March 17, 2009

Penn, Penn State Battle for Bragging Rights

from press release

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 15 Penn State women's lacrosse team (4-2) will put its unblemished home record on the line and look to claim state bragging rights when it hosts No. 5 Penn (5-0) on Wed., March 18 at 7 p.m. The game, which will mark the Nittany Lions' third straight versus a top 10-ranked opponent, will take place outdoors at Bigler Field for the first time this season.

Head coach Suzanne Isidor will be seeking her 125th career victory when her Nittany Lions face the undefeated Quakers. She fashioned a 55-15 record in four years at Drew University before compiling 69 wins in nine years at Penn State.

In their last outing, the Nittany Lions once again proved that they could compete with one of the top teams in the nation, but came up short, falling 9-7, at No. 7 Princeton. Penn State took a 7-6 lead with a goal by freshman Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.) with 10:55 left to play, but were unable to hold off the Quaker offense as they scored three more goals to take the game. Senior Marisa Lozano (Pittsburgh, Pa.) led the Penn State attack with three goals. Junior goalkeeper Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) registered her second straight double digit save total, stopping 11 of Princeton's 30 shots.

Penn State's offense continues to feature balance with five players amassing double digits in points. Lozano tops the team in goals (11) and points (5) while senior Megan McGuire (Eldersburg, Md.) leads with eight assists. In total, 17 Nittany Lions have netted goals while 19 have tallied at least one point. Juniors Margo Josephs (Reisterstown, Md.) and Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) have been the defense's driving forces. Josephs is among the nation's leaders in caused turnovers with 17 while Ellis owns a 7.67 goals against average in her first season as a starter.

Penn will travel for the first time this season after shutting down conference rival Yale, 10-2, in its Ivy League opener last weekend. The Quakers dominated possession throughout, thanks to winning all 14 of the game's draw controls. Junior Courtney Lubbe, the team's leader in all three major offensive categories, assisted on four goals and scored one of her own. Junior Ali DeLuca completed a hat trick for the second time this season. In addition to Lubbe and DeLuca, five other Quakers registered goals.

Penn's hallmark through the early portion of the season has been its impenetrable defense. The Quakers have allowed just 17 goals in five games and has held three opponents to just two goals. Starting goalkeeper Emily Szelest has started every game, compiling a scant 3.56 goals against average. Penn has also controlled possession, winning 58 of 80 total draw controls.

Penn State is 9-5 all-time versus Penn but has dropped three straight in the series, including last season's 14-7 setback in Philadelphia. The Nittany Lions' last win over the Quakers came in 2005, a 16-9 triumph in University Park.

Early next week, the Nittany Lions will kick off American Lacrosse Conference play when they welcome No. 10 Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-1 ALC) to Happy Valley on Sun., March 22 for a noon game at Bigler Field. Penn State has won six of 11 all-time meetings but has lost the last two match-ups by a total of five goals.

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