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Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Leaning On Experience In Season Opener

On Tuesday, Penn State women’s lacrosse easily handled Bucknell 22-8 in its season opener in Holuba Hall, and the Nittany Lions were firing on all cylinders from the second the first draw started.

The quick, successful start isn’t unusual for a Missy Doherty-coached group, and the team showcased that by scoring the program’s most goals in a single game since 2018. Doherty believes the team’s wealth of experience likely played a part in the prosperity out of the gates.

“I think we have an old, experienced team with a lot of returners coming back and a lot of leadership,” Doherty said. “I think it’s gonna be a really fun season to play. The players have been great both on and off the field, so we’re just excited for each game.” 

The experienced mentality on the team provides more than just talent but increased trust and confidence within the roster. Senior midfielder Kristin O’Neill thanked these aspects of the team following her seven-point outing on Tuesday which pushed her beyond the 150-career point milestone.  

“It’s just a reflection of the team I have around me and I’ve had around me the past couple of years, and it just makes me really excited for what we can accomplish this year,” O’Neill said.  

O’Neill and Doherty also demonstrated trust in the unfamiliar faces to start the season. Twelve different players added to the score sheet against Bucknell, giving the entire offensive unit confidence in one other.  

“[I trust] those people around me [and know] any of the seven people out there can score at any given time, and I think that gives all of us confidence to go so hard at everything we do,” O’Neill said.  

Two of the new faces that stood out were freshmen Kelly MacKinney and Sydney Manning. MacKinney and Manning started the match, and MacKinney scored the first goal of the season for the Nittany Lions off a perfectly placed free-position shot. Manning also showed her skills by making three saves before being taken out at halftime.  

With a strong group of returning players and promising newcomers adding depth to an already talented squad, Penn State has a lot to be excited about heading into the challenges of the 2024 season.  

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About the Author

Collin Ward

Collin is a first-year majoring in digital/print journalism. Born in Hartford, he now lives in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. As a die-hard Chelsea FC fan you can normally find him yelling at his TV screen each weekend. To reach him, follow him on Instagram: @cward829, or email him at [email protected].

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