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March 21, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.> - The 18th-ranked Penn State women's lacrosse team (2-4, 0-0) will open American Lacrosse Conference play on Sun., March 23 when it visits Nashville, Tenn. for a 1 p.m. game with No. 20 Vanderbilt (6-3, 0-0). The Nittany Lion-Commodore ALC season opening match-up has become an annual tradition, as the teams have met to start their respective conference schedules since the league's inception in 2002.
On Wednesday evening, Penn State dropped its second game in five days to a top 10 opponent, falling to No. 8 Penn, 14-7, in Philadelphia. The Nittany Lions played the Quakers even early but a 12-0 Penn run over a 30-minute span would doom PSU's upset chances. Senior midfielder and team co-captain Jessi Lieb (Villanova, Pa.) led Penn State with two goals, giving her a team season high total of 10.
Vanderbilt halted a three-game losing streak on March 17 when it cruised to a 15-6 victory over Ivy Leaguer Cornell, a team Penn State scrimmaged to a 12-12 tie in February. Prior to consecutive losses to North Carolina (12-5), Boston University (17-7), and New Hampshire (10-7), the Commodores opened the year with wins against Cincinnati (20-2), UMBC (16-7) and Lehigh (16-7). Tewaaraton Trophy candidate Margie Curran leads the Vanderbilt attack with 27 goals and 39 points. Sophomore midfielder Sarah Downing tops the team in assists with 13 and trails only Curran in goals (21) and points (34). Senior goalkeeper Brooke Shinaberry has started all nine games this season, compiling a 9.50 goals against average and a 42.3% save percentage.
Penn State holds a slim 6-4 advantage in its all-time series with Vanderbilt. Last season, multiple goal games by Jessi Lieb (3), Kerry Shea (2) (Baltimore, Md.), and Mary LeNoir (2) (Timonium, Md.), were not enough and the Nittany Lions fell to the Commodores, 9-7, in Holuba Hall. The teams have split their last six meetings, but PSU claimed a 9-8 victory in its last trip to Nashville in 2005.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Vanderbilt contest on the Internet with live stats and instant scoring updates. Click on the "gametrack PSU" link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com, to gain access.
The Nittany Lions will wrap up their three-game road stretch on Fri., March 28 when they travel to Newark, Del. to take on Delaware (3-2) in a 3 p.m. contest. In its 2007 season opener, on the strength of a nine-point effort from Lindsay Dutch, Penn State outgunned the Blue Hens, 15-10, at Holuba Hall. The Lions are 22-6 all-time versus Delaware and have won five of the last seven meetings.