In a new year with a new team, having to face new challenges left behind by those who had graduated and moved on, it can be sometimes hard to gage exactly how a team is going to fare right out of the gate.


"We didn't have any scrimmages this year, we started off with games, so you're a little curious how the team will come in against some good competition," head coach Missy Doherty said.


A level of uncertainty was there for the team, being untested in the offseason other than by their own merits. It was still to be proven how well the team would perform after the first whistle. But, shortly after it blew, there was little doubt left in how the team would come out of the gate.

The season could not have got off to a better start. In the midst of a game that showed the Nittany Lions offense in full force, three of the team's starters tie career-highs in goals en route to a 20-9 victory over Albany. Among the calamitous crew were Steph Lazo, Madison Carter and Katie O'Donnell.


Lazo's performance, one that featured a team-high 12 points, set a career benchmark for her as she matched her career-best numbers in both goals (5) and assists (7). Her big day earned her the honor of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.


The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Carter, padded onto that with a barrage of her own. She led the team in goals with six and added an assist, picking up right where she left off as one of the teams most reliable scorers.


Junior midfielder O'Donnell fueled the fire with five goals, which included a series of three-consecutive scores. Once again, she scored double digit goals for her squad, which was something she was able to do over 70 percent of the time last season.


The team may have entered the season's first contest with some questions, but the group seemingly answered all of them with their incredible output on the offensive end. Erika Spilker said that with a game under the team's belt, moving forward things should only continue to improve as players get more experience against competition.


"I think for the whole team on any first game of the season, you're excited but it's all the nervousness and you're thinking 'what's gonna happen?' And 'how are we gonna play?' But I think throughout the rest of the season, the jitters turn into a little more like game excitement rather than nervousness, so I think it's good to get that out of the way," Spilker said.


Now Penn State moves forward in the season with a slate of opponents looking to find a weakness and expose it to take down one of the best teams in the country. With usually high levels of nervousness, most season openers give the opposition something to look at. But for the Nittany Lions, who opened the season firing on all cylinders, challengers are going to have to wait until they meet them on the field to try and stop a powerful team that's already rolling with momentum.


By Maria Canales, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Under the leadership of captains Katie O'Donnell, Erika Spilker, and Abby Smucker, the No. 7 Penn State women's lacrosse team (1-0) defeated Albany (0-1) in its opening game of the season, 20-9.

"They did a great job, they're great leaders in a lot of sense," head coach Missy Doherty said of the captains. "Spilker on defense is orchestrating that team down there. [O'Donnell and Smucker] had some great plays today." 

Penn State got on the board first thanks to a goal from senior attacker Steph Lazo, but the offensive game was just beginning. O'Donnell, a junior midfielder scored the next three goals, including a beautiful shot from the 8-meter arc. 

O'Donnell's three straight goals gave the Nittany Lions a 4-1 lead halfway through the first half. The West Chester, Pennsylvania native started 20 of 21 games during the Nittany Lions' 2016 season, scoring 46 goals. She added four assists, bringing her point total to 50 by the end of the season. 

Penn State notched three more goals to finish the half up 7-5. Lazo earned two more goals while senior midfielder Abby Smucker had one.

The second half saw the Great Danes score first, but it was a five-goal scoring streak started by Lazo that put the Nittany Lions back on track. Lazo's goal was followed by O'Donnell's fourth goal of the game, giving the Nittany Lions a 9-6 lead.

Penn State inched further away from Albany as Lazo swooped in for her fifth goal of the game with 22:35 left to go in the second half. Sophomore Madison Carter and another goal by O'Donnell came in quick succession, less than 40 seconds apart.

This scoring streak doubled the Nittany Lions' lead, giving them a 12-6 edge with less than 20 minutes to go in the second half. Doherty was pleased with the Nittany Lions' strong start to the second half and noted it was veteran leadership that controlled the pace of play on offense and defense. 

The Nittany Lions once again took the reins in the second half, scoring five goals unanswered, a streak that furthered Penn State's lead, 20-9. The Nittany Lions' stellar second half performance surged them past the Great Danes. O'Donnell ended the game with five goals, Lazo with five, and Carter with six. 

Doherty said she believes what makes the Nittany Lions so effective is every player's ability to get on the score sheet and make plays.  

"That's what we pride ourselves on," Doherty said. "The fact that everyone is a threat, we don't want to just go down to one person." 

Doherty said it's extremely important that each Nittany Lion is a powerful player on the field, and that's what makes her team so dominant from the start.

She was also pleased with how each player contributed to the win, noting it was a group effort to defeat the Great Danes, 20-9.

SAAB Hosts Lip Sync Battle to Benefit THON

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Filling the HUB-Robeson Center Freeman Auditorium with Penn State students and Nittany Lion student-athletes, the Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) hosted its second annual lip sync battle Wednesday evening.

In a full for the kids effort, the annual event benefits THON, Penn State's Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon to support pediatric cancer.

Featuring musical lip syncing acts from 11 different Penn State Athletics programs, months worth of planning and preparation finally came together in an energetic evening for a tremendous cause.

"I think it just bring out more of the sense of community that we really already have in athletics," track and field sophomore and lead event coordinator Tess Kearns said. "We're so strong all together but to be able to something for THON and see the impact that it's making every year - if we could just raise that number even a little bit on final reveal, that would be all the difference."

From lip sync covers ranging from Justin Beiber mixes to Beyoncé, Sia and School of Rock, the event, which was open to all to attend, brought laughs throughout the night with guest judges featuring director of student-athlete welfare and development Liz Johnson, director of Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, John Affleck and Penn State Blue Band drum major Jimmy Frisbie. 


Penn State women's volleyball highlighted early with their Justin Beiber mix, followed up with women's soccer's rendition of Sia's "Chandelier" midway through the program. 

"SAAB THON is my favorite thing in the world," said SAAB THON chair Angela Widlacki, a member of the Nittany Lion women's soccer team. "Being able to come out here and see this huge crowd, it means so much to us and I know it meant a lot to our family the Messina's." 

Men's hockey and defending SAAB lip sync battle champion wrestling closed out the evening lip syncing to a pair of movie tunes featuring "Zach's song" from School of Rock and "Breaking Free" from High School Musical. 


With the final scores tallied, the panel of judges voted Penn State women's soccer duo of Widlacki and Liisi Vink-Lainas in the top spot this year to earn the golden microphone. Men's hockey finished second, while wrestling claimed the third-place finish.


  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago