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Gill: All the Seniors Reflect on the Season

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By Meghan Gill, Redshirt-Senior Midfielder

Defend Jeffery Field!  That is something we are taught is part of the tradition of being on the Penn State Women's Soccer Team in our freshman year.  As we stepped on the field Friday night as seniors, we knew we couldn't leave the field any different.  It was a very special moment for every senior as we got to celebrate the culmination of our years at Penn State with our friends, families, coaches, and teammates who have supported each and everyone of us throughout our careers.  As I wasn't the only senior celebrating, I wanted to give the others seniors an opportunity to voice their experience and how senior day felt to them.

Ali Schaefer #11

"It is hard to believe that my senior night already came and went. It seems like just yesterday I was a nervous, young freshman wondering what the following four years would bring. That question was answered my senior night. As I walked through the tunnel of teammates with my proud family, and looked into my mother's teary eyes, I couldn't help but tear up too. As the announcer read off each senior's accolades, I reminisced on the journey that had led each of us to that moment. After a roller coaster ride of downfalls and triumphs, from almost failing to hold on to the Big Ten crown in 2010 to finishing this season with one of the best records in years, our 2011 class is a like minded and cohesive group. This year, our team has put the country on notice: we are a force to be reckoned with.

As we all made our way onto the field and stood huddled together with our families, it seemed as if we were but one family. Every girl of my 2012 class is like a sister to me. We have been together through it all. We learned the traditions of Penn State Women's Soccer together and we set an admirable goal for our final season together. Thus far on our journey, we have done very well in pursuit of that goal. Our team is very strong and our core of seniors remains focused on earning a National Championship. I could not be more happy to be a part of this wonderful class; and the best part is, this is only the beginning. College Cup, here we come!

Carly Niness #21

"It was awesome to win the last home game and was exciting to have my parents walk me out on the one and only Jeffery Field."

Krissy Tribbett #20

"Senior Night for me was a wonderful celebration, but it was bittersweet.  I remember being a freshman and seeing the seniors on senior night, being envious of them, while at the same time feeling happy because I knew I still had more years to play on Jeffrey field.  It was a wonderful celebration and it was fun being honored as a senior.  It ended up being a perfect night with the win and being able to finish the game on the field, for my last home game on Jeffrey field in my college career.  It was awesome being able to celebrate this night with the other 5 seniors that I have spent the last 4 seasons with on and off the field.  We literally are like sisters and it is weird to think that we just spent our last conference home game together after all this time.  It was a great night, but sad to think that our journey together has almost come to an end.  Luckily we have had an amazing season so far and we're hoping to have a few more games on Jeffrey field for the NCAA tournament.  Hope to see as many of you there as possible!"

Jess Rosenbluth #16

"It was great to have my family walk out on the field and it was nice winning the last regular season home game."

Emma Thomson #25

"Senior day was a great way to finish the big ten conference. My family came over to watch me play for the first time and it made the experience even more special. Winning the 4th ring was something our senior class had been aiming for and to have won on Jeffery, in front our home crowd, and in front of family was a great way to finish the regular season. Now onto the next step in our season:vBig Ten Tournament then NCAAs!"

This game was not only to celebrate the seniors but to also celebrate our 14th consecutive Big Ten Regular Season Championship!  So, to say the least it was a very exciting night with emotions running high.  It was also a big night for Purdue, as they needed a win in order to get into the Big Ten Tournament and keep their season alive.  The circumstances of this game made it a tough battle in the first half, which ended in a 0-0 tie.  Yet, on this night, on Jeffery Field we were not going to be denied the win and in the second half scored two great goals.  Emily Hurd scored first with a right footed rocket from about 20 yards out that was shot with so much velocity that it went right over the goalie's head before she was even able to react!  Then the dynamic forward duo of Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes worked their magic to connect on a give and go that left Schram 1v1 with the goalie, which she was able to put away!  Overall, the night as a whole was very exciting match, and one the seniors will surely never forget!

Of course, winning the Big Ten we knew our season wasn't over as the Big Ten Tournament made its way back on to the schedule after a two-year break.  This is very exciting for the team as a whole; as the senior class is the only class to ever experience a Big Ten Tournament.  For all the underclassmen this will be a great learning experience in post season play before the NCAA tournament as crazy things happen in the post season (Hence why NCAA basketball is called March Madness).  Although we may have seen these teams in the regular season, it is different when playing them in the post season.  Every team, including ourselves, is fighting for their lives in the post season as one loss could mean your season is over.  Meaning teams will scrap and fight harder for every 50/50 ball, go into tackles even harder, and put their body on the line to both score goals and protect their net from being scored on.  However, we know this going in, and after two great pre-tournament practices, we are focused and determined to bring back another Big Ten Tourney Title back to Happy Valley!

For all those following back home, our first game is today (Wed. November 2) at 5:30pm ET vs. Northwestern, and can be seen on live stream on Big Ten Network. Com, while the Semi-Finals and Finals will both be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network.  If we win tomorrow we will play at 4:45pm ET Friday (November 4) vs. the winner of the No. 4 vs. 5 game (Wisconsin vs. Minnesota), and if we win Friday we would play in the Championship game on Sunday (November 6) at 4pm ET.  Though, for now, we are taking it one game at a time with all our focus on how to beat Northwestern on their home field! We may not be at home, but we know we have the support of you all back at Penn State, and hopefully by the end of this Sunday we can make you proud by bringing home another Big Ten Trophy!



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