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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Nittany Lions played an incredible game Wednesday night against the Drexel Dragons, earning themselves a 14-5 win. Penn State's offensive end was on fire, with four separate players earning hat tricks throughout the game.

The game started off uneventful with Drexel's defense holding Penn State off at the 8-meter arc for the first five minutes of the game. Luckily, junior Steph Lazo was able to get off a successful shot, earning the team their first goal of the game.

After that, many more goals followed with successful shots from Madison Cyr, Katie O'Donnell, and two from Jenna Mosketti within the first 18 minutes of the game.

The team fought hard in the first half on both ends of the field. Offensively they took a beating, being fouled 37 times by Drexel. Defensively, they brought one of their best games yet, playing as a solidified unit and only letting Drexel get one successful shot on goal.

Although Drexel playing rough in the first half, Mosketti thought that it played a contributing factor in many of their successful shots.

"They put us on the 8-meter a lot with fouls in the first half. In practice, we do a lot of 8-meters so that was to our advantages and we just tried to capitalize on it," said Mosketti.

With just five minutes left in the first half, Madison Carter got a goal off the free position, bringing Penn State's lead to 7-1.

A six-point lead was not enough for the team, though. In the last 25 seconds of the first half, Cyr netted two unbelievable goals before the clock ran out bringing the final score of the half to 9-1.

In the start of the second half, with an eight-point lead, things were looking up for Penn State.

Although Drexel came back fired up and managed to keep the ball down by Penn State's goal, netting three goals in the beginning of the second half, the Nittany Lions held strong defensively throughout the entire rest of the half, only allowing one more goal into the net.

Head coach Missy Doherty praised her defensive end and talked about how their previous off week allowed the team to make big improvements defensively.

"Drexel had some long possessions in the second half, which I think we can credit to our defense. We stopped a lot of scoring options early when they wanted to score quickly, which stretched out some of their sets," said Doherty.

"Our off-week really helped us to work on our defensive end. We are headed for a rough part of our season, starting in Big Ten play and we worked hard last week to get all hands on deck defensively." 

The improvements on defense helped the team to get the ball back to the offensive end for the remainder of the second half.

In this half, the team saw four scorers in Alexis Phillips, Steph Lazo, Jenna Mosketti, and Katie O'Donnell. These goals brought two more hat tricks to the team for both Mosketti and Lazo. 

There is no doubt that overall, Penn State has an amazing offensive game, but Mosketti said that that success could not be possible without the major improvement they saw defensively.

"We had a lot of great saves down on defense, which we really tried to work on this week. It allowed us to repeatedly get the ball back down on offense, where we knew we wanted to and did get our shots off," said Mosketti.

Starting this weekend, Penn State will be starting in Big Ten play. While this is going to present challenges for the team, their improvements on defense make the season seem promising on both ends of the field. 

The Nittany Lions next contest will be at home on Saturday, April 2 at 1:00 p.m. against Rutgers.

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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Senior midfielder, Madison Cyr is coming off one of her best weeks of the season. As the leading scorer for the Nittany Lions, the leader in the Big Ten with 3.25 goals per game, and with a total of 30 goals this season, her senior year has been a huge success so far.

On Tuesday, Cyr continued her success, receiving the honor of Co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after her strong two-way play, which included netting eight goals. 

Being on midfield, Cyr has to tend to both the offensive and the defensive sides of the field, which at times can be tough to keep up with it. She says that team practices have really helped her to make sure that her skills on both sides of the field stay on par with each other.

"We split up during practice, 7-on-7, with a couple reps on attack and a couple reps on defense and from there we work on our transitions," said Cyr.

"We play with a goalie clear and have to get the ball back down to the other side of the field, which really helps to work us on both ends." 

Although she has seen much success on the field, Cyr could not do it all alone. She has attributed much of her recent success to collaboration with her teammates on the field, most recently with junior midfielder, Steph Lazo who had seven assists last week. 

"Steph works really well behind the cage. She knows when I'm going to cut, when I want the ball and when I don't. This makes it much easier to get off more successful shots on goal," said Cyr.

She also thinks that the close-knit feel of the team has been a huge contributing factor to her success and the success of the team's entire season.

"We have grown together as a team and we are learning from each other. Our team has really great chemistry, which I think helps us to play so well together," said Cyr. 

She is not the first to note how the team's chemistry has helped the team positively throughout the season, as teammates Madison Carter and Steph Lazo have also talked of how well the team understands each other and works together. 

Although the majority of their season has looked promising, there are still some improvements the girls need to make. After a disappointing loss to Stanford this past weekend, the team is spending their off week working on their weaknesses and get back on the top of their game.

"This week we are really trying to work more on our defense. We have what it takes to score, but we aren't making the one-on-one stops that we need to," said Cyr.

There is still plenty of time in the regular season for the team to work on these things, but Cyr is really wishing that they find continued success and go all the way to the end. Her hopes are for another Big Ten tournament title and NCAA tournament run to finish off her senior year.

"I'm looking forward to making it as far as we can because I'm graduating. I'm just not quite ready to give up the game and go out into the real world yet," she said.

The Nittany Lions have no intention of letting up in the next couple weeks, and they are going to fight to get back to where they were last season.

The team's next game is on Wednesday, March 30th at home against Drexel starting at 7:00 p.m.

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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.

@GOPSUSPORTS

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