2010 Women's Lacrosse Season Outlook

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Senior midfielder and team co-captain Theresa Bucci will be one of the Nittany Lions' top scoring threats this season

Senior midfielder and team co-captain Theresa Bucci will be one of the Nittany Lions' top scoring threats this season

Jan. 29, 2010

Following a 2009 season in which it posted a winning record, placed second in the conference standings, and advanced to the ALC Championship title game, the Penn State women's lacrosse team will take the field in 2010 seeking to build on that success and surpass those achievements. Towards that end, 10-year head coach Suzanne Isidor returns a squad comprised of 24 letterwinners, nine starters, and four All-ALC honorees that will be captained by a trio of respected seniors in Theresa Bucci, Margo Josephs, and Marisa Lozano. Add to the core group of veterans a small but highly regarded and eminently talented recruiting class and the Penn State women's lacrosse program is poised to take the next step.

"I am excited about 2010 and the potential for this year's team," said Isidor. "We had one of our most successful falls in that we improved and achieved a lot of our goals. The team really grew and leaders emerged. From the freshman all the way up to the seniors, everyone showed improvement and the attitude, the work ethic, and the chemistry is some of the best we have had."

Despite being dealt a significant blow in the fall when 2009 leading scorer Marisa Lozano was lost for the season with a knee injury, the Penn State attack should remain dangerous with senior Erica Mihm (25 goals, 11 assists), a Second Team All-ALC selection a year ago, and junior Jen Steadman (14 goals, 10 assists) spearheading the unit.

Senior Mary LeNoir, who sat out the 2009 season, also returns, bringing with her 32 games of starting experience and 33 career goals. Junior Mary Dean came on strong in the fall and will figure prominently in the Nittany Lion offense. The attack was bolstered in the offseason with the addition of gifted newcomers Molly Fernandez and Hayley Sofarnos, who Isidor describes as "two of the most prepared for the college game as we have had coming in as freshmen." Fernandez was a prolific scorer at the high school level while Sofarnos, a native Australian and the daughter of its legendary national team coach, boasts an impressive international playing resume.

"We have seven true midfielders on our roster, all of whom I expect to see playing time and make an impact this year," said Isidor.

An experienced and productive senior duo in Theresa Bucci and Maria Valderas will headline the corps. Bucci is the team's leading scoring midfielder with 59 career points while Valderas has started 51 consecutive games. Junior Laura Lesnick, who finished third on the team in goals last season with 22, and sophomore Theresa Zichelli, a versatile player in the same mold as former Penn State great Jessi Lieb, will also provide significant contributions on both ends of the field. Maggie Dunbar, a junior, has made a smooth transition from defense to the midfield and will play a key role in the transition game. With a year of college lacrosse under their belts, sophomores Aly Adams and Elaine Welch could be ready to break into the line-up.

Senior goalkeeper Stephanie Ellis, a Second Team All-ALC selection in 2009, will anchor the Penn State defense

"We will have a lot of competition for playing time on defense. We don't have a lot of experience, but we do have a lot of depth and speed, which will allow us to play an exciting style of defense," said Isidor.

Anchoring the defense will be senior Margo Josephs and junior Ashley Boccio. Josephs missed the final four games of the 2009 season with a knee injury but still led the ALC in caused turnovers. Boccio had a breakout sophomore year for which she earned all-conference honors and some All-America recognition. The speedy Jackie Eastman, who successfully switched positions from the midfield in the offseason, has proven to be a tenacious defender and will team well with Josephs and Boccio. A former attacker, junior Katy Wick has used her hard working approach to make the quick adjustment to defensive end and will see action.

Sophomores Ashley Ross and Brittaney Chamberlain and freshman Katie Guy, a member of the 2009 Canadian World Cup Team, will also compete for minutes.

The position of greatest strength, both in terms of depth and talent, for the Nittany Lions in 2010 may be at goalkeeper.

"We have two of the most talented goalkeepers we have had in a long time," said Isidor. "Both are tremendously athletic and hard workers. I think our defense is very comfortable with both."

Senior Stephanie Ellis established herself as a top-notch collegiate goalkeeper with a standout 2009 season. Starting all 17 games, she ranked second in the conference in goals against average en route to Second Team All-ALC honors. Sophomore Dana Cahill was promising in limited duty in her freshman campaign is constantly pushing to get on the field.



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