No. 15 Women's Lacrosse Travels to Meet Johns Hopkins in Pivotal ALC Match-up
April 23, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 15 Penn State women's lacrosse team (7-7, 1-2 ALC) has played 14 games to date in 2009 but none will be bigger than its 15th and final regular season contest on Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, Md. versus Johns Hopkins (5-10, 0-3 ALC). At stake is all-important seeding for next week's third annual American Lacrosse Conference Championship, to be hosted by the Nittany Lions.
Game time for the eighth-ever meeting between Penn State and Johns Hopkins is set for 1 p.m. at the Blue Jays' Homewood Field.
Should the Nittany Lions reign victorious, they will earn either the second or third seed for the ALC Championship based on the conference tiebreaker rules. If Penn State wins and allows fewer than 14 goals, it will be the No. 2 seed but it if wins and allows 14 or more goals, it will be the No. 3 seed. Johns Hopkins is averaging just over 10 goals per game this season. If the Lions fall to the Blue Jays, they will be the championship's fifth seed and be relegated to playing in the opening round game for the third consecutive year.
Saturday's game will not only be special because of its pivotal nature but for the higher purpose to which it hopes to draw attention. The Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse program is playing in support of the Power in Pink initiative, an effort that honors, inspires, and supports women fighting breast cancer. The Blue Jays will sport pink jerseys, socks, and wristbands and donations will be collected throughout the game. All proceeds will go to Komen Maryland, the local affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Penn State comes into Saturday's game with momentum gained from its 13-9 victory over Ohio State last weekend; the Nittany Lions' first win over an ALC opponent in nearly three years and its first victory against a ranked opponent in 2009.
Freshman Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) sparked the offense, netting a career high three goals, including a critical score late in the game that halted an OSU rally. In recognition of her standout performance, she was named ALC Rookie of the Week. Senior Marisa Lozano (Pittsburgh, Pa.) (3 assists) and junior Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio) (2 goals, 1 assists) were also key to the PSU attack. Junior goalkeeper Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) registered nine saves against 22 shots and posted a team-high four ground balls and two caused turnovers en route to her second ALC Defensive Player of the Week honor of the season.
Johns Hopkins is experiencing the typical growing pains that accompany a young team in 2009. Of the 19 Blue Jays that have started at least one game this season, nine are either freshmen or sophomores, while just two are seniors. In addition, freshmen or sophomores have scored 105 (68.2%) of JHU's 154 goals this season. Freshmen Candace Rossi (26) and Colleen McCaffrey (24) are Hopkins' two top goals scorers, combining for nearly 1/3 of the teams' goals. Junior Brett Bathras leads the Blue Jays with 13 assists and shares the top spot in points with 29. Goalkeepers Julianne Wisner and Lizzie O'Ferrall have split time in net, starting eight and seven games, respectively. Each possesses a goals against average over 12 while Wisner has the better save percentage (.442).
Penn State owns a 5-2 record in all-time meetings with Johns Hopkins but has dropped the last two in the series, including a 10-8 decision last year at Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions' last visit to the Blue Jays' Homewood Field in 2007 resulted in a 17-10 loss.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Johns Hopkins game on the Internet with live scoring updates. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The postseason will begin for Penn State next week when it serves as hosts of the 2009 ALC Championship. Play will begin on Thurs., April 30 when the No. 4 and No. 5 seed square off in a 3 p.m. game. On Fri., May 1, top-seeded Northwestern will face the winner of Thursday's opening round contest at 3 p.m. to be followed by a match-up between the championship's No. 2 and No. 3 seeds. The title game is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sat., May 2.
All games are tentatively scheduled to be played at Jeffrey Field. Tickets will be sold on game day at the gate only. Ticket prices are $7 for Adults, Student/youth $4. Groups of 20 or more (any age) are $3.