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April 1, 2010
Penn State will travel south riding the momentum of a two-game winning streak built last week on victories over Lafayette (19-5) and No. 17 William & Mary (11-8). Junior attacker Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.) paced the Nittany Lions in the rout of Lafayette, totaling a career-high seven points, on four goals and three assists. Against William & Mary, junior defender Maggie Dunbar (Cockeysville, Md.) provided the spark, posting two goals, one assist, six ground balls, four draw controls, and two caused turnovers. Dunbar earned national recognition for her standout performance, receiving mention on the womenslacrosse.com honor roll.
With six regular season games left on the schedule, three at home and three on the road, including four ALC contests, every remaining game will be key for the Nittany Lions as they jockey for seeding in the conference championship and aim for a spot in the NCAA postseason. Penn State continues to get offensive contributions from a variety of sources, as six players have reached double digits in goals scored with just six goals separating the team leader, Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) (17), from the No. 5 goal scorer, Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.) and Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) (11). Three Lions, Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.), Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) and Mary Dean, are ranked No. 1 on the team in assists with eight each.
Florida is not your typical fledgling program, as it entered the season with the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, according to Inside Lacrosse magazine, and wins, many of them big, have come as a result. Of the Gators' seven victories, six have been by 10 or more goals and it didn't take them long to establish a home field advantage, as six have come in Gainesville, including a 16-6 rout of Oregon on Tuesday. Florida will be hungry for a win in its home conference opener after dropping ALC road games to Johns Hopkins (16-8) and Ohio State (14-9) earlier this season. Ashley Bruns, the likely frontrunner for ALC Rookie of the Year honors, leads UF with 34 goals and 26 assists and is ranked sixth nationally in scoring with 5.40 points per game average. An all-freshmen group consisting of Brittany Dashiell (19), Colby Rhea (19), Caroline Chesterman (17), Kitty Cullen (16), and Julie Schindel (15) are also capable goal scorers.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State women's lacrosse action as it takes on Florida with live stats and instant scoring updates from GameTracker. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions have a pair of games on the schedule for next week, one on the road followed by another at home. Penn State will first journey to Bethlehem, Pa. on Wed., April 7 for a 7:30 p.m. contest with in-state foe Lehigh (8-2). The Lions have won all 18 of their meetings with the Mountain Hawks, including last season's 14-10 victory in University Park. Then, on Sun., April 11, Penn State will welcome five-time defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Northwestern