No. 17 Women's Lacrosse to Open ALC Play Versus No. 11 Vanderbilt
March 20, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 17 Penn State women's lacrosse team (4-3) will open its 2009 American Lacrosse Conference schedule on Sun., March 22 when the Nittany Lions host No. 11 Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-1) in a noon contest at Bigler Field.
On Wednesday, Penn State came up short in a showdown of two of the nation's top defenses, dropping its first home game of the season, 9-6, to undefeated and third-ranked Penn at Bigler Field. Sophomore Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) led Penn State with two goals while senior Marisa Lozano (Pittsburgh, Pa.) scored her team-high 12th goal of the season and added two assists. Junior goalkeeper Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) was once again superb between the pipes, recording nine saves in the face of 21 Penn shots.
Vanderbilt enters Sunday's contest coming off a 19-7 whitewashing of Cincinnati on March 15. The Commodores' schedule has rivaled Penn State's in terms of difficulty with four of its six opponents boasting top 20 rankings, including No. 1 Northwestern and No. 6 North Carolina. Vanderbilt fields one of the nation's most potent attacks, scoring in double digits in all six of its games and earning a No. 8 national ranking in points scored. Six players have scored 10 or more goals, led by 15 from junior Sarah Downing and sophomore Katherine Denkler. While the Vandy offense has thrived, its defense has had its struggles. The Commodores have allowed an average of 14.59 goals per game and surrendered 22 goals in losses to Northwestern and Duke.
Penn State has won six of 11 all-time meetings with Vanderbilt but has lost the last two match-ups by a total of five goals. A year ago, the Nittany Lions fell to the Commodores, 10-7, in Nashville, Tenn., despite getting multiple goal performances from Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.), Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio), and Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.).
The Nittany Lions begin a three-game road swing next weekend when they travel to Williamsburg, Va. to face William & Mary (3-4) in a 1 p.m. match-up on Sat., March 28. Penn State is 21-7-1 all-time versus the Tribe, including last season's 18-12 victory in Holuba Hall. The Lions will continue their road stretch the following weekend when they head to Columbus, Ohio to face No. 2 Maryland (7-0) (April 3) and No. 6 North Carolina (6-2) (April 5) in the ALC/ACC Challenge.
NOTES: In the NCAA statistical rankings that were released on March 15, Penn State is ranked 4th in scoring defense, 7th in scoring margin and ground balls per game, 14th in caused turnovers, 16th in scoring offense, and 20th in points and draw controls...Individually, Stephanie Ellis ranks 5th in the nation in goals against average and Margo Josephs (Reisterstown, Md.) ranks 5th in caused turnovers...Penn State is on pace to easily surpass last season's totals in nearly every major statistical category including goals, assists, points, ground balls, draw controls, and caused turnovers...Penn State has led in all seven of its games this season, including against Penn, which hadn't yet faced a deficit in 2009. The Nittany Lions have also been ahead at halftime of six of seven games.