No. 16 Women's Lacrosse Falls in Inaugural Meeting with Florida, 13-11
April 3, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 16 Penn State women's lacrosse team (6-4, 0-2 ALC) saw a furious late rally come up short in its first-ever meeting with ALC newcomer Florida (8-4, 1-2 ALC) on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville and fell narrowly to the Gators, 13-11.
Senior Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.) and freshman Hayley Sofarnos (Williamstown, Australia) headlined the Nittany Lion attack, netting three goals each while senior Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio), who returned to the line-up after missing the William & Mary game with a broken nose, and junior Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.) contributed two goals apiece.
Penn State started the game slowly and out of rhythm offensively, turning the ball over on its first five possessions. Meanwhile, Florida was in sync early. On their opening offensive foray, the Gators found net at the 26:55 mark with a goal by Ashley Bruns. Florida would go on to add three more goals, extending its lead to 4-0, before Penn State regrouped and began to fight back.
Sofarnos got the Nittany Lions on the board with her sixth goal of the season with 16:29 remaining in the half. Bucci then cut the Gator lead to 4-2 with a goal less than two minutes later. After Florida responded with a goal to bump its lead back to three, a second goal by Bucci and a score by sophomore midfielder Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) pulled Penn State to within one at 5-4.
The Gators once again pushed its advantage to two with a goal by Brittany Dashiell at the 4:21, but the Lions once again came back.
Back-to-back goals by Mihm, including one free position conversion, in the half's final 2:53 moved Penn State to even for the first time and what would prove to be the last time in the game.
The second half began much the way the first did, with Penn State sluggish and Florida firing away. The Gators scored at the 27:42 mark to spark a 4-1 run, building a 10-7 advantage that would last until junior attacker Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.) scored her second goal of the half with just over nine minutes remaining.
Three consecutive goals by Florida stretched its lead to 13-8, its largest of the game. Down but not out Penn State got back into it with a valiant comeback attempt, starting at the 1:51 mark with Hayley Sofarnos' second goal of the game. A goal by Erica Mihm and then another by Sofarnos in the final minute brought Penn State to within two. Sophomore Elaine Welch (Bernardsville, N.J.) had a chance to make it a one-goal game but her free position attempt was thwarted and Florida gained and held possession of the ball for the remainder of the contest.
The Nittany Lions have a pair of games on the schedule for next week, one on the road followed by another at home. Penn State will first journey to Bethlehem, Pa. on Wed., April 7 for a 7:30 p.m. contest with in-state foe Lehigh (8-2). The Lions have won all 18 of their meetings with the Mountain Hawks, including last season's 14-10 victory in University Park. Then, on Sun., April 11, Penn State will welcome five-time defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Northwestern (8-0, 1-0 ALC) to Jeffrey Field for a 12 p.m. match-up.