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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; April 5, 2007 ?C The No. 10 Penn State women??s lacrosse team (7-3) will welcome ACC and national powerhouses No. 2 North Carolina (10-1) and No. 3 Maryland (9-1), along with ALC member Ohio State (6-2), to Happy Valley this weekend, as the Nittany Lions play host to the annual ALC/ACC Challenge.
Penn State will square off with the Tar Heels on Fri., April 6 (7 p.m.) and with the Terrapins on Sun., April 8 (3 p.m.). Other games include Ohio State taking on Maryland (Fri., 5 p.m.) and the Buckeyes facing North Carolina (Sun., 12 p.m.). Because of the expected unseasonably cold weather, both days?? match-ups will be held at Penn State??s indoor facility, Holuba Hall.
The Nittany Lions will look to rebound from a rough outing on Tuesday night, as they suffered a 16-5 setback to No. 11 Pennsylvania in their Jeffrey Field opener. Eight different Lions tallied points but leading scorer Jessi Lieb (Villanova, Pa.) saw her point streak snapped at 18 games.
North Carolina began the season by shocking reigning national champion Northwestern in double overtime and has suffered just one setback since, a narrow 8-6 road loss to ACC rival Maryland on March 24. Freshman Kristen Taylor and senior Christina Juras supply the Tar Heel attack with a formidable 1-2 punch, combining for 47 goals this season. Goalkeeper Kristen Hordy has compiled a solid .617 goals against average in 11 starts this season.
Penn State owns a 2-7-0 all-time record in games versus North Carolina. A year ago, the Lions fell to the Tar Heels, 16-12, in an ALC/ACC Challenge contest held in College Park, Md. Penn State has dropped three-straight to North Carolina, last winning in 2003, a 9-7 triumph.
Maryland arrives in University Park with a five-game winning streak in tow, including a 14-10 victory over Georgetown in its last outing on April 3. The Terrapins?? attack is prolific, boasting eight players with 20 or more points, led by Ohio University transfer junior Dana Dobbie??s 44. The Maryland defense gave up big goal totals earlier in the season but has steadied itself of late, averaging just over seven goals allowed per game over its last three wins.
Penn State holds a 14-28-1 all-time record against Maryland in a series that dates back to 1973. Last season, the Nittany Lions dropped a 16-7 road decision to the Terrapins. Two years ago, Penn State gained its last victory over Maryland, knocking off the Terps, 13-12, in an ALC/ACC Challenge match-up in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Ohio State is off to its best start since 2003, entering this weekend in the midst of a three-game winning streak. Last weekend, the Buckeyes claimed victories over Virginia Tech, 13-10, and California, 9-8, in overtime. Their lone losses in 2007 have come to ranked teams Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame. Junior Kristen Slahor is a dominating presence on the attack, as she leads the team in points (45), goals (24), and assists (21).
The Nittany Lions head back out on the road next weekend, visiting Evanston, Ill. for an ALC conference showdown with two-time defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Northwestern (7-1, 1-0 ALC) on Sat., April 14. Game time is set for 1 p.m. ET at Lakeside Field.