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March 14, 2012
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Behind five goals from freshman Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.), the No. 11 Penn State women's lacrosse team edged past Hofstra (2-5), 11-9, on Wednesday afternoon at the Pride's James M. Shuart Stadium. With the win, the Nittany Lions remain undefeated on the road for the season with a 4-0 record.
Coffey was perfect in free position attempts, going 3-for-3 to account for more than half of her goal total. Fellow freshman Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.) also had a banner day, notching her first career hat trick. Penn State (6-2) continues to get outstanding production from its freshman class with Coffey, Lechner, and Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.) combining for 43 goals and 18 assists (61 points) through eight games. Another underclassman, sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.), who leads Penn State with 27 points, scored one goal and tallied two assists in the victory.
In the first half, Penn State started fast and faltered late. After giving up the first goal of the game less than two minutes in, Coffey took over, scoring three straight unanswered unassisted goals in the span of 34 seconds to give the Nittany Lions a 3-1 lead. Lechner extended the PSU advantage by one at the 24:59 mark, scoring off a pass from junior Katie Guy (Whitby, Ont.).
Hofstra responded, netting three of the next four goals to pull within one of Penn State. The lone Lion goal in that stretch came from senior Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) with 23:33 on the clock.
Lechner put Penn State back up by two at 6-4 with her second goal of the game at the 7:22 mark, ending a 15-plus minute scoring drought. Once again Hofstra answered back, finishing the half on a 2-0 run to tie the game with just 14 seconds left.
The Nittany Lions came out strong from the break, scoring three consecutive goals over the first 14 minutes of the second half to build a 9-6 lead. Lechner, Cyr, and junior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) accounted for Penn State's goals during the run.
The Penn State defense also shined, as it held Hofstra off the scoreboard until the 13:16 mark of the second half when Maryann Miller netted her second goal of the game.
Coffey then acquired the hot hand late in the game that she had at its outset, scoring her fourth and fifth goals with 7:14 and 1:53 remaining, stemming any hopes of a Hofstra comeback attempt. The Pride matched Coffey's production but could pull no closer than two goals.
Penn State caused 10 of Hofstra's 18 turnovers, with Coffey, Cyr, and sophomore Lizzy Carney (West Chester, Pa.) forcing two each. The Nittany Lions outshot the Pride, 24-22, and had a slight 17-16 advantage in ground balls.
Penn State will open American Lacrosse Conference play this weekend when it travels to Nashville, Tenn. to meet No. 8 Vanderbilt (4-1). The Nittany Lions and Commodores will clash on Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m. ET at the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex. A year ago, Penn State built a sizeable first half lead and then staved off a furious second half comeback attempt to claim an 11-8 upset win over then-No. 12 Vanderbilt at Bigler Field.