Penn State University

Penn State University Women's Lacrosse
137 East Area Locker Room University Park, PA 16802
Division 1 Pennsylvania Northeast
Public Very Large National competitor


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Missy Doherty

Head coach Missy Doherty is set for her eighth year at Penn State in 2018. Doherty's guidance has seen Penn State reach six straight NCAA Tournaments and four NCAA Quarterfinals in that timespan including Penn State’s first Final Four in 17 years during the 2016 season. Doherty guided the Nittany Lions back to the Final Four in 2017.

In 2017 Doherty's team went 17-4 finishing second in the Big Ten and securing the second most single-season victories in program history and the most since 1989 when Penn State went 19-1. Doherty coached three IWLCA All-Americans during the 2017 season including the program's 43rd First-Team All-American, Steph Lazo, and the first in 13 seasons. Katie O'Donnell and Madison Carter earned second-team recognition.

In 2017 the Nittany Lions set program records for goals with 303 and points with 427 while their 124 assists were the second most in a single-season in program history. Penn State earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and hosted the first three rounds advancing to its 11th Final Four in program history at Gillette Stadium.

In 2016 Doherty’s team went 14-7 finishing second in the Big Ten, but were upset in the first round of the Big Ten Championship Tournament by Northwestern, 9-6. Her squad earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and immediately caught fire outscoring their opponents 38-23 en route to the Final Four where they came up just one goal shy, bowing out to eventual National Champion North Carolina, 12-11. Doherty coached Madison Carter to the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year honor while two players earned IWLCA All-America status and five earned IWLCA All-Region accolades. Penn State finished fourth in the final IWLCA national poll.

Doherty has led her Nittany Lion teams to double-digit wins each year since stepping foot on the University Park campus including a 16-5 mark in 2015 while capturing the Big Ten Tournament Championship with a 13-11 victory over Ohio State.

During that 2015 season, Doherty earned Big Ten Coach of the Year, ECAC Coach of the Year and IWLCA Regional Coach of the Year accolades Penn State went 13-1 late in the season to reach the NCAA Quarterfinals and narrowly missed the program's first semifinals appearance in 16 years. Doherty coached three IWLCA All-Americans, six IWLCA All-Region players and five All-Big Ten honorees including Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Emi Smith.

PSU has made five straight NCAA appearances under Doherty's watch, the most consecutive appearances at the school since 1993. The 16 wins in 2015 were the most since the 1989 national championship.

Following a pair of NCAA Quarterfinals appearances in 2012 and 2013, Doherty guided her Nittany Lions to a 10-8 overall mark and a third NCAA Tournament showing in 2014.

During Doherty's third year at the program's helm in 2013, Penn State continued its national ascension. The Nittany Lions reached the NCAA quarterfinals for the second straight season, making back-to-back appearances for the first time since a three-year span from 1995-97, and captured the program's most wins since 1999. Penn State, which went 14-7, also claimed a share of its first ALC regular-season championship with a 4-1 conference mark.

Under her guidance, Penn State defeated its highest ranked opponent since 2007 with a 16-11 upset victory against then-No. 2 Florida. The Nittany Lions, who were ranked as high as No. 6 for the first time since 2007, also finished a perfect 9-0 at home to complete their first undefeated home campaign since 1991.

In 2012, Doherty led Penn State to a 12-7 record, earning the program's most wins since 2005 and its third consecutive double-digit win season. Five of those wins came against ranked opponents, including three versus top-10 teams. Penn State excelled on the road in 2012, registering eight victories, the most by the Nittany Lions since the 1989 national championship team. Penn State received an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA championship, advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1999.

In her first season at the helm of the collegiate women's lacrosse's second winningest program, Doherty led the Penn State to a 10-8 record and a second-place finish in the American Lacrosse Conference. The Nittany Lions knocked off four ranked opponents during the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the ALC Championship.

In five seasons in Happy Valley, Doherty has coached 11 IWLCA All-Americans, 21 IWLCA All-Region athletes, 19 all-conference members and one CoSIDA Academic All-American.

In seven years at Towson, Doherty built the Tigers into one of the top teams in the Colonial Athletic Association and into a nationally recognized and competitive program. At Towson, she posted an impressive 79-46 (.632) record, including five seasons with 13 or more victories, and led it to three CAA Tournament championships (2005, 2008-09) and a share of one CAA regular season title (2008). Doherty coached six All-Americans during her tenure, including Towson's first three-time honoree in program history.

In 2010, Doherty guided Towson to a season of unprecedented success, as the Tigers earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history and received their first-ever top 10 national ranking in the IWLCA Division I poll.

Prior to arriving at Towson, Doherty had a successful six-year stretch as an assistant coach at three different schools. At Princeton University, she was an integral member of the coaching staff that led the Tigers to NCAA championships in 2002 and 2003. During Doherty's tenure, Princeton compiled a 49-9 record and captured three straight Ivy League crowns.

Doherty also served two seasons at Brown University (1999-2000) after starting her coaching career at Vanderbilt in 1998.

A 1997 graduate of the University of Maryland, Doherty (nee Holmes) was a four-year letterwinning defender, helping the Terrapins claim three NCAA championships. Maryland was a dominant force in collegiate women's lacrosse during her career, amassing a remarkable 68-2 record, including an NCAA record 50-game winning streak. Also a standout in the classroom, Doherty was a three-time honoree on the ACC Academic Honor Roll.

In 2010, Doherty earned a master degree's in Biology from Towson University.

The former Missy Holmes, she is married to Brian Doherty. The couple has two sons, Evan and Nathan.

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Amy Altig

Amy Altig, who works with the goalkeepers and defense, will enter her seventh season on the Penn State staff in 2017. She is also entering her first season as Associate Head Coach after being apointed in January 2017. After helping Penn State to a third NCAA quarterfinal appearance in four years, Altig was named IWLCA Assistant Coach of the Year and was inducted to the U.S. Lacrosse Virginia Chapter Hall of Fame. In 2015, Altig was vital to Penn State's run to the NCAA quarterfinals by coaching Emi Smith, who was named Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year and earned IWLCA All-America honors. The team went 16-5 and earned a final season ranking of No. 5. Smith anchored a defense that helped Penn State win the inaugural 2015 Big Ten Tournament championship. During her third season, Altig played a pivotal role in the development of freshman goalkeeper Emi Smith. Under her guidance, Smith helped lead the Nittany Lions to their second straight NCAA quarterfinal appearance and a share of their first ALC regular-season championship. In 2012, Altig helped coach a Penn State defense that ranked nationally in the top 20 for most of the season. Under her tutelage, Dana Cahill became one of just two goalkeepers to be selected as a Tewaaraton Award nominee. Cahill was named an IWLCA Second Team All-American, a First Team All-ALC selection as she became the first Nittany Lion to named a two-time ALC Goalkeeper of the Year. In her first season at Penn State, Altig was instrumental in Cahill's development into one of the nation's top goalkeepers. In her first full season as a starter, Cahill earned First Team All-ALC and First Team IWLCA First Team All-West/Midwest Region honors and was named the 2011 ALC Goalkeeper of the Year. She led the ALC in save percentage (.466) and ranked fourth in goals against average (9.95). Prior to coming to Happy Valley, Altig spent three years as an assistant at Princeton, working primarily with the goalkeepers. With the Tigers, Altig helped develop an All-American in net and establish Princeton as one of the Ivy League's and nation's top defenses. During her three-year stint, the Tigers compiled a 33-19 record and qualified for the NCAA Tournament twice. Previous to her time at Princeton, Altig served as the top assistant coach at the University of Richmond for two seasons. While with the Spiders, they won two Atlantic-10 titles and earned two bids to the NCAA postseason. Her work with the goalkeepers and the defense helped Richmond lead the A-10 in goals against average. Altig played collegiately at James Madison University, receiving All-CAA honors twice as a standout goalkeeper. In her senior season, she ranked in the top 20 in Division I in save percentage and goals against average. Still active in lacrosse, Altig was named to the U.S. Senior National Team for the second consecutive year in the summer of 2011. The squad will serve as the foundation for the team that will compete in the 2013 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Cup in Oshawa, Ontario. The U.S. Senior National Team will came together for several events including the Stars & Stripes Weekend in October 2011 and the Champion Challenge in January 2012 and will conduct numerous national team player clinics throughout the year at various places around the country. Altig was an alternate on the 2009 U.S. World Cup Team and has been a member of several U.S. Elite and Development Teams. In the summer of 2008, she earned a spot on the U.S. Touring Team that traveled to the Czech Republic to compete in the Prague Cup. In August of 2011, Altig visited Honduras to introduce native children to the sport of lacrosse and provide them with an all-around sport experience. While in the Central American nation, Altig ran daily "sport camps" for the village children on municipal and school fields, helping to teach the sport of lacrosse but also playing soccer, baseball, and football with groups of children ranging in ages between four and 16. A native of Millersburg, Md., Altig earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sports management from James Madison in 2005.

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Tara Hohenshelt

Tara (Rowlyk) Hohenshelt ’97 begins her second stint as assistant coach of the Nittany Lions for the 2017-18 season, returning to Happy Valley after spending the past five seasons as a high school head coach in Virginia.

From 2014-17, Hohenshelt served as the head women’s lacrosse coach at Western Albemarle High School in Crozet, Virginia. During her time as head coach, she led the team to three-consecutive Virginia 4A South Region Championships from 2014-16 and a pair of State Semifinal appearances and a runner-up finish in 2015. Hohenshelt was twice named Conference and Region Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017 as well as earning US Lacrosse Virginia-Charlottesville Coach of the Year in 2017. Hohenshelt coached 21 All-State honorees and two Charlottesville Conference Players of the Year during her time at Western Albemarle.

Prior to her time at Western Albemarle, Hohenshelt helped the Covenant School in Charlottesville, Va. capture the 2013 VISAA Division II girls lacrosse State Championship and was named Coach of the Year during her lone season as head coach. Hohenshelt also coached the VISAA Division II girls lacrosse Player of the Year along with five All-State honorees during that 2013 season.

Hohenshelt’s began her coaching career at Princeton helping guide the Tigers to the 1998 NCAA quarterfinals before spending one season as the head coach at Centenary College in 1999. Hohenshelt then joined the Nittany Lions in September of 1999.

Hohenshelt spent 13 seasons as an assistant at Penn State including her final two under current head coach Missy Doherty. During that time Penn State qualified for the NCAA Tournament on three occasions. Hohenshelt coached 16 IWLCA All-Americans, 29 IWLCA All-Region Honorees, 47 All-Conference members and three conference Goalkeeper of the Year honorees including one NCAA Division I Goalkeeper of the Year.

As a player, Hohenshelt, was a four-year defender at Penn State helping lead the Lions to the 1995 NCAA National Semifinals and the quarterfinals in both 1996 and 1997. The Ridley Park, Pa. native also served as tri-captain during her senior season and was a two-time IWLCA Division I Academic All-American. The former Tara Rowlyk graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education-Mathematics. She currently resides in State College, Pa. with her husband Dennis and three children, Jacob, Reese and Axl.

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