After beating Penn 13-12 on Saturday, a young Penn State team will get its first taste of NCAA regular season play.
Penn State will face Bucknell (3-13 last season) at Holuba Hall at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Of the 26 players on the Nittany Lions’ roster, seven of them are freshmen who will be playing in their first NCAA games.
Included in those seven is goalkeeper Emi Smith, who will be the team’s starting goalie after Dana Cahill graduated last year. Smith played most of the game against Penn and earned the win.
“She came up with some really good saves,” head coach Missy Doherty said on Smith’s game against Penn. “It was good to see her come out with a lot of confidence and she just continues to get better and better.”
Despite the young roster, the veterans stepped up for the Nittany Lions in their exhibition game.
Captain Molly Fernandez scored a game-high four goals, while Mackenzie Cyr and Maggie McCormick added two apiece.
The Lions will look from contribution from the veterans and freshman throughout their season.
“We have a lot of newcomers that are really stepping up,” Fernandez said at media day last Tuesday. “We also have a lot of returning sophomores that are starters that are playing really hard at practice.”
The game will be Bucknell’s second of the season after losing to No.18 Stony Brook, 20-5, on Saturday. Despite the lopsided score, Penn State is not overlooking the close rival.
“It’s always good to open up against [Bucknell], they always come in and fight hard, but hopefully we can get a good win,” Doherty said.
After Penn State’s game on Saturday, Doherty saw some things that she wanted the team to work on in practice.
“We’ll be working on harder challenges, getting to the goal easier,” Doherty said. “We have good feeders, but we want to work on our one-on-ones also.”
Doherty also said the team would be working on increasing the offensive transition to create more goals and focusing on team defense to stop opposing team’s challengers.
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