No. 16 Women's Lacrosse Hosts No. 6 Florida in Pivotal ALC Clash
March 30, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Two nationally ranked teams riding impressive winning streaks will collide on Saturday afternoon when No. 16 Penn State hosts No. 6 Florida (10-1, 1-0) in a pivotal ALC match-up scheduled for a 12 p.m. start at Bigler Field. The Nittany Lions have won five straight, including victories over ranked teams Vanderbilt and William & Mary, while the Gators are have gone unbeaten in their last 10 games.
Penn State (6-4, 1-0) knocked off its second ranked opponent in the span of one week on Sunday, defeating No. 16 William & Mary, 17-8, in Williamsburg, Va. Nine different players accounted for the Lions' goals, led by three each from senior Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.) and junior Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.). Tewaaraton Trophy candidate Maggie Dunbar (Cockeysville, Md.) also had a standout game, totaling one goal, one assist, four draw controls, three ground balls, and three caused turnovers.
A stout Penn State defense was also critical to the non-conference win, limiting William & Mary to season low goal output and no assists. In the second half, the Nittany Lions stifled any comeback attempt by holding the Tribe to just one goal in the final 20-plus minutes of the game.
Florida's game with Penn State in Happy Valley will be its first road trip since Feb. 12 when it traveled just 70 miles north of its campus to face Jacksonville University. After downing the Dolphins, the Gators have played nine consecutive home games, all wins, including a 10-8 victory over ALC foe Ohio State last weekend.
Florida employs a high-powered offense, averaging over 15 goals a game. Leading the way is Kitty Cullen, whose 49 goals rank No. 1 in the nation. Ashley Bruns (30 goals, 16 assists) and Brittany Dashiell (25 goals, 6 assists) are also key weapons in the Gators' arsenal. Florida's defense is equally strong, allowing an average of just 8.00 goals per game. Sophomore goalkeeper Mikey Meagher tops the ALC with a goals against average of 7.36.
In 2010, in the inaugural meeting of the programs, Penn State saw a furious late rally come up short and fell narrowly to Florida, 13-11 in Gainesville. Erica Mihm and Hayley Sofarnos headlined the Nittany Lion attack, netting three goals each while Theresa Bucci and Mary Dean contributed two goals apiece.
Penn State will continue ALC play next weekend when it travels to Evanston, Ill. to take on No. 2 Northwestern (9-0, 1-0) in an 8 p.m. contest at the Wildcats' Lakeside Field. The Nittany Lions have had their season ended by Northwestern at the ALC Championship in each of the last four years and have not defeated the `Cats since 2003, a 12-7 road victory for PSU.
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