Nittany Lions Receive No. 16 Ranking in IWLCA Preseason Poll
Feb. 11, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State has received the nation's No. 16 ranking in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Preseason Poll. The Nittany Lions were previously positioned at No. 15 in the Lacrosse Magazine preseason rankings and were recently selected to place third in the ALC preseason poll.
The 2011 Nittany Lions, captained by seniors Ashley Boccio (Northport, N.Y.), Maggie Dunbar (Cockeysville, Md.), Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.), Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.), and Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.), return 18 letterwinners, eight starters, and 76 percent of their offense from a 2010 squad that won 10 games and defeated three ranked opponents last season. Augmenting the roster will be the No. 9-ranked recruiting class in the nation according to Inside Lacrosse, highlighted by two-time All-American midfielder Lauren Purvis (Maple Glen, Pa.) and the nation's No. 6 recruit, attacker Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.).
Steadman, an ALC Preseason Team honoree, and sophomore Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.), Penn State's two top returning scorers with 45 and 40 points, respectively, along with senior Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.) and sophomore Hayley Sofarnos (Williamstown, Australia), who led PSU with 18 assists as freshman, will spearhead the attack. Lesnick, junior Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.), and ALC Preseason Team selection Dunbar, the team's leader in ground balls and caused turnovers in 2010, will key play in the midfield. Anchoring the defense will be Boccio, Eastman, and first-year starting goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.).
The Nittany Lions will make their debut under first year head coach Missy Doherty on Sun., Feb. 13 when they host Cornell in an exhibition game set for a 1 p.m. start at Bigler Field. Penn State will begin the 2011 regular season the following weekend when it travels to College Park, Md. for a 12 p.m. showdown with defending national champion and preseason No. 1-ranked Maryland on Sun., Feb. 20.
In 2011, the Nittany Lions will face a total of six teams ranked in the IWLCA preseason top 20 and four squads that are receiving votes including No. 2 Northwestern, No. 7 Virginia, No. 11 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Loyola, No. 17 Florida, No. 20 Hofstra, Albany (RV), Johns Hopkins (RV), Princeton (RV), and William & Mary (RV).