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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The No. 9 Nittany Lion women's lacrosse team rushed out to a big lead and never looked back in a 16-9 win over Rutgers at Penn State Lacrosse Field in the teams' Big Ten Conference opener. Six Nittany Lions registered at least two goals and Emi Smith (Denver, Colo.) owned her cage with 10 saves and only four goals allowed.
Penn State (9-2, 1-0 Big Ten) continued its best start since 1996 (10-2) by winning its fifth straight home game of the year on the back of an 11-2 opening half. The lead would eventually grow to 12 as the Nittany Lions won their 17th straight game against Rutgers (3-8, 0-1 Big Ten).
Offensively, the Nittany Lions were led by Steph Lazo (Stevensville, Md.) who had seven points on three goals and four assists. Madison Carter (Davidsonville, Md.) had a five-point day on three goals and two assists, while Madison Cyr (Westminster, Md.) had two goals and two assists for a four-point game.
Jenna Mosketti (Fallston, Md.) added a hat trick and three draw controls, while Kelly Daggett (Bainbridge, Pa.) and Ally Heavens (Garnet Valley, Pa.) each had two goals apiece to round out the six-player multi-goal scorers.
Cyr was arguably Penn State's best two-way player once again as she added a team-high four ground balls and four caused turnovers to her ledger. Cater also added three draw controls. Defensively, Smith was terrific in net, stopping 10 of 14 shots on net in 43 minutes of action to improve to 8-2.
Penn State scored the game's first eight goals in the opening 14:21 of action to put away the contest early. Lazo played a hand in five of those eight goals with two tallies and three dimes. Things went so well for Penn State that on its seventh tally, Cyr let loose a pass from 30 yards out that deflected off Lazo's stick and landed in the net.
Rutgers made it 9-2 with 5:53 remaining, but a Maggie Gallagher (Bel Air, Md.) free-position tally and a Carter woman-down score off a Delaney Muldoon (Silver Spring, Md.) dish gave PSU the 11-2 halftime edge.
Carter opened the scoring in the second half as the lead grew to 14-2. The Scarlet Knights gained some momentum down the stretch scoring six of the game's final seven goals in the last 17:26 of action.
Madison Cyr has scored in every game this season and is currently on a 20-game scoring streak dating back to last year. This season, Cyr has tallied at least two points in every game and has eight hat tricks.
Cyr's two goals bring her career total to 132, which ties for 12th all-time at Penn State (Coleen O'Hara, 2000-03). Cyr already has nine assists this season, which is a career high for a single-season. She is 10 points away from cracking the all-time PSU list (173, Diane Whipple, 1987-90).
Steph Lazo matched her career-high of seven points in a game, which came March 16 vs. Princeton. Lazo has a team-high 21 assists.
Emi Smith was terrific in a pair of wins at home, playing 103 minutes and allowing only nine goals, while stopping 18 shots (.667 save percentage). Her GAA was only 5.24.
Penn State is 7-1 against Big Ten opponents since the conference formed including a 5-1 regular-season record and two Big Ten Tournament wins.
In two games this week, Penn State out-scored its two opponents 20-3 in the first half.
The Nittany Lions are on a nine-game home winning streak.
NEXT TIME OUT
Penn State hits the road for another Big Ten contest next Saturday at Ohio State. Opening draw is set for 4 p.m. with the Buckeyes and the game will be televised live on Big Ten Network and BTN2Go.