Women's Lacrosse to Clash with No. 3 Maryland and No. 10 North Carolina in ALC/ACC Challenge
April 2, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's lacrosse team (3-6, 0-1 ALC) will add to two more chapters to the story that is its grueling 2008 schedule when it travels to Chapel Hill, N.C. this weekend to battle No. 3 Maryland (9-1, 2-1 ACC) and No. 10 North Carolina (8-3, 2-2 ALC) in the annual ALC/ACC Challenge. The Nittany Lions will square off with the Terrapins on Fri., April 4 at 5 p.m. and take on the host Tar Heels on Sun., April 6 at 2:30 p.m. All games will be played at Fetzer Field on the UNC campus.
In its last outing, Penn State snapped a four game losing streak at a blustery Bigler Field, downing Loyola 10-7, in non-conference action. In her first start of the season, junior Marisa Lozano (Pittsburgh, Pa.) came alive to lead the PSU attack, netting three goals and tallying an assist. Freshman Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) came off the bench to score two goals and collect an assist. Team co-captains Jessi Lieb (Villanova, Pa.) and Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.) also added two goals each. The defense also shined, causing 13 of Loyola's 19 total turnovers, led by three from both Lieb and sophomore Margo Josephs (Reisterstown, Md.).
At the midpoint of the 2008 season, Maryland looks to be one the top contenders for the national title. The Terps' resume includes wins over nationally ranked teams Virginia, James Madison, and Johns Hopkins. Their lone blemish is a 14-13 road loss to ACC rival Duke in early March. The Maryland offense is a juggernaut, totaling 158 goals in 10 games. Standouts Dana Dobbie (37 goals), Lauren Cohen (25 goals), and Kelly Kasper (38 points) headline that potent attack. Senior goalkeeper Allie Buote owns an 8.19 goals against average and tops the team in ground balls with 32.
For Penn State, Maryland is one of just a few teams against which it holds a losing series record (14-29-1). In 2007, the Nittany Lions, on the strength of two goal efforts from Jessi Lieb, Lindsay Dutch, and Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio), nearly pulled of an upset of the Terrapins, falling at home in Holuba Hall, 10-9. The last time Penn State met Maryland in Chapel Hill at the ALC/ACC Challenge, in 2005, the Lions triumphed in a 13-12 thriller.
The 2008 season for North Carolina has had its ups, including a win over archrival Duke, and its downs, specifically a blowout loss to Virginia and a double overtime setback against unranked Boston College. Regardless of their inconsistency, the Tar Heels remain one of the nation's most dangerous squads. The UNC attack is balanced with four players totaling over 23 points, led by Corey Donohoe's 30 (24 goals, 6 assists). Amanda Barnes has started all nine games in goal, recording 53 saves while compiling a 10.17 goals against average.
Penn State's Sunday match-up with North Carolina will be the 11th time the teams have met, with the Nittany Lions holding a 3-7 record in the series. Last year, PSU knocked off the Tar Heels, 8-7, in overtime in Holuba Hall. Kerry Shea and Jessi Lieb starred for the Lions that day, netting a team-high two goals each. Penn State is 2-6 versus UNC during head coach Suzanne Isidor's tenure, including a heartbreaking 7-6 overtime loss in the first round of the NCAA playoffs in 2005.
Fans can follow all of the Penn State women's lacrosse action at the ALC/ACC Challenge 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 return home the following weekend to continue its conference schedule when they host three-time defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Northwestern (10-0, 2-0 ALC) on Sun., April 13 at noon. Location of the key league match-up has yet to be determined. Check the official website of Penn State athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com, next week for an announcement.