Nittany Lion Duo Leads Penn State Past Spartans

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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUSports.com Student Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was an electric atmosphere inside Rec Hall as No. 16 Penn State fed off the electricity in what was one of the more convincing wins for the Nittany Lions this season, topping the No. 18 Michigan State Spartans in three sets.

Penn State, coming off an unblemished first week of Big Ten play, faced their first ranked opponent since playing then-No. 9 Stanford, the Nittany Lions improved to 9-0 in individual sets across three conference matches.

"I thought the crowd and the energy from them and the band were tremendous tonight," head coach Russ Rose said. "I'm always happy when we win a match."

Behind a dominate performance, the Nittany Lions took down the Spartans, who had just taken top-ranked Nebraska to five sets a week earlier. The Nittany Lions, as they have been all season, were led by Simone Lee who totaled 12 kills to lead all players. However, Ali Frantti, who has struggled with consistency this season, certainly stepped up in this match. Frantti finished second on the team with 10 kills, hitting higher than .300, while also passing well.

"I though [Simone] and [Ali] both played extremely well and I though Ali really passed well tonight for us," Rose said. "I though Simone had a couple good blocks and overall the two of them carried the offense. We set them over 50 percent of the time and that's a lot to ask but for the most part that were up to the task."

Michigan State is well known in the Big Ten for being one of the more imposing teams in terms of physicality and overall height. Still, it was the Nittany Lions who won the physicality battle, using a slew of solo blocks to turn the tide in the second set.

"I think I was on the bench for those blocks, but you could tell that they really fired everyone up," Frantti said. "It's plays like that that can really help you out as a team."

Not only were the Nittany Lions solid at the net, but for the most part they nullified a large Michigan State block with quality spotting of the ball and solid high and hard swings to keep the Spartans off balance.

"Against a team like that you have to swing high and hard," Lee said. "You also have to tip well and hit spots and I thought we did both of those well tonight. You have to give credit to our middles as well for really holding the blocks and freeing up space for us to take swings."

Penn State has started to play a more complete game, led by Frantti and Lee at the helm of the offense in the past two weeks. At 3-0 in Big Ten play, Penn State is off to yet another strong start in the conference. In the beginning of the season, the Nittany Lions found themselves struggling when taking the lead in matches, but now it seems with a 2-0 set lead, Penn State has started to play their best volleyball rather than falling behind.

"I thought for the most part in that third set we were in control and Michigan State looked a little disoriented," Rose said. "When you have a chance to pull away from a team in this conference you have to."

Penn State certainly pulled away and led by Frantti and Lee, put together an overall emphatic victory for the Nittany Lions' first win over a ranked opponent this season. It will be a quick turn around for the Nittany Lions as they are set to face No. 22 Michigan tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Rec Hall.

Putsch Leads Penn State Past Michigan State

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Nittany Lions faced off against the Michigan State Spartans Friday evening at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex despite the unfriendly weather.

The two teams competed in a brisk 53 degrees as a steady light rain fell for almost the entire duration of the game. 

No matter how cold or how wet it got on the field, it did not bother the Nittany Lions.

"I think it's kind of fun playing in this weather," Moira Putsch said. "Especially in this atmosphere. When we have such a big crowd, it totally doesn't seem cold. We are working so hard that it doesn't affect us. I really like the rain. It makes it feel intense."

Penn State (10-1) got off to a slow start falling early to Michigan State (5-5) 1-0 in the first half. About six minutes after the Nittany Lions found themselves in a deficit, they turned to their most consistent leader.

Putsch retrieved the ball to the left of the Michigan State goal right before it trickled out of bounds. With three defenders in front of her, Putsch fixated on the goal. She passed the ball underneath the stick of the first defender and was able to catch back up with it before it reached her second defender.

Then, Putsch juked toward the goal making her defender move in the same direction. As the second defender stepped to her right, Putsch crossed her over and passed the defender on her left. 

Putsch was then in the center of the action with the defense collapsing in on her. She overran her ball just slightly, but was still in control.  She knew at this point that she had to attack quickly. Putsch then did a full spin, turning her back to the goal, to shoot the ball from her weak side. The shot went through a handful of defenders, passed the goalkeeper and landed right in the unreachable right corner of the cage.

"There's a lot of adrenaline on a play like that," Putsch said. "Right after it happens I am never out of breath. Then 10 seconds after the whistle starts again, that's when I am out of breath. It's just a lot of adrenaline going through and a lot of focus just to keep it up because I know it's really important for us the next few minutes to not let up and not let them come back."

"She really had to work for that one and she needs to be like that more often," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "She just really set that up for herself and it was just a great shot. I also thought she gave Shay [Cannon] a couple good passes. She was just really working hard tonight which is good to see."

With Friday evening's goal, Putsch has successfully put at least one goal on the board in all 11 games of the 2016 season.

"It feels great, but I feel like every single time I have scored, afterward so many people on our team also have," Putsch said. "It says so much that so many people on our team score. It feels great, but I am just thinking of the bigger picture and everyone always comes up big right after. So it's awesome." 

Once Putsch got the first point on the board for the Nittany Lions, her teammates followed her lead. Just under five minutes after Putsch's goal, Aurelia Meijer scored to give the Nittany Lions a 2-1 lead at the half.

Midway through the second half, Putsch set up teammate Gini Bramley for a perfect look at the back of the cage. Bramley came back a few minutes later to tack on the fourth and final goal of the game giving Penn State a 4-1 victory.

Penn State will take on Princeton Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.

2016 Gameday Live - Penn State vs. Minnesota

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to our live, interactive coverage of the Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions have returned home from the road, set to open a string of three straight home games hosting Minnesota Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium. 


Live Blog Penn State vs. Minnesota
 

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite a gloomy forecast before the game, the No. 14 Penn State women's soccer team (8-2-2, 4-0-1 Big Ten) shined brightly at Jeffrey Field on Friday night. The Nittany Lions defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini (3-9-1, 0-4-1 Big Ten) 2-0, thanks to a unified effort from the midfield.   

With the temporary departure of midfielder Emily Ogle to the United States U-20 Women's National Team, Penn State head coach Erica Dambach has leaned on other midfielders during recent games.  

At the start of Friday night's match, four midfielders took to the field. Senior Nickolette Driesse, redshirt junior Salina Williford, junior Haleigh Echard, and sophomore Charlotte Williams worked with one another to open up opportunities on offense.

"Just watching the way that they train and we're trying to really keep track of them on a daily basis," Dambach said of picking her starting four midfielders. "Just giving the nod to the players that are continuing to perform every day."

Echard, who is more offensive-minded at midfield, constantly surveyed the field for open attackers. Echard assisted junior forward Frannie Crouse's goal, which gave the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead. Crouse has eight goals so far this season 

With less than ten minutes left in the first half, Dambach made the decision to substitute three midfielders for two midfielders and a defender. This strategy, Dambach explained, was to prevent Illinois from tying the game in the last few minutes of the half.

"We focus so much on the defending piece because you can always do that well," Dambach said. "And then if the attacking isn't coming along then you still have 50 percent of your game going well. I give so much credit to Sheva, [Williams], and [Echard] because they've come such a long way in their defending."

Midfielders support offensive attacks but also easily transition to a defensive role. Active communication between midfielders and other players is essential. The midfield connects the defense with the offense, controlling transitions and setting plays.

"It's super important [for the midfield to communicate with the forwards], because if not it's a mess," Crouse said. "In the first half we started off really slow and weren't connecting and then we got our stuff together and throughout the second half I thought we played a lot better with connecting and movement off the midfield and front line."

Crouse also gave credit to the defense, which has consistently been shutting down opposing team's offenses this season.

"Our defense, throughout is growing and they've become such a great line," Crouse said. "I hate playing against them in practice let alone other teams. They're so great to have back there, they create such a trust that you know that they're going to get that ball."

 During the second half, the midfielders continued their dominance. Sophomore midfielder Marissa Sheva found the back of the net for the first time this season to widen the Nittany Lions' lead, 2-0. Williams got the assist. 

"It was awesome," Sheva said. "I've been waiting for it for a little bit but I think things are finally starting to click for us as a team and our attack. Things have just been going well and coming away with another win in the Big Ten is always big for us."

 

Detering Adjusting to Penn State

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By Anita Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This time last year, junior Abby Detering was playing volleyball in the O'Connell Center alongside her teammates at University of Florida.

Now, she's wearing blue and white to represent the Penn State women's volleyball team.

"It's been awesome playing for Penn State," Detering said. "The girls are amazing. I played against some of them in club, so it was really nice coming to a new program where you already know some of the girls, so it was a great welcome to come into it. But it's also Penn State. Playing with such an amazing program and coaches, it just an amazing feeling."

On August 26, Detering made her collegiate debut for the Nittany Lions in Rec Hall against West Virginia. She led the team with 29 assists while posting five digs and three kills. Despite helping the team secure the first win of the season, Detering's setting position wasn't protected. She was still splitting time with redshirt sophomore Bryanna Weiskircher. It was after her performance in the Syracuse Classic, recording 108 assists including a career-high 41 against Hofstra, that Detering took over at the setting position. 

"Every day, you have to be working hard in this program," Detering said. "It's crazy, it's awesome, it's exactly what I want, I am working hard every day, so to be playing more and seeing an outcome that you want to see, it's awesome. 

Starting over is never easy. With Detering only having one summer to get adjusted to Penn State, there was a lot to learn on and off the court, but the transition was made easier with the help of her teammates.

"I thought [the adjustment] was going to be a lot more challenging than what it was, but there are so many supportive people here that they helped me along the way," Detering said. "The girls are the main ones that helped me get adjusted, but not only with volleyball, but with school. They taught me where to go on campus, good places to study, even where my classes are. The girls have been amazing helping me make this an easy adjustment coming from another program."

While Detering was at Florida, she played in 36 matches in two years, so collegiate volleyball nothing new to her, but she's also bringing skills and traits that she's learned to help the Nittany Lions.

"You learn this at a young age, but the most important thing that transferred over from Florida to Penn State is just really getting to know your teammates and knowing how to play with them," Detering said. "The biggest thing is about connections for a setter and a hitter and with all your teammates, so the biggest thing coming in is knowing how the players play, how the players react well and figuring each player out to get their best effort. I know that that was a huge thing at our last program because you have to get that. The main goal is to win and you have to get everyone to play at their best. I knew that I had to transfer that right away after I transferred here."

The Mentor, Ohio native first started to get involved in volleyball because she and her older sister, Lauren, used to play the same sports, like figure skating and softball. When Lauren began to play volleyball, attending a middle school camp, Detering knew that she wanted to play too.

"I was in fourth grade, so I was the youngest kid, but I just loved it," Detering said. "I just liked how it was more of an aggressive sport while ice skating isn't really and it was more of a graceful sport."

Detering's family has supported her all her life, especially in high school when she was selected MVP of the Ohio Division II State Championship game in her freshman year and the 2013-14 Ohio Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year. By transferring closer to home, her parents, sister and brother have been by her side every step of the way during her first season at Penn State. 

"That's the best thing about being here and being in the Big Ten. My parents and my whole family are able to come to all my matches," Detering said. "They've been to every home game. My dad just came to Northwestern, so they're able to go to all my matches, and it's amazing to have them there for my last two years."

Although she always appreciates all the fans on the road, there's no better feeling than playing at Rec Hall.

"When you first go out there, the nerves kick in but now we're getting things down," Detering said. "My favorite moment has been playing at home because the crowd is so amazing and it's a really neat atmosphere. There are so many people there, so when you go, it's just all these people that are cheering for the team so you have a lot of adrenaline, but it's a great feeling." 

Aside from volleyball, Detering loves waking up early to go outside to find new coffee shops, go hiking or spend time relaxing in her ENO hammock.

But now, her focus is inside Rec Hall.

"For this season, I want to win a national championship, that's definitely the goal in the end, but we have to be looking at each game, we can't just look at the end game. We have to look at the little things, the little goals before we get to the big goals. Right now, we're focusing on Michigan State and Michigan, and we're going to keep on playing from there. Overall, the big goals are winning the Big Ten and the National Championship, but right now, we want to beat Michigan State on Friday," Detering said. 

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Three years have come and gone and one final season remains for a senior class that has contributed so much to the development of the Penn State women's hockey program. Four seniors are hoping to leave their mark on a team that has grown so much since their arrival in 2013.

"To be honest, it went by so fast," said forward Laura Bowman. "I'm so excited for this year. We're going to do some amazing things and impress a lot of people."

Bowman led the team with 17 goals last season, adding eight assists as well. That is the highest goal total for a single player in Penn State history. Bowman also tied the program record with six power play goals.

Bowman has been selected as team captain for the 2016-17 season after serving as an alternate captain for the past two years.

Forward Amy Petersen has been selected as an alternate captain for the upcoming season along with sophomore Kelsey Crow. Petersen led the team in points last season with 29 (8 goals, 21 assists), including 18 points over the last 16 games.

"It's gone by so fast and I can't believe we're seniors," said Petersen.

 Five Nittany Lions including Petersen and Bowman hail from Minnetonka, Minnesota. However, it's the Penn State community that makes this team so special.

 "We loved Minnetonka High School and we love Penn State too," said Bowman. "I think now we're all just from Penn State. We get along with the Minnetonka girls just as well as any of the other girls on the team. We're all just here to play for Penn State."

 As with any senior year in college, the focus shifts from classes to careers as the Penn State seniors are looking forward to the next chapter of their lives.

"I'm planning on going to med school," said Bowman. "I'm taking a gap year hopefully to play a little more hockey but after that I'll start med school. I still have to figure out how to apply to that and do all that stuff." 

"I already have a job," said Petersen. "I'm working for Millman Consulting in Seattle, it's like an actuarial consulting firm."

Speaking on Petersen's math ability, Bowman added, "She's a math genius."

Looking ahead to 2016-17, Petersen and Bowman are very optimistic about their final season and the ceiling for this team.

 "We want to go out with a bang," said Petersen. "Prove that Penn State's program has a bright future moving forward. We want to end it on a high note and impress people."

 Defenseman Kelly Seward and forward Sarah Nielsen round out the Penn State senior class. The duo combined for nine points last season.

 The Nittany Lions handled Guelph 4-1 in an exhibition game last weekend to start the season on a high note. The regular season opens up this weekend as the team travels to Clarkson for a pair of games. The home opener is Oct. 14 against Boston University.

Freshman Feature: Pavlychev Using Experience as Motivation

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While summer generally isn't considered a prime season for hockey, the National Hockey League calendar allots a few weeks during the off season for teams to develop young players and teach them their systems. Five current Penn State men's hockey players took part in NHL development camps this summer including freshman forward Nikita Pavlychev.

Pavlychev was drafted in the seventh round, No. 197 overall, of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins and participated in the team's 2015 and 2016 development camps. 

"I could never have imagined getting drafted by my favorite team," Pavlychev said. "It's a special feeling." 

Pavlychev acknowledged how rare it is for a young player to de drafted, let alone by the team he has been watching since before he could tie his own skates.

While Pavlychev has been given the opportunity to attend two development camps since being drafted, he explained how he went into both camps with different mindsets.

"The first [development camp] I felt like I had a lot more pressure on me," Pavlychev said. "I was scared and didn't know really what to expect."

At his second camp with the Penguins this past summer, Pavlychev said it was nice coming back to a familiar setting and that he was eager to show the coaching staff how much he had improved during the 2015-16 season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL.

"I felt a lot more confident and I knew exactly what to expect," Pavlychev said about his second development camp. "It went a lot smoother because it just felt better out there and I didn't have to be too worried about [my performance]."

During development camps, players work with the coaching staff, trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches to get a sense of what it's like to be part of an NHL team. The experience that Pavlychev had during both summers has encouraged the young player to push the limits of his abilities during his time at Penn State.

"It makes you look up to something and set a goal for yourself to make the team and work a lot harder," Pavlychev said.

While Pavlychev's goals are to contribute to the Nittany Lions in whatever capacity is asked of him this season by head coach Guy Gadowsky, he does eye a national championship in the program's future. Hoping one day to make the Penguins' NHL roster, he knows that the efforts he puts into the Penn State program now, could manifest into skating onto the ice in a Pittsburgh sweater one day. 

Pavlychev's most obvious asset to his game is his size. Standing 6-feet-7-inches tall, Pavlychev has used the last few seasons to develop his abilities in the offensive zone and the physical aspects of his game.

"With time I was getting good and getting better [at using my size]," Pavlychev said. "I try to be physical and make plays at the same time. I want to be the guy on the ice who can do things other than hit."

For now, Pavlychev is eager to start the regular season with his fellow student-athletes and is prepared to don the Blue and White for the upcoming season.

2016 Gameday - Penn State Hosts Minnesota in Victory Bell Clash

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Gameday Central 
| Game Blog  Game Notes |  Press Conference Roundup |  Wednesday Practice Update |  Penn State & The Governor's Victory Bell |  Coach Rahne Q&A |  Monday Notebook |  Nittany Lions in the NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football returns home from the road, set to spend nearly the entire month of October in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions kick off a string of three-straight home games hosting Minnesota Saturday.

Penn State (2-2, 0-1 East) enters the matchup looking to earn its first conference win of the season, having lost its opener on the road at No. 4/5 Michigan last week. Minnesota (3-0, 0-0 West) travels to Happy Valley for its first Big Ten outing, after closing out a three-game homestand with a 31-24 win against Colorado State to wrap up its non-conference schedule.

Possession of the Governor's Victory Bell is on the line as the Nittany Lions and the Golden Gophers are set to meet for the first time since 2013, when Minnesota took the trophy home for the first time in eight years in Minneapolis. Penn State and Minnesota will square off at home in Beaver Stadium for the first time 2009.

"We're excited about being back at home," Penn State head coach James Franklin said. "I think there is a distinct advantage obviously all over the country in being at home compared to being on the road. We're excited about being back in Beaver Stadium in front of our fans and friends and family, and a great opportunity to go out and play a good football team and have an opportunity to be 1-0 this week, which is our goal and our focus." 

Keying in on improving attention to detail and consistency all week, the Nittany Lions will look to improve upon offensive execution. Last week, Penn State saw running back Saquon Barkley lead the way with 136 yards of total offense, including 77 receiving yards. Averaging 120 all-purpose yards per game, Barkley currently ranks fifth in the Big Ten in the category. 

Barkley and the rest of the Nittany Lion offense will matchup against a Minnesota defensive line that's limiting its opponents to less than 120 yards on the ground per game, while also allowing just two rushing touchdowns on the year.

Offensively, the Golden Gophers are averaging just under 40 points per game, having totaled 119 points in the first three games of the season for the first time since putting up 143 points in 2005. Guided by an experienced quarterback in Mitch Leidner, Minnesota has relied heavily on its run game, which has accounted for 11 of 15 total touchdowns on the year.

Led by head coach Tracy Claeys, Minnesota returns 13 seniors-eligible players on its roster, which is just one shy of Penn State's 12 senior members on the team. 

"It will be a great challenge," Franklin said. "I think both teams are similar team in terms of youth and experience. They have returning starters, but they're a young football. We're still a little bit younger, but they're young as well."

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network with Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play) and Chuck Long (analyst) on the call.

What To Watch For - 

Penn State:
1. Penn State's special teams unit has been a bright spot for the Nittany Lions all season, highlighted by true freshman punter Blake Gillikin dazzling with eight punts inside the 20-yard line and kicker Tyler Davis at a perfect 6-for-6 in field goal attempts this year. However, Franklin noted earlier this week that as a whole, the special teams coverage units would need translate its fundamentals from the practice field to Beaver Stadium, eliminating costly penalties and big plays.

"For the amount of reps that you get on special teams, we are averaging two and a half [special teams penalties] a game - it doesn't sound like much, but when you're only playing about 14 or 15 special teams plays a game, that's a high amount. We have to get that number down. We have to eliminate the big plays, too. The big punt return, the big kick return, we have to stop those."

2. Across the board, Franklin stressed that the Nittany Lions need to get off the field on third down, with a need for improvement on both offense and defense. In third down offense, Penn State will need to capitalize in third-and-short situations, while also forcing the Golden Gophers to defend not just the run, but also the pass. Franklin also stressed quarterback protection this week, specifically in passing situations. 

"So third-and-short, being able to run the ball and mix some of the pass in there, but being able to be physical enough to get those yards too. Then when you're in longer yardage situations, being able to protect consistently when the defense knows you're probably throwing and giving the quarterback and receivers enough time to get open."

3. A topic of conversation among Franklin and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead this week has been identifying ways to get the ball to Barkley, who has proven his ability to shift momentum with dynamic plays for the Nittany Lions all year long.

"Whether it's traditional running game between the tackles, whether it's getting him the ball on the edge or whether it's throwing him the ball in the flats like we did last week, which got us going offensively," Franklin said. "Just the more times we can get the ball in his hands, the better."

Minnesota:
1. Golden Gopher quarterback Mitch Leidner enters the matchup with 1,264 career rushing yards and 26 career touchdowns, which is the most in Minnesota program history for a quarterback and fifth for any player. On the year, Leidner has rushed for 135 yards, averaging 45 yards per game with a total of three touchdowns on the year. Minnesota is also a perfect 14-for-14 in the red zone this season, with 13 of the scores coming off of touchdowns.

2. Minnesota's running back unit has rushed 136 times for 685 yards. Rodney Smith has accounted for five of the Golden Gophers' 11 rushing scores this year, good for second in the Big Ten standings. Kobe McCray is just behind Smith, averaging 64.3 yards per carry on the year with a pair of rushing touchdowns. Shannon Brooks was out for the first two games of the season, but returned against Colorado State to carry the ball 13 times for 85 yards and one touchdown.

3. Under the direction of first-year offensive line coach Bart Miller, the Golden Gopher offensive line has allowed just one sack this year, while also opening the way for Minnesota to total nearly 600 yards of offense against Indiana State, including 301 passing yards and 292 yards on the ground. However, of the 17 offensive linemen on the roster, only five have seen any live game action prior to the 2016 season. 

The Final Word -
Meeting for the 14th time in program history, the series between Penn State and Minnesota has been one of streaks. Playing its first game as a member of the Big Ten Conference in 1993, Penn State topped Minnesota to open the first of four consecutive victories spanning through 1998. The tables turned as Minnesota won the next four games between 1999 and 2004. Penn State then claimed wins in four straight meetings from 2005-10, but the Golden Gophers cut off the streak with a win in 2013. 

Between all three of the four-game stretches, Penn State and Minnesota have had three games decided by just a single point. Across every all-time series, only Temple has played more one-point games against the Nittany Lions, with Pittsburgh coming in with three games against Penn State in program history decided by a single tally. 

Men's Hockey Media Day Sights & Sounds

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky entered the Pegula Ice Arena media room Thursday afternoon, eager to talk about the upcoming season. 

Gadowsky started by praising last year's team's efforts, noting the loss of some key players to graduation and NHL contract signing, that has left some holes to be filled this season. 

The departure of goaltenders Matthew Skoff and Eamon McAdam has provided an opportunity for sophomore returner Chris Funkey and for a new face, freshman Peyton Jones, to compete for a starting spot between the pipes. 

"In the goaltending position we really make it clear that we evaluate on numbers," Gadowsky said. "[We evaluate] on wins and losses, your goals against, your save percentage and then your work ethic, commitment and how you are as a teammate and how well you represent Penn State University."  

Both Funkey and Jones have different styles of goaltending. Jones uses his size to his advantage in order to make big saves, Funkey comes out of the net and challenges opposing team's offense more. Both styles are very different but could be useful this season. The ability to switch up styles in net could be crucial down the road. 

The Nittany Lions, who have been working out under the direction of their captains, senior forward David Goodwin, senior forward Ricky DeRosa, and junior forward James Robinson, are looking to build off of last season's successes. The upperclassmen, eager to return to the ice at Pegula, are also excited to see the newest members of the team contribute early on. 

The freshman class, made up of 10 capable young players, has depth unlike any previous class to sport the Blue and White. The added certainty that comes with having such capable young players is something Goodwin appreciates.

"It's a lot different in practice, there were some games last year where we were dressing 10 forwards," Goodwin said. "Now you look at the board before practice and you have five-plus lines of forwards. I think it's been great for internal competition but also at the same time we know if there's injuries or guys aren't playing well it'll kind of be next man up."

Although the freshman class does make up nearly half the team, Gadowsky emphasized that he will be looking toward the veteran presence on defense to start the season off strong. Returning defensemen like Vince Pedrie, Kevin Kerr, and Erik Autio will be essential to the team's early successes.

The first test of the season for the Nittany Lions is this Sunday, as Penn State hosts Queen's (Ontario) for an exhibition game at 1 p.m. 

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By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Redshirt sophomore Tessa Barrett of Waverly, Pa., was recently named USTFCCCA DI National Athlete of the week and Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the Week.

 

Barrett earned these honors after winning and breaking the meet record at Penn State's annual Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Sept. 10th. Barrett broke the 16-year-old meet record, formerly held by Michigan's Katie Jazwinski, by more than 20 seconds.

 

Barrett also competed in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational as a redshirt freshman in September 2015, where she placed sixth overall, placing 5 spots higher this year as she won the invitational. Her time of 20:31 this year was over a minute faster than what she ran in 2015 at this meet (21:43). Barrett has shown great improvement since last year and continues to show improvement as the season goes on.

 

Winning these great honors of USTFCCCA National Athlete of the week and Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the week took Barrett by surprise.

 

"I was surprised and humbled to have been named the USTFCCCA Athlete of the Week," said Barrett. "Across the country, there were many great performances that weekend, so I feel very honored and grateful to have received that recognition."

 

Along with the USTFCCCA DI National Athlete recognition, Barrett also earned the honor of Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the Week.

 

Barrett's Big Ten honor is the first Penn State runner to earn it since her teammate, Tori Gerlach, won it in 2015 after the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational.

 

"I was excited to be named Big Ten Co-Athlete of the week because I remember when my teammate, Tori Gerlach, was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Week last year as a senior and how inspired I was by that accomplishment," said Barrett.

 

Barrett was named Big Ten Co-Athlete of the Week with senior, Erin Finn of Michigan.

 

"Being named co-athlete of the week with Erin Finn of Michigan was also really cool," said Barrett. "Erin is an incredible athlete who I have always looked up to."

 

Barrett placed 12th this past weekend at the 31st Annual Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, MN, where the Penn State women's team took 3rd out of 34 teams. The Roy Griak Invitational is one of the largest meets in the country.

 

Barrett believes winning these honors will continue to motivate her for the remainder of the season.

 

"Receiving these accolades has been humbling, and it definitely keeps me motivated to continue training hard," said Barrett. "We still have a long way to go until championship season, and I hope that individually I can keep improving as the season progresses."

 

Cross Country and Track & Field head coach, John Gondak, believe Barrett's hard work and dedication to the sport, helped her win these honors.  

"Tessa is very passionate about her running," said Gondak. "She comes to practice every day with a purpose and that shows in her results."

Gondak also believes that her hard work and dedication that won her these honors will help inspire the rest of the team.

"I think winning awards like that, and winning honors like that, shows the rest of the program that if you come to practice and you put in the work, and you're passionate about what you do, you can be very successful in this sport," said Gondak. "Our sport is about putting in the conditioning and putting in the work so that you have a great mindset when it comes to race day and you're ready to go, and Tessa is very good at doing that."

 
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