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March 4, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nineteenth-ranked Penn State earned a signature win for the program on Sunday, as the Nittany Lions knocked off No. 6 Virginia (3-2) in convincing fashion, 14-7. The victory, which came against the highest ranked opponent in the Missy Doherty head coaching era, also emphatically snapped the Nittany Lions' six-game losing streak to the Cavaliers.
In cold, blustery, and sometimes snowy conditions, Penn State (4-1) caught fire early and never looked back to claim its first win at the team's new facility, Penn State Lacrosse Field. Freshman Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.) led the Nittany Lions with six points (2 goals, 4 assists) while senior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) (4 goals, 1 assist) and sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) (3 goals, 2 assists) contributed five points each.
Senior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) anchored a tremendous team effort on defense. The reigning ALC Goalkeeper of the Year again came up with several crucial stops, including three on Virginia free position attempts. She finished the game with nine saves. Seniors Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) and Colleen Shea (Baltimore, Md.) combined to cause five of UVa's 13 turnovers.
Sophomore Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.) initiated a stunning 6-0 Penn State run to start the game, scoring her seventh of the season at the 26:35 mark. Less than a minute later, Fernandez and McCormick would combine to score for the first of three times on the day, pushing the PSU lead to 2-0.
After over seven minutes of scoreless play, sophomore Evan Foulsham (Madison, N.J.), who had recently subbed into the game, scored her third of the season off a pass from freshman Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.). The assist was the first of Coffey's collegiate career. Following a score by Fernandez and two from Cyr, the Nittany Lions found themselves in possession of a commanding six-goal lead just over 14 minutes into the game.
Virginia finally got on the scoreboard at the 13:56 mark when Liza Blue netted her ninth goal of the season, after receiving a pass from the Cavaliers' leading scorer, Josie Owen. But, that would do little to slow down the Penn State scoring onslaught. A 3-0 Nittany Lion run ensued, which included free position goals by Cyr and Zichelli, providing PSU with a 9-1 lead with 6:19 remaining in the first half.
Virginia's Sloan Warren would net the first of her four goals to make the game 9-2 and, with no scoring in the half's final 4:53, Penn State would head to the locker rooms holding that sizeable advantage.
The Lions started the second half strong as well, as Coffey scored her lone goal of the game early on to up the PSU lead back to eight. The team's traded scores over the next 12 minutes and with 15:25 left in the game, Penn State still held an eight goal lead at 12-4.
Back-to-back UVa goals by Warren cut the PSU advantage to six but that's as close as the game would get. Penn State held possession for much of the final eight-plus minutes and got insurance goals from McCormick and Fernandez, making the score 14-6.
A Warren goal, her fourth on the day, with under two minutes on the clock would provide the game's final result.
Penn State outshot Virginia, 25-17, including a 15-6 advantage in the first half. The Nittany Lions were opportunistic on the offensive end, converting on all three free position attempts, and were on target with their shots, as 21 made it on goal.
Penn State will wrap up a two-game home stand on Wednesday, March 7 when it takes on No. 12 Loyola (Md.) (1-2). A year ago, the Nittany Lions fell to the Greyhounds, 10-7, in Baltimore. Following the Loyola game, PSU will embark on a three-game road swing, traveling to meet Delaware (March 10), Hofstra (March 14), and No. 11 Vanderbilt (March 18).