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April 1, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A shorthanded No. 10 Penn State's women's lacrosse team dropped its first road game of the 2012 season on Sunday afternoon, falling to No. 4 Florida (12-2, 2-0), 20-11, at Dizney Stadium in Gainesville.
The Nittany Lions were without leading scorer sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) and her 35 points (21 goals, 14 assists) and were hampered by six yellow cards which relegated two key players to the bench. Two quick yellows sent sophomore defender Lizzy Carney (West Chester, Pa.) off just 8:58 into the game and a second issued to senior defensive anchor Colleen Shea (Baltimore, Md.) disqualified her with just under 13 minutes remaining in the game.
With Cyr sidelined, Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) headlined a balanced offensive effort, notching her second hat trick of the season. In all, eight different Nittany Lions found net. Junior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.), who netted two, was Penn State's only other multiple goal scorer.
Senior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) registered 12 saves, including eight in the first half, against a hail of 43 Florida shots.
Florida may have earned the program's first shutout in its last outing but it only took Penn State (8-3, 1-1) 1:08 to halt that streak. Senior Aly Adams (Springfield, Pa.), off a pass from freshman Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.), gave the Nittany Lions a quick 1-0 lead. Zichelli added to that advantage with a goal 19 seconds later.
After Florida got on the scoreboard at the 27:08 mark, Penn State went back on top by two goals when freshman Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.) converted on a free position attempt. But the Gators offense then got hot, scoring six unanswered to claim a 7-3 lead.
Fernandez pulled Penn State to within three with her first of the game at the 14:27 mark, but Florida again responded, recording three straight to up its lead to 10-4. Goals by McCormick and sophomore Shannon Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.), which was netted off a pass from her sister Kelly, helped Penn State outscore Florida for the remainder of the half, sending the game to the break at 11-6.
Florida started fast from the second half gates, using two goals by Nicole Graziano to extend the Gators lead to seven. Senior Elaine Welch (Bernardsville, N.J.) temporarily stemmed the tide with her second goal of the season at the 26:19 mark, but Florida answered right back less than one minute later.
After nearly seven minutes of scoreless play, freshman Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.) netted her team-high 26th goal of the year to make the game 14-8.
Florida would go on to score six of the next seven goals to end any chances of a Penn State comeback and build a 20-9 lead. Only Zichelli's second goal of the game interrupted the Gators' run.
Fernandez and Zichelli accounted for Penn State's final two goals, scored in the last 4:01 of the game.
The Nittany Lions will continue ALC play on Friday, April 6 when they host defending national champion No. 1 Northwestern (10-0, 2-0) in a 7 p.m. game at Penn State Lacrosse Field. The night game will be the program's first ever at its new facility.