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May 1, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 8 Penn State women's lacrosse team will begin its quest for its first American Lacrosse Conference tournament title when it faces sixth-seeded Vanderbilt Thursday, May 2 in the ALC quarterfinal round. Opening draw at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field is set at 6:30 p.m.
The Nittany Lions (11-5, 4-1 ALC), who clinched a share of their first ALC regular-season championship, will enter the league playoffs as the No. 3 seed. The winner of the Penn State-Vanderbilt matchup will face second-seeded Northwestern in the semifinals Friday, May 3, while top-seeded Florida will face the winner of the Johns Hopkins-Ohio State matchup in the other semifinal. The two semifinal winners will battle for league supremacy Sunday, May 5.
Ticket and streaming information for the ALC championships can be found at the tournament central page on HopkinsSports.com. All games during the tournament will be live streamed.
Penn State, which earned the league's No. 3 seed for the third straight year, is 5-6 all-time in the ALC championships. The Nittany Lions, who defeated the Commodores by a 20-14 margin during the 2013 regular season, will face Vanderbilt (2-14, 0-5 ALC) for the first time in the league playoffs.
Led by Tewaaraton Award nominee Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.), the Nittany Lions will enter the tournament boasting the nation's 13th-ranked offense (13.50 goals per game). Penn State also ranks 12th in the country in caused turnovers per game (9.56), 15th in draw controls per game (13.69) and 17th in points (307). In the conference, the Nittany Lions led the league in caused turnovers and ranked second in scoring during the regular season.
An Eldersburg, Md., native, McCormick ranks 14th in the NCAA in points per game (4.5) and 17th in points (72). The sophomore has registered career highs in goals (40), assists (32) and points and is one of two Nittany Lions, along with junior attacker Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md./26g, 24a), with at least 10 goals and 10 assists.
Although the pair of McCormick and Cyr has led the Lions in 2013, Penn State boasts a balanced attack with several key contributors. The team's underclassmen have combined for 165 goals, good for 76 percent of the Nittany Lions' scoring. Overall, Penn State boasts nine players with at least 10 points, with three student-athletes reaching the 40-point plateau.
Sophomore midfielder Kelly Lechner (Silver Spring, Md.), who has collected a team-high 43 draw controls, is one of five Nittany Lions, including senior Katie Guy (Whitby, Ont.), sophomore Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.) and freshmen Madison Cyr (Westminster, Md.) and Jenna Mosketti (Fallston, Md.), with at least 10 ground balls, caused turnovers and draw controls. One of the Nittany Lions' defensive anchors, Guy paces the team with a career-high 38 ground balls and 30 caused turnovers.
The Commodores, who have dropped their last three games, are led by Carly Linthicum's 49 goals and 63 points. Paige Cahill has collected a team-high 34 ground balls, while Alexa Kunowsky paces the squad with 28 draw controls. Alyssa Dunlap and Brandi Byner have recorded a team-best 21 caused turnovers each.
Johns Hopkins last hosted the ALC championships in 2007, when the Nittany Lions fell to eventual champion Northwestern in the semifinal round. The Nittany Lions, who are looking for back-to-back 12-win seasons, are 5-1 in their first game of the league playoffs.