No. 16 Women's Lacrosse Visits No. 1 Maryland for 2011 Season Opener
Feb. 17, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 16 Penn State women's lacrosse team will open the 2011 season and usher in the Missy Doherty head coaching era on Sun., Feb. 20 when it travels to College Park, Md. to face defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Maryland (2-0) in a 12 p.m. contest at the Terrapins' Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. Doherty will make her debut at the helm of the Nittany Lion program against her alma mater, where she won three national championships in the mid-90s as a four-year letterwinner.
Sunday's contest will also feature the NCAA's top two winningest women's lacrosse programs. Maryland has compiled 540 total wins as compared to Penn State's 436.
For the 2011 season, Penn State returns 18 letterwinners, eight starters, and 76 percent of their offense from a 2010 squad that won 10 games and defeated three ranked opponents. The roster is laden with veterans, featuring seven seniors who could potentially figure in as starters.
Senior Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.), 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 a freshman, will fuel the offense. Seniors Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) and Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.), junior Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.), and First Team All-ALC selection Maggie Dunbar (Cockeysville, Md.), the team's leader in ground balls and caused turnovers in 2010, will key play in the midfield. Anchoring the defense will be seniors Ashley Boccio (Northport, N.Y.) and Katy Wick (Winter Springs, Fla.) along with first-year starting goalkeeper junior Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.).
Coming off its 2010 national championship season, Maryland has picked up where it left off, downing Richmond, 18-7, and Delaware, 17-8, on the road to open the 2011 campaign. Offensively, the Terrapins are headlined by junior attacker Karri Ellen Johnson, the Lacrosse Magazine National Preseason Player of the Year. In 2010, the IWLCA First Team All-American led Maryland with 69 goals and is off to a fast start this season, scoring 12 goals through the first two games, including a career-high seven in the opener versus Richmond. Two other All-Americans, senior attacker Sarah Mollison (45g, 30a) and junior midfielder Katie Schwarzmann (33g, 11a), provide head coach and Maryland alumnae Cathy Reese with additional scoring firepower. After serving a redshirt season during the Terrapins' national title run, redshirt senior Katie Gallagher returns to action in 2011 to help spearhead the defense. Junior goalkeeper Brittany Dipper, who boasted a 7.35 goals against average a year ago, owns a 36-2 career mark as a starter.
Penn State possesses a 14-32-1 all-time record versus Maryland, losing four straight to the Terrapins. A year ago in University Park, the Nittany Lions held a 6-3 halftime lead but faltered in the second half, eventually falling 17-9. Penn State's last win in the series came in 2005, when it claimed a 13-12 victory at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. Maryland has compiled an impressive 40-1 record under Reese in games played in College Park.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Maryland 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.
The Nittany Lions will be back in action next weekend, welcoming Albany to Happy Valley for their 2011 home opener on Sat., Feb. 26. Game time is set for 1 p.m. with the location yet to be determined. The Great Danes, which were selected to place second in the America East Conference preseason poll and received votes in the initial IWLCA rankings, open the year at home against Siena on Feb. 22 before meeting the Nittany Lions. Penn State has never faced Albany in program history but is 14-2 all-time versus America East opponents.
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