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By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The eighth-ranked Penn State women's lacrosse team finished their eighth game of the regular season with a win at home Wednesday afternoon against the seventh-ranked Princeton University Tigers, 14-10.

The Nittany Lions started off strong, with Jenna Mosketti taking the draw and gaining Penn State possession of the ball, allowing Ally Heavens to score a goal within the first minute of the game.

The offensive success continued throughout the first half with the team earning themselves five goals in the first seven minutes of the game.

Mosketti and Madison Cyr made huge offensive contributions in the first half, both earning hat-tricks. Katie O'Donnell also scored, bringing the score to 8-2 at the end of the first half.

This early success is the direct result of the undying talent on the team. Many of the girls on the team have earned themselves a number of awards for their talents. Most recently was freshman Madison Carter, who received four honors this week. Carter was named Inside Lacrosse's StringKing National Player and Rookie of the Week. Additionally, she was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player and Freshman of the Week.

Head Coach, Missy Doherty praised her players and explained why she believes her team has received such recognition in the conference all across the board.

"We try to have a balanced effort on the team so that it's not just one or two players being our main scorers or defenders every game," she said.  "I think that is just one of the many reasons why the awards our girls have earned this season are so spread across the team."

Doherty also talked about how the team tried to hold the ball more and run the clock during the game instead of just trying to score.

"Sometimes working the clock is better than scoring the next goal, just to take some time off the clock and calm things down," said Doherty.

Penn State maintained their lead in the second half and while Princeton got a few more successful shots on goal, shortening the lead, the girls stayed strong. 

Cyr netted another three goals in the second half and with one goal apiece from Steph Lazo, Katie O'Donnell, and Madison Carter.  That brought the score to the 14-10 final.

With only a few minutes left in the game, Princeton gained possession of the ball and tried to keep it down on their end of the field, threatening to bring the score even closer. Fortunately, Penn State gained and maintained control of the ball in the last 26 seconds, earning themselves yet another win. 

Doherty attributed today's win to the many improvements that her team has seen over the first half of the season.

"This game was a great one. We wanted to work on a lot of things and, fortunately, we had some good wins over spring break, but we still wanted to improve our play," said Doherty. 

"Today we were more active on the field, our attack was more in front of Princeton's defense, and our defense did a good job staying in front of their attack. It was good to see a great active effort on both sides of the field."

Things are certainly looking good for the remainder of the Nittany Lions' season, with tremendous talent and a 7-1 winning record, there is no doubt the team has a chance at another Big Ten Tournament title.

The team will play again on Sunday on the west coast, against Stanford at 3:00 p.m. ET.  

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- There is no question that junior Steph Lazo has had much success during her time with the Penn State women's lacrosse team. With a number of Big Ten weekly awards and a starting spot on the team, Lazo is in a much different position than she was two years ago.

During her freshman year, Lazo did not see much playing time, especially after a strained achilles put her on the bench. After recovering from her injury and coming back her sophomore year, Lazo wanted to make a change in her game play.

She took the new season as a clean slate, as well as an opportunity to make improvements on her game and earn herself more time on the field. 

"After coming back from my injury I felt motivated to play my best and prove to myself and the team that I had something to offer," said Lazo.

That motivation did wonders for Lazo, earning herself a starting position and becoming a leading scorer for the team. 

Lazo attributed a lot of her success to her teammates and coaches, who made her realize her full potential and earn more confidence.

"My teammates really pushed me to get where I am today. They really motivated me to play to my full potential," said Lazo.

"My teammates and coaches instilled me with so much confidence. They sent positive vibes my way and made me believe I was fast enough to beat my defenders and play my best for the team," she added.

With the major improvements in her game, Lazo earned herself the title of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week in April 2015.

Since then Lazo has only continued with her success. She has remained a leading scorer for the Nittany Lions and has had a huge hand in the team's numerous wins this season.

Lazo earned herself the title of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week this past Tuesday after a nine-point total, five goals and four assists, during last week's games against Johns Hopkins and Loyola Maryland.

Lazo once again said she thinks her success this season stems from the support of her team.

"My teammates and coaches are endlessly supportive and we all work so well together. Our practices put us through healthy competition, which is beneficial to the teams performance," said Lazo.

Lazo looks forward to the rest of the season and is excited to face off with the many talented teams in her conference.

"The Big Ten pairs us with some great competitors and I'm excited about the challenge," said Lazo.

After earning a Big Ten Tournament win last year, Lazo has hopes of the team getting back to the top of their conference once again this season.

"Big Ten play is really exciting and this season after our Big Ten win we have a target on our backs," she said.  "We were predicted to be second this season, but it really would be amazing if we could earn ourselves that number one spot." 

The Nittany Lions currently have an overall winning record of 5-1, after winning their past three games against Johns Hopkins, Loyola Maryland, and James Madison.

Lazo and the rest of her teammates hope to keep up their winning streak in their upcoming game against Vanderbilt this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on the road.

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By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With the Penn State Women's Lacrosse season in full swing, senior goalkeeper Emi Smith is fully focused on playing her best in her last season with the team. With it being her last season, however, she also has to put some focus on her future after Penn State.

Smith recently spoke about her plans after graduation and said she was not quite ready to give up the game of lacrosse just yet.

"I don't think I can just give it up cold turkey, just because it's been a part of my life since fourth grade," said Smith. "After graduation, I want to go into coaching. I'm going to go back to Colorado this summer and hope to do an internship with my club team as a goalie coach."

This internship will serve as a start for Smith's career in coaching, as she hopes to eventually coach on the Division I level. 

Smith also hopes to use her Penn State education to help her in her coaching endeavors. This spring Smith will be receiving a degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services (RHS), which she believes can help her to bring something new to the coaching profession.

"I chose my major because you have to be a people person and it involves problem-solving and I'm good at that," said Smith. "I also worked a lot in the counseling field and through my experiences and the counseling part of my major I want to try and expand the coaching horizons."

Smith hopes to be more than just a coach to her players. She wants to be a person that her athletes can feel comfortable talking to. Smith believes that mentality has a huge impact on game play and she thinks that her schooling experience has prepared her to help players with that. 

As a senior Smith has to think a lot about the future, but she did talk a little about her past and how she started off in the position of being a goalkeeper. 

"On club teams, the coaches usually switched all of the players around and everybody would have to take turns playing goalie. But when I was in fourth grade I could clear the ball halfway down the field, so my coach just stuck me in that position for the entire season," said Smith.

She clearly liked being goalie since she has stuck with it ever since, but she also attributed her life at home to preparing her for the position.

"My brothers helped to make me super tough. They used to suit me up and play football with me in the front yard, which helped to toughen me up which is important as a goalkeeper," said Smith.

As a goalie Smith has a unique job when it comes to the success of the game.  While she isn't running up and down the field the entire game, that does not mean that her job is not exhausting.

"As a goalkeeper you have to stay mentally tuned in during the whole game and focus all sixty minutes of the game, which can get physically and mentally exhausting," she said. "I can be as physically fit as all of the other players and have the same stick skills, but if I'm not there mentally I won't be as successful in the game." 

Smith has seen success this season, as she has helped lead Penn State to a No. 8 national ranking and 3-1 record. She says that this success all has to do with the team as a whole as how well they have learned to work together.

"We work really well together and it is never a one-person game, we are always working as a unit," said Smith. "We choose to use each other to make our team better, which is really important."

Smith also said that the freshman players have been a huge addition to the team this year.

"We don't see them as freshman, we see them as our teammates and they are all incredible players. They are all fantastic players and they add so more personality and skill to our team," said Smith.

With it being her last season, Smith had a lot of memories to reflect back on over the past four years with the team. She said that a few of her funniest memories have come from scoring on herself, which her teammates always make fun of her for. 

Smith is excited to see what the rest of this season has in store and hopes to make some more memories in her last season.

The Nittany Lions' next game is this Saturday, March 5 starting at 3 p.m. against Loyola University.

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By; Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
NIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- There is no question that the Penn State women's lacrosse team is full of talent. Last season, the team earned themselves a Big Ten Tournament Championship, something they should all be proud of.

With many talented graduating seniors leaving the team after their strong 2015 season, the Nittany Lions were in need of some new talent to fill their shoes. Thankfully, the team has recruited many talented new faces that have already stepped up to the plate and brought the team much success.

Freshman Madison Carter is just one of those new players, but she is definitely starting to prove that she deserves a spot on the team and is up to the challenge of bringing the team back to last year's high level.

This past Tuesday, Carter was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player and Freshman of the Week, by the conference office. She is the first Nittany Lion to earn either of these awards this season, which speaks a lot to her performance so far throughout her first season with the team.

Carter is thrilled to receive these awards, but has remained humble. She still wants to continue on through the season playing her hardest and giving all that she can to the game.

"It definitely really exciting, but I just go out every game working and playing really hard and do what I can do for the team," said Carter.

Carter has credited a number of things to her successful transition onto the team. The first being the supportive upperclassman players, who have played one of the biggest roles in making the new players, like herself, feel more comfortable coming onto the team. 

"The older players are so amazing and welcoming. The team dynamic is incredible and the older players have really helped the freshman to feel acclimated with everything," said Carter.

She also says that the coaches have played a big part in getting her comfortable going from game play at the high school level to the college level, by giving her the necessary push to do her best. 

 "College games are certainly a lot faster and more physical. It's definitely a change of speed, but you get thrown into the game and are forced to adjust quickly," said Carter. "The coaches have been driving me to play my best and push me hard every day in practice, so I credit a lot of my success to them."

It is not just Carter who has been successful this season, though; the entire team has seen much success already, winning their first two games of the season. Penn State earned their first victory against Lehigh with a score of 13-6. The team earned their second win this past weekend against Duquesne with an impressive score of 19-5. 

Carter believes that the success the team has had so far stems from the relationships the girls have formed with each other throughout the season.

"I love being on the team and playing with the girls everyday. We are a very tight-knit team and being together everyday definitely helps us to play so well together."

The team is only two games into the season, but so far things are looking good for the Nittany Lions. With lots of old and new talent, like Carter, this season shows a lot of promise for Penn State.  Coming off a Big Ten Tournament win last season, the girls are up to the challenge.

The team will play their third game of the regular season, this Saturday at the University of Virginia, starting at 12 p.m.

 


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By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Most of the players on the Penn State women's lacrosse team committed to the team when they were only halfway through high school. They had time to acclimate to their recruiting class and get familiar with how to play with each other at the college level.

For junior goalkeeper, Cat Rainone, her experience strayed slightly from the norm. Rainone decided late into her senior year that she wanted to play college lacrosse, so she reached out to Penn State head coach Missy Doherty to see if she could play for the team.

"I committed super late my senior year, so by the time I reached out to Missy, she said that I could be on the team, but with all of the scholarship money already given out there just wasn't any money for me at the time," said Rainone.

"I came in with the freshman recruitment class and got to play during my freshman year. I just didn't sign my letter of intent until my sophomore year when I got my scholarship."

Rainone talked a lot about the struggles she faced coming onto the team so late. She said that it was harder for her to break into the group because the other girls in her recruitment class had already met on multiple occasions and had been playing together in recruitment camps since they were sophomores in high school.

"The girls in my class that had I got recruited with had all known each other since their sophomore years when they first got recruited. They had already established friendships with each other so coming in as a sort of outcast was difficult."

Rainone said with all of the girls used to playing on the field together it was hard on her to feel one with the team.  Three years later Rainone has definitely overcome that barrier into the group, and has meshed well with the team. 

Although getting to know her teammates is no longer a struggle, that does not mean Rainone has not met other struggles while playing with the team.

Playing a college sport is a huge time commitment, and with classes to keep up with every week, Rainone's schedule tends to get pretty full. Rainone is working toward a degree in kinesiology and is working hard to keep a good balance between school and sports. 

"My major is kinesiology, which gets kind of tough when you have to do four-hour labs and you don't have time to do those things because it conflicts with practice," said Rainone.

To stay on top of her work, Rainone says that she has to make sure that almost every single minute of her days are pre-scheduled. She also said she has taken a few classes during her summers to ease up her class schedule during the season.

Despite the struggles she has faced initially coming onto the team and keeping her schedule straight and doable, Rainone still enjoys her time with the team and had many positive things to say about her experience as an athlete. 

"My favorite part of being on the team is definitely traveling and getting to experience new things. My favorite memory overall would also have to be my freshman year when we played Johns Hopkins," said Rainone.

She has come a long way from her freshman year, and is making the most of her experience with the team and as a student at Penn State. It takes a lot to balance all that Rainone does, but she has been making it work, which speaks a lot for the student-athletes of Penn State

Rainone and the rest of the women's lacrosse team will play their first regular season home game this upcoming weekend, Saturday, February 20 at 2 p.m. against Duquesne University.

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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.

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By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -The Penn State women's lacrosse team took to Holuba Hall Saturday afternoon to start off their season with an exhibition game against Towson. While it was a close game, the Nittany Lions looked strong against the Tigers.

Penn State started the game off strong, keeping the ball by Towson's goal and earning themselves an early lead. This lead was produced by some young players with three of the nine goals in the first half being made by freshman Madison Carter, who scored four goals in her debut with the team.

Head coach Missy Doherty talked about the strengths of her offensive end in the first half and how they adjusted well to Towson's unique defensive strategies.

"In the first half our offense was really finding each other well. Towson plays a different defense than you normally see. So to be able to adjust in the game, I think they did really well," said head coach Missy Doherty.

While the team started off strong in the first half, Towson came back in the second to give the Nittany Lions a run for their money.

Doherty talked about how the team wanted to push their offensive transitions in the second half to get shots off quicker, which was not as successful as they would have hoped. This contributed most to Towson catching up in the score.

"We wanted them to push the offensive transition and work on that. I think when we did that though we had some unfortunate turnovers. I like that they are pushing it, but I think we need to be better at executing when we do that," said Doherty.

This season is set to bring some major challenges, with Penn State being in a conference with some tough competitors. The team is definitely up to the task though and the coaches are making sure of that.

"We have a pretty hard schedule overall, almost every single game we play in the Big Ten is against a top ten or twenty overall. Even outside of the Big Ten our coaches schedule some tough teams just to keep us on our feet," said senior Erika Spilker.

Another senior player, Ally Heavens, also talked about how although this upcoming season looks to be tough, the team is looking forward to the challenge and is ready to keep up their A-game.

"What's so exciting about this season is that there is never going to be a lull. With a difficult schedule ahead, every game is going to require us bringing our all," said Heavens.

This exhibition game has been a great opportunity for the team to get some real playing experience before the regular season starts. With just a week before their first game of the season, the girls have a good idea of the areas they need to work on before playing in their first official game of the season next Saturday, February 13 at Lehigh University.

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By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Staff Writer

University Park, Pa.- Women's Lacrosse head coach Missy Doherty has a lot on her plate as she leads her team into the upcoming season. The team, currently ranked sixth in the Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (WLCA) poll, is coming into the 2016 season with a 2015 Big Ten Tournament Championship under their belts. But with a number of new rule changes and a number of talented teams on their schedule, the Nittany Lions have a challenging season ahead of them.

Coming into the 2016 season there are a number of major and minor rules changes that are being enacted. These new rules include a self-start rule, as well as more lenient calls when it comes to empty stick checks and three second penalties against defenders.

Doherty, who had a hand in making these new rules, talked about her role in getting these new rules onto the field and the kind of impact it will make on the game.

"The rules committee did all of the work in writing the rules, but I was a part of a separate committee that put in a proposal for the self-start rule," said Doherty.

Doherty said that all of these new rules will allow for less stoppages, which is something that has always prevented the game from going as smoothly and quickly as possible.

"They have always called lacrosse the fastest sport and now it is going to be even faster and things can move along quicker," she said.

Although these rules are going to be beneficial to the upcoming season, it is going to be tough to get used to these rules for both the players and the officials. They have been playing and observing the game without these new rules for so long, so it will tough to get used to these changes in the start of the season.

"It's a learning curve for everybody. I have a lot of sympathy for the officials because our players are practicing with the new rules every day, but the officials only get practice with it a few times a week, so getting into the groove of things may be difficult, " said Doherty.

Doherty emphasized that learning the rules and gameplay are not the only important parts to having a successful championship team. She has been working with her team in focusing on their mental game to create a stronger team as a whole.

"We're preparing them for all situations where things could go either way. I can't give them confidence, but I think that structuring drills a certain way and pointing out the mental things and not just physical things in their play is a way that we can get that edge," said Doherty.

With the high national ranking the team is clearly full of talent, and Doherty really highlighted how her team's success stems from their overarching talent in all positions.

"We have a lot of great players. I think across the board you can't really narrow in on one player. We have a lot of talent both offensively and defensively and I think we can really give anybody a run for their money," Doherty said.

Doherty also emphasized the fact that her duties as a coach only go so far in making her team successful. She believes that it is also on the players to take over and be confident in themselves in order to take their team to the next level in the more difficult games of the season and ultimately bring them back to the Big Ten Tournament Championship.

"If the coaches have to do too much, it doesn't bode well in those clutch games of the season. The more the players are able to take over and lead and be a force within one another, the more of a chance we have to do well in the post-season," said Doherty.

Penn State is one of four teams in the Big Ten that are ranked this season and they will face off with another eight teams ranked in the top twenty.

The Nittany Lions will be kicking off their season this Saturday with an exhibition game against Towson. After that the team will head into their first official game of the season on February 13th at Lehigh University.

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By: Shannon RostickGoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With the Penn State Women's Lacrosse upcoming season kicking off this weekend, last year's Big Ten Champions are busy preparing for the 2016 season.  With many new rule changes this season, there is going to be a lot of learning to do for the Nittany Lions.

This upcoming season will bring many changes for the team, with many significant rule changes being implemented in the new season. While these rule changes are going to be a challenge to learn and get used to for the team, many of the players agree they will greatly improve the way the game is played

With a new rule that allows quick starts after a foul, a player can now pick up the ball after being fouled and immediately start game play. This change will allow for the game to keep running more smoothly and quickly.

"Usually you have to wait for the referees to set you up and place the defense before you start again," said senior Jenna Mosketti.

Erika Spilker, another senior, said, "game stoppage has been a complaint in women's lacrosse for a long time now, it takes so much time and every little foul is a stop, but now if you get fouled and you can just pick up the ball and start again."

The players also talked about the new three-second rule, this rule allows defenders not marking another player to stand in the 8-meter arc for longer than 3 seconds without penalty. 

"With the new rule they don't really call three-seconds unless you are blatantly standing in the middle of the 8-meter," said Spilker.

The players all agreed that this new rule does make it harder for attack players to get through the defense and make a shot on goal, but on the defensive end of things it is good to be able to send more defenders. 

With all of these new rules the players said there is going to be a learning curve early on in the season, especially with a couple of the changes being so major.

"The first couple games of the season are going to be a learning lesson for everyone getting used to the new rules," said Spilker. 

Aside from working on learning the new rules, the players also talked about how the entire team is working on themselves to improve this season.

"Missy (Head Coach Missy Doherty) has really had us focusing on the mental aspect of our play. She has had us working a lot on believing in ourselves and staying calm under pressure during games," said Ally Heavens.

The players said that working on their mental state during games is going to help them become stronger not only as individual players, but as an entire team. The team has also been working between and during practices to build upon team bonding and keep things fun during the season.

"Every week we have our hard practices and then sometimes during our easier practices we will have competition days," said Spilker.

The players all agreed that these more laid back practices help the team to throw some fun into their practice schedules and allow the team to get refreshed throughout the week.

With all three girls being seniors, their futures in lacrosse are very up in the air. Spilker said she is staying for a fifth year, so she will still be playing in the 2017 season, but Heavens and Mosketti are graduating in the spring. Regardless of their time left with the team all three girls expressed their desire to stick with the sport after graduation.

"I kind of want to coach. I'm still not over lacrosse yet and I'm keeping the door open for anything, but I think my passion is with coaching right now," said Heavens.

These seniors have a promising season ahead of them and they said their goal is to work hard and once again get back to the Big Ten Championship this season 

The team kicks off their season at home with an exhibition game at Holuba Hall this Saturday, February 6 at 3 p.m. against the Towson University Tigers.

VIDEO: 2014-15 Year in Review with Sandy Barbour

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com talks with Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour to review a superb 2014-15 season for Penn State Athletics.





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