May 1, 2009

Penn State Women Advance to ALC Final

from press release

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the strength of an offensive outpouring from senior Marisa Lozano (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and a stellar effort in goal from junior Stephanie Ellis (Bryn Mawr, Pa.), the Penn State women's lacrosse team (9-7) ousted Ohio State (11-6) from the 2009 ALC Championship with a decisive 11-7 semifinal victory at Jeffrey Field on Friday evening.

With the win, the Nittany Lions punch their ticket to the ALC title game for the first time in the three-year history of the championship. Penn State will vie for the conference crown with four-time defending national champion, No. 1-ranked, and undefeated Northwestern (18-0) on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Wildcats defeated Vanderbilt, 15-10, earlier in the day to advance to their third-straight ALC finals.

Lozano tallied a single-game career-high seven points, on three goals and four assists, to spark the Penn State attack. She set the pace early, playing a role in the Nittany Lions' first six goals of the game. Ellis, recently named to the All-ALC Second Team, made key save after key save, totaling 10 for the game, to anchor an outstanding Penn State defensive performance. She also tied for the team lead with four ground balls.

Penn State squashed any designs Ohio State had on avenging its 13-9 regular season loss and gaining payback for its ALC Championship defeats of the past two years by utterly dominating play in the first half. The Nittany Lions fashioned a remarkable 7-0 lead and held the Buckeyes scoreless for the game's first 24-plus minutes. Lozano netted two of the seven goals and assisted on two scores by sophomore Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) and one by junior Erica Mihm (Annapolis, Md.) and freshman Theresa Zichelli (Severna Park, Md.). Senior Mariel Bryan (Folsom, Pa.) capped off the scoring run with her second goal of the season at the 6:48 mark.

After Ohio State cut into the PSU advantage with back-to-back goals, Lesnick ended the period on a high note, putting in her third score of the game with just one second remaining. At the break, the Lions held a commanding 8-2 lead.

Penn State put the game away early in the second half, scoring three unanswered goals to build an insurmountable 11-2 advantage with 17:57 on the clock. Lozano, junior Theresa Bucci (Hudson, Ohio), and Mihm accounted for the goals.

The Lions slowed the game down from that point on, holding the ball for long stretches in its offensive zone when they controlled possession. The Buckeyes did manage to score the game's final five goals, including a final score with one second left on the clock, but the outcome have long been decided in Penn State's favor.

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