Four games into this season, the women’s lacrosse team is already going to face off against its second top 10 opponent.
The Penn State women will travel to Virginia this weekend to play the No. 6-ranked Cavaliers on Sunday.
The Lions are familiar with Virginia, having played the Cavaliers four times over the past five seasons.
In that time span the Cavaliers hold a 3-1 advantage, but the Lions got the last laugh with a 14-7 win in their most recent meeting.
“It’s always a good match when we play them,” Penn State coach Missy Doherty said. “We have to tighten up. We have to be better with our turnovers and a little bit tighter when it comes to team defense.”
This will be the second weekend in a row that the Lions will face the No. 6-ranked team in the country. Last weekend they played then No. 6-ranked Loyola and lost a heartbreaking 13-11 contest.
Doherty said she feels that experience will allow the team to be better prepared when they take on the Cavaliers.
“It was obviously our first big opponent of the year and we learned a lot from that,” the coach said. “We wish we had it back and we’d do some things differently, but we definitely grew from that. We’ll just kind of continue to learn.”
The Lions’ offense has been off to a hot start averaging almost 16 goals per game in their first three games this season.
One of the unique things about this young team is that nearly everyone on the team has contributed to Penn State’s recent high goal totals.
The Lions’ game on Wednesday was evidence of this with 10 different players scoring at least one goal.
“Overall we want to be a successful team with the other team not knowing who’s going to come up big,” Doherty said. “So far in games our scoring has been pretty spread out and different people have stepped up in different games so I think that’s to our benefit.”
With the offense hitting on all cylinders, Doherty is focusing on improving the team’s defense so it can keep Virginia’s strong roster in check.
“We just need to have a good defensive effort,” Doherty said. “Keep them from scoring some goals and hopefully our offense comes through and finishes their shots.”