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May 19, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla.- The Penn State women's lacrosse team's 2012 season came to end on Saturday afternoon, as the Nittany Lions bowed out of the NCAA Championship with a 15-2 quarterfinal loss to No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Florida (19-2) at the Gators' Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville.
For the second time this season, Penn State (12-7) faced Florida without its leading scorer, as freshman Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.) and her 29 goals and team-best 30 assists were sidelined for the elite eight match-up. Freshman Haley Ford (White Hall, Md.) and sophomore Lizzy Carney (West Chester, Pa.) accounted for the Nittany Lions' goals while sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.), who missed the regular season match-up with the Gators with an injury, registered PSU's lone assist.
Senior Dana Cahill(Towson, Md.) was tremendous in her final appearance in a Nittany Lion uniform, recording 13 saves, including several highlight-reel stops, against a hail of 34 Florida shots. Late in the first half, she stonewalled a Florida attacker's point blank shot after she broke free for a one-on-one opportunity. In the second half, when the Gators peppered goal with 20 shots, Cahill made eight saves.
Penn State won the opening draw but turned the ball over and Florida took immediate advantage, scoring to take a 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the game. A Penn State foul led to another Gators' goal less than a minute later with Shannon Gilroy scoring her second straight.
The Nittany Lions got on the board and cut the Gators' lead in half when Ford slashed across the Florida defense and whipped in her 15th goal of the season.
Florida then answered back, taking control of the game with a 5-0 run. The Gators were the beneficiary of two man-up opportunities in that span and converted them into two goals.
After being held scoreless for 20 minutes, Penn State netted its second goal of the half with 6:03 remaining. Carney took a pass from Cyr and scored her second goal in the last two games.
Florida capped the half with a goal with 23.2 seconds remaining to head into halftime with an 8-2 lead.
Florida controlled the second half, outscoring Penn State, 7-0. Freshman Tatum Coffey(Toms River, N.J.) had the best chance to get the Nittany Lions on the scoreboard but her free position shot caromed straight down off the crossbar but did not cross the goal line.
The Nittany Lions finish the 2012 season with the program's most wins (12) since 2005 and advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1999.
Penn State loses starters Theresa Zichelli, a Second Team All-ALC midfielder, and two-time ALC Goalkeeper of the Year Dana Cahill to graduation but returns 86 percent of its offense and all of four of its starting field defenders. Head coach Missy Doherty's 2013 roster will also be bolstered by the addition of a second consecutive top 10 recruiting class.