PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Final Four Preview: Women’s Lacrosse Hunting Third National Championship

Missy Doherty’s 11th-ranked Nittany Lions are hungry for hardware, and their journey to the 2016 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse National Championship continues on Friday at 5 p.m. in Chester, Pa., with a highly-anticipated Final Four tilt against the ACC champs — No. 3 North Carolina.

The Nittany Lions last reached the Final Four in 1999, but haven’t brought home a national title since winning two in a three-year span (1987 and 1989) nearly three decades ago.

How They Got Here

Penn State will take the field at Talen Energy Stadium, home of the Philadelphia Union (MLS), hoping to avenge its heartbreaking loss to the Tar Heels in last year’s Elite Eight. Friday’s rematch should feature plenty of offense. Both squads find the back of the net with regularity.

After receiving a first-round bye as one of the top six seeds in the field, North Carolina (18-2, 7-0 ACC) dismantled bitter rival Duke 15-10 to reach the Elite Eight, where it blew by No. 6 seed Notre Dame 10-6. Penn State (14-6, 3-2 Big Ten) picked up an at-large bid despite losing 9-6 to Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals. The Nittany Lions have done more than prove the doubters wrong, however, as their run to the Final Four featured a 16-6 shellacking of Winthrop before a magnificent 14-13 upset over regional host and No. 2 seed Florida in Gainesville.

Penn State returned home to University Park for the Elite Eight and doubled up in-state foe and No. 7 seed Penn 8-4 in a defensive battle. The Nittany Lions orchestrated an incredible 6-0 run in the first half to punch their ticket to Chester.

Cyr And Lazo Lead The Charge

The Nittany Lions are piloted by a pair of Maryland natives, as senior midfielder Madison Cyr and junior attacker Steph Lazo have been outstanding in the offensive third this season, earning second- and third-team IWCLA All-American status, respectively.

Cyr was also named one of 25 semifinalists for the prestigious Tewaaraton Award given annually to the nation’s top male and female collegiate lacrosse player, but wasn’t among the five finalists announced on May 15. Both have started all 20 games for Penn State and pace the Nittany Lions with 80 and 70 points apiece. Cyr holds a team-high 57 goals (23 assists), while Lazo owns the top mark for assists with 37 (33 goals). Big Ten Freshman of the Year Madison Carter, Katie O’Donnell, and Jenna Mosketti have all tallied solid numbers as well, with a combined 122 goals 14 assists. All of the above were named to the All-Big Ten Team, including defender Abby Smucker.

Smith Getting It Done Between The Pipes

Senior goalkeeper Emi Smith started each contest for the Nittany Lions in 2016, logging over 1,100 minutes in net. The Denver, Colo., native has faced 443 shots thus far thus far, making 143 saves and surrendering 181 goals. Penn State will rely on Smith’s calming, veteran presence to shut down the Tar Heels’ top-notch attack.

Scouting The Tar Heels

North Carolina captured its first and only national title in 2013. 2016 ACC Coach of the Year Jenny Levy persuaded Lancaster, Pa., standout Molly Hendrick to head south to Chapel Hill and the move has paid big-time dividends for both parties. Hendrick, a junior who played her prep lacrosse at Manheim Township, leads the Tar Heels with 55 goals on just 99 shots, while adding 12 assists.

Sophomore midfielder Marie McCool is already one of the top two-way players in all of Division I, and she further proved herself among the nation’s elite with 44 goals and 12 assists in her second year on campus. North Carolina goes with a by-committee approach in goal. Junior Caylee Waters has started in 14 of her 16 appearances, while senior Megan Ward has played in 14 contests with six starts. Waters posted 81 saves to 89 goals against and Ward recorded 73 saves to 75 goals against on their way to the Final Four.

Where/When/How To Watch?

If you aren’t making the trip to Talen Energy Stadium outside Philly, be sure to tune in to WatchESPN.com (select T.V. service provider required) at 5 p.m. ET for live coverage of Friday’s showdown between Penn State and North Carolina. We’re headed to Philly, so be sure to follow along with our coverage.

The winner will face either top-seeded Maryland (the 2015 National Champs) or No. 4 seed Syracuse, who will meet directly following the first matchup at 7:30 p.m. The Terrapins already have 12 national titles under their belts — the most of any program since the first official playing 1982 — and hope to complete another three-peat after winning in 2014-15.

Incredibly, Maryland boasts a pair of seniors — Taylor Cummings and Allie Mercer — who are among the five finalists for the 2016 Tewaaraton Award (the Heisman of women’s college lacrosse). Cummings, perhaps the sport’s most decorated athlete of all time, is in search of an unprecedented third-straight award on June 2. Syracuse senior attacker Kayla Treanor was also nominated.

***

Best of luck to all 30 Nittany Lions and the entire coaching staff as they prepare to put on a show and always make the Penn State community proud.

About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

Comments

More by Ethan

Four Veterans Who Could Fill Important Roles For Penn State

Mark Allen, Brandon Polk, Jarvis Miller, and Ayron Monroe have the chance to create more opportunities for themselves this season.

Seven More Penn State Freshmen Arrive On Campus

Evan Barratt Invited To World Junior Summer Showcase

Athletics

Tony Carr Experienced ‘Greatest Feeling Of His Life’ At NBA Draft

“Just to be able to hear my name called at the NBA Draft, it’s just a dream come true.” Penn State men’s basketball guard has reached the pinnacle of the sport — entering the NBA pro ranks after getting drafted Thursday night in Brooklyn by the New Orleans Pelicans. Carr, who had to wait around […]

Pelicans GM Excited To Bring In ‘Crafty’ Tony Carr

[VIDEO] New Orleans Pelicans Select Tony Carr In 2018 NBA Draft

Tony Carr First Nittany Lion Selected In NBA Draft Since 1999

Bundling Student Tickets And Offering Options: What Penn State Can Learn

Student Life

Student Farm To Commemorate Summer Solstice With Second Annual Celebration

Penn State’s Student Farm will celebrate the longest day of the year with tours and live music Thursday evening.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting At Beaver Stadium

Virtual Reality: Changing The Game At Penn State

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Pittsburgh-Based Burger Joint BRGR Opening State College Location

BRGR was able to strike a deal for the building in the past six months or so, as the new goal is to open Happy Valley location — the restaurant’s first outside of Pittsburgh — in early January 2019.

Bream Won’t Be Charged With Perjury

Tim Bream, the former live-in adviser for Beta Theta Pi fraternity, will not face a perjury charge for his testimony at a preliminary hearing in the case.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Don’t Like Penn State Student Ticket Policies? Change Them.

That potential lies as much in the hands of active, informed, and opinionated students as it does in those of the profit-driven athletic departments.

Send this to a friend