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May 25, 2016
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GAME DAY CENTRAL
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Penn State | North Carolina
Penn State | Penn
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INSIDE THE NUMBERS
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The 11th-ranked Nittany Lion women's lacrosse team looks to be the first Penn State team to reach the NCAA Championship Game since 1989 when it plays No. 3 North Carolina on Friday at Chester's Talen Energy Stadium. Opening draw is set for 5 p.m. for the national semifinal, which will be streamed live on ESPN3.com.
NITTANY LIONS RETURN TO THE NCAA SEMIFINALS FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1999
For the first time since 1999, the Penn State Nittany Lions are back in the NCAA Semifinals. The Lions are making their 10th trip to semifinal weekend.
Penn State is just the third unseeded team to reach the semifinals since the 8-team seeds began in 2005. The Nittany Lions join Duke (2008) and Syracuse (2010) to pull the feat and are the first team to win three games to reach the semifinals.
Penn State is in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight year and 22nd time in the tournament's 34-year history.
Penn State's 21 games won and 40 games played rank seventh in the tournament's history.
Penn State's 22 appearances ranks fourth all-time behind only Maryland (31), Virginia (29) and Princeton (24). PSU is one of just six programs to have won multiple national titles.
The Nittany Lions joined a short list of six programs that have won three overtime games in the NCAA Tournament after their OT win at Florida.
CRASHING THE PARTY
Eight teams embark on a championship weekend at Talen Energy Stadium between the Division I and III Championships and seven of them are repeat visitors. Penn State is the lone new name.
The last time a Pennsylvania school played on championship weekend in its home state was in 2007 when Penn hosted No. 1 Northwestern in a semifinal.
NITTANY LIONS STYMIE PENN
Penn State's best defensive performance was rightly timed as the Nittany Lions downed in-state rival, Penn, 8-4, on Saturday at Penn State Lacrosse Field.
Penn State (14-6) used a 6-0 first-half run over a nearly eight-minute span, while holding Penn (15-5) scoreless for 27:32 to punch its ticket to the semis.
The game was played in a steady rain and certainly affected the quality of passing, eventually leading to 34 total turnovers. Penn, which came into the game ranked third nationally in turnovers per game (10.5), committed a season-high 18 turnovers, 11 alone in the first half.
The Nittany Lions were led defensively by Emi Smith who stopped eight shots and allowed only four goals. Smith was vital down the stretch, stopping five Penn opportunities. The Nittany Lion defense shut down Penn's top three scorers including the NCAA leader in assists, Nina Corcoran, who didn't record a point for the first time all season.
Abby Smucker had a game-high three caused turnovers as Penn's top three scorers--Corcoran, Iris Williams and Alex Condon--combined for 12 of the team's 18 turnovers. The four goals allowed were a season-best for the Nittany Lions.
Offensively, senior Madison Cyr posted a four-point day on two goals and two assists. Freshman Madison Carter pitched in with a pair of goals and the scoring was filled out with tallies by Kelly Daggett, Steph Lazo, Jenna Mosketti and Maggie Gallagher.
ABOUT THE TAR HEELS
The No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels (18-2) await the Nittany Lions in the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season.
UNC has won 15 straight with the last loss coming Feb. 27 to No. 1 Maryland. North Carolina's only other loss was to Florida on Feb. 20.
UNC has not played a non-ACC foe since March 20, a 9-8 OT win at Northwestern. Last week, the Tar Heels beat Notre Dame, 10-6.
North Carolina is 2-0 in neutral site games and 10-0 in all games away from home.
The Tar Heels average 13.70 goals per game, which ranks 3rd nationally. UNC concedes just 8.20 goals per game, which is 25th in the country. UNC's scoring margin of 5.50 is 9th nationally.
The Tar Heels take good care of the call, committing the eighth-fewest turnovers per game in the country (11.40).
UNC's high-powered and balanced offense features five 50+ point scorers, led by Molly Hendrick (55g, 12a). Marie McCool (44g, 12a), Sammy Jo Tracy (38g, 20a, 100 draw controls), Aly Messinger (31g, 28a) and Ela Hazar (24g, 26a) lead the charge.
UNC splits its goalkeeping duties between Caylee Waters (11-1, 7.72 GAA, .476 sv. pct.) and Megan Ward (7-1, 8.54 GAA, .493 sv. pct.). Waters has 14 starts and Ward has made six. Last time out, Ward played all 60 minutes and made eight saves against six goals allowed.
SERIES HISTORY vs. NORTH CAROLINA
All-Time Series: North Carolina leads 8-2
PSU Streak: 3 losses
First Meeting: 4/21/99, PSU 7-6
Last Meeting: 5/16/15, UNC 11-8
Last PSU Win: 4/6/07, 8-7 (2OT)
Last UNC Win: 5/16/15, 11-8
Largest PSU Win: 7-6 (`99), 8-7 (`07)
Largest UNC Win: 13-4 (3/28/04)
CYR GETTING IT DONE ON BOTH SIDES
Penn State senior midfielder Madison Cyr leads the team in goals (57), points (80), shots (128), ground balls (33) and caused turnovers (38).
Entering the week, Cyr ranks second in the Big Ten in goals and ranks 12th nationally. Cyr's 1.90 caused turnovers per game are second in the conference only to two-time Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings of Maryland. Cyr is 20th nationally.
Cyr has scored in every game this season and is currently on a 29-game scoring streak dating back to last year. This season, Cyr has tallied at least two points in every game and has 12 hat tricks.
Cyr's two goals brings her career total to 154, which ties her for fourth all-time at Penn State. Her next goal will give her sole position of fourth place.
Cyr's four points brought her career total to 199 to move into a tie for 12th all-time at PSU. Cyr has a career-high 80 points this season.
LAZO PASSING THE ROCK
Junior attack Steph Lazo is leading the Big Ten in assists (37), which ranks ninth nationally. Lazo had nine assists all of last season.
Lazo ranks 16th nationally in assists per game (1.85) and 40th in points per game (3.50).
All of Lazo's assists have come since the beginning of March after not providing a helper in the first three games of the season.
Lazo has six games with three or more assists. Four of those games have come in the last six outings.
SMITH STANDS TALL
Senior goalkeeper Emi Smith has been sterling this postseason with 24 saves in three NCAA games.
In the NCAA Tournament, Smith is 4th in goals-against average (7.53), 4th in save percentage (.511) and 3rd in saves per game (8.00) among those goalies playing at least two games.
Smith has 481 career saves, which ranks her fifth among active leaders and tops among all goalies in the NCAA Semifinals.
SCORE A GOAL, CONTROL THE BALL
Penn State has ranked among the top 15 teams all season in goals per game and draw controls. PSU averages 12.85 goals per game, which is 12th in the nation, while pulling down 13.25 draws a game, which ranks 12th nationally.
PSU is also 11th in the country in caused turnovers per game (10.35). The Lions lead the Big Ten.
CYR, LAZO PICK UP ALL-AMERICA HONORS
Penn State has multiple IWLCA All-Americans for a fifth straight year as Madison Cyr and Steph Lazo earned spots on the second and third teams, respectively, on May 18.
Cyr and Lazo represent Penn State's 94th and 95th All-Americans. Under head coach Missy Doherty, Penn State has seen 13 Nittany Lions earn All-America status since 2012.
FIVE LIONS NAMED IWLCA ALL-REGION
The 2016 IWLCA All-Region selections were announced on May 13 and Penn State earned five honorees.
The Nittany Lions have at least five IWLCA All-Region honorees for a fifth time since the all-region teams began, which was in 2005. Mosketti became just the second Nittany Lion to earn four All-Region honors, joining Jessi Lieb (2005-08) as the other.
CARTER NABS B1G FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Attacker Madison Carter was recognized as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year on May 9 by the conference coaches. Carter is the first Nittany Lion to earn a league freshman of the year honor.
Carter, who is having one of the best freshman seasons in school history, was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week a season-high five times. The rookie out of Maryland has 45 goals, which is seventh in the conference.
Carter's 2.37 goals per game is fourth overall in the nation among rookies and first among all freshmen playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Carter's outstanding season has seen her score in 18 of Penn State's 19 games this season, registering at least three goals on eight occasions. Carter has scored four goals on five occasions and notched a career-high six goals at James Madison (March 9), which earned her national and Big Ten player and freshman of the week honors.
Carter has a total of 49 points this season and 61 draw controls, which is second best on the Nittany Lion squad. A career-high nine draw controls vs. Northwestern on April 23 helped lead the Nittany Lions to a crucial 17-13 victory. Carter averaged 3.21 draws per game, which ranks fifth overall in the Big Ten.
SIX LIONS GARNER ALL-BIG TEN HONORS
The 2016 All-Big Ten selections were announced on May 4 and Penn State garnered six spots.
Cyr and Smucker were joined by Madison Carter, Jenna Mosketti, Steph Lazo and Katie O'Donnell. Penn State and Maryland each had six players honored. The six all-conference honors match that of the 2003 team when Penn State had six All-ALC selections.
CYR NAMED A TEWAARATON NOMINEE
Penn State senior standout Madison Cyr was named a nominee for the Tewaaraton Award as one of the top 25 players in college lacrosse on April 29.
Cyr is a first-time nominee and represents the fifth Nittany Lion woman to be among the top 25 nominees. Cyr represents the fourth occasion an athlete under head coach Missy Doherty's tutelage as a nominee joining Dana Cahill (2012) and Maggie McCormick (2013, 2015).
PENN STATE PICKED SECOND IN THE B1G
Penn State was voted second in the Big Ten preseason coaches' poll on Feb. 1 behind defending national champion Maryland.
The Nittany Lions finished second in 2015 with a 4-1 mark with the lone blemish coming at Maryland in the regular-season finale. Penn State went on to win the inaugural Big Ten Tournament.
POSSIBLE NEXT TIME OUT
The winner of Friday's semifinals will meet on Sunday at Noon in Chester.