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VIDEO: This Week In Penn State Wrestling - Jason Nolf (2/9/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 1-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team (13-0, 8-0 Big Ten) returns to action on Friday for a sold out dual against No. 14 Lehigh. Penn State hosts Senior Day on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.

GoPSUsports.com caught up with freshman Jason Nolf this week to talk about his season to date. Nolf is 23-0 on the season and ranked No. 1 at 157 pounds.



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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Winning is always the goal in any level of sport, however there is something to be said for playing a complete game, regardless of the result.

For Penn State, going up against the second ranked team in the CHA conference in Syracuse, the Nittany Lions compiled two nights of solid hockey, falling just short on both occasions. Despite a 3-2 loss in overtime and a 2-1 regulation loss the following day, Penn State showed why they may be peaking at the right time.

"I think with four games left, every single one is important," said Amy Petersen after Saturday's game. "We played well this weekend but I think the goal is to obviously still get better and peak during the playoffs. We are going to use these next four games to get better each and every game."

The 2016 calendar year has been particularly kind to the Nittany Lions. The team has certainly stepped up their level of play and have remedied their biggest issue of capitalizing on scoring chances.

"I think things have really started falling in to place more," said Petersen. "We have been sticking to our game plan and we have really been working on finishing pucks because in the first half of the season we couldn't get a puck to fall, now we have started to get those bounces."

For every team, the goal is to obviously play your best hockey come playoff time. However, this is a lot easier said than done for most teams. It is hard to plan exactly when you are going to start playing your best, you just have to hope that it comes at the right time to kick-start a long playoff run. For Penn State, with four games left, the emphasis is on getting better every game so that come the CHA playoffs, they will be ready to go.

"I don't think we feel any added pressure to get better just because the playoffs are close," said Laura Bowman. "We are going to use each of these next games to try and get better."

In the playoffs the compete level of each team is ratcheted up that much more due to the increased importance placed on each game. It is extremely hard to recreate this level of intensity in anything other than a game-like setting, however the Nittany Lions have said they have increased the intensity at practices so that they are more ready come playoff time.

"We have started to work really hard," said Bowman. "Every practice has been really intense, we've certainly competed very hard and I think that has helped our play on the ice." 

The effort in game one against Syracuse was good, but according to head coach Josh Brandwene, game two was that much better, again showing that the Nittany Lions are certainly starting to figure things out and while they may not have hit their peak yet, they certainly are heading in the right direction.

"We played better today," said Brandwene. "We played much better in all periods than we did yesterday so there is just so much to build on moving forward."

For the Nittany Lions, moving forward they have only four games left in the regular season. Two are at home against Lindenwood and their final regular season series is on the road against Mercyhurst. The team's final home series and will be this weekend against Lindenwood, puck drop will be 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday. 

Nittany Lions with Super Bowl Rings (2/7/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Former Penn State standout Jordan Norwood capped off a playoff run with the Denver Broncos by winning Super Bowl 50 in Levi's Stadium on Sunday.

Norwood tallied a Super Bowl-record 61-yard punt return to set up a Denver field goal in the 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Former Penn State players have been a part of Super Bowl winning teams in 35 of the 50 NFL Championship games.  In all, 38 different former Nittany Lions account for 55 rings.  Take a look at the complete list.


Former Penn State Players with Super Bowl Rings
11673996.jpegJack Ham (4)
Franco Harris (4)
Matt Millen (4)
Pete Kugler (3)
Chris Bahr (2)
Matt Bahr (2)
Bruce Bannon (2)
Dave Robinson (2)
Kareem McKenzie (2)
Rich Milot (2)
Jay Alford
Ralph Baker
Brad Benson
Andre Collins
Sam Gash
Jeff Hartings
Mike Hartenstine
Kim Herring
Jordan Hill
Tim Johnson
Joe Jurevicious
Jimmy Kennedy
Larry Kubin
Justin Kurpeikis
Ted Kwalick
Shawn Mayer
Sean McHugh
Bob Mrosko
Jordan Norwood
Scott Paxson
Andrew Quarless
Tom Rafferty
Glenn Ressler
Marco Rivera
Michael Robinson
Jim Romano
Dave Rowe
Matt Suhey

55 rings among 38 players


Former Penn State Players on Super Bowl Winning Teams (By Year)
1967
- Dave Robinson (Green Bay)
1968 - Dave Robinson (Green Bay)
1969 - Ralph Baker (New York Jets)
1971 - Glenn Ressler (Baltimore Colts)
1973 - Bruce Bannon (Miami Dolphins)
1974 - Bruce Bannon (Miami Dolphins)
1975 - Jack Ham & Franco Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers)
1976 - Jack Ham & Franco Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers)
1977 - Dave Rowe & Ted Kwalick (Oakland Raiders)
1978 - Tom Rafferty (Dallas Cowboys)
1979 - Jack Ham & Franco Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers)
1980 - Matt Bahr, Jack Ham & Franco Harris (Pittsburgh Steelers)
1981 - Chris Bahr & Matt Millen (Oakland Raiders)
1982 - Pete Kugler (San Francisco 49ers)
1983 - Larry Kubin & Rich Milot (Washington Redskins)
1984 - Chris Bahr, Matt Millen & Jim Romano (Los Angeles Raiders)
1986 - Mike Hartstine & Matt Suhey (Chicago Bears)
1987 - Brad Benson (New York Giants)
1988 - Rich Milot (Washington Redskins)
1989 - Pete Kugler (San Francisco 49ers)
1990 - Pete Kugler & Matt Millen (San Francisco 49ers)
1991 - Matt Bahr & Bob Mrosko (New York Giants)
1992 - Andre Collins, Tim Johnson & Matt Millen (Washington Redskins)
1997 - Marco Rivera (Green Bay Packers)
2001 - Sam Gash & Kim Herring (Baltimore Ravens)
2003 - Joe Jurevicious (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
2004 - Shawn Mayer (New England Patriots)
2005 - Justin Kurpeikis (New England Patriots)
2006 - Jeff Hartings (Pittsburgh Steelers)
2008 - Jay Alford & Kareem McKenzie (New York Giants)
2009 - Sean McHugh & Scott Paxson (Pittsburgh Steelers)
2011 - Andrew Quarless (Green Bay Packers)
2012 - Jimmy Kennedy & Kareem McKenzie (New York Giants)
2014 - Jordan Hill & Michael Robinson (Seattle Seahawks)
2016 - Jordan Norwood (Denver Broncos)


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

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In a game that coach Coquese Washington called a "natural rivalry," the Lady Lions fell to Rutgers 74-62 on Sunday at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Despite the loss, guards Teniya Page and Lindsey Spann kept the game close while scoring 18 and 13 points, respectively. They did it without Brianna Banks, who sat out for much of the game with foul trouble.

Even though she ended up playing only 20 minutes, Banks still finished with double-digits in points, scoring 12 for Penn State.

"[Banks sitting out] certainly changes our aggressiveness on offense," Washington said. "She's our second-leading scorer and she takes a lot of attention away, which opens things up for other people, so when she's not in the game, it definitely takes some of our biggest weapons away."

Without Banks, Page and Spann were left to lead the Lady Lions as they tried to overcome a deficit as large as 20 points at times. Like many games this season, Penn State was outscored in the first frame, making the rest of the game a game of catch-up.

"I thought this was another game where in the first quarter [we didn't play well]. After that we pretty much played them even," Washington said. "There were some spurts where they got ahead and then we had some spurts where we came back but we never really could overcome that eight-point deficit from the first quarter."

Page's 18 points on the day bring her career total to 359, moving her to ninth all-time for freshmen at Penn State. She surpassed Tanisha Wright, who had 355 points during the 2001-02 season. 

"I'd rather win than crack [the top 10 freshmen scoring]. So it's not a big deal to be honest. I didn't know anything about that," Page said.

Banks only played nine minutes in the second half, but added eight points to her final total, including the games final points with eight seconds left.

"She's the best penetrator on the team so not having her out there today, driving to the basket, definitely affected us the most so [it's] a big loss," Page said. 

As the Lady Lions look ahead to Michigan State on Thursday, Washington said the team will be focusing on rebounds 

"Rebounding is certainly going to be big, Michigan State is a very good rebounding team and they do a fantastic job on the post," Washington said. "So making sure we're doing a good job defensively because Michigan State, especially at home, they're a team that can get on a roll so we have to have a high level of defensive intensity."

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field won team titles in both the men's and women's competitions of the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup, with strong performances from several Nittany Lions this weekend.

 

Penn State continued to dominate the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup, which has been commonplace in the history of the event. The women led throughout both days of the competition while scoring 211 points. The men battled back from a day one deficit to earn the victory on day two with a total of 178 points.

 

"It was an outstanding competition. We had our first scored meet of the year. Obviously, it gives you a metric to see how you stack up against other teams when comes to team score," said head coach John Gondak.

 

The weekend's action was highlighted by performances from senior Rachel Fatherly (Williamsport, Pa.) who earned women's co-athlete of the meet. On day two, she won the women's shot put with a school record breaking throw of 17.20m. Fatherly had the school record in mind when she set her personal goals at the beginning of the season.

 

"On that first throw I told myself `stay down and relax' and then I hit it and I knew it was huge," said Fatherly. "I walked out of the circle I ran back to the measuring tape and it was over 17.20m so I knew it was a school record and I started jumping and screaming in excitement."

 

Fatherly's motivation for a big shot put throw came from a bit of dissatisfaction with her performance in the weight throw event the previous day despite winning the competition.

 

Sharing the women's co-athlete of the meet with Fatherly was junior Lexi Masterson (Jeannette, Pa.) who won the women's pole vault event while breaking the school record with a clearance of 4.20m. Masterson once again reset her own school record for the second time this season.

 

On the men's side, freshman Isaiah Harris (Lewiston, Maine) ran the fifth-quickest time in the country in the 800-meter event. Harris benefitted from Brannon Kidder's pace to set his personal best.

 

"Coach set it up with (Brannon) Kidder pacing the field through 600-meters and Kidder went through 600-meters perfect. I knew I had it in me I just had to get the pacing right and everything went perfect today. I felt smooth and coach said I looked smooth so good day overall," said Harris.

 

Other men's event winners were sophomore Xavier Smith (men's 60-meters), senior Alex Shisler (men's 400-meters), sophomore Riley Gaibler (600-meters), freshman Chisom Ifedi (men's high jump), and sophomore Jon Yohman (men's shot put).

 

Other women's event winners were junior Tichina Rhodes (women's 400-meters), sophomore Quenee Dale (60-meter hurdles), women's 4x400 meter relay (junior Megan Osborne, freshman Frances Bull, sophomore Deja Davis, and junior Tichina Rhodes), senior Ahmenah Richardson (women's high jump), junior Dannielle Gibson (women's long jump), and senior Kaitlyn Lopez (women's triple jump).

 

On Sunday, Penn State track and field alum were welcomed back to Happy Valley. Former Penn State athlete Joe Kovacs, 2015 IAAF world champion in the shot put was honored to celebrate his outstanding achievement.

 

For the first time this indoor season, the Nittany Lions will be competing away from the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track this upcoming weekend. The team will split up with some Penn State athletes competing at the two-day Husky Classic in Seattle, Washington and some competing at the Fastrack National Invite in Staten Island, New York.

 

For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.



 

Lions Come Back Strong, Beat Gophers

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11673061.jpegBy Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- For the first time in program history, the No. 16 Penn State men's hockey team  (17-8-3, 7-5-0-0 Big Ten) beat Minnesota (14-13-0, 9-3-0-0 Big Ten) in Mariucci Arena by tallying a 5-3 victory on Saturday night.

Despite a 4-1 loss on Friday night, the Nittany Lions bounced back and fought through every minute of Saturday's game to come out on top.

"It means a lot, I thought it was great, the guys just had a heck of a game and our trainer had a heck of a game," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "Our equipment manager [Adam Sheehan] was the one who said it was offsides to challenge it, so it was a pretty good win for the program."

During the third period, momentum seemingly shifted in favor of Minnesota as the Gophers scored their fourth goal of the night. However, the goal was ultimately overturned by a coach's challenge due to offside, giving the Nittany Lions the boost they needed to finish the period strong.

In the 5-3 victory, four Nittany Lions had multiple points, with junior forward Zach Saar's goal giving the team the game winner. Saar was able to get the puck off an offensive zone faceoff and find the back of the net with less than four minutes left in the third period.

"Right before I think we had a media time out before faceoff and Chase Berger, he called the shot," said Saar. "He said we're going to run me off the wall, it's a faceoff play we do, and he said he was going to win it and he said that if he won, step off the hash mark and sure enough he did it."

In a night of history making, another milestone was met for the Nittany Lions as freshmen forward Matt Mendelson notched his first collegiate goal. The Pittsburgh native has come dangerously close in several matchups before, but finally found the back of the net on Saturday night against the Gophers.

"I was super happy for him," said Saar. "I was really lucky to be on the ice. "You never forget your first goal and he's been working very hard lately and unfortunately has never really got a good bounce, so getting that first one out of the way is always good."

The Nittany Lions never trailed on Saturday night, and kept the pressure defensively on the Gophers throughout all three periods of play.

In net, junior Eamon McAdam made 34 saves on his way to his 10th win of the season.

For the upperclassmen on the team, Saturday night's win was a long time coming.

"I think for the seniors and juniors who've played in Mariucci for three years now, it's a really tough environment to play in, so I think it was an awesome step for our program to get a win there," said Saar. "It felt really good."

As the Nittany Lions continue on in their season, they will once again be on the road as they faceoff against Michigan State on Feb. 12 and 13. With only one home series left, getting vital wins on the road will be the key to keeping up momentum throughout the coming weeks of play.

"Personally, I think it's just playing as a team," said Saar. "It's a long season so we have to play games as they come but for now it's just sticking to our identity and playing together and for each other." 

Taylor Sets Tone for Victory over No. 22 Indiana

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - From the moment Brandon Taylor stepped onto the Bryce Jordan Center hardwood on Saturday night, the senior had a look in his eyes that he wasn't going to be denied.

The New Jersey product drained the first two shots he attempted, helping ignite the Nittany Lions to the type of quick start they needed against the high-powered 22nd-ranked Indiana Hoosiers.

The crowd of more than 10,000 roared as Taylor rattled off three-straight buckets mid-way through the first half to help the Nittany Lions match the Hoosiers blow-for-blow. But it was his sequence of 11 points during a six-minute span in crunch time that was Taylor's finest in the Blue and White.

With the game on the line and the Nittany Lions trailing by three, 48-45, with 10:24 to play, Taylor triggered a 10-2 scoring run that helped ignite Penn State and the boisterous crowd. He scored 11 of Penn State's next 13 points, which include a trio of triples, and willed the Nittany Lions to a 68-63 triumph over the Hoosiers.

"Throughout the whole game, all I was thinking was keep punching," said Taylor. "They're going to go on runs. We're going to go on runs, but you know who can take the punches the most and respond is the team that's going to win. And I think my teammates and myself did a good job of doing that."

Taylor finished with a game-high 24 points on 10-for-20 shooting and 4-for-9 from long range. He also had six rebounds and a tally of attitude club points that brought a smile to Coach Chambers' face when the two embraced on the floor after a much-needed victory.

"The fact that he continues to develop and continues to come in and work even harder to keep our culture where it is, it just says a lot about his character, his integrity and what he's all about, what he's made of," head coach Patrick Chambers said. "Nobody was happier than me for him that he really stepped up tonight and made some big shots when we needed it."

On a night when neither team led by more than six points in a game with 14 lead changes and 13 ties, Taylor and Penn State stepped up to make the winning plays when the game was on the line. The Nittany Lions played basketball with relentless effort for 40 minutes.

And it's Taylor who sets the tone for everyone else on the floor. He is playing at an All-Big Ten level statistically (21.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg in the last three), but it's the things that don't show up on the box score that make Taylor this team's MVP. He's doing things that not even Taylor probably imagined he could do early in his career.

"We've taken a lot of punches like you said, and not giving up is the reason why we come out this game with a 'W'," said Taylor. "And we could've put our heads down.  We could've ran away, but we stuck our necks out there. We continue to work and we continue to watch film and get shots up. We knew that there was going to be a game where, you know, we're going to defend and play Penn State basketball for 40 minutes."

Taylor's confidence elevates everyone around him, and it's a big reason why Devin Foster tallied a career-high 13 points, Payton Banks made a pivotal triple in the final two minutes and Julian Moore notched a clinching old-fashioned three-point play on an inbounds pass from Taylor in a tie game with 1:13 to go.

His fingerprints were all over Penn State's first ranked win since 2014 on Saturday night. Taylor's value to this team is not measurable. Without him, it's hard to envision where the Nittany Lions would be right now. But with him, Penn State has a chance every time it steps on the floor, just like it did on Saturday.


"It's big for our program. It's important on so many levels," said Chambers. "We were obviously on a losing streak and we were kind of on that roller coaster that I've been telling you guys about, a little up, a little down and it's just nice to throw a punch and not get on the ropes and stay in the middle of the ring. That's what we did. We stayed in the middle of the ring and they believed.  They believed that they were good enough, tough enough and prepared enough to win this game."

Penn State will now head into its bye with confidence. The Lions return to action on Saturday in Lincoln against Nebraska.


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


Nittany Lion Reserves Shine in Straight Set Victory

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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State didn't need contributions from its entire lineup, but the Lions sure got just that in their straight-set victory over Mount Olive. Penn State won it's fifth-straight match and turned to their deep bench for much of the second and third set.

The Nittany Lions rode key performances from a few players who normally fly under the radar as the reserves came in and took over the game for Penn State. The Nittany Lions have a plethora of talent on the bench and that was finally showcased tonight in the victory.

"We have to get them time," said Pavlik. "Tonight seemed like a good night to get a bunch of different guys looks and we were happy with the performance overall from everyone who played."

A regular starter, Spencer Sauter, led Penn State but two of the top three contributors kills-wise were players who aren't normal main stays in Penn State's starting lineup. Aidan Albrecht, who got the start, poured in eight kills while Lee Smith followed right behind with seven of his own. Albrecht, who joined the previous match against St. Francis in the second set, got 21 attempts on the night, a career high.

"He played great against St. Francis so we rewarded him with the start tonight," said Pavlik. "It wasn't just the game last week either, he had a really good week of practice as well."

Smith, who hasn't started a match yet this season for Penn State, came in as a sub early in the second set and stamped his footprint on the match with three kills soon after he was subbed in.

"[It was] good to get Lee and Kevin Gear some playing time in this game," said Pavlik. "There were some errors that they made but we expect that. For the most part I was very pleased with the effort from both of them and Lee played a very strong match for us on the outside."

Gear was also a strong contributor, like Pavlik mentioned. Despite the mishaps from the line and a communication error, Gear was consistent in the role he played. He put away three kills on three attempts and offered an imposing presence in the middle when Matt Seifert was out of the lineup.

The reserves for Penn State were the key contributors as Chris Nugent and Matt Seifert took a seat for the majority of the match. Still, even without possibly their two top players, the Nittany Lions seemed to not miss a single beat.

"I think it is because of the attention to detail everyone has at practice," said Pavlik. "We had a lot of guys playing tonight that haven't that much yet, but they didn't seem to miss a beat and everyone played well."

For Penn State, EIVA play will begin next weekend as they take on Harvard and Sacred Heart on the road. For the Nittany Lions, it is the first two game road trip of the season and a long one at that. Pavlik said that the only difference; however, is that the team will just have to get ahead of their academics in preparation.

"I don't think the mentality is much different for a road trip," said Pavlik. "The biggest thing for the players is to get ahead of their studies and prepare well. They have plenty of time to work on the bus so that is the only big difference on road trips."

Penn State will take on Harvard at 7 p.m. on Friday and then Sacred Heart on Saturday at 7 p.m.


Lions Dominate Robert Morris in Season Opener

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In front of a large hometown crowd in Holuba Hall, the Penn State men's lacrosse team (1-0) took down Robert Morris (0-1), 20-7, on Saturday afternoon.

The Nittany Lions' unrelenting offense notched six goals in the first quarter, alone. Redshirt junior attack man Matt Florence scored two of the six goals, notching his third goal later in the second period.  

Penn State's second scoring streak of the day came during the second and third periods, with the Nittany Lions finding the back of the net 11 times before the Colonials were able to answer.

"I thought our guys came out of the lock room and onto the field today at that first whistle and just played a very inspired game of lacrosse, gained a ton of momentum in that second and third quarter and I'm just happy that those guys were able to kind of get that first win and start to move ahead," said head coach Jeff Tambroni.

Penn State had several standout players on the field at attack, including senior TJ Sanders who tallied four goals for the Nittany Lions, as well as three assists.

In addition to their veteran offensive prowess, the Nittany Lions had six different freshmen score during Saturday's contest.

Freshman Grant Ament notched two goals and five assists, with Tambroni noting how much Ament reminds him of a young Sanders when he was a freshman.

"It was a pretty incredible feeling," said Ament of his first collegiate goal with the Nittany Lions. "I got the assist from James Chakey who went to my high school, Haverford. It was really cool to share that moment with him because he was always looking out for me and always kind of has my back and that was kind of just a special way to start the season off."

Tambroni was quick to praise how immediate of an impact the freshman class has made even with just one game under its belt. Tambroni looks forward to seeing just how much this class can do with the rest of the season still upon them.

Another standout performance from Saturday's contest was that of sophomore Will Schreiner in net for the Nittany Lions.

Schreiner played more than 40 minutes between the pipes and made six saves.

"I think we communicated really well, we played as a team extremely well and I think we also kind of brought the power as well as the up-tempo of play," said Schreiner of the team's defensive play.

Tambroni noted earlier how one of his goals for the season is to have his players work hard for all 60 minutes of play and to not lose momentum. With almost the entire active roster having seen playing time on Saturday, the team was able to stay fresh and keep a disciplined eye on the bigger picture of Saturday's game.

"I thought they did a great job, the tendency when you're up by that much in the third or fourth quarter is to start thinking about yourself, how can you pad your stats, how can you do something that's in your best interest versus the team's best interest, and we said to these guys at halftime one of the things we wanted them to do us," said Tambroni. "Just stay disciplined, stay focused and this was going to be a true sense of their character to see if we can at this moment stay true to what we tried to do in the first half."

With the first game and win in the books the Nittany Lions look ahead to their next opponent, Hobart, on Saturday.

"I think we've got to evaluate the film and go back to work," said Tambroni. "I know that our team in the true sense of the cliché of taking it one day at a time believes in that, and I think it'll be important for us to step back from this, keep things in perspective and go back to work and tack it out Monday."


Toughness, Atmosphere Spark Nittany Lions to Victory

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By Ryan Hickey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Off the mat distractions can derail even the best teams and wrestlers. Hosting the much anticipated dual meet against the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in a sold out Bryce Jordan Center could have provided enough fanfare for the Nittany Lions to get caught up in. 

Penn State stayed focused and more importantly tough, as they earned a hard fought 24-14 victory. With another win against a very tough opponent, head coach Cael Sanderson was pleased with the effort from his team.

"I think overall, we wrestled well. That's a tough team and a tough team to score points on," said head coach Cael Sanderson. "Every win was big. Bo [Nickal]'s win was big. Matt [McCutcheon]'s win was big. We needed bonus points from Zain [Retherford] and also Nolf and they went out there and got that done. We needed bonus points from McIntosh and he got that done."

The biggest difference in the Nittany Lions keeping their record unblemished was not only wrestling hard for the full seven minutes, but wrestling an aggressive style as well.  

"Every one of our guys are wrestling through and using every second, so I am happy with the way they are wrestling and when you are wrestling and taking more shots, you get better faster," said Sanderson. "It's just the way it works. If you take 20 shots a match, you are going to get a lot better than if you take two. If you do that every day and do that in practice every day, it will change the way you compete."  

With so many tough matches throughout the night, the aggressive style that the Nittany Lions wrestled with proved to be a big factor in pulling out some of the wins. For Bo Nickal, who used a big third period that included two takedowns and four near fall points, his mindset never waivered from the aggressive style. 

"Well I don't think that how our coaches coach us to wrestle and how we like to wrestle as a team has anything to do with being passive," said Nickal. "Going through my head, I was just thinking like wrestle and keep doing how I do everyday in the practice room and stuff. I don't think that any of us like to keep it close or back up and do anything like that so, we just wrestle how we do everyday."

The match that Sanderson believes was one of the biggest was the second bout of the dual, as Jordan Conaway's win pulled the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes even at three team points apiece.

"That was a big match obviously if you are looking at the match by match," said Sanderson. "If we don't win that match, it gets a lot tougher to win the dual. [Conaway] did a great job and all of our guys wrestled hard. They move forward and they try and score points. They do it because they love it and want to be the best that they can be." 

The match did not start in Conaway's favor, as the senior faced an early 4-0 deficit. Not panicking, Conaway was able to keep wrestling and turn the momentum in his favor.

"That was huge because those four points were real early and it looked like Jordan was going to have a hard time getting off the bottom, so things weren't looking real good," said Sanderson. "DiJulius is real tricky obviously and very good at what he does, but Jordan is a fighter and he's going to keep wrestling the whole time."

Playing a big factor in Conaway's eventual 8-4 decision as well as other matches was the conditioning of the Nittany Lions. Buckeye wrestlers were visibly tired at the end of matches, which is something Sanderson and the team pride themselves on. 

"We are confident in our conditioning," said Sanderson. "We think these guys can wrestle, keep wrestling and score points and I think that's more of an attitude and conditioning comes along with that attitude because you have to wrestle like that in practice every day. Conditioning will always be a factor for us."

Matt McCutcheon, who returned for the first time since being injured at Illinois two weeks ago, had extra motivation for this match. Last season, McCutcheon fell to Kenny Courts at Nationals in sudden victory fashion. Riding out Courts for most of the match, the sophomore was able to revenge his loss and made his postgame interview that much sweeter. 

"It means a lot. Last year, I thought about that match for a long time and this one was important to me, so coming back, it was pretty important to get back," said McCutcheon. You have your team going out there scoring points, it makes you want to go out there and score points, so it was pretty important to get back for this match." 

Wrestling for the second time this season across the street at the Bryce Jordan Center, the atmosphere was as electric as any of the wrestlers have seen before. Packing in the sold out arena with 15,983 fans, Sanderson believes that is a testament to the wrestling style his team wrestles with, which makes it exciting to watch and keeps the fans coming back.

"I think our guys are doing a good job of really wrestling aggressively, so they are fun to watch," said Sanderson. "They are good kids and humble kids. Win or lose, they are going to be the same. They want to win, but they are going to fight to win."

Not only are the fans loud and passionate, the supporters are knowledgeable and have a real sense of what is going on. McCutcheon believes that the Nittany Lion supporters are the best fans in the country, which makes wrestling at Penn State so special. McCutcheon cites how the fans appreciate the effort level and even if the results don't go in their favor, the crowd is still supportive. Sanderson also recognizes the passion and support that surrounds his team, as getting stuck in traffic trying to get to the match made him realize the swarms of people that came out to support his squad.

"Pennsylvania wrestling is huge at all levels, at the youth level, at the high school level and at the collegiate level," said Sanderson. "The fans know what they are looking at and they love good wrestling. I think we want to make Pa. proud."


 

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