Women’s Lacrosse Hopes For Second Consecutive Big Ten Title
“Being in the Big Ten is the best, it really is,” women’s lacrosse coach Missy Doherty said Monday morning at spring sports media day.
Penn State starts the 2016 season ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll, and No. 6 in the IWLCA preseason rankings. With eight returning starters from the 2015 season, the Nittany Lions are ready to take on their 2016 schedule packed with eight top 20 teams. Senior goalkeeper Emi Smith, senior midfielder Abby Smucker, and freshman attack/midfielder Madison Carter were all recently named Penn State’s Big Ten Players to Watch.
Coming off the heels of a 16-5 season and a Big Ten Championship, the team’s goals involve young player development and more consistency. Saturday’s scrimmage against Towson was encouraging and gave hope that the team will gel together quickly. “We had a bunch of freshman play [on Saturday] and I definitely think they stepped up a lot,” Smith said. Both Smith and senior midfielder Madison Cyr stressed that consistency is key.
Players know they have some big cleats to fill with Tatum Coffey and Maggie McCormick’s graduations. Last season, Coffey led the team with 43 goals. McCormick left Penn State as an all-time assist leader, racking up 43 of her own.
“That freshman boost has been a huge help to us with the players we lost last year,” Doherty said, pointing to freshmen Madison Carter, Kayla Brisolari, and Kelly Daggett as potential weapons. Doherty is hopeful veterans Maggie Gallagher and Jenna Mosketti will take leadership roles this season and help lead those freshmen.
Led by captains Erika Spilker, Ally Heavens, and 2015 Big Ten Tournament MVP Smucker, Penn State hopes to take home the Big Ten Championship for the second year in a row.
The Nittany Lions kick off their season against Lehigh in Bethlehem on Saturday.