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April 7, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 17 Penn State women's lacrosse team (5-6) will close out its non-conference schedule for the 2009 season and look to continue its dominance of the Patriot League when it hosts Lehigh (8-4) on Wednesday afternoon at Jeffrey Field. Game time is set for 3 p.m.
The Nittany Lions have run roughshod over the Patriot League in 2009, defeating Lafayette, Bucknell, and conference preseason favorite Colgate in consecutive by a combined score of 54-18. Penn State has historically also had success against Lehigh, posting an unblemished 17-0 record in the all-time series. The Lions have not faced the Mountain Hawks since 2001, a 17-2 victory in University Park.
Last weekend, Penn State suffered setbacks to No. 2 Maryland (20-12) and No. 4 North Carolina (11-7) at the ALC/ACC Challenge, hosted by Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Versus the Terrapins, Kerry Shea (Baltimore, Md.) and Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.) fronted the Nittany Lion attack, notching three goals and one assist each. Against the Tar Heels, Penn State remained within striking distance throughout the game but could never overtake UNC. Shea, Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio) and Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) each netted two goals. Junior Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) went the distance in goal for Penn State, recording 13 saves against 28 Carolina shots.
In its last outing, Lehigh had a six-game win streak snapped when it fell to Patriot League foe Holy Cross, 11-10, in overtime on April 4 in Worcester, Mass. Like Penn State, the Mountain Hawks have experienced some heartbreak in 2009, as all four of the losses have come by three goals or less. However, unlike Penn State, none of Lehigh's opponents this season have been nationally ranked.
Defeating Lehigh likely depends on one action, stopping Lauren Dykstra. The sophomore midfielder leads the Mountain Hawks in nearly every statistical category including points (52), goals (46), shots (91), shots on goal (74), ground balls (59), draw controls (32), and caused turnovers (17). Freshman Kelly Draper (31 goals) and junior Inneke Carmola (21 goals, 18 assists) are also key to the Lehigh attack. Junior goalkeeper Kelsy Farris (9.10 GAA) and senior Sarah Fudin (12 starts, 16 caused turnovers, 24 ground balls) anchor the defense.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Lehigh match-up on the Internet with live scoring updates or with a live video webcast from Jeffrey Field. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions return to the road this weekend when they travel to Evanston, Ill. to take on four-time defending national champion, undefeated, and No. 1-ranked Northwestern (12-0) on Sun., April 12 (1 p.m. ET) at Lakeside Field. A year ago, Penn State nearly took down the powerhouse Wildcats, coming up heartbreakingly short by a score of 13-12 in a game played in University Park at Bigler Field. Jen Steadman netted three goals while Erica Mihm tallied two goals and two assists to lead the Lions.