Tenacity, Focus at Root of Rodden's Success

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10326919.jpegBy Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Every weekday afternoon she enters the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility for practice. She is driven. She is quiet. She is sharp. She is ready.

Senior Katie Rodden is in the midst of her final season with the Penn State women's cross country team but with the NCAA Championships still about two months away, she is not ready to say good-bye to the Blue and White or running quite yet.

Rodden has been a runner her entire life.

"I started running in the fourth grade," Rodden said. "In the seventh grade, I was [still] running long distance and that's how it all started."

"In high school, I was one of the only ones on my team that was really into running," Rodden added. "The best part about Penn State is that everyone is into it too. We run seven days a week and at any time, I can find someone to run with."

It's evident in her performance: She is driven.

In 2013, she finished in the top 25 for both the indoor and outdoor Big Ten Championships, she was just shy of all-region status at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, and she earned national experience as an alternate on the Nittany Lions' NCAA-qualifying group.

She is sharp.

The Ardmore, Pennslyvania, native is an exemplary student. She maintains a stellar 4.0 grade-point average, she has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, and she was a finalist for the NCAA Elite 89 Award.

The Elite 89 award is the NCAA's way of student-athletes who have reached a pinnacle in his or her competitive sport as well as in the classroom. The award is given to the student-athlete with the highest grade-point average competing in any of the NCAA's 89 championships.

"I feel like I'm just like any other person," she said. "If you work hard, it will all fall into place."

Rodden juggles running 70-75 miles per week and six days per week of practice. She is finishing up a kinesiology major, she is a member of in the Athletic Director's Leadership Institute, and she has a research job for Penn State's Noll Laboratory.

"I do work pretty hard. I guess I don't have the most fun social life ever but I enjoy doing well academically and athletically," she said.

She is ready.

Come November, when the Penn State cross country regular season has come to an end, Rodden will be well on her way to yet another finish line - her collegiate career.

"Honestly, I try not to think about it being over," she said. "I love it here and I'm really going to miss it,"

She has aspirations of attending medical school after her time at Penn State has expired.

"I've applied to [medical] schools and I'm just waiting for hear back," Rodden said. "I want to something with sports medicine or orthopedics."


Through all of it, the academic honors, the medical school applications, the research projects, running will always be a part of her.

"This is something that I'm just naturally good at and I definitely I can't see myself just stopping," she said. "Maybe [after college] I'll get into marathons."

Beaver Stadium Pictorial: UMass Preview

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One of the many traditions of the Penn State football program's gameday experience is the Beaver Stadium Pictorial, the official gameday magazine of the Nittany Lions. The publication originated in the 1920s and continues to evolve, bringing fans closer to the football program, its student-athletes and the entire Penn State athletic department.

Each week throughout the home portion of the of the Nittany Lions' schedule you can find a preview of the content for the upcoming Beaver Stadium Pictorial on GoPSUsports.com.

Here is a preview of the feature content inside the Penn State vs. Massachusetts BSP.

Pick up your copy on each home game day for just $5.00.

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FICKEN STILL KICKIN'
BY: GREG CAMPBELL
Sam Ficken was just a laid-back high school kid awaiting the start of his junior season when a coaching change prompted a decision that would alter his athletic career and ultimately his future.

The season Ficken was preparing for was soccer. It was the sport he grew up playing. The sport his mother had coached him and his older brother in when they were younger. But coaching changes just days before the season made him re-think things.

"Football wasn't on my radar until my junior year of high school," said Ficken. "A coaching decision right before the first (soccer) game of my junior year changed my view on some things. So, I called the football coach and said, 'I'm thinking about playing football.'"

A Lasting Impact: A Journey Through 50 Years Of Women's Athletics
by: Char Morett-Curtiss, fIELD hOCKEY hEAD cOACH; Class of 1979
I first traveled the road to Penn State from my hometown of Aden, a quiet and quaint suburb of Philadelphia, back in the summer 1975. The trip, primarily on the single-lane winding road that was Route 322 West, took four hours. It was a journey of -- and for -- a lifetime.

The middle-class family I was leaving behind included five boys and two girls, who spilled out onto Sycamore every day to play street hockey, pick-up basketball and steal the bases, often under the streetlights. We were tight-knit, but competition was 24/7.

The Penn State family I was joining was largely an unknown. In the summer of '74, I attended the Pocono Mountain Field Hockey Camp with my teammates from Lansdowne-Aldan High School. It was there that my field hockey skills caught the attention of Gillian Rattray, Penn State's head coach for both field hockey and lacrosse (what a bargain she was!).

A Look Inside The Penn State Blue Band In Its 115th Year
By: Christine Kilbride, Third-Year Blue Band Member, Piccolo; Class of 2016
"For the Glory of Old State, for her founders strong and great, for the future that we wait, raise the song."

These lyrics ring true especially for members of the Penn State Blue Band. The 315-member band has become a staple of Penn State football and the gameday experience.

Like most Penn State students, band members anxiously await the first home game each season. But home games for members of the Blue Band are not as simple as filing into the student section.

The Penn State vs. Massachusetts also features;
Expanded Game Notes
Unrivaled Moment: at Rutgers
Player Q&As w/ Bill Belton, Jordan Lucas and Angelo Mangiro
University Feature on Penn State College of Nursing
2014 Penn State Football Team Photo
Penn State Athletics Sports Planner

By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- A little over a year ago, Christian Brady stood on the grass at Jeffrey Field and looked out at the scene around him, many emotions running through his mind.

It was September 13, 2013. The Penn State men's soccer team had just battled California, the No. 5 team in the nation, to a 1-1 tie. For Brady however, the night was about much more than soccer.

Brady, the Dean of Penn State's Schreyer's Honor College, had lost his eight-year-old son Mack less than nine months earlier to an unexpected blood infection on Dec. 31, 2012. It was just 16 days before Mack's ninth birthday.

Mack, a huge Penn State soccer fan and aspiring goalie, was honored by the Nittany Lions that night against California, in what was dubbed "Mack Brady Night."

"The night was phenomenal," Brady said. "Obviously it doesn't get any easier, but it was incredibly powerful and emotional moment or us. It was such an incredible game."

Nearly 21 months have gone by since Mack Brady lost his life, but his legacy at Penn State is as strong as ever. This Sunday, the Nittany Lions will host the second annual Mack Brady Game when they play Ohio State at 1 p.m.

For the second straight year, Christian Brady will watch as the Penn State community rallies around him, his wife Elizabeth and his daughter Isabel.

For the second straight year, he will find comfort in the 26 players and three coaches who have become a second family to him.

For the second straight year, he will wish that his son could see everything that he has inspired.

And for the second straight year, the day will mean much more than which team winds up ahead on the scoreboard.

How 'Mack the Jeff' Began

"Last year, they ran a promotion for the game and said they wanted fans to 'Pack the Jeff,'" Brady said. "I suggested that it should be changed to 'Mack the Jeff.'"

What started as a simple suggestion, a way to encourage fans to take part in a celebration of Mack's life, didn't take long to catch on.

In the days leading up to the California game, the phrase 'Mack the Jeff' began to show up across every outlet of social media. By game time, Jeffrey Field was filled with 3,032 fans.

"It's wonderful," Brady said. "It's really humbling how folks have rallied around during this time."

Goalkeeper University

Mack Brady was a child that was passionate about many things, and soccer was certainly among them.

By the age of five, Mack had fallen in love with the position of goalkeeper. It was his dream to one day suit up in goal for the Nittany Lions and later the United States Men's National Team.

After his passing, his parents knew that there was no better way to remember him than to give back to the soccer program. They established the Mack Brady Fund to support Penn State's goalkeeping program with youth clinics, new equipment and scholarship funds.

The goal of the fund? Turn Penn State into the best goalkeeping school in the country.

"We wanted to be able to inspire something more and we want to make Penn State Goalkeeper U," Brady said. "The fact that Mack has inspired this is pretty special."

In return, the Nittany Lions have given back to the Brady's as well.

Since the beginning of last season, the Penn State goalies have worn a patch on their jerseys in honor Mack.

For Andrew Wolverton, being asked to wear the patch is as high an honor as he can imagine. Higher than being named last season's Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, and higher than one day becoming Penn State's record holder for career shutouts.

"It's a great honor, obviously, to always be playing for Mack," Wolverton said. "Every time we come out here we want to do our best but it's different when you're playing a little kid like that. You just want to get a shutout on his day."

Those types of sentiments are the one's that mean the most to Christian Brady.

"It means a lot when the players tell me how much they think about Mack," Brady said. "Coach [Bob Warming] has brought together a great group of young men who seem to appreciate this."

The Next Stage

All the sympathy in the world can't replace the void that Mack's passing has left in Christian Brady's life.

Now, almost two years later, Brady and his wife and daughter are slowly learning to live without Mack.

"Obviously we wish this never had to happen," Brady said. We're slowly living with the loss of Mack. We'd love to have him back if that was a choice. We're going to find joy in seeing the guys play and we know that if Mack could, he'd be out there cheering them on."

During the most painful times, Brady found himself lucky to have Warming to lean on. Nine months prior to Mack's death, Warming lost his 21-year old daughter Audrey in a car accident.

One thing that the two tragic events have taught both men, it is that they are fortunate to live in a community like State College, and be a part of a school like Penn State.

"What a wonderful community this is that it comes out and supports one of our own who's had a tragedy in his life," Warming said. "What sticks out to me is what a great place Penn State is and what a great place State College is. We're all in this thing together and I think people realize that."

When Brady watches the Nittany Lions take the field against the Buckeyes on Sunday, he knows his son will be with him.

Mack Brady's legacy lives on, not just with his father and the Penn State soccer team, but with every Nittany Lions fan who shows up to "Mack the Jeff."

2014 Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Host UMass

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Game Notes | Gameday Central | UMass Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Press Conference Roundup | Coach Smith Q&A | Player Q&A Video | BSP Preview

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After playing two out of its first three games on the road, Penn State (3-0) returns home on Saturday for its first game against UMass (0-3). The Nittany Lions and Minutemen will collide at 4 p.m. inside Beaver Stadium (BTN).

10323244.jpegThanks to a superb defensive performance in the second half and a game-winning drive orchestrated by sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the Nittany Lions moved to 3-0 in a dramatic victory at Rutgers last week. Senior Bill Belton scored a game-winning touchdown with 1:13 to play inside sold out Highpoint Solutions Stadium to lift the Lions past the Scarlet Knights, 13-10, in the first Big Ten game of 2014.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions have been tremendous to start the season. Penn State ranks among the nation's elite in three major statistical categories heading into this weekend. Penn State is seventh in the country in rushing defense at 68.3 yards per game allowed. The Lions are 11th in scoring defense (12.3 ppg) and 13th in total defense (275.7 ypg). Thanks to five interceptions on Saturday night, Penn State is also sixth in the nation in passes intercepted.

UMass enters the game following back-to-back three-point losses to Colorado and at Vanderbilt. Led by veteran head coach Mark Whipple, the Minutemen, took the Commodores down to the wire in Nashville last week. UMass led for most of the game before a late score from Vanderbilt and a missed field goal in final seconds sealed a 34-31 setback.

Saturday's gameday will feature two major events off the field. Throughout the 2014-15 academic year, Penn State will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics on the University Park campus. Some of Penn State's current and former head coaches and student-athletes will be recognized at the UMass games for their accomplishments during the past 50 years of varsity women's sports.

Additionally, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and the Penn State Marching Blue Band will host the Unrivaled Band Jam, which will highlight Band Day activities on Saturday. Several high school bands will perform with the storied Blue Band and the UMass Minuteman Marching Band pre-game in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Unrivaled Band Jam will begin at 2 p.m. in the Jordan Center. There is no admission fee.


Welcome to the Gameday Preview for week four matchup against UMass.


PreviewGraphic_UMass.jpg
Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10323164.jpeg1. So much has been written about the talent and skill level of sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg. And it is deservedly so. Hackenberg is an incredibly gifted athlete with all the things you look for in an elite quarterback. But his leadership and maturity level for a player his age cannot be overstated enough. Sure, Hackenberg has already etched his place in the Penn State record book with a plethora of accolades, but his demeanor in the huddle, leadership on and off the field and poise are all attributes that a coach cannot teach a player. Hackenberg has been terrific during the first three games of the season, throwing for 1,082 yards and four touchdowns. But his impact on the team goes far beyond the numbers and two game-winning drives in the final minutes.

2. Penn State's defense has been stout during the first three weeks of the season, allowing opponents just 12.3 points per game and 272.3 yards of total offense. A big piece to the Nittany Lions' success on the defensive side of the ball is the standout play from the group in the trenches. Junior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel has been the catalyst along the front line. The Michigan native enters the UMass game ranked fifth nationally with 7.0 tackles for loss. Zettel has been disruptive constantly during the first three weeks. He leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss and also has 3.0 sacks this season. What he lacks in prototypical defensive tackle size, Zettel makes up with a tenacious attitude, relentless motor and standout quickness. Keep a close eye on No. 98.

3. Prior to last week's game at Rutgers, the Nittany Lions had gained just one turnover during the first two games. However, the defense answered coordinator Bob Shoop's challenge by snagging five interceptions against the Scarlet Knights, including two from Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Trevor Williams. The five interceptions in the Rutgers game from the Nittany Lion are most by one team in a game this season. It was the first time Penn State had notched five interceptions in a game since 2004 against Michigan State. Turnovers will continue to play a paramount role in Penn State's success on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye on the turnover battle.

What to Watch For - UMass
10323188.jpeg1. Graduate student Blake Frohnapfel leads the UMass offense. A Marshall transfer (undergrad degree from Marshall), Frohnapfel was named the starting quarterback for the Minutemen during training camp. He has led UMass to 34.5 points per game during the last two games and an average of 358.5 yards. Frohnapfel has thrown for 619 yards and five touchdowns this season.  Wide receiver Tajae Sharpe and 6-foot-7 tight end Jean Sifrin are among Frohnapfel's top targets.

2. The UMass defense enters the week looking to take a step forward defending the run. The Minutemen have allowed an average of 218 rushing yards per game during the first three weeks. Sophomore linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox leads the nation in tackling at 14.0 hits per game. Santos-Knox had a career-high 15 stops at Vanderbilt last week. Senior Stanley Andre is the leader of the UMass defense. The fifth-year player has started in 27 consecutive games.

3. On the heels of a narrow loss at Vanderbilt last week, head coach Mark Whipple will take over the duties of special teams play for the Minutemen. Junior Trey Dudley-Giles is second the nation in kickoff return yardage (35.4 yards per return). Another player to keep an eye on when UMass takes the field on offense and special teams is hybrid fullback/tight end Rodney Mills. Mills has three touchdowns to start the season, including a 53-yard touchdown reception on a fake punt at Vanderbilt last week. Coach Franklin noted earlier in the week that UMass provides a number of different looks on offense. Mills is a player to keep an eye on in the formations.


The Final Word:
Dating back to 1887, Penn State's football tradition stretches 128 years. During that time frame, the Nittany Lions have played 153 different teams on the gridiron. UMass will become the 154th squad the Nittany Lions have played against when the two teams take the field on Saturday. Penn State is 112-33-8 in first games against opponents. The Minutemen mark the first new team on the Penn State schedule since the Lions played against Indiana State in 2011. Saturday's game also marks the second in a string of three-straight contests televised by Big Ten Network. Kickoff is slated for 4:01 p.m. in the first of two-straight Saturdays inside Beaver Stadium.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Celebrating a Storied Legacy of Women In Sports

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By Alexis Shelton, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's Dec. 21, 2013. Key Arena in Seattle, Washington, is filled with women's volleyball fans from all over the country. It's match-and-set point, as Penn State has come from behind in the fourth set against Big Ten rival Wisconsin looking for a victory.

Then, in one final play, Micha Hancock delivered an ace that put Penn State back on top of the volleyball world. Blue and white streamers filled the arena as the Nittany Lions stormed the court, winning their sixth National Championship. Months of hard work, dedication, and stress had finally paid off.

Still, even that success was more than months in the making. Penn State has been building its its legacy in women's sports, and adding to its rich history of success, for decades.

It all began in 1964, when the University introduced its nine intercollegiate athletic programs---basketball, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, rifle, softball and tennis. Later on that year, the field hockey team competed in the first game for women at the intercollegiate level as they defeated Susquehanna University 2-0. The game was played at Pollock Field, which is now the location of the Life Sciences Building.

Throughout the years, the University has gone on to win a number of honors and awards. Some of these include 19 NCAA National Championships and 56 Big Ten Championships.

The first female to win a national title was given Kathy Marra. Marra won the National Championship in bowling in 1970.

Years passed, as the Penn State women's intercollegiate teams continued to be successful. From Karen Schuckman (gymnastics) becoming the first All-American, to Brenda Stauffer (field hockey) becoming the first National Player of the Year, Penn State has always found a way to be among the elite in the women's sports world.

When mentioning field hockey, it's important to include one of the most successful players to ever wear a jersey. Charlene Morett-Curtiss is the only player in field hockey history to become a three-time All-American, as well as a two-time Olympian (1980, '84). Morett has been the head coach of the Nittany Lion field hockey team since 1986, compiling a 463-181-17 (.713) record.

"My fondest memories are those moments with the players. Just feeling their intensity and their passion and sharing that with them as an alum. Just having that same competitive spirit as a coach that they have a player and knowing that when we get on that field and in that locker room, it's us," said Morett-Curtiss.

In 1992, the field hockey team, as well as the women's volleyball team, both went on to win Penn State's first Big Ten Championships. Additionally, Fran McDermid (swimming) also was the first Nittany Lion to win the Big Ten Individual Championship the same year.

With many star athletes and Olympians today being proud to say they've attended Penn State, the University is looking forward to celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Women in Sport. The weekend celebration kicks off on Friday at 4 p.m. when women's soccer and volleyball play in Happy Valley.

"I just think it speaks so highly of Penn State University," Morett-Curtiss said. "Their vision and their respect and their celebration of all the female athletes that have participated here and the coaches is just an amazing thing.

Morett-Curtiss and the No. 6 field hockey team will open up their Big Ten play with a game against No. 18 Michigan on Friday at 4 p.m. At halftime, a ceremony will take place to honor field hockey legends. Additionally, ceremonies will take place at the women's soccer game (6 p.m. vs. Ohio State) and the women's volleyball match (7:30 p.m. vs. DePaul) on Friday.

Saturday at 1 p.m. will feature a tailgate at Medlar Field to celebrate the Women in Sport 50th Anniversary. During halftime of Saturday's football game against UMass, the several influential figures will be honored at midfield.

The celebration will end on Sunday, with a brunch to be held at 11 a.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center. Stay tuned for coverage from a special weekend for Penn State Athletics.

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2014 Penn State women's soccer team has started the season with the best record since the undefeated team of 2005. The impressive 6-1 start wouldn't be possible without the Nittany Lions' determination for success this season.

One player on the team who embodies that mindset both on and off the field is midfielder Emily Hurd. Returning for her second year as a team captain, she is one of the many upperclassman who are leading by example.

"The biggest difference this season is that the senior leadership is fantastic," Hurd said. "The upperclassmen have the drive and push to motivate the team and it creates this whole new environment."

Coming from redshirting her first season with the Lions to now being a leader on the team, Hurd is a player who demonstrates determination in all aspects of her life.

Dealing with a foot injury her first season, Hurd made it her goal to get better and play on Jeffery Field again.

"I went through a big struggle both on and off the field my first year due to an injury," said Hurd.

Through her dedication and passion for the sport, Hurd not only recovered but became a key player on the team.


"Having soccer being taken away also took part of my identity away," she said. "Recovering from that made me both stronger physically and mentally. That taught me to never take things for granted and that nothing is given to me."

Hurd takes every opportunity to succeed that she can, including fulfilling an internship at Beaver Stadium and making Academic All-Big Ten in 2012 and 2013.

"I've had a great academic career thanks to Penn State," said Hurd.

She finished her undergraduate program in only three years, graduating in May 2013 with her B.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences. Currently, Hurd is in Penn State's graduate program for Higher Education and pursue a career in university athletic administration.

Excelling in both soccer and school, Hurd is a role model for the entire team.

"Both on and off the field she has grown as a leader, and that's become her biggest asset to the team," said redshirt junior Britt Ecke
rstrom.

Part of what makes Hurd a great leader on the team is her consistent desire to improve. She is the type of player that is always working on getting better and motivating her team.

"She understands the importance of coming out to train and play every game. She understands that when there's a lull, it's her responsibility to pick things up, and she shoulders that responsibility really well," head coach Erica Walsh said. "As far as I'm concerned, she's the best left-sided player in the country."

Hurd plays a vital role in motivating the team's performance and also makes sure the team's energy is up. She is known as one of the most outgoing players on the team.

UMass Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Terry M. Smith

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10322810.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry M. Smith talked to the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions host UMass on Saturday at 4 p.m. (BTN). Take a look at a Q&A with Smith leading up to Saturday's home game.


Q: What have these first few months been like for you coaching back at your alma mater?
Smith:
"It's been really, really exciting. You couldn't dream of such an outcome for myself career-wise. It's been an exciting opportunity for me to work with such a great staff. Obviously, coming back to Penn State has been so good for not only me, but my entire family, as well."

Q: What have you seen from this group of freshmen cornerbacks so far?
Smith:
"I think we've got a group of tremendously talented freshmen at corner. They are all a little bit different. Amani (Oruwariye) is a big, long guy. Christian (Campbell) is kind of long and athletic. Grant (Haley) is more of a smaller, more explosive athlete. Daquan (Worley) is kind of that type of athlete, as well. They bring something different. I think they are all quality players for us. Clearly, Grant is having a really good freshman season so far. We got Christian in a little bit last week. Our plans are for him to have a little more action this week. They are all guys we think will be very successful in the program."

Q: How do you feel like your guys at corner have done at tackling so far this year?
Smith:
"This past game, as a defensive unit, we had some struggles with missing some tackles. The running back we played this past week was a pretty good running back. We do tackling drills each day on Tuesday and Wednesday when we are in pads. We do some angle tackles, some sideline tackles, some form-fit tackles. It's an area of emphasis for us. As we move forward into the heart of the Big Ten season, the backs are bigger and stronger, so we can't afford to have missed tackles."

Q: Were you frustrated at all during the first couple weeks not coming away with interceptions? And then after last week, what was the feeling after getting so many?
Smith:
"We weren't frustrated. You are calculated as to when you have your opportunities. The critical piece is when you get your hands on the ball, you have to make the play that is there. You've got to be patient. Sometimes it's there; sometimes it's not. Obviously, as the season has gone on, we are getting better. We are a lot better this week than we were UCF week. That's a critical piece. Are we improving week to week? And right now, we are making those improvements, and hopefully we'll take another step this week."

Q: What can last week do for Trevor Williams and what level is he playing at right now?
Smith:
"Tremendous confidence boost for him. Two interceptions. He had a tremendous night. Obviously, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. I think this could take Trevor to another level. He's been practicing really well for the last few weeks. It wasn't any surprise that he played well because he has been practicing well. I think Trevor could potentially be one of the top corners in the league. Obviously, he has to continue to get better and provide consistency at the corner. But we are very happy with his approach to practice and games each day."

Q: What did you learn at your last stop coaching wide receivers that has helped you in teaching your guys at corner?
Smith:
"The biggest thing is route recognition. When guys have certain splits or when guys take certain stems towards our cornerbacks, I can tell our guys basically on the first three steps that it is one of three routes. And then based on the next couple steps, I can tell my guys (what I think is coming). So, we've got better route recognition of what is coming at you, so it can be easier for our guys to know what is coming and defend. The route recognition is first and foremost."

Q: What are some of the nuances that go with blitzing from the cornerback position?
Smith:
"Well, depending on what the blitz is - if it's just a corner crasher coming off the side, you've got to time it. You've got to disguise your look. Once you show it, they will slide the protection to you and you will have a big 330-pound tackle on a corner, which isn't fair. So, we work on our hedge and release. There are also certain blitzes where we send a backer up the field and a corner comes underneath. We work on that technique, as well. It takes a lot of time and effort at practice to get it right. We've got to make sure we get it right because each Saturday it has to be perfect to execute and be right."

Q: What have you seen from the UMass offense and the passing game in particular?
Smith:
"They do some things that make you think about what you are doing. They want you to prepare for a lot of different looks. They do some formational things with unbalance. They do a little bit of wildcat, just enough to make you prepare for it. They've got a big, strong quarterback behind center. They've got three good targets that they want to get the football to. So, they try to make plays to get those three guys the football. And they do it in some unorthodox ways with bubble screens, some motions, some shifts and just a lot of things you have to prepare for. They are just looking for that one breakdown to exploit."



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony


By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Women's intercollegiate athletics have come along way over the last 50 years. The first women's intercollegiate athletic contest took place at Pollock Field, home of the Nittany Lion field hockey team. Over the past 50 years, the Penn State field hockey program has grown in both success and prowess in the NCAA and Big Ten. Here's a look back over the past 50 years of one of Penn State's first women's sports team.

1960s: intercollegiate athletics are no longer just played by men...

-1964: Penn State's field hockey team began its first season. Pat Seni coached the team.

-The Nittany Lions went 4-0 that season.

-The Nittany Lions appeared in four USFHA field hockey tournaments.

1970s:  Building A Program

-1970-1973: Tonya Toole coached the Nittany Lions for four seasons. Under Toole's direction, Penn State won 13 games.

-1972: Title IX is passed and gender equality is now required in education and athletics.

-1974: Coach Gillian Rattray took over the helm as the head coach of Penn State's field hockey program. The Nittany Lions closed out the 70s with a record of 59-21.

-Five different Nittany Lions were named NFHCA All-Americans (starting in 1977), including current head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss three times.

1980s: The Nittany Lions Gain A Foothold in Collegiate Field Hockey

-Coach Rattray led the Nittany Lions for seven more seasons and celebrated the only undefeated season in 1980 (22-0-2), and the first AIAW national championship. Penn State also won the 1981 AIAW National Championship.

-1980: Broderick Award given to Jeannie Fissinger.

-1981: Broderick Award given Candy Finn.

-1982: Field hockey player Brenda Stauffer was named National Player of the Year. Penn State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance.

-1984: Stauffer, Chris Larson and Charlene Morett earned the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Ca.

-1987: Former Nittany Lion and Olympian, Morett, took over the helm as Penn State's head coach.

-Penn State had nine different first team All-Americans in the 80s.

1990s: Dominating the A-10, the Big Ten and the NCAA

-1990: The Nittany Lions won the A-10 Conference and represented Penn State in the NCAA semi-finals.

-1992: Penn State joins the Big Ten conference and finish with an 8-2 conference record.

-1993: Morett-Curtiss' Nittany Lions won Penn State's first Big Ten Championship and made another appearance in the NCAA semi-finals.

-1995-1998: Penn State is crowned either Big Ten Conference regular season or tournament champion each year.

-Penn State had 16 NFHCA first team All-Americans in the 90s and made the NCAA Tournament each season.

2000s: Making It To The Finals...

-2002: The Nittany Lions make it to the final round of the NCAA Championships for the first time.

-2005: The Nittany Lions win another Big Ten Championship

-2007: Morett-Curtiss' Nittany Lions make it to the final round of the NCAA Championships again.

-2008: Another Big Ten Championship is added to the list.

-Eight different individuals were named first team All-Americans in the 90s. 

2010s: WE ARE...not finished yet

-2011-2013: The Nittany Lions have successfully won either the Big Ten regular season or tournament championship, each year. In 2012, they won both.

-One NFHCA All-American.

-As of 2014, there have been 15 different former Nittany Lions represented on the U.S. National Team.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - UMass Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin provided an update to the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex. The Nittany Lions host UMass on Saturday for an 4 p.m. kick on BTN.






Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Koudys, Jensen, Glen: Trio of Leaders for Penn State Hockey

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10321310.jpegBy Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Wearing the "C" or "A" in hockey means something much more significant than donning an extra letter on the front of a jersey. These letters represent ideals such as leadership, experience, strength and dedication.

As announced in June, defenseman Patrick Koudys will serve as captain this season for Penn State, while defenseman Nate Jensen and forward David Glen will both reprise their assistant captains roles.

Leadership

The three Penn State hockey captains were chosen based on a team vote at the conclusion of the Spring 2014 semester. The results were then taken to the coaching staff to both approve the team's selections and finalize the decision.

"It's a huge honor," said Koudys of his captaincy. "We had a great bunch of guys, so it's obviously a nice thing when a lot of the guys think that about you, but we've got a lot of guys who are in the locker room leading, so it's kind of easy for me.

During the 2013-'14 run, the Ontario-native blocked a team-high 79 shots and was one of only four Nittany Lions to compete in all 36 games. The 6-foot-3 defenseman also recorded a career-high eight points, tallying two goals and six assists on the season.

While this may be Koudys' first year as a captain for the Blue and White, two veterans join him. This season will mark Jensen's third and Glen's second consecutive year as assistant captains.

Glen and Jensen both appeared in 32 and 28 games, respectively. Jensen's eight missed games were all due to injury. The defenseman totaled 10 points with a career-high three goals, one of which was the first ever scored at Pegula Ice Arena.

"I lead by example," said Jensen. "I go out there every day and work hard, and hopefully the younger guys follow me, see what I do. "

Three of Glen's four absences can be attributed to the bone marrow donation procedure he underwent in late January and early February. Throughout his 32 games, the forward accumulated a plus-three rating, earning him recognition as the sole Lion with a positive mark.

All three are ready to work together and help their team continue on the path of success this season.

"Koudys is our captain this year, and he does a great job," said Jensen. "He leads by example, and he has a voice to him too. Glen and I are just his disciples. We help him out whenever we can. Since he's still kind of new, we fill him in on some stuff, but we all work as a team really well. I think that's what makes our captains really great."

Responsibilities


As a captain, there are a number of added responsibilities, one of which includes coordinating schedules with all student-athletes on the 27-man roster.

"I think a main part of it is organization," Koudys said. "I have to try to organize 26 guys and myself to be doing the same thing, whether it's on the ice or off the ice, especially now when the coaches aren't allowed on the ice. I try to get practices going and things like that, but like I said, we've got a great group of guys so I wouldn't say it's difficult by any means. Everyone's doing the right thing and trying to get better out there, so it's pretty easy for me."

Although the Penn State squad is mostly comprised of upperclassmen veterans, the captains still act as mentors. Koudys, Jensen and Glen are all people the rest of the team, including the three freshmen, can look to for guidance and advice.

"We kind of take care of the freshmen a little bit more," Jensen explained. "If they have any questions, we help them out. Other than that, if any of the guys have some questions outside the rink, or needs someone to talk to, we're always there. We're just kind of a big brother to lean on."

2014-'15 Expectations

With eight seniors, nine juniors and seven sophomores on the roster, 24 of the 27 student-athletes are returning members, which not only gives the Lions an added edge but also leadership that expands far past the three captains.

"Our whole senior class, and then even the juniors, we've got a lot of older guys," said Koudys. "Everyone is kind of a leader in their own way, whether it's on the ice or in the classroom. I think if you look around the room, everyone has certain qualities that you try to do and try to beat, and if everyone is doing that, we're doing just fine."

With the majority of last year's team still intact, the dynamic finish to the 2013-14 year and a thrilling performance in the Big Ten Tournament is still fresh in the minds of the Lions. Penn State hockey and its captains are ready to pick up where it left off.

"We need to build off last year," Koudys said. "I think we grew as a team, so we need to continue from where we finished and come back this year at that spot or better. I feel like we're in better shape than last year. Guys are working really hard right now, and I expect to win more games and go from there."

"With everyone coming back, we're looking to make some noise this year," added Jensen. "I'm not going to say a Big Ten Championship, but I don't think we're far from it. I think we're going to have a great year."