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March 16, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the strength of a dominating second half offensive performance, the Penn State women's lacrosse team cruised to a 16-7 victory over Hofstra (2-5) on Wednesday night in Holuba Hall. The win is the Nittany Lions' second consecutive and ups their overall 2011 record to 3-4.
Penn State scored a total of 11 goals in the second half, including nine consecutive in the span of 18-plus minutes. Senior attacker Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) headlined the Lion offense, recording a career-high five. Senior midfielder Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) notched a hat trick, giving her a team-high 14 goals for the season. Sophomore Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) also contributed three goals while freshman Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) tallied three assists.
Senior Maggie Dunbar (Cockeysville, Md.) was strong in the midfield for Penn State, registering four caused turnovers, three ground balls, and one draw control. Junior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) saved five of the 12 Hofstra shots that made it on frame.
The game's first 20 minutes were marked by back-and-forth, slow-paced play, with the teams playing to a 3-3 tie. Steadman gave Penn State a 1-0 lead at the 28:30 mark and then, after Hofstra tied the game, put the Nittany Lions back in the lead with her second goal. Fernandez accounted for PSU's other score during the evenly played early stretch.
Penn State would finish the first half strong, though, as Fernandez and Lesnick scored to provide it with a 5-3 advantage at the break.
Early in the second half, the Pride pulled to within one goal when Jill Maier, Hofstra's leading scorer, netted her third of the game and 18th of the year. But her goal would be the last heard from the Hofstra attack over the game's next 23-plus minutes.
The Penn State offense took the game over, scoring nine consecutive unanswered goals to turn what had been a nail biter into blowout. Three more goals from Jen Steadman, two additional from Lesnick, and scores from junior Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.), freshman Lizzy Carney (West Chester, Pa.), senior Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.), and Fernandez built the Nittany Lions a 14-4 lead.
Two goals from redshirt sophomore Bridget Callahan (Moorestown, N.J.) would finish out the Penn State scoring. Hofstra added two late goals but it was too little too late.
Penn State outshot Hofstra 37-17 for the game and had a 24-17 advantage in ground balls. The Lions controlled 11 of the 16 draws and had just four turnovers in the second half.
The Nittany Lions are back in action on Sunday when they host No. 12 Vanderbilt (5-3) at Bigler Field in their ALC opener. Game time is set for 12 p.m. Penn State owns a 6-7 series record against the Commodores, dropping four straight to VU, including last year's 20-14 road setback. The Lions' last win versus Vanderbilt came in 2005, a 9-8 season opening victory in Nashville.