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Philly grads to lead host @PennStateWLAX today vs. @princetonwlax in NCAA quarterfinals

Sunday, 21st May 2017

Categories College, Girl's/Women's, Posted 5/21/17
From Staff Report and Press Release

The fourth-seeded Penn State women’s lacrosse team (16-3) will host Princeton (15-3) this afternoon (1:00) in the NCAA Division I quarterfinals at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.

“We’re so excited about our win from last weekend and knowing we have Princeton coming up, we know we have a lot things we need to work on to make sure that we play our best game Sunday,” head coach Missy Doherty said. “I think the girls are really driven by that, we’ve recognized the things that we need to make sure we get better and they’ve been really diligent in practice so far in making sure they are working on those things.”

Philly grads leading Penn State include: (from top right, clockwise) Lucy Haubold, Cat Rainone, Katie O’Donnell, Natalie Schmitt

It has been an all-in mentality for the Nittany Lions since the very start of the 2017 season, one that guided by stead leadership, has resulted in calm composure amidst not only challenges, but uncontrollable changes too.

“I don’t think we’ll face anything for the rest of our season that we haven’t faced already, in the regular season, Big Ten’s or games we’ve been in,” Doherty said. “That grind of competing for 60 minutes, there has been a different element this year with the 90-second shot clock so there’s no more stalling, no more really long possessions.”

Penn State features a large group of Philly products in its lineup. Junior attack Katie O’Donnell (Henderson) has 58 goals and 6 assists and was an All-Big Ten selection. Senior goalie Cat Rainone (Marple Newtown) is 15-3 with 166 saves and senior defender Natalie Schmitt (Archbishop Carroll) has started every game and has 28 groundballs and 19 caused turnovers. Sophomore defender Lucy Haubold (Great Valley) has 15 starts and 19 caused turnovers. Junior attack Bridget Chakey (Agnes Irwin) is a reserve.

For Princeton, freshman Laura Pansini (Agnes Irwin) has 8 goals as a key reserve attack.

With the introduction of an entirely new element in the 90-second shot clock, as Doherty puts it, anything can happen and any one team can always be in the mix, something that the Nittany Lions have simply embraced.

From shot clocks to the usual ups and downs and shifts in momentum, perhaps what’s proven to keep the Nittany Lions calm under pressure comes from an unparalleled focus on what’s internal.

Atop Princeton’s potential scoring threats is Olivia Hompe, an IWLCA First Team All-American who was also named the 2017 Ivy League Attacker of the Year. Leading the team with a program single season record-setting 107 points, Hompe has accounted for 72 goals and 35 assists through 18 games, averaging a national-best 4.00 goals per game.

“Every time we play them every year, it’s always just a gritty match,” Doherty said.

Penn State and Princeton have already met in the regular season, with the Nittany Lions earning a 13-8 win on the road.

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