Defense Lifts Women's Lacrosse to 13-3 Victory Over Mount St. Mary's
March 3, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With its offense misfiring, the Penn State women's lacrosse team (4-0) employed a suffocating defense to thwart visiting Mount St. Mary's (0-4) and gain a hard-earned 13-3 triumph on Tuesday evening at Holuba Hall. The victory moved the Nittany Lions to 4-0 for the first time since 2005, the last year they qualified for the NCAA postseason.
After scoring 20, 18, and 16 goals in its first three games, the Penn State attack sputtered overall against the Mount, connecting on just 13 of 36 shots (36%). However, the offense was balanced with four different Nittany Lions, Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.), Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.), Katy Wick (Winter Park, Fla.), and Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.), netting two goals each and nine players scoring overall.
However, where the offense fell short, the defense shined. Penn State forced 19 of Mount St. Mary's 24 total turnovers. Junior Margo Josephs (Reisterstown, Md.), the reigning ALC Defensive Player of the Week, was stellar in spearheading the unit, recording six caused turnovers while collecting five ground balls. The Mount mustered just 14 total shots against the stout Lion defense, including five in the second half. Junior Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) got the start in between the pipes and played the entire first half, registering four saves while allowing two goals. Freshman Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) relieved Ellis at the half and was solid, notching four saves and letting in just one goal in 30 minutes of action.
Early on, another offensive explosion appeared to be in the works when junior Erica Mihm and senior Kerry Shea scored to give Penn State a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Subsequent goals by Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio), Mihm, and two from Theresa Zichelli pushed the Nittany Lions' lead to 6-0 with 19:25 remaining in the half. With the game in hand, PSU substituted freely and The Mount mounted a small and short-lived comeback, netting the next two goals.
After eight minutes of scoreless play, Kerry Shea, Katy Wick, and Marisa Lozano (Pittsburgh, Pa.) scored in the final five minutes-plus to provide the Lions with a healthy 9-2 halftime advantage.
In the second half, Penn State's offensive struggles increased, causing it to go scoreless for nearly 15 minutes. With the score at 9-3, the Nittany Lions managed to scatter four goals throughout the remainder of the game to secure the win and maintain its perfect 2009 record.
The Nittany Lions will make their first road trip of the season to face their first ranked opponent in 2009 this weekend when they travel to Charlottesville, Va. to meet ACC powerhouse No. 2 Virginia (4-0). The game is scheduled for a noon start on Sun., March 8 at the home of the Cavaliers, Klockner Stadium. Penn State possess a 4-15 record in all-time games versus Virginia and has lost three straight in the series, including last year's 13-7 setback in University Park.
Notes: The game was Penn State's first-ever against Mount St. Mary's and the first against a Northeast Conference opponent...Sophomore Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.) led Penn State with six ground balls, giving her a team-high 15 for the season...With two versus the Mount, Kerry Shea has scored multiple goals in three consecutive games...Shea did not play in the game's final 24:24 after receiving her second yellow card...The Lions were 2-for-8 in free position attempts and are 11-of-29 for the year...For the second time this season, freshman Elaine Welch (Bernardsville, N.J.) scored the Nittany Lions' final goal in a game...For the second time this season, all available players on the PSU roster saw action.