No. 15 Women's Lacrosse Returns Home for Match-up with Loyola
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 31, 2006 - After enduring a rugged three-game road swing, the fifteenth-ranked Penn State (4-5) women's lacrosse team returns to University Park for a one-game home respite when it hosts Loyola (4-5) at Jeffrey Field on Sun., April 2 at 1:00 p.m. The non-conference match-up will be the Nittany Lions' first home contest played outdoors this season.
Penn State possesses a 30-10 all-time record at Jeffrey Field over 11 years. Nittany Lion women's lacrosse made its debut at Jeffrey in 1980 when the team played an exhibition game with a touring team from England. A year ago, the Lions posted a 5-1 record at Jeffrey Field.
In its last outing on March 26, Penn State fell to No. 5 North Carolina, 16-12, at the ALC/ACC Challenge in College Park, Md. The Nittany Lions held a 10-7 halftime lead but a second period Tar Heel offensive flurry ended Penn State's bid for the upset. Freshman Megan McGuire collected four points while sophomore Jessi Lieb scored three goals for the Lions. Penn State dropped its first game of the ALC/ACC Challenge on March 24, losing to host No. 7 Maryland, 16-7.
At the midpoint of the 2006 season, Shari Maslin remains Penn State's leader in goals (22) and points (28). Jessi Lieb (Villanova, Pa.) (18 goals, 4 assists) and Lori Havrilla (18 goals, 3 assists) continue to be major contributors to the Nittany Lions' offense, totaling 20-plus points. Lindsay Dutch (Ellicott City, Md.) (9 goals, 5 assists), Kim Kontson (Davidsonville, Md.) (8 goals, 4 assists), Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.) (10 goals), and Megan McGuire (Eldersburg, Md.) (6 goals, 4 assists) are also in double figures in points.
Loyola brings a 4-5 record into its Sunday afternoon meeting with Penn State. All four of the Greyhounds' 2006 wins have come against unranked opponents while all five of their losses were to ranked teams. It its last game, Loyola snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating George Mason, 14-10, in Fairfax, Va. on March 29.
Loyola features one of the nation's premier offensive threats in junior Kate McHarg. The native Australian leads the team in goals (38), goals per game (4.2), assists (7), points (45), shots (74), and ground balls (27). She is the central figure of the Greyhound attack, as her goal and point total is more than Loyola's next three highest scorers combined. Sophomore Maura Kenny is second on the team, lending 16 goals to the Loyola offense. Freshman goalkeeper Alex Piraino has started seven games this season, posting a 2-5 record. She owns a 13.00 goals against average and a .401 save percentage.
After spending the entire first half of the season ranked in the top 20, consecutive losses to Notre Dame, James Madison, and Hofstra knocked Loyola from the national polls. The Greyhounds reached as high as No. 12 in the IWLCA/US Lacrosse rankings in early March.
Penn State possesses a 9-11-0 all-time record versus Loyola in a series that began in 1986. In 2005, the Nittany Lions doubled up the Greyhounds, 10-5, in Baltimore. The teams have split their last 10 meetings in University Park.
After its short home stand, Penn State heads back to the road for its next two games. The Nittany Lions will face Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on Wed., April 5 at 7:00 p.m. They will then take on Delaware one week later on April 12 in a 7:00 p.m. contest in Newark.