No. 12 Women's Lacrosse Drops ALC Opener to No. 14 Vanderbilt
March 21, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Under rainy Nashville skies and on a treacherous and muddied VU Soccer/Lacrosse Complex field, the No. 12 Penn State women's lacrosse team (4-3, 0-1 ALC) dropped its fourth consecutive ALC opener to Vanderbilt (5-3, 1-0 ALC), falling to the 14th-ranked Commodores, 20-14, on Sunday afternoon.
A second half effort that saw the Nittany Lions get outscored 12-4 doomed their bid to begin the conference slate on a high note. Bright spots came on offense as freshman attacker Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) and sophomore midfielder Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) scored a career-high four goals each. Junior midfielder Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) netted a hat trick while junior attacker Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) totaled two goals and two assists.
After Vanderbilt jumped out to a 4-2 lead to start the game, with Lesnick and Fernandez accounting for the Penn State scores, the Lions reeled off four straight goals, including three from Zichelli, to build a 6-4 advantage with 10 minutes remaining. The Commodores responded by going on a 4-2 run over the next five minutes to even the game at 8-8.
Steadman put Penn State back on top for the third and final time in the game when she converted on a free position attempt with 1:41 left. Lesnick extended the Lions' halftime lead to two at 10-8 when she intercepted an errant VU pass in their own zone with eight seconds showing on the clock and quickly snapped off an on-target shot on a virtually empty net.
The game unraveled for Penn State in the second half, though, as Vanderbilt embarked on an 11-1 stretch, including scoring seven unanswered over a 13-minute span. Down 18-11, Fernandez tried to get the Lions back in the game with back-to-back goals at the 6:15 and 4:30 marks, but that is as close as they would get.
The Nittany Lions will wrap up a three-game road stretch this week when it travels to Easton, Pa. to face in-state foe Lafayette (0-8) in a 4 p.m. non-conference contest on Wed., March 24. Penn State is 17-2 all-time versus the Leopards, winning 11 consecutive match-ups, including last season's 20-7 rout in University Park. The Lions return home next weekend to meet No. 18 William & Mary (4-3) on Sun., March 28 at 1 p.m. The location of the game is yet to be determined but will likely be held at Bigler Field, PSU's outdoor turf facility.