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Feb. 14, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 17 Penn State women's lacrosse will open the 2012 season on Wednesday, Feb. 15 when it travels locally to Lewisburg to face regional foe Bucknell (0-1) in a 4 p.m. contest at the home of the Bison, Graham Field.
For the 2012 season, second-year head coach Missy Doherty returns 16 letterwinners and five starters from a 2011 team that won 10 games and advanced to the semifinals of the ALC Championship. The squad is laden with youth, featuring 17 underclassmen, many of which are expected to be significant contributors this season. Doherty's roster was bolstered by another top 10 nationally-ranked recruiting class, headlined by U-19 U.S. National Team member and 2011 U-19 World Championship MVP Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.).
"We graduated a lot of starters from last year's team," said Doherty. "This year, we are still figuring out who our new leaders will be. A lot of players stepped up in the fall. Many returning players have moved into starting positions and a lot of freshmen came in ready to compete. We are a young team, but they have worked extremely hard. It's going to be fun when it gets to be game time to see where we stand against some of the top teams in the country."
Sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) is Penn State's leading returning scorer after posting 35 points (12g, 23a) in her freshman campaign of 2011. Junior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.), freshman Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.), and Cyr formed a quick chemistry in the preseason and will comprise the heart of the Nittany Lion attack. Senior Elaine Welch (Bernardsville, N.J.), who had a career-high 12 points in 2011, will also be a factor.
Senior team co-captain Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.), who has totaled 64 points (54g, 10a) in three years, will lead the corps of midfielders. She tops all current Nittany Lions in career ground balls (76), draw controls (66), and caused turnovers (42). Senior Aly Adams (Springfield, Pa.) and freshmen Tatum Coffey and Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.) will also be counted on for offensive production. Sophomores Evan Foulsham (Madison, N.J.) and Lauren Purvis (Maple Glen, Pa.) have developed in the offseason and will provide solid depth.
Anchoring the Penn State defense in 2012 will be senior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.), who last season established herself as one of the nation's top goalkeepers, earning First Team All-West/Midwest Region and All-ALC honors in addition to being named ALC Goalkeeper of the Year.
Senior Colleen Shea (Baltimore, Md.), who started 15 games in 2011, is back as the team's most experienced defender and will often draw the task of marking the opposition's top offensive weapon. Senior Brittaney Chamberlain (Finksburg, Md.), redshirt junior Kelsey Hughes (Severna Park, Md.), one of the team's most improved players, and sophomore Lizzy Carney (West Chester, Pa.), who emerged as PSU's top stopper in the midfield after a stellar fall season, will also be key figures on the defensive end. Newcomers Erin McAfee (Moorestown, N.J.) and Cat Layne (Downingtown, Pa.) could also make an impact.
Penn State was selected to place third in the ultra-competitive ALC in 2012 in the preseason coaches' poll and has received top 20 rankings in several national polls.
Bucknell is led by head coach Randall Goldsborough, a former teammate of Missy Doherty at Maryland. The Bison began the 2012 season on February 4, falling to No. 5 Duke, 25-3, in Durham, N.C. Sophomore midfielder Katelyn Miller (24g, 13a) and junior attacker Madison Hurwitz (29g, 4a) are Bucknell's top returning scorers. Freshman Chloe Chou got her collegiate career off to a fast start, tallying three assists in her debut versus the Blue Devils. The task of replacing four-year starting goalkeeper Alyssa DeLorenz has fallen to freshman Caroline O'Neill and sophomore Katherine Fraile. Each played 30 minutes in the opener versus Duke.
Penn State owns a perfect 15-0 all-time series record versus Bucknell, including last year's 22-2 win in University Park. The Nittany Lions have dominated the last six meetings, two of which took place in Lewisburg, outscoring the Bison by a combined 112-23 margin.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Bucknell match-up with live stats and instant scoring updates from GameTracker. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Penn State will be back in action this weekend, welcoming No. 2 Maryland (2-0) to Happy Valley for its 2012 home opener on Sunday, Feb. 19 (1 p.m.). The clash of ranked opponents will be the program's inaugural game at the new home of the Nittany Lions, Penn State Lacrosse Field. A year ago, Penn State opened the season with a 13-2 loss to the eventual NCAA runner-up Terrapins in College Park.