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May 6, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's lacrosse team earned an at-large bid the 2012 NCAA Championship and will face No. 8 seed Towson at Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Md. on Saturday in a 3 p.m. first round match-up. The NCAA postseason berth in the Nittany Lions' first since the 2005 season and their 18th in program history.
"We are extremely excited to be in the NCAAs," said second-year Penn State head coach Missy Doherty. "It's nice to have this reward for our girls. They have worked so hard and got some exciting wins to help this program turn the corner. It's a great example of how this program is moving along."
Penn State's opponent is a familiar one for Doherty, as she came to Happy Valley after serving as the head coach at Towson for seven years, where she led the Tigers to a 79-46 record and its first-ever NCAA Championship at-large berth in 2010.
Penn State (11-6) finished third in the American Lacrosse Conference with a 3-2 mark in 2012. The Nittany Lions claimed three victories over top 10 opponents and ended the regular season with a 7-1 road record. Offensively, Penn State features three 30-goal scorers in sophomore Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) (33), freshman Tatum Coffey (Toms River, N.J.) (33), and junior Molly Fernandez (Baltimore, Md.) (31). Freshman Maggie McCormick (Eldersburg, Md.) tops the Lions with 27 assists and is tied with Cyr for the team lead in points with 55. The Penn State defense is headlined by First Team All-ALC selection sophomore Lizzy Carney (West Chester, Pa.) and two-time ALC Goalkeeper of the Year Dana Cahill (Towson, Md.).
Towson earned its NCAA berth by defeating Northeast Conference winner Monmouth, 15-5, on Saturday in a play-in game. The Tigers ended the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record in Colonial Athletic Association play and then defeated James Madison, 10-9, in overtime in the conference tournament title game. Sophomore attacker Andi Raymond leads Towson with 66 points (33 goals, 33 assists). Senior goalkeeper Mary Teeters, who owns a 8.13 goals against average, joins Penn State's Dana Cahill as the only goalkeepers to be nominated for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award.
Penn State and Towson shared six opponents during the 2012 season - Loyola, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Delaware, William & Mary, and Hofstra. Penn State posted a 4-3 record versus those foes, having played Johns Hopkins twice, while Towson earned a 4-2 mark. Both teams were involved in numerous close games in 2012, as Penn State played three overtime contests while Towson was a part of seven games decided by one goal.
Penn State is 6-0 all-time versus Towson but has never faced the Tigers in the NCAA postseason.
Should Penn State advance, it will face the winner of the Florida-Albany game on Saturday, May 19.