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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The seventh ranked Penn State women's lacrosse team begins their 2017 season on Saturday at 12 p.m. as they host the Albany Great Danes inside Holuba Hall. The Nittany Lions are looking to build off a National Semifinal run last season and continue their string of recent success.
- Penn State welcomes Albany for just the second time in six season as the Great Danes defeated the Nittany Lions 8-7 in their only other meeting in 2011.
OPENING DAY SUCCESS
- Penn State is 37-14-1 all-time in season opening contests including a 5-0 record over the last five seasons outscoring their opponents 86-27 and have an average margin of victory of 11.8.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
- Penn State returns 8-of-12 starters from last season's national semifinal team including most of their defense.
- The Nittany Lions also add 10 freshman to the mix this year and have a roster of 31 players.
FIVE LAND ON PRESEASON ALL AMERICA LIST
- Seniors Abby Smucker, Steph Lazo and Natalie Schmitt join junior Katie O'Donnell and sophomore Madison Carter on Inside Lacrosse's 2017 Preseason All-American List.
- Lazo is the teams returning leading scorer after collecting 71 points last season on 34 goals and 37 assists.
- Carter was right behind her with 52 points and was second on the team with 48 goals while O'Donnell was third with 46. All three players trailed Madison Cyr `16 who scored 59 goals and led the team with 83 points. Schmitt and Smucker solidifed a strong defensive core last season, but with added depth in 2017 Smucker could move back lost from the graduation of Cyr and Jenna Mosketti.
- Senior Cat Rainone returns as the team's only goaltender with NCAA experience after the graduation of Emi Smith `16. She is joined by freshman Madison Cunningham.
ABOUT THE GREAT DANES
- Albany begins the 2017 campaign after an 11-6 season in 2016 where they dropped a one-goal decision in the America East Final, 10-9, to Stony Brook. The Great Danes finished the season winning eight of their final 11 games with two of those three losses coming at the hands of Stony Brook.
- In 2016 the Danes had eight players register double-digit points and they return five of those players including Dakotah Savitcheff (58-6-64) and Sarah Martin (30-28-58).
- Albany graduated their starting goaltender in Courtney Henderson who started all 17 games in 2016 and they begin 2017 with a pair of freshman vying for the starting role.
- Albany was 6-3 on the road last season.
- Penn State remains home during their season opening three-game home stand as they welcome Towson to Happy Valley next Saturday for another 12 p.m. affair.