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April 28, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 13 Penn State women's lacrosse team will finish out the 2011 regular season on Saturday when it travels to meet No. 15 Princeton (8-6) in a 1 p.m. clash at Princeton Stadium. The Nittany Lions, which are positioned at No. 9 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings, enter the non-conference contest riding a three-game winning streak and will look to fortify their NCAA postseason resume with a fifth victory over a ranked opponent.
Last weekend in Baltimore, Penn State (9-6) used a strong second half effort to rally from a three-goal deficit and claim a 10-7 victory over No. 18 Johns Hopkins. Senior Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.) tallied all three of her goals in the second half, spearheading the Lions' come-from-behind surge and helping Penn State outscore Johns Hopkins, 8-2, over the final 30 minutes. With four total points, Eastman shared the team lead with freshman Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.), who notched one goal and three assists. Senior Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) scored two goals, becoming the first Nittany Lion to reach the 30-goal plateau since Shari Maslin in 2006.
Junior goalkeeper Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.) recorded 11 saves, including several key stops late in the game, to earn ALC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season. The junior ranks first in the conference and No. 11 nationally in save percentage (.488).
Princeton is coming off an 18-10 win over Ivy League opponent Columbia on Wednesday, its fifth conference victory of the year and fourth in five tries at home. The Tigers' season has been highlighted by wins over league rival No. 8 Penn (11-7), No. 12 Georgetown (12-11), and Johns Hopkins (9-8). Princeton has lived on the edge throughout the year, as five of its 14 games have been decided by one goal, including a 10-9 setback to No. 8 Virginia.
The Princeton offense is fueled by a trio of 30-plus points scorers in Lizzy Drumm (37), Cassie Pyle (36), and Jaci Gassaway (33). Drumm leads the team in goals with 34 while Pyle and Gassaway are tied with Sarah Lloyd for tops in assists (10). Defensively, starting goalkeeper Erin Tochihara owns a 10.10 goals against average and a .468 save percentage.
One of Penn State's most recurring rivalries in the program's storied history, the Nittany Lions have played 31 games versus Princeton since 1982, posting a 12-19 record. Penn State last tangled with the Tigers in 2009, suffering a 9-7 road setback. The trip to Princeton, N.J. will be a homecoming of sorts for the Penn State coaching staff, as Missy Doherty, Tara Hohenshelt, and Amy Altig previously served as assistants with the Tigers at different times. Another tie between the programs can be found on the current Princeton coaching staff, which features former Nittany Lion great Michele DeJuliis.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Princeton clash on the Internet with live stats and instant scoring updates. An Internet audio broadcast is also available. Finally, the game can viewed live online for a fee through the Princeton athletics website. Find links on the front page (click on Schedule/Results) of the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com and on the women's lacrosse schedule page.
The postseason begins for the Nittany Lions next week when they travel to Nashville, Tenn. and the host campus of Vanderbilt University for the 2011 ALC Championship. Third-seeded Penn State will play either Johns Hopkins or Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. ET in a quarterfinal match-up on Thursday, May 5. The first round will begin earlier in the day when the fourth and fifth seeds meet at 4 p.m. ET. Semifinal action is scheduled for Friday, May 6 and will feature top-seeded Florida taking on the 4-5 seed winner (4 p.m. ET) and No. 2 seed Northwestern clashing with the 3-6 seed victor (6:30 ET). The ALC Championship title contest will take place on Saturday, May 7 at 2 p.m. ET. All games will be played at the home of the Commodores, Vanderbilt Lacrosse Stadium.
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