ALC/ACC Challenge Pits No. 15 Women's Lacrosse Against No. 8 Maryland and No. 5 North Carolina
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 23, 2006 - Fifteenth-ranked Penn State (4-3) will test itself against some of the nation's other top women's lacrosse programs this weekend when it participates in the 2006 ALC/ACC Challenge in College Park, Md. The Nittany Lions will battle No. 8 Maryland (6-3) on Fri., March 24 at 7:30 p.m. and, then after a days rest, will clash with No. 5 North Carolina (5-2) on Sun., March 26 at 12:00 p.m. All games will take place at the Lacrosse and Field Hockey Complex on the campus of the University of Maryland. Ohio State (0-5) will be the American Lacrosse Conference's other representative at the tournament.
A year ago at the ALC/ACC Challenge, Penn State defeated Maryland, 13-12, before falling to host North Carolina, 13-7.
Penn State snapped a three-game losing streak and avenged a 2005 upset loss at the same time by defeating Temple, 9-6, in Philadelphia on March 21. Seniors Shari Maslin (New City, N.Y.) and Lori Havrilla (Devon, Pa.) sparked the Nittany Lions' offense, scoring four and three goals, respectively. Goalkeeper Cammie Jurkowsky (Annapolis, Md.) returned to the starting line-up and earned her fourth win of the season. The junior faced 24 Temple shots and tied a season-high by recording nine saves.
Through seven games, Shari Maslin leads Penn State in goals (19) and points (23). Jessi Lieb (Villanova, Pa.) (13 goals, 4 assists) and Lori Havrilla (15 goals, 2 assists) continue to be major contributors to the Nittany Lions' offense, totaling 17 points. Lindsay Dutch (Ellicott City, Md.) (8 goals, 5 assists), Kim Kontson (Davidsonville, Md.) (7 goals, 4 assists), and Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.) (10 goals) are also in double figures in points.
Eighth-ranked Maryland enters its first round ALC/ACC Challenge contest versus Penn State with a 6-3 record and is coming off a 13-8 come-from-behind win over No. 13 Dartmouth on March 21. The victory was the Terrapins' third straight. Maryland's three losses this season have been to No. 1 Northwestern (13-8), No. 2 Duke (9-7), and No. 7 Virginia (14-9).
Senior Delia Cox, a 2005 first team All-ACC selection, headlines the Maryland offense, as she leads the teams in goals (27) and points (37). Sophomore Kelly Kasper and junior Krista Pellizzi have also been prolific scorers for head coach Cindy Timchal in 2006, with each tallying 19 goals. On defense, the Terps are young but talented and athletic. Sophomore Allie Boute has started all nine games in net for Maryland, compiling an 8.12 goals against average.
In one of Penn State's longest standing rivalries dating back to 1973, the Nittany Lions possess a 14-27-1 all-time record versus Maryland. A year ago, on the strength of six goals from Lori Havrilla, Penn State knocked off the Terrapins, 13-12, to earn its first win in the series since 1991. Under head coach Suzanne Isidor, the Lions are 1-4 versus Maryland.
North Carolina, ranked No. 5 in the nation, will face Penn State in game two of the 2006 ALC/ACC Challenge. Heading into their tournament opener versus winless Ohio State, the Tar Heels hold a 5-2 record and are in the midst of a two-game winning streak. After cruising to three straight wins to begin the season, North Carolina stumbled with back-to-back losses to archrival No. 2 Duke and No. 12 Boston University. Recent victories over Virginia Tech and No. 7 Virginia have righted the ship.
Senior midfielder Stephanie Scurachio fronts a balanced UNC offense, which features nine players who have scored five or more goals this season. Scurachio tops the teams with 16 goals and 21 points. Melissa McCarthy is UNC's only other double figure goal scorer with 10. Goalkeeper Kristen Hordy, a 2005 second-team All-American, is ranked seventh in the nation with a 6.97 goals against average.
In a series entering just its seventh year, Penn State holds a 2-6 record versus North Carolina. In 2005, the Nittany Lions fell to the Tar Heels twice, once in the regular season (13-7) and once in the postseason (7-6, 2 OT). Penn State last beat North Carolina in 2003, a 9-7 Lion victory.
Penn State will see its next action when the Nittany Lions return home to take on No. 20 Loyola on Sun., April 2 in a 1:00 p.m. contest tentatively scheduled to be played outdoors at Jeffrey Field.