No Lion? No. 11 Pennsylvania State University Topples No. 12 Middlebury College 14-8 in National Collegiate Club Championship First Round

Middlebury's Andrea Tibbetts (L) and Penn State's Alexis Cherewka (R) sprint for the ball
Middlebury's Andrea Tibbetts (L) and Penn State's Alexis Cherewka (R) sprint for the ball

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Alexis Cherewka (Sr., Mechanicsburg, Pa.) scored four times to claim Player of the Game honors as No. 11 Pennsylvania State University topped No. 12 Middlebury College 14-8 in the opening round of the 2011 Women's National Collegiate Club Championship at the University of Notre Dame.

The Mid-Atlantic Division champion Nittany Lions advance to a 12:30 p.m. meeting with No. 3 University of California-Davis on Saturday, May 7 in the tournament quarterfinals, while North Atlantic Division champion Middlebury falls into a 7:30 p.m. clash with Dartmouth College at 7:30 p.m. later tonight.

For both teams, the story of the game was the ability to convert on man-up chances as Penn State cashed in on five-of-six chances, while Middlebury managed on five-of-11 during advantage opportunities.

Penn State opened the game with solid special teams play as Vivianne Velez (Jr., Harleysville, Pa.) converted on a five-meter penalty shot at 6:02 and Cherewka deposited a man-up shot at 4:06 to make it 2-0 in favor of PSU midway through the first period.

The margin ballooned to 3-0 behind a natural goal by Cherewka at 1:05 before Amelia Noble (Sr., Columbis, Ohio) put the Panthers on the board with a bomb from the wings with 10 seconds left in the opening period.

Both teams found the back of the cage in the dawning moments of the second period as Ashley Frank (Sr., Miami, Fla.) snapped off an even-strength goal at 6:11 and Andrea Tibbetts (Fr., Dover, Mass.) lined home a five-meter penalty shot at 5:41 to keep the spread at a pair of markers.

Middlebury's second tally of the day appeared to ignite a fire under the Lions as Velez scored twice at even-strength (5:09, 1:32), while Molly Podgurski (Jr., Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and Cherewka (2:06) tacked on man-up goals at 3:04 and 2:06, respectively, to make it 8-2 in favor of the Nittany Lions at halftime.

The spurt put the Panthers on their heels for the remainder of the contest as Middlebury was unable to outscore PSU the rest of the way as the teams each posted six goals over the final 14 minutes of play.  Overall, the Panthers were unable to trim the lead to less than five (10-5) for the remainder of the contest as Penn State was unable to counterpunch and burn the clock in the second half to guarantee a final place no lower than eighth for the Nittany Lions.

In cage, Lara Kaiserian (So., Bryn Mawr, Pa.) stopped three shots to claim the victory for PSU, while Betty Dembicer (Sr., Hartsdale, N.Y.) blocked down six shots for the Panthers.

1 2 3 4 -- Final
No. 12 Middlebury College 1 1 4 2 -- 8
No. 11 Pennsylvania State University 3 5 4 2 -- 14

PSU Goals: Alexis Cherewka (4); Vivianne Velez (3); Kaitlyn Knot (2); Molly Podgurski (2); Christin DeMoss; Ashley Frank; Bekah Hoffner;

Middlebury Goals: Andrea Tibbetts (4); Olivia Noble; Amelia Noble; Alexandra Edel; Cori West

Saves: PSU - Lara Kaiserian (3) ; Middlebury - Betty Dembicer (6)

Exclusions: PSU - 11 ; Middlebury - 6

Advantage Opportunities:  PSU - 5-for-6 ; Middlebury - 5-for-11

Sprints: PSU - 1-for-4 ; Middlebury - 3-for-4

Cards: None

Officials: JT Wall, Mike McMahon

Pennsylvania State University's Lara Kaiserian goes up to make a save

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