Women's Lacrosse to Battle ACC Power No. 2 Virginia on Sunday
March 6, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's lacrosse team (4-0) will put its undefeated record on the line and measure itself against one of the nation's top teams when it visits ACC and national powerhouse No. 2 Virginia (4-1) for a noon match-up on Sun., March 8 at the Cavaliers' Klöckner Stadium.
The contest is the Nittany Lions' first road test of the season, after beginning the season with four consecutive home games for the first time in program history, and is their first versus a ranked opponent in 2009. Counting Virginia, Penn State's next seven opponents are ranked in the IWLCA Under Armour top 20 poll, including No. 8 Princeton (March 14), No. 6 Penn (March 18), No. 12 Vanderbilt (March 22), No. 20 William & Mary (March 28), No. 3 Maryland (April 3), and No. 9 North Carolina (April 5).
The Nittany Lions ran roughshod over the Patriot League in putting together their three-game winning streak to start the season and met little resistance in dispatching its first-ever contest versus a Northeast Conference opponent when it downed Mount St. Mary's, 13-3, on Tuesday evening. The offense sputtered at times in the victory but the defense picked up the slack, forcing 19 of the Mount's 24 turnovers and holding it to just 14 total shots. Junior Margo Josephs (Reisterstown, Md.), the reigning ALC Defensive Player of the Week, was stellar in spearheading the unit, recording six caused turnovers while collecting five ground balls. Despite its struggles, the offense was balanced with four different Nittany Lions, Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.), Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.), Katy Wick (Winter Park, Fla.), and Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.), netting two goals each and nine players scoring overall.
Virginia enters Sunday's contest battle-tested and boasting a roster loaded with talent. The Cavaliers have faced two top three teams within the last week, defeating Syracuse, 14-11, before falling to conference rival Maryland, 17-11, on Friday for their first loss of the season. Virginia fields a team that features five Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List nominees, including senior All-Americans Jenny Hauser, Ashley McCulloch and Blair Weymouth and juniors Kaitlin Duff and Brittany Kalkstein. McCulloch leads the team in assists (15) and points (29) while Weymouth is the team's leading goal scorer with 16. Duff tops the Cavs in caused turnovers (13) and ground balls (13) and Kalkstein has recorded a team-high 20 draw controls. Redshirt sophomore Lauren Benner has started all five games in goal, registering 34 saves while compiling a 9.39 goals against average.
Penn State possesses a 4-15 record in its all-time series with perennial power Virginia. A year ago, Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio) and Kerry Shea each netted two goals but it was not enough as the Lions fell to the Cavaliers, 13-7 in Holuba Hall. The Nittany Lions last defeated Virginia in 2005, a 10-7 victory in Charlottesville.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Virginia match-up on the Internet for FREE with live stats and instant scoring updates. Nittany Lion backers can also purchase a single-game pass of an on-demand webcast on ACCSelect.com for $5.95 and view the contest on their computer. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Penn State will return to the road for its next game, traveling east to New Jersey for a border battle with No. 8 Princeton (2-0) on Sat., March 14 at 3 p.m. The Nittany Lions have alternated wins and losses versus the Tigers over the past five years, with Princeton taking last year's match-up in University Park by a 7-6 count. Penn State owns a 12-18 record in its all-time series with Princeton.