2011 Women's Lacrosse Schedule Presents Challenges, Opportunities

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Penn State head coach Missy Doherty

Penn State head coach Missy Doherty

Dec. 7, 2010

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - First-year Penn State head coach Missy Doherty and her team will be challenged on a weekly basis by the overall strength of its 2011 schedule but its level of difficulty will also afford the Nittany Lions the opportunity to make serious strides toward establishing the program as one of the nation's elite. The schedule includes nine home games, three contests against 2010 NCAA Championship qualifiers, and annual match-ups against rivals from the ALC, one of the most competitive conferences in collegiate lacrosse.

Penn State will play one exhibition game in preparation for the regular season, hosting Cornell on Sun., Feb. 13 (Time TBA). The Big Red finished 5-10 in 2010, placing in a tie for third place in the Ivy League with a 4-3 conference mark.

Doherty will make her regular season debut as Penn State head coach against her alma mater when the Nittany Lions travel to face defending national champion Maryland on Sun., Feb. 20 (12 p.m.) in the first of three rugged road trips to start the 2011 campaign. Early in the first full month of the season, Penn State will take traditional ACC power Virginia (Sun., March 6, 1 p.m.) followed by a match-up with 2010 BIG EAST Championship qualifier Loyola in Baltimore just two days later on Tues., March 8 (7 p.m.)

Sandwiched in between the Maryland and Virginia away games, the Nittany Lions will welcome Albany (Sat., Feb. 26, 1 p.m.) and Bucknell (Wed., March 2, 4 p.m.) to Happy Valley for their first home games of the 2011 season. Penn State has never faced the Great Danes in program history and has never lost to the Bison in 14 meetings.

Mid-March will feature a four-game home stand, beginning with match-ups against two Colonial Athletic Association foes, Delaware (Sat., March 12, 12 p.m.) and Hofstra (Wed., March 16, 7 p.m.). The Nittany Lions will then open American Lacrosse Conference play on Sun., March 20 versus Vanderbilt in a 12 p.m. contest. Penn State has lost four straight to the Commodores. The home stretch will conclude on Wed., March 23 when intrastate opponent Lafayette visits Happy Valley for a 7 p.m. game.

The Lions return to the road the following week, heading to Williamsburg, Va. to battle William & Mary on Sun., March 27 at 1 p.m. Penn State has taken four straight in the series, including last year's 11-8 upset of the 17th-ranked Tribe at Jeffrey Field.

Senior Jen Steadman is Penn State's returning leading scorer

Conference action will resume in early April for PSU when it hosts Florida (Sat., April 2, 1 p.m.) and travels to Northwestern (Fri., April 8, 7 p.m.). A year ago, the Nittany Lions dropped their inaugural clash with the Gators, falling, 13-11, in Gainesville. Penn State has lost 11-straight to the five-time national champion Wildcats.

Penn State will wrap up its 2011 home slate with games against Lehigh (Tues., April 12, 4 p.m.) and Ohio State (Sun., April 17, 1 p.m.). The Lions are 19-0-0 all-time versus the Mountain Hawks and have won five consecutive meetings with the Buckeyes.

Penn State will conclude its ALC schedule on Sat., April 23 (1 p.m.) when it makes a return trip to Baltimore for a conference game with Johns Hopkins. The 2011 regular season will then draw to a close on Sat., April 30 (1 p.m.) when the Nittany Lions visit Princeton. The trip to the New Jersey campus will be a Homecoming of sorts for the Nittany Lion coaching staff, as Missy Doherty, Tara Hohenshelt, and Amy Altig are former assistants at the Ivy League school.

Vanderbilt will serve as hosts of the 2011 American Lacrosse Conference Championship, which is scheduled for May 5-7 in Nashville, Tenn. First and second rounds of the NCAA Championship will take place on Sun., May 15 and Sat., May 21, respectively, on campus sites while the semifinals (Fri., May 27) and final (Sun., May 29) will be hosted by Stony Brook University on the north shore of Long Island.

In 2011, Penn State will return 20 letterwinners, eight starters, and 76 percent of its offense from a 2010 squad that won 10 games, defeated three ranked opponents, and advanced to the semifinals of the ALC Championship.



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