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April 8, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 17 Penn State women's lacrosse team (6-6) clawed its way back to the .500 mark while surpassing its win total of a year ago by virtue of a 14-10 victory over Lehigh (8-5) on Wednesday afternoon at Jeffrey Field. The non-conference contest was the Nittany Lions' final tune-up before ending the regular season with three straight match-ups against ALC foes.
With the victory, Penn State moves to 4-0 against the Patriot League this season, after consecutively knocking off Lafayette (20-7), Bucknell (18-5), and Colgate (16-6) to begin the year, and 18-0 all-time versus Lehigh.
Senior midfielder Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.) was stellar on both ends of the field for Penn State, scoring a season-high four goals while adding an assist, four ground balls, four caused turnovers, and one draw control. Junior Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio) contributed her best offensive performance of the season, tallying two goals and two assists. Sophomore Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) and freshman Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) also netted two goals each.
The Nittany Lions came out of the gates red hot and firing on target, finding net on each of their first six shots. Shea accounted for the game's initial goals, scoring twice to ignite Penn State as it took a 4-0 lead. After Lehigh cut the Lions' lead in half with two unanswered scores over the span of just over one minute, goals by Steadman and Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.) pushed their advantage back to four.
Penn State outscored Lehigh, 2-1, over the first half's final 16:35, with goals coming from Zichelli and Steadman, helping it gain a commanding 8-3 halftime lead.
Kerry Shea scored her third goal of the game just 16 seconds into the second half and it looked like the rout was on. However, the Nittany Lions couldn't put the Mountain Hawks away, as a 3-1 run got Lehigh back into the game at 10-6. Penn State responded in turn, getting goals from Zichelli and Shea, to provide the Lions with their largest lead of the game.
With the game seemingly in hand once again for the Nittany Lions, Lehigh fought its way back, scoring four of the next five goals to pull within three at 12-9. However, Penn State held possession of the ball for much of the game's remaining four minutes and added two more goals, from Maria Valderas (Catonsville, Md.) and Theresa Bucci, to Lehigh's one to secure the win.
The Nittany Lions return to the road this weekend when they travel to Evanston, Ill. to take on four-time defending national champion, undefeated, and No. 1-ranked Northwestern (12-0) on Sun., April 12 (1 p.m. ET) at Lakeside Field. A year ago, Penn State nearly took down the powerhouse Wildcats, coming up heartbreakingly short by a score of 13-12 in a game played in University Park at Bigler Field. Jen Steadman netted three goals while Erica Mihm tallied two goals and two assists to lead the Lions.