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March 28, 2009
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - In game that featured numerous scoring runs, back-and-forth action, and five ties, a late flurry by the No. 15 Penn State women's lacrosse team (5-4) pushed it past William & Mary (4-5), 14-12, on Saturday afternoon in a non-conference match-up at Busch Turf Field in Williamsburg, Va. The win breaks a four-game losing streak for the Nittany Lions and pushes them back over the .500 mark.
Senior Marisa Lozano (Pittsburgh, Pa.) extended her team lead in goals (16), assists (10), and points (26) by notching three goals and one assist in PSU's first road victory of the season. Sophomore Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) came off the bench to tie Lozano with a team high four points, totaling two goals and two assists. As has been the trend all season, the Penn State attack was balanced, though, with nine different players finding net. Junior goalkeeper Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) highlighted an otherwise off day by the defense, registering 12 saves and a tying for team lead in ground balls with three.
Action was fast and furious from the contest's outset, as the teams traded a total of four goals through the first five minutes with sophomore Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) and Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio) accounting for Penn State's tallies. But back-to-back unassisted goals by William & Mary's Grace Golden saddled the Nittany Lios with a 4-2 deficit with over 20:45 left on the clock.
Penn State answered back swiftly and loudly, however, fashioning a 5-0 run throughout the remainder of the half. Goals by five different players including Steadman, junior Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.), sophomore Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.), senior Laura Lincicome (Berwyn, Pa.), freshman Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.), helped Penn State build a 7-4 advantage and head to the break in control of the game.
The Lions kept that pace up early in the second half, outscoring the Tribe, 2-1, over the first nine-plus minutes and upping their lead to 9-5. But three consecutive William & Mary goals cut PSU's advantage to the slimmest of margins. Marisa Lozano gave Penn State a bit of breathing room when she netted her first goal of the game with 14:24 remaining.
The Tribe responded with two goals, tying the game for the first since the 17:55 mark of the first half. Scores by senior Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.) and Lozano once again gave the Nittany Lions the lead once again at 12-10. The back-and-forth play continued when William & Mary tied the game for the fifth and final time with 4:43 left in the game with two consecutive goals.
The goal that would prove to be the game winner came just under one minute later when Theresa Bucci scored on a free position attempt. Lozano added an insurance goal, her third score of the game, and the defense held on in the game's final minutes to secure the much-needed win.
Next weekend, the Nittany Lions have the daunting task of taking on two of the nation's top teams at the ALC/ACC Challenge in Columbus, Ohio. Hosted by Ohio State at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, Penn State will meet No. 2 Maryland (8-0) on Fri., April 3 at 5 p.m. and No. 4 North Carolina (7-2) on Sun., April 5 at 11 a.m. At the 2008 ALC/ACC Challenge in Chapel Hill, N.C., the Lions fell to the Terrapins, 12-11, in overtime, and dropped a 14-9 decision to the host Tar Heels. Penn State is a combined 17-38-1 all-time versus Maryland and UNC.
NOTES: Penn State was a season-best 4-for-5 on free position attempts...The Nittany Lions were hampered by 24 fouls and 22 turnovers, including 14 in the first half...The Lions dominated the draw control battle, winning 19 of 28...Erica Mihm recorded a team-high six draw controls for the second time this season...Penn State's 14 goals is its largest offensive output since scoring 16 versus Colgate on March 1.