No. 18 Women's Lacrosse Hosts ACC Power No. 2 Maryland in Border War Battle
Feb. 19, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 18 Penn State women's lacrosse team (2-0) will face its sternest challenge of the young 2010 season on Sunday when it faces No. 2-ranked ACC powerhouse Maryland (1-0) in a 1 p.m. clash indoors at Holuba Hall.
The Nittany Lions are coming off a 15-2 dismantling of Bucknell on Tuesday afternoon in chilly conditions in Lewisburg. The Penn State offense built a commanding 12-0 halftime lead while the defense held the Bison without a shot for the game's first 20 minutes and without a goal until the final 15 minutes. Freshman Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) led the Lions with three goals, her first career hat trick, while sophomore Bridget Callahan (Moorestown, N.J.) posted her first career multi-point game, totaling two goals and two assists.
Through the season's first two games, Penn State has gotten offense from a variety of sources, as 11 Nittany Lions have scored goals, including eight with two or more, while 12 have at least one point. Junior midfielder Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) is the team leader with four, two of which have been game winners, while three players, Fernandez, Callahan, and freshman Hayley Sofarnos (Williamstown, Australia), top the team with two assists each.
Defensively, the Lions have allowed just 10 goals, including just one off of a free position attempt, and one total assist. Junior defender Ashley Boccio (Northport, N.Y.) leads PSU with five ground balls is one of three players with three caused turnovers. Starting goalkeeper Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) owns a 5.33 goals against average and a .500 save percentage.
Maryland is considered by many as the primary threat to end Northwestern's reign of power and five-year run of national titles in 2010. The Terrapins began the season with a 17-7 rout of Richmond, getting hat tricks from four different players. The Maryland offense is loaded, featuring four players who scored 44 or more goals and three that totaled 82 points or more in 2009. First Team All-American Karri Ellen Johnson (74-13-87), 2009 IWLCA National Midfielder of the Year Caitlyn McFadden (54-31-85), Second Team All-Americans Sarah Mollison (44-38-82) and Brandi Jones (28-33-61), and Second Team Regional All-American Laura Merrifield (46-3-49) power the offense.
The Terrapin defense is anchored by Brittany Poist and Katie Gallagher, who were among the team leaders in ground balls and caused turnovers in 2009, and sophomore goalkeeper Brittany Dipper. As a freshman, Dipper started 19 games, finishing with a 9.17 goals against average and a 16-1 record.
Penn State possesses a 14-31-1 all-time record versus Maryland. The Nittany Lions have lost three straight to the Terrapins but two of those setbacks came by a single goal, including one in overtime. 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.
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.
Next weekend, the Nittany Lions will continue a four-game home stand by hosting two non-conference contests in Holuba Hall. On Fri., Feb. 26, Penn State will take on America East foe Vermont for just the second time in program history. Game time is set for 6 p.m. The Lions will be back in action on Sun., Feb. 28 when it welcomes Colgate to Happy Valley for a 1 p.m. match-up. Penn State has won four straight in the series, outscoring the Raiders 64-16 during the streak. Penn State's USWLA National Championship teams from 1978, 1979, and 1980 will be honored at halftime of the game, as part of the annual alumnae weekend.