No. 7 University of Florida Chomps No. 11 Pennsylvania State University 10-5 to Reach National Collegiate Club Championship Fifth Place Game

Anna Autrey
Anna Autrey

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Sarah Wright (Jr., Oviedo, Fla.) scored four times to claim Player of the Game accolades and anchor the Gators of No. 7 University of Florida to a 10-5 victory against No. 11 Pennsylvania State University and earn a berth to the 2011 Women's National Collegiate Club Championship fifth place game at the University of Notre Dame's Rolfs Aquatic Center.

Florida advances to face No. 4 University of California-Los Angeles tomorrow at 10:15 a.m. in the fifth place contest, while Penn State will meet No. 6 and tournament host University of Notre Dame at 9:00 a.m. in the seventh place game.

A key to the game was Florida's ability to open up a 4-0 lead before the Nittany Lions could respond to put Penn State on its heels for the remainder of the contest.

The Gators opened the scoring with 1:27 remaining in the first period as Anna Autrey (Sr., Winter Park, Fla.) netted a five-meter penalty shot before Wright lifed a shot up and into the cage with 11 ticks on the first period clock to make it 2-0 after seven minutes of competition.

Florida expanded the margin to 4-0 midway through the second period as Emily Warner (So., Winter Springs, Fla.) whippped a shot into the back of the cage at 6:24 and Victoria Israels (Sr., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) tacked on a marker at 3:15.

Penn State broke through for a pair of scores prior to halftime as Molly Podgurski (Jr., Mechanicsburg, Pa.) scored on a man-up chance at 2:55 and Ashley Frank (Sr., Miami, Fla.) fired a shot home at 2:14 to make it 4-2 at the break.

However, the comeback did not continue in the opening moments of the second half as Wright scored at 6:51, 3:48 and 2:59, while Carly Arnold (Jr., Winter Park, Fla.) zipped a ball into the cage at 5:16 to hang four goals on PSU goalie Lara Kaiserian (So., Bryn Mawr, Pa.) during a breakdown of the Nittany Lions' defense as the Gators swam out to an 8-2 lead.

Vivianne Velez (Jr., Harleysville, Pa.) and Sam Schmidt (Sr., Erie, Pa.) responded with a pair of goals for the Nittany Lions at 2:12 and 38 seconds, respectively, to pull PSU to within 8-4 by the conclusion of the third period.

Facing the Gators' defense led by goalie Mary Kathryn Atkinson (Sr., Oviedo, Fla.) and Brooke Bohlken (Fr., Winter Springs, Fla.), Penn State was unable to get much going in the fourth period with the clock winding down.  Velez closed out PSU's scoring at 5:57 before Chrisi Sanchez (Jr., Miami, Fla.) netted an even-strength tally at 3:31 and Autrey fired in a man-up marker at 2:37 to pad Florida's margin of victory to five goals.

Overall, Atkinson and Bohlken combined to pull down 10 Penn State shots, while Kaiserian made eight saves for the Nittany Lions.

Florida's potential fifth or sixth place finish at this year's National Collegiate Club Championship continues a pattern of success for the Gators as the squad has never placed outside the Top 10 in the field.  In previous trips to the grandest stage in collegiate club sports, the Orange & Blue have recorded second (2001, 2006), third (2002, 2004), fourth (2003), fifth (2000), seventh (2008) and ninth (2005, 2007) place marks.

Penn State, which can finish no lower than eighth in the championship, is guaranteed to record the highest finish in the program's history as the Nittany Lions previously placed 10th (2001 @ Miami University (Ohio)) and 11th (2005 @ Texas A&M University) in two prior trips to the championship.

1 2 3 4 -- Final
No. 7 University of Florida
2 2 4 2 -- 10
No. 11 Pennsylvania State University 0 2 2 1 -- 5

PSU Goals: Vivianne Velez (2); Sam Schmidt; Molly Podgurski; Ashley Frank

Florida Goals: Sarah Wright (4); Anna Autrey (2); Victoria Israels; Emily Warner; Carly Arnold; Chrisi Sanchez

Saves: PSU - Lara Kaiserian (8) ; Florida - Mary Kathryn Atkinson (9), Brooke Bohlken (1)

Exclusions: PSU - 6 ; Florida - 3

Advantage Opportunities:  PSU - 1-for-3 ; Florida - 2-for-6

Sprints: PSU - 2-for-4 ; Florida - 2-for-4

Cards: None

Officials: Mike McMahan, Scott Voltz

Pennsylvania State University's Sam Schmidt looks to shoot against the University of Florida's Katie Ambrose

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