Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 8

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By Ashni Dhruva, Penn State women's golf

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Day six in Ireland includes a trip to Ballybunion Golf Club before a few afternoon excursions. Read More

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 8

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Our  trip has ended the exact same way it started ... a CANCELLED flight! We started off with an early morning, piling into the bus at 6:45 a.m. We then had a two hour drive to the Shannon Airport only to go inside and find out that our flight had been cancelled.

So, we packed up the bus again and headed to the Dublin Airport to try and catch a flight back to the United States. While we were waiting for the coaches to figure out the situation, the team stayed back in the bus jamming out to throwback songs and talking about the memories we made throughout the week.

The coaches returned to the bus with some good and bad news. The bad news is that we will be staying an extra night in Dublin and hopefully be able to fly out tomorrow morning. The good news is that we get to make up the day we didn't have at the start of our trip!

We had a wonderful dinner and we can't wait to get back to State College! 

- Ashni Dhruva, sophomore

Training Camp Breakdown: Offensive Line

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By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the offensive line.
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Training Camp Breakdown: Offensive Line

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week three of training camp is winding down, with Penn State capping off the weekend holding its annual team photo day Sunday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.

Ahead of the official start of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster. 

Who's Back:
- Andrew Nelson (GS/Sr.)                  - Zach Simpson (Jr./So.)
- Steven Gonzalez (Jr./So.)               - Brendan Mahon (RS-Sr./Sr.)
- Charlie Shuman (Sr./Sr.)                  - Connor McGovern (So./So.)
- Sterling Jenkins (Jr./So.)                  - Hunter Kelly (So./Fr.)
- Chasz Wright (Sr./Jr.)                      - Alex Gellerstedt (So./Fr.)
- Michal Menet (So./Fr.)                      - Will Fries (So./Fr.)
- Ryan Bates (Jr./So.) 

- Crae McCracken (Fr./Fr., 6-2/301, Williamsport, Pa./Loyalsock Township), Mike Miranda (Fr./Fr., 6-3/291, Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe), C.J. Thorpe (Fr./Fr., 6-3/314, Glenshaw, Pa./Central Catholic), Des Holmes (Fr./Fr., 6-5/325, Norristown, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara), Robbie Martin (Fr./Fr., 6-4/280, Sparta, N.J./Saint Joseph Regional). 

- Brian Gaia, Wendy Laurent, Tom Devenney, Adam De Boef, Noah Beh, Brendan Brosnan, Paris Palmer. 

What To Watch For:
It's no surprise that Penn State's offensive line is trending upward and much improved, shaped by the leadership of second-year offensive line coach Matt Limegrover with an added boost from a full complement of scholarships available to the Nittany Lions.

"Two things that stand out to me with the offensive line is the physicality," defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry said on media day. "We've got pretty good front guys that are lining up toe to toe daily with those guys. Even going back to spring, just the movement and size and power and working together, it's hard to find a weakness."


Even with steady improvement, there's still much to settle in training camp, with Penn State putting out seven different starting combinations in 2016. The common denominator amongst the group was of course veteran center Brian Gaia, who the Nittany Lions lost to graduation. 

By spring ball though, head coach James Franklin noted that among a bunch of changes, Penn State would move sophomore Connor McGovern to center. One of five true freshmen to start in 2016, McGovern made nine starts on the offensive line at right guard, before moving to center, where he'll have the entire offseason to continue building not only physical experience, but mental experience too with added leadership responsibilities coming with the position.

Among the veteran leaders in the room, Penn State has maturity and experience in Brendan Mahon and Andrew Nelson at left and right tackle. With 29 career starts, Mahon has the most experience, but was sidelined with an injury, along with Nelson, who missed eight games but has 27 career starts for the Nittany Lions. Working back to 100 percent, Franklin mentioned on media day that he was pleased with their progress.

"They've looked good," Franklin said. "I think when you've got seniors - redshirt seniors - that have played a lot of football, they've got a lot of maturity, so if you're going to have a guy that maybe is a little limited in terms of - they're not limited anywhere physically - their reps, they're probably guys who could handle that situation the best, and they've done a good job with it."

Like any position, injuries to the offensive line last year will only pay dividends this season, with depth now an option even as redshirt Nittany Lions join the mix. 

"Last year they were the unsung heroes of what we did," special teams coordinator and running backs coach Charles Huff said on media day. "Building on that, they have a lot more confidence. Some of those guys are back. They're challenging the younger guys. The younger guys that redshirted last year are taking bigger roles. We've probably seen a lot of growth from those redshirt guys that are really impressive."

In his redshirt freshman season, Ryan Bates joined Gaia as the only two offensive linemen to start every game last year, even making the move from left guard to tackle late in the season. With versatility to play guard, tackle or center, Bates was among Limegrover's top performers from spring ball.

With Bates' move to tackle, Steven Gonzalez made three starts at left guard, playing in 11 games during his redshirt freshman season. Chasz Wright also started all 14 games of his sophomore season last year, starting the final five games of the season at right tackle.

Adding into the mix for the offensive line rotation this year is redshirt Will Fries and Sterling Jenkins, both who Limegrover noted in spring ball as a pair making strides. 


Among the newcomers, both Limegrover and Franklin were pleased with early enrollee Mike Miranda, who also made significant strides in the weight room as noted by Assistant Athletics Director for Performance Enhancement, Dwight Galt at Penn State's annual Lift for Life event. Taking reps with the ones in spring ball per Franklin, Miranda was also a pleasant surprise for Limegrover. At six-foot-three and 291 pounds, the Stow, Ohio native helped Stow-Munroe Falls to a 10-2 record and a state playoff appearance as a senior, ranked as high as the No. 6 player in Ohio by Scout.

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 7

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Friday marked our last day together in my home country Ireland. We were able to sleep in until 8 a.m., which was fantastic. It was our final day having breakfast at the hotel so I took full advantage of the amazing selection of breakfast food they had. The Irish pudding was so good! 

Then we set out to play at Tralee Golf Club. When we got there, we noticed how windy it was. Despite it being 40 mph winds all day, it was an unbelievable experience. I don't think anyone had experienced such extreme weather. The weather was something we will never forget. 

Arnold Palmer.jpg

It would rain for one hole and then next hole it would be down pouring. I remember on the seventh hole, we were discussing where to aim since the wind was coming very strong to the right. The only way to get the ball on the fairway was to aim out of bounds and let the wind bring it in. Some holes we would have to hit four to five clubs extra to reach the hole. Despite the very tricky conditions, we all fought on.

Pen State Cake.jpg

It was also our final day of competition between the black and pink team. We played match play format. The points were tight all day, but the black team came out as the champions.

After we finished our last golf round in Ireland, we headed back to the hotel to have our farewell dinner at the hotel. My parents joined us from Dublin for dinner and it was lovely having them there beside me before I leave for college.

My mum surprised us with an amazing leprechaun cake. However, they made a funny typo and wrote "Pen State" instead of "Penn State."

We are all sad that this amazing trip has come to an end. We have made some memorable memories together and really got to know each other better. 

- Ariana Coyle Diez

Sheva Key in Opening Victory

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By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A rare two-sport athlete at Penn State, junior midfielder Marissa Sheva proves key in Penn State's home-opening victory against BYU with career performance. Read More

Sheva Key in Opening Victory

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nearly three months ago junior midfielder Marissa Sheva was competing on the Nittany Lion Outdoor Track, helping to guide the 2017 Big Ten Champion indoor Penn State women's team to a third-place finish at the outdoor track and field championships. 

A rare two-sport athlete in the collegiate setting, even Penn State head coach Erica Dambach noted that without Sheva's presence in the spring season, the staff wasn't quite sure what to expect. 

When the big lights came on and the fervent crowd at Jeffrey Field showed up, so did Sheva.

"Marissa has proven to be someone who can handle those big moments, obviously she is a two-sport athlete so she has been in those big moments so many times and just thinking about putting on frame and giving it the chance and she did a great job with it," Dambach said.

Less than 10 minutes into the official start of the 2017-18 Penn State Athletics slate, junior midfielder Charlotte Williams found Sheva wide open on a breakaway, where she finished from fewer than 10 yards out to give the Nittany Lions an early 1-0 edge against eighth-ranked BYU.

"I just really wanted to get it off my foot as soon as possible because I knew I had a defender coming on me and I knew that an early lead would really give us some energy that we needed," Sheva said.

Penn State's stifling defense limited BYU to just three shots in the opening half, as the crowd of 3,570 at Jeffrey field heightened the intensity giving the Nittany Lions a needed boost in the second half.

The Cougars though, would not remain silenced as Cameron Tucker slipped the equalizer in the second half past an outstretched redshirt junior goalkeeper Rose Chandler 

"I wasn't even nervous," Chandler said. "They came back with that goal and I was like, we're going to go get another one, you could feel it in the energy, no heads went down. I grabbed the ball out of the back of the net and I said okay we have to go score and we scored once and we said, okay, we have to go score again, and I love that energy from our team because we trust each other and we're really excited."

It was junior Alina Ortega-Jurado, who came off the bench in the first half, netting the go-ahead for the Nittany Lions in the second half, sparking just enough momentum for Sheva to strike again in a short stretch of time.

Finishing in a key moment once again, Sheva placed her second goal of the night in net off of a pair of rebounds from freshman Frankie Tagliaferri and Williams to send Penn State ahead 3-1.

Tagliaferri was one of three Nittany Lion newcomers to see the field, all from a freshman class ranked as high as fourth nationally by She finished tied for first on the team with Williams with three shots.

"It was great to see the freshmen implementing a lot of the things that we've been working on and catching on so quickly" Sheva said. "They really play a huge part in the team, we have a lot of depth, so they're definitely going to help us this year." 

That wouldn't be all from BYU, as the Cougars continued to pepper Chandler. Making her first career start for the Nittany Lions, Chandler all but locked up the victory with a spectacular save in the final five minutes of play.

"Rose is a very good goalkeeper and I think everybody had to get the jitters out a little bit and then once you did, a huge save from her toward the end there and that's a game-changing save there," Dambach said.   

Penn State has a quick turnaround as it turns the focus toward Hofstra. The Nittany Lions close out opening weekend Sunday, Aug. 20 with an afternoon matchup set for 1 p.m. at Jeffrey Field.

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 6

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By Kamerine Taylor, Penn State women's golf

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Day six in Ireland includes a trip to Ballybunion Golf Club before a few afternoon excursions. Read More

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 6

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Thursday marked our second to last full day in Ireland. Due to 8 a.m. tee times at Ballybunion Golf Club, our day got off to an early start. After grabbing breakfast to go and gathering our team, we stepped out of the hotel and into the rain. 

TeeBoxView.JPG The rain continued throughout our bus ride to County Kerry and arrival at Ballybunion. Despite the wet conditions, our team could not wait to experience one of Ireland's finest golf clubs. Ballybunion is home to two courses: the Old Course and the Cashen Course. Our team would be playing the Old Course, which was established in 1893. The format for the day was a two-person scramble match play. 

As we were walking to the first tee, several of us were stopped by another group of golfers. They noticed our Penn State gear, and since one of the guys was a Penn State alum, we had to take pictures! 

When standing on the first tee, it's easy to see why Ballybunion is so unique and historic. With the course situated on the cliffs of the Atlantic Ocean, almost every direction gives you a scenic view. Along with ocean views, thick heather, pot bunkers, and firm greens, the first hole even includes a graveyard. 

Although the conditions early in the morning were wet and chilly, we couldn't complain about the weather during our round. With a bit of Irish luck, we had no rain and wind speeds between 20 and 25 mph. 

Once our matches concluded, we set off to have lunch in the club's restaurant. The restaurant faces west and overlooks the 18th hole of the Old Course and the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Cathedral_T.jpg Our day would not be complete without a few afternoon excursions. Our first stop was to a beach not far from the golf course. In fact, the beach was north of the Cashen Course and included views of the ruins of Ballybunion Castle, which makes up the logo for the golf club. Our second stop was at an old Catholic Cathedral. The oldest part of the structure was built in the 12th century.

We spent our evening winding down at a traditional Irish pub in downtown Killarney. Experiencing traditional links golf at Ballybunion Golf Club and sightseeing on our return trip to Killarney made day four in Ireland one for the books!

- Kamerine Taylor, junior

Training Camp Breakdown: Cornerbacks

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By Arielle Sargent,

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the cornerbacks. Read More


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