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March 14, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's lacrosse team will continue its longest home stretch of the 2011 season this week when it hosts non-conference opponent Hofstra (2-4) on Wed., March 16 (7 p.m.) and ALC foe No. 12 Vanderbilt (4-3, 0-1) on Sun., March 20 (12 p.m.). The Nittany Lions will take on the Pride in Holuba Hall and the Commodores at Bigler Field, weather permitting.
Against Hofstra, the Nittany Lions will look to build on momentum sparked by its best performance of the season, a commanding 11-3 victory over Delaware on Saturday at Bigler Field. Junior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) anchored a superb PSU defensive effort, which included limiting the Blue Hens to just one second half goal, recording 12 saves, one shy of her career high. Senior midfielder Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.) led the Penn State offense with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) while senior attacker Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.) added three (2 goals, 1 assist).
Hofstra comes to Happy Valley in the midst of a three-game losing streak, following consecutive setbacks to Albany (13-8), Penn (8-4), and Rutgers (11-10, OT). The Pride spent four weeks ranked in the IWLCA poll earlier in the season, claiming wins over Oregon and Denver but have fallen out of the rankings with its recent struggles. The HU attack is spearheaded by the duo of Jill Maier (15 goals, 1 assist) and Stephanie Rice (12 goals, 4 assists). Claire Brady (12) and Jackie Ardolino (10) have also reached double digits in points. Senior Katie Hertsch, a member of the U.S. National Team and a First Team IWLCA All-Region selection in 2010, and junior goalkeeper Jackie Pandolf (10.59 GAA, .518 save percentage) key the Hofstra defense.
Vanderbilt, which will host New Hampshire mid-week before it meets Penn State on Sunday, is currently just one game above the .500 mark but all three of its losses have come to teams ranked in the top three in the nation, including a 17-6 defeat at the hands of ALC rival Northwestern. The Commodores' boast a high-powered offense, averaging over 13 goals a game and featuring five players with 13 or more points. Courtney Kirk leads VU in points with 26 (13 goals, 13 assists) while Katherine Denkler is tops in goals with 15. Ally Carey, a Tewaaraton Award watch list nominee, ranks first on the team in draw controls (31), ground balls (25), and caused turnovers (10).
Penn State has never faced Hofstra in program history but is 80-23-1 all-time versus Colonial Athletic Association teams. The Lions own a 6-7 series record against Vanderbilt, dropping four straight to the Commodores, including last year's 20-14 road setback. Penn State's last win versus VU came in 2005, a 9-8 season opening victory in Nashville.
Fans can follow all of the action as Penn State clashes with Hofstra with live stats and instant scoring updates from GameTracker. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions will wrap up their four-game home stand on Wed., March 23 when in-state foe Lafayette (1-4) visits University Park for a 7 p.m. mid-week clash. A year ago, behind a career high seven points from Mary Dean (4 goals, 3 assists), Penn State upped its all-time record versus the Leopards to 18-2 with a dominating 19-5 victory in Easton.
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