April 12, 2011

No. 15 Penn State Holds Off Lehigh

from press release

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 15 Penn State women's lacrosse team won a nailbiter on a cold and rainy afternoon at Jeffrey Field, holding off a furious, late-game comeback attempt by visiting Lehigh (8-6) to defeat the Mountain Hawks, 12-11. The victory was the Nittany Lions 20th consecutive in the series with their in-state foes but was the second straight by a margin of just one goal.

Maggie Dunbar (Cockeysville, Md.) starred for Penn State with a phenomenal end-to-end effort. The senior midfielder scored three goals, notched one assist, and totaled six draw controls, five ground balls, and four caused turnovers. Junior Colleen Shea (Baltimore, Md.) was also a major factor in the victory, leading the Nittany Lion defense as it limited Lehigh's Lauren Dykstra, who entered the game with 58 goals on the season, to just two on four shots.

Senior Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.) sparked the Nittany Lion attack, scoring a team-high four goals. Freshman Mackenzie Cyr (Westminster, Md.) added two goals and tallied her team best 16th assist of the season.

Penn State got off to a fast start, embarking on a 4-0 run to start the game. Cyr triggered the Nittany Lion spurt with her seventh goal of the season, which was followed by scores from seniors Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.) and Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.) and freshman Lizzy Carney (West Chester, Pa.).

Lehigh got on the board at the 19:48 mark when Kelly Draper netted the first of her four goals for the game. Penn State responded a minute and a half later, stretching its lead back to four with an unassisted score by Steadman.

The Mountain Hawks then began to mount its first rally of the game, scoring three straight, including one from Megan Kelly and two from Allison Thomas, to pull within one of Penn State. With 7:42 remaining, Dunbar converted on a free position attempt to put the Lions up 6-4; a lead it would hold for the remainder of the half.

The action was fast and furious in the second half with both teams accounting for eight goals in less than eight minutes.

The teams traded goals, with each scoring two, through the first six-plus minutes, keeping Penn State in the lead but Lehigh within striking distance.

The Nittany Lions then began to exert their will, scoring three goals in less than a minute. Steadman bookended the run with two goals, with a score by Dunbar in sandwiched in between.

Lehigh ended the Penn State scoring burst at the 22:06 mark when Dykstra finally managed to crack the Lion defense and score her 59th of the season on a free position conversion. Steadman answered back with her fourth and final goal of the game less than a minute later to provide PSU with a commanding and seemingly safe 12-7 advantage. That's when things got interesting.

The Mountain Hawks reversed the game's momentum and recorded four straight goals, with the final score coming with 6:22 remaining, to inch within one of Penn State.

After Missy Doherty called a timeout, her team won the ensuing draw, which may have proved to be the biggest play of the game. After senior Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.) had a shot go high, Penn State retained possession and began stall tactics that would last four the next four-plus minutes.

During that stretch, Lehigh picked up five consecutive fouls. In the final 38 seconds, there were three turnovers and a yellow card was issued to the Mountain Hawks. A wild, desperation shot by Kindall Healy of Lehigh in the final seconds sailed high of the target, sending Penn State to victory.

The Nittany Lions will finish out their 2011 home schedule on Sunday, April 17 when they welcome ALC rival Ohio State (6-4, 0-1) to Jeffrey Field for a 1 p.m. Senior Day contest. Ashley Boccio (Northport, N.Y.), Mary Dean (Wyncote, Pa.), Maggie Dunbar, Jackie Eastman (Springfield, Pa.), Megan Hollerbach (Annapolis, Md.), Laura Lesnick (Jarrettsville, Md.), Jen Steadman (Sykesville, Md.), and Katy Wick (Winter Springs, Fla.) will take the field for their final regular season game in a Penn State uniform. A special ceremony to honor their careers and contributions will precede the contest.

The conference clash will be televised by the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis with the broadcast scheduled for 4 p.m. later that day. Penn State has won five straight versus the Buckeyes.

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