McAdam Records First Career Shutout, Offense Stands Tall

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11528671.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Behind a powerful performance by the special teams, the Penn State men's hockey team (8-2-3) returned to Hockey Valley victorious, after shutting out Vermont (3-2-9), 4-0, in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff on Sunday.

"We really believe in what we do as a team, with the structure, so it doesn't matter who we're playing, we want to play the same game and put up the same effort," said junior forward Dylan Richard. 

Richard had two goals in Sunday's contest, his first coming on the power play.

"I think [the power play is] doing a great job at creating chances, shooting the puck and really just creating a little bit of chaos in front of the net," said Richard.

Junior Zach Saar also got on the board for the Nittany Lions on Sunday thanks to a strong shot off the faceoff during another Nittany Lions power play. Both Richard and Saar scored in Penn State's last shutout win, a Feb. 8, 2014 game against Michigan.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky has said previously the power play is an area he wants to focus on improving, and making it a stable factor of Penn State's offense.

The most outstanding performance of Sunday's game, however, came from the young man in net for the Nittany Lions, junior Eamon McAdam. The Perkasie, Pa., native had 30 saves against the Catamounts on his was to his first shut out as a Nittany Lion.

"I think it was a game where we came out hot and were able to control the play in the first period," said McAdam. "[Vermont] had a few chances, but nothing crazy."

Several scrambles in front of Penn State's net could have yielded goals, if McAdam wasn't a dominating presence in the crease.

"The second period we hit kind of a wall so I stepped up and made saves and kind of kept it 1-0 for a while." said McAdam. "Toward the end of the game it turned into a team effort, with guys blocking shots and back checking. I played a really good game but it's all about a great team effort."

Playing in his hometown NHL arena was a highlight of the season so far for McAdam, who had an abundance of family members in attendance for Sunday's game.

"I grew up watching Flyers games pretty much every night. It's making one of my dreams come true [to play in Wells-Fargo Center]," said McAdam.

McAdam had previously started for the Nittany Lions in net the last time the team visited Wells-Fargo Center, during the 2013 Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff.

McAdam said the atmosphere of Wells-Fargo Center provided the perfect backdrop for Penn State's win Sunday afternoon.

"To play in front of 9,000 people, that's a pretty cool experience and it's easy to get pretty pumped up for a game like this," said McAdam. 

Sixth Straight Shutout Propels Lions to Fifth College Cup

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11527054.jpegBy Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It wasn't easy, but the No. 1-seeded Penn State women's soccer team

(20-3-2) defeated No. 2 seed West Virginia Saturday to advance to its fifth College Cup and second in the last four years.

In reality, Penn State and West Virginia entered as two of the most accomplished programs in the country and extremely evenly matched. With the help of an early goal and a rousing home crowd, Penn State bested a physical West Virginia squad.

"That is a really good team that we battled with tonight," said head coach Erica Walsh. "I thought the quality of play overall was fantastic on both sides of the ball. There's so many quality players and that's two good, discipline teams."

Sophomore Emily Ogle got the Nittany Lions on the board early with a goal in the 12th minute. From 27 yards out, Ogle swung a free kick into the middle of the box and WVU goalkeeper Hannah Steadman mistimed her jump as the ball hit off her gloves and bounced through the posts.

After scoring only twice in the first 20 matches, Ogle has now scored five goals in Penn State's previous five games to bring her 2015 goal total to seven.

"Ogle has really come into her own in the attack," Walsh said. "We have so many weapons in that attack, and she's always been the key to our assists but now she's finding her stride in that area. It all speaks to the quality of the team overall."

Following a flurry of chances from both sides the remainder of the half, Penn State struck again in the 39th minute off the right foot of Frannie Crouse. The sophomore received a perfectly placed ball from substitute Ellie Jean in the box and finished in the top left corner to double the Blue and White's lead.

Crouse finished the contest with five of Penn State's 14 shots, each on goal. She has now matched her goal total from the previous season with 10 in 2015.

"The ball was played across and Mal (Weber) was right beside me and it looked like it was going to her," said Crouse. "I knew that I was more open than she was so I screamed to let it go and luckily she let it go and I saw the goalie was a little pressed to the right so I hit it to the upper left corner."

The second half was a chippy one to say the least. West Virginia became tremendously physical, as it's been all year, but Penn State matched the physicality.

Despite encountering six shots in the second half and 10 in the game, goalie Britt Eckerstrom and the back line held their ground for their sixth straight shutout.

"This is a really special senior class for us," said Walsh. "Britt Eckerstrom was fabulous tonight in goal, and all of our seniors have been so special throughout this final run of the season. There's so much to be proud of with this group."

"It takes the whole team," said Eckerstrom. "What a way to finish out a soccer career if we win a National Championship. We finished our time here on Jeffrey Field in pretty good fashion, but we have two more games to go to finish this up."

The Nittany Lions improved their home record in the NCAA Tournament to 36-6-1 with the victory. The Lions notched 14 wins on Jeffrey Field in 2015, which ties the program record set in '05 and '06.

Unfortunately, Penn State will not return to Jeffrey Field this season, as the team will now travel to Cary, N.C., to battle Big Ten foe and No. 2-seed Rutgers in the College Cup semifinals on Friday.

Scouting the Scarlet Knights

Penn State and Rutgers faced off merely 20 days ago on Nov. 8 in the Big Ten Championship. Penn State got the best of the Scarlet Knights in a solid 2-0 win, but Rutgers defeated the Nittany Lions back on Oct. 18 in Piscataway, N.J.

Rutgers won an improbable quarterfinal game against the No.1 ranked team in the country, the Virginia Cavaliers, in PK's to advance to the College Cup. Down 2-0 in the penalty stage, RU fought back and won 7-6 on PK's in the end.

Like Penn State, Rutgers prides itself on its tough, gritty defense. Both teams have yet to surrender a goal in regular time so far in the NCAA Tournament.

Goalkeeper Casey Murphy has been an absolute stud between the posts for the Scarlet Knights in 2015. She hasn't missed one minute on the field, and she's only allowed eight shots by her this season. Her .327 Goals Allowed Average is the best mark in the nation.

However, 25 percent of her goals allowed this year have been surrendered to the Nittany Lions.

Offensively, Colby Ciarrocca leads the way for RU with nine goals and four assists, both highest totals on the team. Aside from Ciarrocca, Rutgers' offensive attack isn't very potent. The Scarlet Knights have scored 40 goals in 2015, as opposed to Penn State's 61.

The beasts of the B1G should unquestionably provide an entertaining, defensive rubber match on Friday in Cary. The winner will face the winner of Florida State-Duke from the opposite end of the bracket on Dec. 6.

VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame Press Conference - at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Head coach James Franklin talks with the media following the regular season finale at Michigan State.

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

VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks - at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Hear from several Nittany Lions as they talk with the media following Saturday's regular season finale at Michigan State.

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2015 Gameday Live - Penn State at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Welcome to live, interactive coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions will meet Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in the final regular season game. Follow along for live updates from gameday.

Live Blog 2015 Gameday Live - Penn State at Michigan State


2015 Photo Blog - Penn State at Michigan State

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - Welcome to live coverage of the 2015 Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions will meet Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in the final regular season game. Follow along for photos from gameday.




VIDEO: NCAA Women's Soccer Quarterfinal Preview

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-seeded Nittany Lion women's soccer team is set to host second-seeded West Virginia on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the NCAA quarterfinals.

The Lions and Mountaineers will clash with a spot in the 2015 College Cup on the line. Making its third appearance in the quarterfinals since 2012, the Nittany Lions are no stranger to this stage. The team is headed into the round of eight with a great deal of confidence following a dominant start to the NCAA Tournament.

Penn State has outscored its opponents 15-0 during the first three games of the tournament. In total, the Lions have not allowed a goal in five-straight games, stretching back to the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State and West Virginia are familiar foes, with WVU scoring a narrow 1-0 victory back on Sept. 4.

GoPSUsports.com spent time with head coach Erica Walsh and senior midfielder Raquel Rodriguez to preview the NCAA quarterfinal matchup against West Virginia. Take a look here.

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2015 Gameday - Lions Travel to Michigan State for Regular Season Finale

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Gameday Central | Game Notes | Game Blog | Press Conference Roundup

Wednesday Practice Update | Monday Notebook | Lions in the NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State will wrap up its 2015 regular season with a trip to No. 5 Michigan State on Saturday afternoon.

Looking to snap a two-game slide after winning seven of their previous eight games, the Nittany Lions (7-4, 4-3) will battle the Spartans (10-1, 6-1) in a 3:30 p.m. kick (ESPN) inside Spartan Stadium.

11518686.jpeg"We've got another really good opportunity, you could make an argument maybe the top program in the conference right now (is Michigan State)," said Franklin. "They've got a culture of winning that they've established now. Again, they have talent on offense, defense and special teams and at each level, and they play smart. This is a tremendous opportunity for us. Looking forward to the opportunity to compete."

For the second-straight week and third time in 2015, the Nittany Lions will collide with a team ranked in the Top 12 of the national rankings. Penn State's trip to East Lansing on Saturday will mark its first since a 42-14 victory over the Spartans to close out the 2009 season.

Saturday's matchup will pit two of the nation's best defensive ends on the field in Nittany Lion Carl Nassib and Spartan Shilique Calhoun. Despite playing only three snaps against Michigan due to injury, Nassib still leads the country in sacks (15.5), tackles for loss (19.5) and forced fumbles (6). Calhoun is 18th in FBS in sacks with 8.5 and has 15 quarterback hurries.

Additionally, the game will feature two of the Big Ten's best quarterbacks in Christian Hackenberg and Michigan State's Connor Cook. Hackenberg has become PSU's career leader in passing yards (8,061), touchdown passes (46), completions (663), attempts (1,182), 200-yard passing games (20) and 300-yard passing games (9). Cook is the winningest quarterback in school history with a 32-4 record (.889) as the starter, including a 21-2 (.913) mark against Big Ten opponents. He is a finalist of the Unitas Golden Arm Award.

Led by head coach Mark Dantonio, Michigan State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) is the fifth-ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings this week. The Spartans turned in a masterful defensive performance in a road victory over No. 3 Ohio State last week. Kicker Michael Geiger nailed a 41-yard field goal as time expired to knock off the Buckeyes, 17-14. The Spartan defense limited Ohio State to five first downs and 132 yards of total offense in the win. Michigan State's lone setback in 2015 came in the final seconds in a 39-38 decision at Nebraska.

In a series that dates back to 1914, Penn State and Michigan State will meet for the 30th time on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are 14-14-1 all-time against the Spartans and 5-8 in games at Michigan State.

Following the trip Michigan State, Penn State will await its bowl destination with the announcement coming on Dec. 6. The Nittany Lions are eligible to compete in their 46th bowl game.

Welcome to the gameday preview for week 12 - Penn State at Michigan State.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
11518683.jpeg1. Coach Franklin was very clear this week in that he wants to see a more physical approach from the offensive line and tight ends when blocking in the trenches. Penn State's offensive success in East Lansing will hinge on the play up front. Additionally, the Lions will be looking to get Saquon Barkley open space in the running game. In Penn State's four Big Ten victories, the Lions have rushed for an average of 163 rushing yards per game. Success on the ground also opens up opportunities for quarterback Christian Hackenberg down the field. The Nittany Lions are tied for the Big Ten lead in passing plays of 30 or more yards with 23 on the season.

2. Like the offensive line, Penn State's defensive line will be looking to control the line of scrimmage when Michigan State has the ball. The combination of the starting line - Carl Nassib, Garrett Sickels, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel - has spearheaded a season filled with 97 tackles for loss through the first 11 games. The Spartans have only allowed 15 sacks this season. Penn State has tallied 44 sacks as a defense.

3. The Nittany Lion offense has been terrific at turning red zone visits into points this season. The Lions are ranked No. 10 in the nation in conversion percentage (92.3 percent). However, scoring touchdowns inside the 20 has been a big point of emphasis. The Nittany Lions have ended red zone visits in the end zone 53 percent of the time in 2015. Against a team like Michigan State, the Lions know they need to get the ball in the end zone when presented with opportunities. Coach Franklin said scoring touchdowns in the red zone is a byproduct of being able to run the ball. Keep an eye on Barkley inside the 20.

What to Watch For - Michigan State
1. The stakes are high for the Spartans on Saturday. A win from Michigan State would send it to Indianapolis for a date with Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. Additionally, the victory would crown the Spartans as the East Division champion for 2015. Going a step further, Michigan State is firmly in the picture for the College Football Playoff as the season nears conclusion. Simply put, the Spartans have a lot on the line during Senior Day in East Lansing.

2. Connor Cook missed last week's game in Columbus due to a shoulder injury, but head coach Mark Dantonio said earlier this week that Cook was close to a return. The veteran signal-caller is among the best players in the Big Ten. An accurate passer with great field awareness, Cook is averaging 282.2 passing yards per game and is tied for the Big Ten lead with 21 passing touchdowns this season. Cook has thrown for 2,482 yards this season. Wide out Aaron Burbridge is the Big Ten's top receiver with 69 receptions for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns this season. Burbridge is an exceptional receiver when it comes to make contested catches in traffic. R.J. Shelton and Macgarrett Kings have made 34 and 33 receptions, respectively.

3. As is the theme throughout most of the Big Ten, the Michigan State defense is led by a stout front seven. Linebackers Riley Bullough, Darien Harris and Jon Reschke are MSU's top three tacklers with 83, 71 and 67 stops, respectively. Defensive end Shilique Calhoun and nose tackle Malik McDowell have combined for 22 tackles for loss and 12 sacks thus far in 2015. Michigan State's defense is tied for the Big Ten lead with Iowa and Penn State in turnovers forced at 21 on the season.

The Final Word:
When the Penn State-Michigan State series was renewed with the Nittany Lions' entrance into the Big Ten in 1993, the Land Grant Trophy was established to go to the winner in what was each school's annual season finale from 1993-2010.  The Land Grant Trophy honors Penn State's and Michigan State's unique places in history as the two pioneer land-grant institutions in the United States.

Each school was founded in 1855, Michigan State on February 12 and Penn State on Feb. 22. The schools were the prototypes after which the land-grant system was patterned. The Land Grant Trophy joins the Governor's Victory Bell, presented to the Penn State-Minnesota victor, as the other trophy the Nittany Lions play for in Big Ten competition.

The Lions and Spartans will be meeting in the regular season finale for the 20th time since 1993. ESPN's live coverage of the Michigan State game begins at 3:30 p.m. ET with kickoff slated for 3:35 p.m. Bob Wischusen (Play-by-Play), Brock Huard (Analyst) and Shannon Spake (Sideline) will call the game.

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - The grind of a student-athlete includes balancing both athletics and academics, and sacrificing time at home, sometimes missing holidays due to practice or games. This year, while the Lady Lions won't be able to go home for Thanksgiving like their classmates, they will be able to get away from campus. Instead of partaking in their usual training in Happy Valley this week, the team hopped on a plane and traveled out west to California to play in the Radisson Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic.

The team left for the Golden State on Monday in preparation for their game against Cal State Northridge on Friday night. The early departure was to allow ample time for the team to get acclimated to the time difference, and to get some practice time in California.

"The time change was definitely something to get used to," said junior Peyton Whitted. "I'm an early bird so I was up at 5 a.m. [on Tuesday], but the weather's been great, we got to see a lot of California, just got to get out a little bit and enjoy the area and also prepare for our games on Friday and Saturday."

While being away from family on Thanksgiving is nothing new to the veteran players, they don't mind it as much when they get to spend it with their second family, their teammates and coaches. It's a sacrifice worth making for the chance to travel and to play against different non-conference teams.

"To me, it feels the same since I'm going into my junior year," said Kaliyah Mitchell. "I consider this [team] my family, I get along with everybody, and we're with each other throughout the whole year so it's not really Thanksgiving away from family, it's just Thanksgiving with another family. I'm getting used to being away from my family in Georgia and being with my teammates for Thanksgiving." 

With a young team, the Lady Lions are no strangers to working on their bonds as teammates, on and off the court. Being on the other side of the country together over the holidays has allowed them to strengthen that bond with each other. Whitted explained that even though they're always with each other on campus, being on a trip together in a different area with new things to do enhances that bonding experience.

"We're playing basketball two hours out of the day, so the rest of the day is for us to hang out with each other, and do whatever," Whitted said. "We went to the mall on Tuesday, and while we were there everybody kind of stayed together. We have time to go out to eat on our own, we don't have to eat in the hotel, so we're able to get out and just do things together and then spend time with each other in the hotel. We're all rooming with each other so it's been helping a lot with that bonding time."

There is a lot to learn from playing in a tournament this early in the season, and the Lady Lions are looking forward to the opportunity use it as a gauge for where they need to be at the end of the season. With a similar layout to the Big Ten Tournament, the Thanksgiving Classic will be an invaluable experience for the team.

"What's going to help with us is we play Friday and Saturday, so it's going to be a quick turnaround for us," Whitted said. "We're probably not going to be able to practice in between both of those games so that's really similar to the Big Ten Tournament, [where] we play Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We're going to have a quick turnaround where we have to be locked in for the next game because we have less than 24 hours to get ready for our next opponent."

Mitchell shares a similar sentiment, also noting that the quick turnaround will also help them since there are no bye weeks during the regular season.

"It's getting us ready to play in January and February and throughout the rest of the season," Mitchell said. "And since we don't have any byes, it's something that I think is good just to show us that it's going to be tough to play games back-to-back so we'll have to bounce back day-by-day."

There is a split responsibility between players and coaches as they get ready to face new teams in the tournament. While players work on keeping their bodies in top form, coaches are scouting teams so everyone knows what to expect heading into the game.

"Our coaches do a good job of giving us good scouting reports of the other teams, and they help us get prepared that way," Whitted said. "On our hands, mentally and physically, we have to make sure we're resting well and getting a good nights sleep because, with the time difference, we might play early, we might play late so we have to make sure we're getting the amount of rest we need in the days leading up to the tournament, and we're eating right so that our bodies are rejuvenated and ready to go no matter what time we play."

With the tournament starting the day after Thanksgiving, Whitted said it's all about choosing wisely how to fill up their plates for the holiday, and "knowing what we can and can't eat", and thinking 'is this going to help me be ready to play tomorrow?'"

The Radisson Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic starts Friday with BYU and Georgia facing off at 5 p.m. PT. The Lady Lions join in on the action when they play Cal State Northridge at 7:30 p.m. PT. The consolation and championship games will take place on Saturday.


Happy Thanksgiving from Penn State Athletics

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - 'Tis the season for giving thanks, and the Penn State Athletics would like to take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal fans on Thanksgiving.

As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unwavering support you give every team on campus.  Penn State's teams would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.

As a token of their appreciation, several student-athletes from teams on campus would like to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give them throughout the athletic season.