PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The 18-stop Penn State Coaches Caravan kicked off on
Monday morning in downtown Philadelphia before a crowd of more than 250 Nittany
Lion fans and alums.
The Penn State themed bus pulled out of the Bryce Jordan Center at 6:33 a.m. en
route to the Hilton Doubletree on Broad Street downtown Philly.Take a look through some highlights on day
one of the nine-day caravan that will cover seven states and Washington, D.C.
Coach O'Brien and Coach Chambers sharing ideas on the bus ride to Philadelphia.
Stop I - Philadelphia Head coaches Bill O'Brien, Patrick Chambers and Char Morett made the trek
to Philly for the first leg of the caravan.All three head coaches participated in a media session before speaking
at the formal lunch program, which began at noon.
Chambers and Morett both hail from Delaware County in the Philadelphia
area.Coach O'Brien is a Boston
guy.As he took the microphone during
the lunch event, Coach O'Brien joked with the crowd that the last time he was
driving down Broad Street he was in a New England Patriots team bus, and it was
not the same reception he received in the ballroom on Monday.
During his speech, Coach O'Brien shared some of his visions for the program,
including the four pillars of Penn State Football - Academics, Football,
Respect and Integrity.He also revealed
to the room that the team would start a new tradition of singing the alma mater
with the Penn State band on the field following each home game.
Coach Chambers said on Monday that he is thrilled to have the opportunity to
connect with loyal fan base.Since
taking the head coaching position 11 months from Tuesday, Coach Chambers said
he has wanted to get out into the Penn State community, shake hands and meet
Coach Chambers told the room of more than 250 fans that the hoops team just
finished a superb spring season of workouts.He is looking forward to beginning his second season in the fall, which
will feature a stop at The Palestra in Philly for a game against La Salle.He asked the room to pack The Palestra when
the Lions return to Philadelphia in the fall.
Prior to Chambers and O'Brien taking the microphone, Coach Morett gave here
younger counterparts a bit of a roast at the microphone.She joked with the crowd that no matter where
they go, Coach Chambers and Coach O'Brien have entourages with them.The room erupted into laughter.
The coaches then fielded questions from the crowd during a Q&A
session.The very first question from
the crowd went directly to Coach O'Brien.
"What do you predict for our record this year?"
Coach O'Brien laughed and responded with the same message he tells his team.
"We play 12, one-game seasons," Coach O'Brien said.
A fan from New York, who holds men's basketball season tickets behind the bench
in the Bryce Jordan Center told Coach Chambers to turn around and ask him for
advice any time he needs it during a game.Coach Chambers laughed and said that he would expect nothing less from a
With the first lunch complete, the caravan travel party boarded the bus in the
shadows of the William Penn statue atop Philadelphia City Hall en route to
- Former Nittany Lion Adam Taliaferro was in the crowd at lunch in
VIDEO: Stop I Media Interviews
Stop II: Drexelbrook The Coaches Caravan
bus drove through the heart of Philadelphia en route to Drexelbrook, the second
stop on the first week.Coach O'Brien
and Coach Chambers participated in a press conference prior to the dinner
program.Take a look at what both had to
say about driving through Philly and day one of the caravan in the video below.
VIDEO: Drexelbrook Press Conference with
Coach O'Brien and Coach Chambers
With the longer
nature of the evening program, all three coaches spoke at great length about
their visions of their programs and the athletic department.Coach Morett delivered an energetic speech on
what it means to be a true Penn Stater.A veteran leader for 25 seasons, Coach Morett demonstrates passion for
Penn State University every time she speaks.
Coach Chambers followed with another energetic, attitude-filled
presentation.Back in his hometown, the
leader of Nittany Lion basketball talked about laying the foundation for future
success in 2011-12.Coach Chambers said
that change is not going to happen overnight, but the energy level and work
ethic the team and staff will bring to the court every night will change the
perception of Penn State Basketball.
Morett and Coach Chambers, Coach O'Brien delivered a detailed PowerPoint
presentation of his visions for Penn State Football.The speech included slides with the
foundations for the program, the staff, the signs mounted on the doors for the
players to read as the enter and leave the Lasch Building and the type of
football team fans can expect on the field.
All three coaches did a tremendous job engaging the audience with energetic
speaking presentations.Fans who do not
have plans to attend one of the evening sessions on the Coaches Caravan,
register today.You will not be
disappointed with what you hear and see.The Caravan rolls into Baltimore for lunch and Washington, D.C. for
dinner on Tuesday and Richmond for breakfast and Harrisburg for dinner on Wednesday.
- Former Penn State
greats Massimo Manca and Blair Thomas were in attendance on Monday night.
information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and
purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium,
call 1-800-648-8269 (1-800-NITTANY) weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit
Jordan Ticket Center.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
For the first time in my career here at Penn State, and apparently for the first time in many years, our team had the opportunity to play an inter-squad scrimmage during Blue White weekend. What a perfect way to finish off the spring season! Although we play against each other every day in practice, there's something exciting about being in our game jerseys and on our home court playing in front of our home crowd. Thanks to all of you who came out to support us! It was a hard fought battle between Team Blue and Team Qhite, having only a few points decide the winner of each set. The four sets we played were filled with big blocks, incredible digs, a couple of aces and some crazy rallies that seemed to keep going forever. All in all, I thought it showed how competitive our team really is and the passion that we play with every time we step onto that court.
As you all know, Kristin Carpenter and I just finished our last spring season. Where did the time go?? I know I can speak for her saying that it feels like just yesterday we were freshmen on campus. Once finals week is over this Friday, we will officially be seniors. I still can't believe it. Without a doubt in my mind, Penn State has been the perfect fit for me, both academically and athletically. I can't imagine playing for anyone other than Coach Rose. Not only has he taught me a lot about volleyball, but he has taught me about life and what is to come on the road ahead.
This spring brought about some changes. We lost some players and an assistant coach, but we also gained a great resource in Steve Aird. We all improved in areas we needed to get better in, but the work is never over. This summer we are looking forward to improving and ready to keep working hard. See you in August!
By Laura Finley and Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The
Nittany Lion softball team took full advantage of a weekend at home playing a
series against Minnesota that ended with three come-from-behind victories.
Powered by a strong performance by Lisa Akamine on the mound, the Penn State
softball team never backed down, showing resilience in its will to win.
"We have a tremendous amount of
character and fight," said head coach Robin Petrini. "You hardly ever come back
in the seventh from a 1-0 deficit, but to come back from a 3-0 deficit twice
and then be down by one run in the seventh, it's incredible we did it three
times in a row."
On Saturday during game one, Penn
State trailed the Gophers 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth. But the
Nittany Lions' scrappy at-bats against Minnesota Sara Moulton came alive to put
up three runs on three hits and one walk. Continuing to battle, the Gophers
relieved Moulton on the mound and regained a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom
of the seventh as Penn State's Kasie Hatfield stepped to the plate.
Hatfield doubled to left, Lisa Akamine followed with a walk and Liz Presto
singled to right to load the bases for Shannon Hutchinson. Hutchinson kept her
foot on the gas with an RBI single to load the bases again and tie the contest.
Gophers' reliever Alissa Koch struck-out Alyssa Sovereign to delay the end, but
Cassidy Bell came up one at-bat later with a centerfield blooper to score
Akamine and take the game.
In game two a similar suit
followed as the Nittany Lions again trailed Minnesota 3-0. This time the
deficit remained heading into the bottom of the seventh. But Penn State got on
Moulton again, and rallied behind a two-run single from Bell and an RBI single
from Kailyn Johnson. Heading into the eighth, the score was even at three.
Lions' starter Akamine took care
of the Gopher offense in the top of the inning before Penn State made its roar.
After working runners to the corners, a hitless Sovereign came to the plate
with two outs for the Lions. The lefty poked a single into the left-centerfield
gap to score Presto from third and sweep the doubleheader.
The series continued Sunday, looking much like the two previous games. The
Gophers scored three runs in the second after a homerun was hit by Erika Smyth.
Penn State quickly answered in the bottom of the third with Akamine scoring on
a wild pitch after being walked by Moulton. Carrying the momentum into the forth
the Nittany Lions scored as Sovereign hit an RBI double, bringing in Hutchinson
to make it 3-2.
With Penn State showing some fight, Akamine focused on keeping the
Nittany Lions in the game, but had her work cut out for her. The Gophers had
the bases loaded in the seventh and with two outs all eyes were on the mound.
Akamine proved herself yet again, throwing a strikeout and renewing hope for
the Nittany Lions.
"Lisa has been great all weekend for us," said Coach Petrini. "She
just kept us in the game and without her effort we just didn't have a shot. She
made an outstanding effort and I can't say enough good things about how she
pitched this weekend."
Penn State came out hitting in the bottom of the seventh, determined to
make their third comeback of the weekend. A hit by Alyssa Renwick started the
late inning surge as she reached first on a fielders choice. With two outs,
Johnson singled to left and Renwick advanced to second. A wild pitch by Moulton
set the Nittany Lions up to score as Lauren Yao stepped to the plate.
"I went up to bat and I knew I had to get a hit," said Yao. "It was our
last chance to get a run in the game and I went in being positive, thinking I
was going to get a hit the entire time."
And she did, posting a single to left and driving in Johnson and Renwick
to bring Penn State the win 4-3. The win also kept up the Nittany Lions winning
record at home as the team has now won nine of their past ten games at Beard
"It helps the team confidence," said Coach Petrini. "They're excited to
have two days off. That was what was on the line today for winning a game and I
think they're excited about that, but we'll be ready to go on the road and play
Illinois this week"
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the series tied 1-1 and Penn State (22-22, 8-7
Big Ten) trailing by two runs with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, senior
outfielder Sean Deegan took a high fastball and crushed a three-run walk-off
homerun to give the Nittany Lions a key conference win, 8-7, over the Ohio
State Buckeyes (24-20, 8-10 Big Ten).
"That's just something you dream
about," said Deegan."You always dream
about hitting that walk-off and throwing your helmet up and having your
teammates mob you at the plate, so it's just unreal."
In a back and
fourth game that featured eleven different pitchers over ten innings, both
teams needed a win to stay in the race for the conference tournament at the end
of the season.
"That game means a lot," said
head coach Robbie Wine."That was a
great series from start to finish and being a home team there was the key."
starter John Walter had a good outing despite struggling with his command at
times, going five and a third innings and allowing two runs on four hits and
five walks with seven strikeouts.
The game was tied at two in the third inning when Penn State put up three
runs on five hits to take a 5-2 lead.With
no outs, Junior Luis Montesinos hit a bases loaded two-run single down the
first base line followed by an RBI groundout from freshman designated hitter
The bullpen fought to hold the lead, but had a rough eighth inning in which
four different relievers took the mound and allowed three runs on two hits, two
hit batters and a walk, tying the game at five apiece.Sophomore Greg Welsh entered the game and,
with runners on first and second, recorded a strikeout to end the threat.Seven pitchers were used in the eighth inning
alone by both teams.
"They have to learn from every
experience," said Coach Wine of his pitchers. "Every time you step foot on the mound, learn
something from it."
strong through the ninth inning, but as the game entered extras, he lost his
command in the 10th.With two outs,
runners on first and second, Welsh proceeded to walk the next three batters he
faced to give the Buckeyes a 7-5 lead and all the momentum going into the bottom
of the inning.
After two quick outs, freshman J.C. Coban and junior Elliot Searer both walked
to keep the inning alive.The fans, who
had made their presence known throughout the game, rallied to support the
Nittany Lions as Deegan stepped to the plate.A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, but it wouldn't
matter as Deegan belted his sixth homerun of the season to hand Penn State a
critical 2-1 series win.
"Going into this series 1-1, we
really needed this game to put ourselves in a good position," said Deegan."We have our fate in our own hands from here
Every conference win
counts and the victory for Penn State (22-22, 8-7 Big Ten) moves them into a
potential four-way tie for third place in the Big Ten standings with six teams
making the tournament. The Nittany Lions look to ride this weekend's momentum
into Minnesota where Penn State will play a three-game series against the
Golden Gophers (26-19, 9-5 Big Ten), who are second place in the Big Ten.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football's Director of Strength and
Conditioning, Craig Fitzgerald, is counting down the days until the Nittany
Lions kick off their summer conditioning program on May 14 in the finished
weight room inside the Lasch Football Building.
After working more than 12 hours on Saturday, Fitzgerald and the installation crews from Penn State OPP and Sorinex Exercise Equipment
put the finishing touches on the new equipment configured in 24 stations that
will host all strength and conditioning activities for Nittany Lion football.Head into the custom finished weight room for
an exclusive tour with Fitzgerald.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The nine-day, 18-stop Penn State Coaches Caravan
kicks off on Monday with a lunch stop in Philadelphia and a dinner stop in
Drexel Hill, Pa.
After more than 40 man hours for five Fullington Trailways employees, the
specially-designed Coaches Caravan bus is wrapped with Penn State decals and ready to go.There are 16 seats in the front half of the
bus, some with tables, and leather couches and chairs in the back.
Bill O'Brien, Patrick Chambers and Char Morett will head on the road Monday
morning at 6:30 a.m. en route to Philly to begin the first leg of the Penn
State Coaches Caravan.
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's volleyball team will continue
its postseason run for yet another week thanks to a 3-1 victory over George
Mason in the EIVA Championship match on Saturday night.
With the win, the Nittany Lions captured a 14th consecutive conference title in
Rec Hall and earn a spot in the NCAA National Tournament where they will meet
UC Irvine in the semifinals on Thursday in Los Angeles.
In what was the toughest conference competition that they said they've
faced all season, the Lions took the first two sets by scores of 25-16 and
25-21 and dropped the third to the Patriots by a score of 25-20. But Penn State
battled back in the fourth to a 25-22 set win and match victory.
Ten of the 17 rostered Nittany Lions saw action in the championship match
as head coach Mark Pavlik said he used several of his deep lineup's assets to
overcome George Mason.
"We weren't afraid to be wrong with our moves, and I think it paid off in
the long run," Pavlik said of him and his coaching staff. "It just seemed like
we maybe focused a little bit more on being dynamic and explosive and more or
less kind of taking the game to them as opposed to just kind of reacting to
what they were doing."
Aside from the first set, George Mason kept things interesting all night
long tagging at the heels of the Lions and testing their defense by serving
tough and finding ways to avoid the block.
Pavlik said that even when his team was down or when the Patriots gained
momentum, he was confident that it would power through.
"Sometimes the toughest games to win are the ones you're supposed to," said
Pavlik. "These guys have been told all season, you're 14-0 in the EIVA, you're
going to win again, and I think that's the toughest match to win."
And the effort came from freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors to get
the job done. Fifth-year senior Joe Sunder led the Lions with a resounding 15
kills while his freshman counterpart Aaron Russell followed with 11.
Pavlik said that he saw a fight in his team from top to bottom that
remained constant and confident, and that he was particularly proud of the
competitive maturity he saw in his veterans.
"Throughout the entire year they've managed to find a way to get back,"
said Pavlik. "I think that's really the experience that [Edgardo Goas]'s had
and the experience that Joe's had saying, okay we've been here before,
everybody take a deep breath and keep doing what we're doing."
Senior setter Goas said that he and Sunder couldn't take all of the credit,
however, as he recognized that the bulk of the touches on the Penn State side
were coming from the younger athletes.
Thirty-five of the 50 kills that the Nittany Lions put down came from the
hands of underclassmen.
"These young guys are talented," said Goas. "I just like how everyone
played and responded when we were against the wall."
At the end of the match, Goas, Russell and Sunder earned EIVA Championship
All-Tournament honors and Sunder took home the plaque for Most Outstanding
Player of the tournament.
Sunder said that for his last match in Rec Hall, winning the conference
title wasn't a bad way to go out.
"I think that's the first time, since I've been here, that we've celebrated
like that after winning the EIVA Championship," said Sunder. "You can't take
that feeling away - that was a lot of fun."
Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It is unusual for a 14-game regular season to be
summarized in just a single game, but with the way the Penn State men's
lacrosse team battled back against Hofstra on Saturday, that is exactly what
The Nittany Lions erased a four-goal deficit heading into the fourth quarter to
score a dramatic 9-8 double overtime victory over Hofstra on Senior Day.
"Our play today was an example of what we have been like all year," said
head coach Jeff Tambroni following the victory.
"We battled through some adversity this year but we fought back and
continued to believe in ourselves and our system and we found wins at the end
of the year," Tambroni said. "That is the same way we battled today."
The Nittany Lions were quickly put in check after Hofstra scored four-straight
first quarter goals.
"We started off really slow but we kept the faith and we continued to
believe," said senior attackman Matt Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.), who
registered his 97th, 98th and 99th career goals against the Pride.
"We said we needed possessions and we needed to execute small details like
getting ground balls--we knew if we did that, then we had a chance."
Entering the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions found themselves down by four
goals with NCAA Tournament hopes in their minds.
Execution of details and possession time translated into an emphatic
comeback that was sparked by a Mackrides' goal just a minute into the final
Following Mackrides' score, Penn State piled on five of the next six goals
that would be scored in the game, including a dramatic score with just 18
seconds remaining from sophomore Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) that sent
the contest into overtime.
In the sudden death overtime period, the Nittany Lions had trouble gaining
possession, but lockdown defense held Hofstra from scoring, and sent the game
into a second overtime frame.
"There was no magic formula for our defense," said assistant coach Peter
Toner. "We just figured out what Hofstra was doing and we were able to make
adjustments on defense that kept the ball out of the net."
The Pride secured possession yet again in the second overtime period, but a
fantastic between-the-legs-save by goaltender Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) gave
the ball back to the Nittany Lions, and led to the game-winning score.
"I knew that [one of Hofstra's attackman] was a righty from our scouting
report," said Kaut. "I knew he would try to go to the right side of the net and
I noticed that they liked to shoot in the five-hole, so I guessed correctly and
ended up making the save."
The save gave the Nittany Lions possession with just under two minutes
remaining in the period. After a Penn State timeout, sophomore Shane Sturgis
(Downingtown, Pa.) and Matt Mackrides executed a play that led to Sturgis
flinging the ball into the back of the net and securing the sudden-death
"The game-winner was all about putting two of our best scorers out there in
Shane and Matt and letting them work together," said Tambroni.
Once the comeback was complete, the team rushed the field and celebrated
around Sturgis, whose goal secured the team's fifth win in a row.
"To cap off the season with an overtime win for our seniors and our entire
team was something special," said Tambroni.
The comeback wouldn't have been possible without a key chain of events that
turned the momentum in favor of the Nittany Lions.
dramatic game-tying shot, lock-down defense, a crucial save, and a well
executed play led to the emotional victory.
As for the play of the seniors, Mackrides wasn't the only veteran making an
Senior attack Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.) registered three points,
midfielder Ryan Link (Englewood, Colo.) caused a turnover and picked up five
ground balls, and defenseman Ryan McGarvey (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) picked up one
ground ball before leaving the contest after an apparent head injury.
The win caps off the regular season and gives Penn State a 5-1 record in the
CAA, translating into the second seed in the CAA Tournament.
The Nittany Lions will host Drexel on Wednesday in the semifinal round of the
CAA playoffs, and barring a win and a Massachusetts loss, the team could host
yet another CAA Tournament game on Saturday, May 5.
Wednesday's faceoff against the Dragons is set for 7 p.m.
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball (21-22, 7-7 Big Ten) responded
to its 4-1 Friday night loss to Ohio State (24-19, 8-9 Big Ten) with a dramatic
5-4 win on Saturday.
Trailing by one run in the bottom of the eighth, the Lions plated two runs, one
on a wild pitch and a second on a balk, to score a crucial victory in a
nine-inning back and fourth showdown, evening the pivotal conference series to
Junior Steven Hill took the mound for the Nittany Lions, his first start
since the no-hitter at Iowa. Though it
wasn't his best outing, Hill went strong through seven innings, allowing four
runs on seven hits.
Manufacturing runs was the name of the game for both teams as Ohio State
got on the board early in the second after a single with runners on first and
second gave the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead.
Penn State would respond in the bottom of the second when, with two outs,
junior Luis Montesinos reached first on a walk, stole second, and was driven in
by a base hit down the third base line from freshman designated hitter J.J.
After Ohio State broke the 1-1 tie in the fifth with a two-out RBI single,
the Nittany Lions put together a two-run sixth on four hits.Senior third baseman Joey DeBernardis sparked
the rally with a double and scored on a single by senior first baseman Jordan
Steranka.With two outs, White singled
to put runners on first and second for freshman catcher J.C. Coban, who ripped
a single of his own to score Steranka and give Penn State the 3-2 lead.
"Playing a team like Ohio State with the Big Ten on the line and everything
like that, it's just a bigger game and everyone comes out really ready to play
their best," said White."We fought the
entire game and it was a battle out there."
In the eighth, Ohio State put runners on first and third with nobody out
and knocked Hill out of the game.Junior
Dave Walkling took the mound and battled to limit the Buckeyes to two runs on
the inning.Nevertheless, Penn State
trailed 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth.
After White took his base on a hit-by-pitch to start the inning, Ohio State
reliever David Fathalikhani walked the bases loaded on eight straight pitches.The Buckeyes made a pitching change that
would result in a wild pitch to tie the game at four and then a balk to give
the Nittany Lions a 5-4 lead.
"That's baseball, you create your own breaks," said head coach Robbie Wine
on the inning."You take advantage of
some opportunities you have and last night they did and we didn't and tonight
good things happened for us."
The drama continued in the ninth as Walkling returned to the mound and gave
up a double to put the tying run on second with one out.The runner then advanced to third on a tight
groundout to shortstop Elliot Searer. With two outs, Walkling struck out the
final batter of the game with three straight spectacular sliders.
"I'm starting to gain a lot of confidence knowing that I'm going to go in
with a little bit of adversity and just in my mentality and my focus know I'm
going to go in and throw strikes and have my other pitches working for me,"
said Walkling."It's worked out."
The rubber match to decide the series is slated for tomorrow at 1:05
p.m.John Walter will have the start for
the Nittany Lions as they try to win a key game three against rival Ohio State.
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball struggled all night long and was
never able to get in an offensive rhythm as they fell at home Friday night in the
first game of a three game series 4-1 to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Nittany Lions got off to a strong start in the first on both the
offensive and defensive side of the field.Following a strong 1, 2, 3 inning for Penn State starter Joe Kurrasch, the
offense was able to do damage of their own.
With two outs in the first Joey DeBernardis was able to put a good mark on
the ball to double and get things going.That's when Jordan Steranka did his job in the batter's box as he
singled to bring DeBernardis home and put the Lions up 1-0.
The Nittany Lions avoided major trouble in the second inning as the
Buckeyes were able to load the bases with no outs due to a wild Joe Kurrasch.Following a walk by Kurrasch bringing in a
run to tie the game at one, the Penn State defense was able to get a line-out
followed by a double play to get out of the inning safe.
After the eventful first two innings this game turned into a pitcher's duel
the rest of the way.
Joe Kurrasch did solid work throughout the night for Penn State as he went
six and two third innings of four hit ball, only allowing one run for the
The eighth inning is when offense finally broke through as Ohio State was
able to pull together a two-out rally to put the Buckeyes up.A two out single put Ohio State up one, then
two bases loaded walks back to back gave the Buckeyes a 4-1 lead, which they
never gave up.
The Lions were never able to get in a rhythm and come back due to a strong
pitching performance by the Buckeyes Jarron Long, who went eight innings for
Despite the tough loss the Nittany Lions know they have to come right back
ready to go.
"Tomorrow is a new day," said Jordan Steranka following the loss.
"That was a good college ball game," added head coach Robbie Wine on a
positive note."They stuck to their
plan, we stuck to ours."
The Nittany Lions will get ready to face Ohio State twice more this weekend
and bounce back with that plan as they will play tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 pm
at Medlar Field, then again Sunday at the same time and place.
Speno, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Six seniors will take the field for their last home game
on Saturday against Princeton. Dana Cahill, Theresa Zichelli, Aly Adams,
Brittany Chamberlain, Kelsey Hughes and Elaine Welch will be honored at
centerfield accompanied by their parents prior to the opening draw.
These six seniors took time to reflect on their last four years as student
athletes here at Penn State University. These long time teammates and friends
shared why they chose Penn State and their favorite memories both on and off
the lacrosse field.
Goalie and captain Dana Cahill has established herself as one of the nations
top goalkeepers. Earning First Team All-West/Midwest Region and All-ALC honors
in addition to being named ALC Goalkeeper of the Year. Cahill finished the 2011
season with a 9.95 goals against average, a .466 save percentage, 150 saves,
and a team-high 47 ground balls.In 2012
Cahill has been selected as a nominee for the Tewaarton Award given to the
nations top female lacrosse player. Cahill's stats are extremely impressive
with a 9.98 goals against average, a .514 save percentage and 149 saves.
Assistant coach Amy Altig hopes Cahill looks back on her career and is as proud
of her accomplishments as all of her teammates and coaches are.
"For her, I hope she looks back at the end of this year and says I had an
awesome senior year," said Altig. "All the accolades aside, I hope she is proud
of herself for the progress she has made in her career. I know we couldn't be
more proud of her and I know her teammates are."
Co-captain, Theresa Zichelli a four-year starter in the midfield has been
instrumental to the success of this program these last four years. When you
think of Theresa Zichelli the word determined comes to mind. Zichelli
consistently gives 100 percent both on and off the lacrosse field. Going into
this season Zichelli's personal goal was to be a larger threat on offense and
she has accomplished just that. Zichelli is the fifth leading goal scorer on
the team with 19 goals, and registered a notable 23 groundballs, 22 draw
controls and 11 caused turnovers.
Aly Adams a native of Springfield, Pa. has been coming to Penn State for eight
years now. Prior to attending Penn State Adams would come visit her brother,
Drew, who was a stand out goalie on the men's team. Adams says ever since she
was a little girl her dream was to attend Penn State.
"Whenever I came to watch Drew, I knew this was the place I wanted to be," said
Adams. "I am so honored to say I have played lacrosse here and that I am
graduating with a Penn State degree. In my last four years I have had so many
great memories that I can't choose a favorite."
Elaine Welch from Bernardsville, N.J., saw action in 11 games this season with
starts against Florida and Northwestern. When reminiscing on her experience at
Penn State Welch remembered the first time she drove to Penn State and saw
Beaver Stadium from Route 80.
"I can't imagine what it is going to feel like when I see the stadium in my
rear view mirror driving home after graduation," said Welch. "This school, my
teammates and the memories I have made here I will never forget. These last
four years have gone by way too fast."
Brittany Chamberlain, a defender from Finksburg, Md., made appearances in eight
games this season before she was sidelined for two separate concussions. However,
the injuries haven't stopped her. Chamberlains vocal leadership can still be
heard from the sideline. She has a voice people listen to and the defensive
unit still looks to her for advice.
"I want to make my teammates around me better for the future of this program,"
said Chamberlain. "I want to make an impact and leave my mark even though I
haven't been able to play."
Kelsey Hughes transferred her sophomore year from the University of Denver to
be a part of something special.
"The best thing about this school is the amount of pride the students and
alumni have for this school," said Hughes. "I love wearing my Penn State
clothes and getting "We Are" chanted at me when I am at home in Maryland. I am
proud to have been a part of this University and say I graduated from Penn State
with 'Success with Honor'."
These six seniors have one last wish before they leave and that is to win the
ALC tournament title and make it the NCAA tournament for the first time in
their collegiate careers.
Follow these six seniors and the rest of the Nittany Lions as they close out
their regular season play this Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Penn State Lacrosse Stadium.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Never before have Penn State coaches participated in a traveling caravan of the
magnitude at least 12 coaches are set to embark on during the next three weeks.
The Coaches Caravan, a nine-day, 18-stop excursion through seven states
(Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Ohio)
and the District of Columbia kicks off on Monday with visits to downtown
Philadelphia at lunch and Drexel Hill, Pa., for dinner.
Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien will headline the Coaches Caravan roster
at all 18 stops on the tour.Coach
O'Brien and the traveling coaches will ride in the modified Fullington
Trailways, Penn State-themed bus for the duration of the caravan.
"I am really looking forward to getting out on the road to meet the alums and
fans," Coach O'Brien said."I really
want to share my vision for the football program.And then getting the opportunity to travel
with a lot of the other coaches will be fun."
The list coaches includes men's basketball's Patrick Chambers (four stops),
women's basketball's Coquese Washington (six stops), field hockey's Char Morett
(three stops), men's volleyball's Russ Rose (one stop), men's and women's track
and field/cross country's Beth Alford-Sullivan (four stops), women's golf's
Denise St. Pierre (two stops), men's soccer's Bob Warming (six stops), men's
golf's Greg Nye (six stops), men's hockey's Guy Gadowsky (six stops), women's
hockey's Josh Brandwene (two stops) and Mark Pavlik (six stops).
"We need to get out there and meet people," Coach Chambers said."They need to feel a connection with me and
our team.And when you do that, it may
entice the fans to get to campus, come to some games, and maybe even get to
some road games if they are in the area where we are playing."
"So many people
support Penn State and the women's basketball program," said Coach
Washington."It is always exciting to
get out and see some of the fans.Having
face-to-face interaction with them helps us learn what more we can do to make
their experience with our program better.It also gives us a chance to let them know how much we appreciate what
they do for us."
Coach O'Brien will deliver a presentation on the road, highlighting some of his
coaching philosophies, visions, core values and more.It is also a great opportunity for the new
leader of Penn State football to meet some of the loyal fans and alums in
cities across seven states and Washington, D.C.
"Again, one of the things that is very important for me is for people to hear
my vision for the program - the things we talk about with the players, like
honesty, integrity, knowing your role, being involved in the community and keeping
that balance between academics and football," Coach O'Brien said.
I will be joining Coach O'Brien and the traveling coaches on the bus during all
nine days of the Coaches Caravan.From
the time the bus pulls out of the Bryce Jordan Center parking lot on Monday at
6:30 a.m. until it pulls back into town from Buffalo on May 17, GoPSUsports.com
will have written and video coverage from every step of the way during a
three-week trek. "They (coaches and staff) are going to get a full dose of me.I don't know whether that is good or bad
(laughter)," Coach O'Brien said."I am
looking forward to it.It will be
somewhat of a bonding trip with some of the other coaches, and I am looking
forward to getting to know some of those people."
In previous years, Hall of Fame head coach Joe Paterno and a few select coaches
hit the road for a limited number dinner events, but never before has there
been a caravan with 18 stops featuring at least 12 coaches.
Coach O'Brien and the Penn State Coaches Caravan are coming to a city near
you.Register today by clicking the link
listed below.We look forward to seeing
you on the road.
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While Saturday's game against Hofstra won't be the final
home game for the Penn State men's lacrosse team, it is sure to be an emotional
night for the seniors.
The CAA matchup and final regular season game will serve as "Senior Night"
for Penn State's five graduating players.
All five seniors have played influential roles for the Nittany Lions at one
point or another, each with at least a season's worth of starts under their
"It is going to be a weird feeling putting that jersey on for the last
time," said attackman Matt Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.). "Being with these
seniors for the past four years has been a great journey and it means
everything to me."
Mackrides is entering Saturday's contest with 96 career goals, which is
tied for sixth all-time in program history.
As for his plans after graduating from Penn State, the consistent scorer
plans on pursuing a career with Major League Lacrosse. He was drafted 26th
overall in the 2012 MLL Draft by the Chesapeake Bayhawks.
"I am excited for the opportunity and the experience to play for the
Chesapeake Bayhawks but for now my focus is on Penn State lacrosse," Mackrides
Mackrides has not been alone on the attack for Penn State throughout his
four prolific seasons--he is joined by fellow senior Jack Forster (Jenkintown,
Pa.), who is in the midst of a career-high season in multiple statistical categories.
"It has been the best part of my day everyday to come in here and compete
with these guys," said Forster.
The redshirt senior has been plagued by injuries throughout his career,
losing the 2008 and 2010 season to knee injuries. This season has been
injury-free for Forster and he is leading the team in all offensive categories.
"It has been a relief [to be injury-free], knock on wood, and I feel a
hundred times better than last season," he said.
On the other side of the ball, seniors Dave Baker (Havertown, Pa.), Ryan
McGarvey (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.), and Ryan Link (Englewood, Colo.) are also
starting to feel the emotions arise as their collegiate careers wind down.
"I feel like we are never really done with Penn State lacrosse," said
Baker. "We may be graduating but we will always feel like a part of this team."
Baker started 13 games in 2010 in the goal for the Nittany Lions and
remains an integral part of the team as he provides leadership and motivation
on the sidelines.
Following graduation, Baker plans to pursue a master's degree in education.
Helping Baker out on the defensive side of the ball is defenseman Ryan
McGarvey, who scored his first-career goal this season from nearly the length
of the field in a loss to Bucknell.
The preseason All-CAA defenseman has appeared in 40 games for the Nittany
Lions over the course of his career and has been the foundation of the
tenth-best scoring defense in the country during 2012.
Joining McGarvey in a consistent career of appearances is midfielder Ryan
Link, who has appeared in 43 games in his career and leads the team in caused
Link is a diverse player, whose abilities include playing on both sides of
the field and switching from short-pole to long-pole at points during games.
The relatively small senior class, making up only five of a 38-man roster
has been influential in the team's late season push towards the playoffs.
"From start to finish they have done an unbelievable job," said head coach
Jeff Tambroni. "They set the culture for this team on and off the field."
Coach Tambroni, in his second year as head coach, joined the program after
this group of seniors already had two seasons under their belts.
"They are leaving this place better than they found it," he said."Their legacy is embedded in a very strong foundation and I hope
when they look back they will see their footprint on Penn State lacrosse for
years to come."
Faceoff against Hofstra is set for noon on Saturday. Win or lose,
the team will host a first round game of the CAA Tournament on May 2 at 7 p.m.
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When charter buses roll into the parking lots
surrounding Rec Hall in the late weeks of April and young men taller than most professors
here on campus step off, it can only mean one thing.
In the first night of the EIVA postseason competition in Rec Hall, the
top-seeded Nittany Lions handed the fourth-seeded Princeton Tigers a 3-0 (25-20,
25-12, 25-22) loss.
Earlier in the evening, third-seeded George Mason defeated second-seed Harvard
as well. The two winners, Penn State and George Mason, will play for the EIVA
Championship title on Saturday at 7 p.m. back in Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions out-hit and out-served the Tigers to roll to their first
victory of the postseason, posting an attack average of .418 to Princeton's
.208 and registering nine service aces to the Tigers' two.
Penn State was able to power its offense behind strong performances on
every inch of the court, as head coach Mark Pavlik said his team looked more
determined than he had seen it before.
"We've been practicing really well the last two weeks," said Pavlik. "I
think that everybody's on the same page. I told these guys in the locker room
after the match that this was as focused of an effort we've gotten."
And after a 21-5 regular season record, Pavlik said that a team effort is
the only thing he expected to see at the start of postseason play.
"I think this is what the legacy of Penn State men's volleyball is," said
Pavlik. "At this time of year, this isn't about any individual; this isn't
about look at me, look what I can do, it's all about let's get through the EIVA
and get to the NCAAs."
In order to get to where their head coach wants them to be, the Nittany
Lions will need to ride offensive efforts like the ones sophomore Tom Comfort
and senior Joe Sunder had against the Tigers. Comfort rendered a match-high 12
kills and hit .500 for the night while Sunder notched 11 kills of his own to
swing at an average of .625 for the match.
"I just really wanted to go out and send a message and just
make sure that our team gets off to a good start," said the sophomore opposite.
Comfort added that his team's mentality during the
postseason is the same 'never say die' attitude that it has carried all year
"We've got to stay focused, listen to what the coaches tell
us and just play hard," said Comfort. "Every day we play hard in practice and
we get better so we've just got to keep doing the things that we always do."
"It's a Penn State volleyball tradition thing."
If the Nittany Lions pull off another conference win on
Saturday night in the EIVA final, they will be appearing in the NCAA Tournament
for the 26th time in program history and capture their 14th consecutive EIVA
As Pavlik sat by, smiling, sophomore outside hitter Jace
Olsen pointed out that a 14th straight conference title is something that his
team needs to have.
"If you see on our EIVA trophy, we'll have one whole side
after this year," said Olsen. "It's the Penn State side."
By Chardonnai Johnson, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In September 2010, Terry and Kim Pegula made an
unprecedented donation to enable the construction of a state of the art hockey
arena at Penn State.
At a ceremony last Friday, April 20, the Pegulas officially broke ground on the
arena that will bear their name, finally letting their dreams take shape.
"It's just a very special day," said Terry Pegula. "It's really just great to
see the progress of it all."
The Pegulas' donation sprouted out of Terry Pegula's own lifelong love
for hockey and his alma mater. He graduated from the university in 1973 with a
degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering. Pegula's love for hockey runs
so deep that even owns an NHL team, the Buffalo Sabres.
"I love hockey," said Pegula. "And I've mentioned publicly the
conversations with Joe [Battista] I had about why Penn State has no D-I
program. One thing led to another and that's why we're here today."
Joining the Pegulas in the groundbreaking was Penn State President
Rodney Erickson, hockey coaches Josh Brandwene and Guy Gadowsky, Acting
Athletic Director David Joyner, and Associate Athletic Director for hockey
development Joe Battista.The ceremony
marked another major milestone in the journey towards a new arena and Division
I hockey in Happy Valley.
"This has been talked about since the early 70s," said Battista. "Only
because of the generosity of Terry and Kim Pegula are we all here today to
celebrate this next step in Division I hockey."
More than 13 formal proposals to start men's and
women's varsity programs were given to Penn State before the Pegula gift.
The Greenberg Ice Pavilion, the current arena for
the hockey teams, was originally conceived to host varsity programs but had to
be re-imagined after budget concerns.
The Pegulas' original donation of $88 million was upped to a whopping
$102 million after the cost estimates were predicted to be higher than they had
Their generosity made their donation the largest private gift in Penn State
history and also the fourth largest gift from a private individual to an
institution in the past three years. "The Pegula gift is so significant," said Joyner. "We obviously needed
the funding to be able to develop an appropriate facility to do this. This is a
great day for Penn State Athletics and Penn State Hockey."
Construction on the arena, located near the corner of University Drive
and Curtin Road across from the Bryce Jordan Center, began in early February of
For the 2013-2014 season, the men's team will join the Big Ten while the
women's team starts their second year as College Hockey America members.
With the construction on the Pegula Ice Arena scheduled to wrap up in
the fall of 2013, both of the teams' 2013-2014 season will coincide with its
Many of the officials and coaches who played a part in its development
are surprised by the amount of progress being made so quickly.
"It's a reality," said Coach Gadowsky. "It's becoming a reality and the
excitement just builds every time you see something new happening with the
Coach Brandwene is also thrilled about the progress and shares the same
level of excitement as his athletes.
"It kind of came in for a landing this morning," said Coach Brandwene.
"In terms of where we were and where we're going. This is going to be the crown
jewel of college hockey."
The new arena will feature two ice surfaces:
a main rink for Penn State's varsity hockey programs and a community
rink. The main arena will feature 6,000 seats, including a 1,000-seat student
There will also be a 5,000 square foot weight room, steam room, team
lounge, hydrotherapy training center, and locker rooms.
With the ceremonial dig now behind them, the Pegulas dream for a better
arena for hockey players and hockey fans alike is now becoming a tangible
"I honestly didn't think that we'd be at this stage yet," said Pegula. "Now
we're here today and it's rather interesting how exciting it is to be moving
Penn State into D-I land."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
With spring practice in the books, Coach O'Brien is packing his backs for a
nine-day, 18-stop road trip.
The leader of Penn State football, along with a minimum of 12 other coaches who
are scheduled to participate along the way, will hit the road beginning on
Monday, April 30, for a seven state Coaches Caravan.Coach O'Brien is eager to meet Penn State
fans and alums during the next three weeks, and he wants to see you during his
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball student season ticket holders got a
chance to experience what it is like to play on Medlar Field, as the team held
two open batting practice sessions in April.
The laid back environment gave fans a chance to interact with their student
peers on the baseball team, and were events the whole team enjoyed.
"It was a great turnout," said Penn State starting pitcher John Walter at the
first session."These are the kids who
came to see us play Canisius or Indiana, they want to see us play no matter
what and it's great opportunity to give something back to them."
The more than 40 fans at session one were split into three groups, with one
group hitting while the other two stood out in the field and shagged fly balls
and hits with the players.
That time when the players were in the field with the fans was a great chance
for them to interact with the students in attendance, something not lost on
first baseman Jordan Steranka.
"It's great meeting and interacting with our fans," Steranka said."It's nice getting face to face experiences
with them and experiencing the action with them."
The event was not only something the players enjoyed, but a great time for the
fans in attendance as well, who each got 10 swings of batting practice on the
"It's a pretty cool event, especially with the players and everything out here
today," said Tim Kovacs, a sophomore engineering major, who also added he's
gotten a chance to interact with some of the players out in the field.
"It's great," added Matt Carty, a sophomore education major."It's fun getting out there, interacting with
the guys to see what they think about the season.I think it's really cool."
Fans of the Nittany Lions will have their next chance to catch the team play at
home on Friday, April 27 as the team takes on Ohio State at home at 6:05 pm.
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There are few special moments as memorable as the
one Penn State junior pitcher Steven Hill experienced on Saturday, April 21 at
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Hill was one retired batter away
from a feat rarely accomplished by a pitcher at any level of play: the
The count was one ball and one strike when Hill induced a ground ball to junior
shortstop Elliot Searer, who, charging forward, plucked the ball from dirt,
fired to first and sparked elated chaos beside the pitcher's mound.
"He just chopped it to short,"
Hill put it simply."Elliot made a great
read on it because the kid was fast, he was left-handed, and threw him out and
I went nuts."
It was the first
no-hitter by a Nittany Lion since Nate Bump no-hit Duquesne in 1995 and the
first ever thrown by a Penn Stater in Big Ten play.The emotions coursing through Hill's mind
were hard to put into words.
"Still haven't really found the
right answer for it," said Hill."It's a
great feeling and just looking back on it and all the things that could've gone
wrong but didn't, it's just hard to believe."
Hill first noticed
he was throwing a no-hitter in the fourth inning when he glanced at the
scoreboard, as he often does, to check on his performance thus far.The idea was distant at the time, but when
the eighth inning rolled around, Hill realized the reality of the situation.
"It was a different kind of nervous
in the eighth and ninth," said Hill"It
was just an excited, let's just get this over with, thing."
The defense had his back
throughout the afternoon.In the seventh
inning, senior first baseman Jordan Steranka made a spectacular play on a sharp
groundball down the line, flipping it to Hill for the out at first.
Hill had a shaky moment in the
eighth after he threw two pitches up in the zone that resulted in a mound visit
by pitching coach Jason Bell, who told him that everything he had worked for
led up to this moment.As an experienced
veteran, Hill knew what he needed to do.
"(The hitters) are feeling as much
pressure as me to get a hit," said Hill."You just pitch your game at that point."
When Hill returned to the mound
in the ninth, he knew his team was behind him. With one out, Iowa's Mike McQuillan belted a
ball deep to left field.Hill was sure
it was a double until senior outfielder Sean Deegan drifted back and made a
"As soon as Deegan made that play
on the ball, which I thought was a for sure double, I was like 'just execute
your pitches,'" said Hill.
What makes it challenging for a
pitcher to throw a complete game without allowing a hit, or even a run, is
because the more a batter comes to the plate, the better he is able to adjust
to each pitch.The key to success is
location and changing speeds to keep the hitters off balance.
"I like to think that they're
still trying to figure me out," said Hill."Keep them as uncomfortable as possible and just have a good mix of off
speed and a fastball, locating a fastball."
When the moment of
truth arrived, Hill's accuracy and fastball-changeup combination gave him the
advantage he needed to force a groundout and end the game.As the ball flew from Searer's hand to Steranka's
glove, the celebration ensued.
"I just threw the glove, just did
like an Anchorman sort of leap and I was just ready to jump up and down with the
guys," said Hill.
As the players converged, it was
senior Joey DeBernardis who reached his pitcher first and embraced him.The range of positive emotions that goes
through a player's head at such a moment is virtually indescribable, but one
thing is for certain: there is no feeling in the world quite like it.
"DeBo (DeBernardis) was the first
and then everyone else was just mobbing," Hill recalled."It was like a laugh-cry. Just never been so happy in my life playing a
sport.It doesn't compare to anything."
Hill loves Penn
State and throwing a no-hitter in a Penn State uniform is something he will
"It means a lot," said Hill."This is just something that I can have
forever and it means the most that it's in a Penn State uniform because I
wouldn't have wanted to do it in any other one."
Later in the hotel room, Hill
watched SportsCenter Top 10 plays with his roommate junior Cody Lewis, having
been informed his no-hitter had made the cut.He never thought his play would make it to number two on the list.
"We didn't expect it to be that
high," laughed Hill."Then sure enough
it was number two and we both just screamed and then there was silence as we
watched the highlight happen and then we just bear hugged."
With the memory forever encased
in the back of his mind, Hill is ready to go back to work on Saturday against
Big Ten rival Ohio State.
"I just got to continue to do
what I've been doing and that's throw strikes, get ahead of guys and get outs,"
Happy Valley has found a true
champion in the Texas native and Hill's accomplishment epitomizes the Penn State
slogan, Success With Honor.
By Jeff Sattora and Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writers UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (20-21, 6-6 Big Ten) baseball came from
behind to down Mount St. Mary's (12-34) and Kent State (24-17) in back-to-back
midweek games, building the momentum for this weekend's big series against Ohio
The Nittany Lions got off to a slow start offensively on Tuesday, waiting
until they were down 3-0 in the eighth inning to put five runs on the board and
take a 5-3 lead.Senior first baseman
Jordan Steranka sparked the attack with a leadoff double followed by a walk
from freshman outfielder Aaron Novak and a single from junior second baseman Luis
Montesinos to load the bases.Freshman
designated hitter J.J. White came to the plate and proceeded to drive in two
with a base hit to left field.
"The people in front of me put me
in a good position with zero outs," said White."I was just trying to get a run in with a sac-fly or something but the
pitcher threw a curve ball over the plate and it found a hole."
White's hit ignited
the offense as sophomore shortstop Elliot Searer singled with Montesinos on
third to tie the game and senior outfielder Sean Deegan belted a bases clearing
triple to left field, giving the Nittany Lions a 5-3 advantage.The three-base shot by Deegan tied Penn
State's all-time triples record of 13.
"It was very exciting to put a
bunch of runs together," said Searer."These midweek games are important to keep momentum going into the
weekend so it's nice to see guys sticking with it throughout the game."
Pitching was key for the Nittany
Lions throughout both midweek games as senior Mike Franklin threw five innings
against Mount St. Mary's, giving up no runs on two hits with four
strikeouts.Freshman Casey Kulina and
junior Evan Dixon went a combined 2.1 innings of hitless and scoreless baseball
out of the bullpen to seal the comeback win.
The trend of battling from behind
continued with the arrival of Kent State on Wednesday.Once again, the players found themselves down
3-0 early after the Golden Eagles manufactured a quick two runs in the first
followed by one in the second.
Penn State trailed 3-1 heading
into the bottom of the fourth inning when Deegan stepped up to the plate with
two outs and the bases loaded.With a
0-2 count, the senior took a hanging curveball and crushed his 14th
triple of the season off the right field wall, emptying the bases and breaking
Penn State's all-time triples record.Sophomore
outfielder Steve Snyder followed with a base hit to score Deegan and gave the
Nittany Lions a 5-3 lead.
"For us to have just one quick
inning where we kind of just threw some runs up on the board had to be a
back-breaker to them," said Deegan.
Though Penn State was outhit
19-9, the pitching staff held the Golden Griffins to just four runs thanks to a
series of strategic pitching changes by head coach Robbie Wine and pitching
coach Jason Bell.Each new reliever came
up with the right pitches when it mattered.
"Leaving runners on base and not
letting them score is what helped us win this game," said sophomore lefthander
"We all just went in there, we
threw strikes and we just kept with the same mindset that our pitching staff
always has and we executed very well today," he added.
Junior Dave Walkling entered the
game in the eighth with no outs, runners on first and second and Penn State
leading 6-4.Behind a spectacular
slider, Walkling struck out the side to end the threat.He then returned in the ninth and shut the
door, striking out two more and allowing a meager one hit.
"I came in and had my pitches
working and basically just threw the slider over and over and they just swung
through it," said Walkling.
Penn State faces rival Ohio State
at home this weekend in a critical series between two teams nearly deadlocked
in the Big Ten standings.The Nittany
Lions are just one game from being tied for second in the conference and there
are six teams separated by one and a half games or less.
"We have our fate in our own
hands, so just trying to go out and win every series from here on out should
set us in a good position for the Big Ten tournament," said Deegan."I think everyone's excited."
Penn State has been phenomenal at
home and looks to build off the momentum of the two midweek victories.The Nittany Lions are 13-3 on Medlar Field at
Lubrano Park this season.The pitching
staff hasn't allowed a single homerun in their ballpark or against a conference
opponent whereas the offense has 12 homeruns versus the Big Ten.That being said, the players know its
important not to get bogged down by stats and just play their game.
"We're just going to go out there
and play how we know how to play," said Dunn."Just throw strikes, hit the ball and good things will happen."
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Under head coach Mark Pavlik and his decorated
staff of volleyball veterans, the Penn State men's volleyball program has had
quite a bit of success.
In his 18th season at the helm of the program, Pavlik has led the
Nittany Lions to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, a 2008 NCAA National Title and
has compiled a record of 434-125 overall.
The head coach has also managed to guide his student-athletes to 16
conference titles, 13 of which have come in the last 13 years.
After the Saint Francis match last Saturday night, which marked the
completion of Penn State's regular season schedule, Pavlik reminded everyone
that his team's season is far from over.
"We've still got more volleyball to play," said Pavlik.
The Nittany Lions are getting set to host the EIVA Championships in Rec
Hall beginning Thursday evening. By dominating the conference with an
undefeated 13-0 record, Penn State holds the top seed of the four teams that
will be playing for an EIVA title. Harvard earned the No. 2 seed, George Mason
holds the No. 3 seed and Princeton rounds out the group as the fourth-seeded
After Harvard and George Mason square off at 5:30 tomorrow night, Penn
State and Princeton will take the court at 8 p.m. The winners of the two games
will then vie for the conference crown on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Pavlik said that he is excited to be entering into the postseason swing
and even more pleased to be able to host the conference championships for
"This is I think the 14th year in a row that we will have hosted this
thing and every year I get more and more anxious for it," Pavlik said of the
EIVA Championships. "It's that postseason atmosphere and that 'never say die'
attitude that players have that really show everyone what men's volleyball is
The head coach said that it was important for his team to finish on a
high-note with a sweep over Saint Francis, and that now his job is to keep his
athletes focused with their foots on the gas.
With their eyes on a national title run, Penn State has just a few short
weeks to make their final statements for the 2012 season.
"You look and you say that we have four matches left, and that's it," said
Pavlik. "So everything that they've done to get to this point, you hope has
prepared them for what they're going to see in the next four matches."
All season long, Pavlik has said that one of the most important aspects
of a successful team is the ability to play with a sense of competitive
maturity. The head coach said that the need for respect and communication and
unwavering drive on the court is something that will most likely never change,
and something that he has seen truly grow in his team this season.
At the beginning of the year, the head coach sat in his Rec Hall office
in front of picture frames and trophies and albums from years past and made a
season prediction with a smile on his face.
"We're ready to go and we'd like to take as much as we can get this
year," said Pavlik. "I don't think a National Championship is too much to ask."
Beginning tomorrow night, the Nittany Lions will start their run for
Pavlik's one, small request.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coach O'Brien will get his first taste of
primetime Big Ten football on two different occasions during his first season
at the helm of the Nittany Lion football program.
The Nittany Lions will play at Iowa (Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. CT on BTN) under the
lights at Kinnick Stadium for the second-straight visit.One week later, Beaver Stadium will come
alive when Penn State welcomes border rival Ohio State (Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. on
ESPN or ESPN2) for a primetime clash.The 2012 night game will mark the third time in the last four meetings
at Beaver Stadium that Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will collide under the
Prior to this season, Penn State has played 13 conference night games (8-5),
including six primetime games inside Beaver Stadium (3-3).The Ohio State game on Oct. 27 will mark the
first time the Lions have hosted a night game since the 41-31 victory over
Michigan on Oct. 30, 2010.
This season will also mark the first time in Penn State's Big Ten history and
only the second time in program history that the Lions will play two-straight
night games.The only other time Penn
State played two-straight night games during the regular season was in 1991 (at
USC, vs. BYU).
For the third time in five seasons, the Nittany Lions will be playing at least
two Big Ten games in primetime.Penn
State played two Big Ten night games in 2010 (at Iowa and vs. Michigan) and
three night games in 2008 (vs. Illinois, at Wisconsin, at Ohio State).
Few things compare to a night game in Beaver Stadium.Make plans to be in Happy Valley on Oct. 27
for Penn State's primetime clash with the rival Buckeyes.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
This weekend the team saw the end of the regular season by celebrating Senior Night during our last scheduled home match.It was great having a lot of friends and family to support us along with the many cookies, brownies and cupcakes that filled the locker room supplied by Mrs. Seifert and Mrs. Comfort.
We started off strong in the match jumping out to a lead but Saint Francis responded well and evened out the score.The rest of the match went the same way with Saint Francis keeping it fairly close, but we pulled out the win by taking three straight sets. All of the seniors got into the match and were recognized for their commitment and leadership over our volleyball careers.It was a lot of fun getting to play with Tor and Wolfy as well as Eddy towards the end of the third set because it hasn't happened all that much over our four years.
On Sunday afternoon the annual senior luncheon was held at the Nittany Lion Inn.The brunch spread was incredible, complete with an omelet bar.Harry Kauffman put together a great program where each of us seniors had a chance to speak to our teammates, coaches, and families as a group.It was a little nerve wracking at first but once the microphone was in my hand, figuratively, it turned out to be a lot of fun.Overall the weekend was a great success and I will always remember the memories and experiences I have shared with Tor, Ryan and Edgardo.This week we look to continue to work hard in practice and prepare ourselves for the EIVA tournament on Thursday.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Friday was a special day for the future of Penn State Hockey.
A crowd of more than 300 gathered in Happy Valley to celebrate the official
groundbreaking of Pegula Ice Arena.Construction
of the 6,000-seat home of the Penn State men's and women's ice hockey teams is
well underway with the foundation being laid near the corner of University
Drive and Curtin Road.
GoPSUsports.com talked with several key participants in the groundbreaking
ceremony, including donor Terry Pegula, acting athletic director Dave Joyner, associate
athletic director for ice arena and hockey development Joe Battista, and head
hockey coaches Josh Brandwene (women) and Guy Gadowsky (men).
Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The pouring rain and physical Delaware attack couldn't
slow down a dominant team performance by the Penn State men's lacrosse squad on
The conference foes didn't waste any time, each scoring a goal within the
first four minutes of the opening period.
With four first-half lead changes, the contest started as an evenly matched
battle, but the Nittany Lion took control after the break.The team exploded out of the locker room
after halftime and scored four-third quarter goals on their way to a 13-9 win.
"We made a few adjustments at halftime but overall we stuck to our game
plan," said senior captain Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.). "This win
is exactly what we needed as a team and we came out and did it tonight."
Mackrides registered his 23rd, 24th,and 25th goals of the season on
Saturday night, making it the ninth multi-goal game of the season for the
The captain was one of five Nittany Lions finding the back of the net
against the Blue Hens, and four of those five put up multi-goal performances.
"We knew we needed to come out hot in the second half," said sophomore
attack Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.). "It didn't matter who or what it was,
but we needed a spark."
LaCrosse may have been that spark for the Nittany Lions himself, scoring
three second-half goals--including a score just 55 seconds into the third
"It really was a team effort tonight," said LaCrosse. "If Danny Henneghan
didn't get hot we never would have had the possession time that we did."
Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) was instrumental in Penn State's third
quarter push. The junior won five of seven faceoffs in the period, contributing
to the Nittany Lions dominant second half possession time.
Another spark for the Lions was sophomore attack Shane Sturgis
(Downingtown, Pa.) who tallied four goals and two assists during the rainy
Sturgis attributed his dominant offensive performance to his teammates and
their ability to move without the ball.
As Penn State started to pull away in the second half, the game took a
physical turn. Delaware was called for two unnecessary roughness penalties in
the final minutes, but the Nittany Lions kept cool heads.
"Credit our seniors--they have done a great job of setting the tone of our
team," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "We remain who we are here at Penn State.
We preach to our players to play with emotion but not to let their emotions get
the best of them."
The sound of the horn at the end of the fourth quarter meant more than just
a win to the Nittany Lions. In their first year playing at the new Penn State
Lacrosse Field, the team clinched a No. 2 seed in the CAA Tournament, earning
the right to host a playoff game.
"Clinching the No. 2 seed is huge," said sophomore goaltender Austin Kaut.
"The CAA is such a competitive league and having our first playoff game be at
home is a big deal for us."
The team hosted a CAA Tournament game last season, but lost in overtime to
"It takes a lot of stress of
our backs just to have two more home games," said LaCrosse. "It will be a good
way to get settled in to the playoff mindset having a home tournament game."
Before the team can gear its mindset towards hosting a CAA
Tournament game, they must get through Hofstra first.
"We need to win as many games as we can and start thinking about the
big picture...and that starts with Hofstra," said Tambroni. "In no way shape or
form are we looking too far ahead but it is important for us to keep up the
momentum and get another win."
Penn State will host Hofstra next Saturday for the final game of
their regular season. Faceoff is set for noon at the Penn State Lacrosse Field.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Head into the locker room following the Blue-White Game for reaction from
several Nittany Lions.Hear from cornerback
Stephon Morris, quarterback Matt McGloin, wide receiver Justin Brown, center
Matt Stankiewitch and defensive tackle Jordan Hill.
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The new Blue-White game scoring system added a
new dimension to the culmination of spring practice, as the Blue (defense)
outlasted the White (offense), 77-65, before 60,000 fans on a high-scoring Saturday
afternoon in Beaver Stadium.
Back-to-back sacks (each worth four points) from redshirt sophomore defensive
end C.J. Olaniyan mid-way through the second quarter put the Blue team on top
by a score of 40-35, and the defense never looked back.
The defensive unit tallied eight sacks, including three from Olaniyan, 13
tackles for a loss (each worth two points) and five interceptions (each worth
six points).Linebacker Glenn Carson
paced the winning Blue squad with eight tackles and 1.5 TFL.
On the offensive side of the ball, the White squad tallied 417 yards of
offense, four touchdowns and one field goal en route to a total of 65 points in
the feature scoring system.Sophomore
Bill Belton, who moved to running back prior to spring practice, finished with
a team-high 50 yards rushing on seven carries and a touchdown.Redshirt sophomore Zach Zwinak also scored a
At the quarterback spot, senior Matt McGloin, junior Rob Bolden and sophomore
Paul Jones took the bulk of the reps under center.McGloin tallied a 6-for-13 afternoon with 105
yards and a touchdown.Jones went
6-for-15 for 113 yards and a score.Bolden finished 7-for-14 for 78 yards.Walk-on Shane McGregor led the offense on its first touchdown
drive.He finished 4-for-4 on the afternoon
for 47 yards.
Sophomore Allen Robinson led the receivers with three catches for 87 yards,
including three big plays over 20 yards.Redshirt junior Shawney Kersey hauled in three catches for 54 yards.Redshirt junior Christian Kuntz tallied a receiving
touchdown, as did redshirt junior tight end Matt Lehman.
was a great day to get into the stadium and get in a game operation," Coach O'Brien
said."There's some things that you can
really learn from that.You can meet as
a staff, which we'll do before these guys head out on the road recruiting, and
talk about a lot of the glitches, because obviously it wasn't perfect, and we
can really learn from it."
Coach O'Brien said after the game that the offense showed roughly 10 percent of
the playbook on Saturday afternoon.
The defense will have bragging rights heading into the summer, but the bigger
picture on Saturday afternoon was the collective progress Penn State made from
the start of spring practice on March 26 to Saturday's Blue-White Game.
Coach O'Brien's message to the team after the game highlighted the foundation
the team laid leading up to the summer season.As we have written throughout the spring, the learning curve was steep
for the players on both sides of the ball.
Most of the players GoPSUsports.com talked to after the game likened the new
playbook and schemes to learning a new foreign language.But man-for-man and unit-by-unit across the
board, each player and coach made progress during the spring practice season.
The difference between practice one and practice 15 was night and day, in terms
of personnel lined up in the right spots, execution and playing at the tempo at
which Coach O'Brien wants to play at.
The foundation is in place for the start of training camp.Coach O'Brien would be the first to tell you
that there is a long way to go between now and the Sept. 1 season-opener
against Ohio, but the Nittany Lions will move into the summer season following
a good spring.
The Blue team topped the White squad on Saturday, and the work for Coach
O'Brien and the Nittany Lions is just beginning, but there is a great deal of
excitement surrounding the Nittany Lion football program as the calendar inches
toward the 2012 season.
"I felt it was pretty good, and I think it was
exciting for the fans at times," Coach O'Brien said."I'm not saying it was the most exciting game
in the world, but I said it wasn't going to be the most exciting game in the
world.But again, it was great to see
all the fans out there, and I think it was a good day for Penn State football."
Penn State fans got a taste of the new-look Nittany Lions on Saturday.The countdown to the season-opener is 133
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill
O'Brien and the Nittany Lion football squad will wrap up spring drills on Saturday
afternoon (2 p.m.) at the annual Blue-White Game inside Beaver Stadium, marking the first time the new leader of Penn State football will be coaching in the stadium.
Penn State has spent the spring practice season learning new schemes on both
sides of the ball, but it has been a spring marked by very good progress for
the Nittany Lions.The coaching staff
will have one final opportunity to evaluate the team on Saturday before the start
of training camp in August.
The 2012 Blue-White Game will have a different look than in year's past with an
intriguing scoring system that rewards a variety of plays on both sides of the
It is a big day for Coach O'Brien and the Nittany Lions.
to Blue-White Gameday.
to Watch For:
New Scoring System
Fans will see a new way to determine a winner at the Blue-White Game.As has been the case throughout spring
practice, the defense will wear blue jerseys, the offense will wear white and
the quarterbacks will be in red.Red
jerseys designate no contact during the game.
While standard scoring for touchdowns, field goals and PATs will remain the
same, each unit will accumulate points for certain things.Here is a breakdown of the scoring.
Touchdown = 6 pts
Field Goal = 3 pts
Big play (15+ yard play) = 2 pts
Two Consecutive First Downs = 2 pts
PAT = 1 pt
New Look Offense Penn State fans will get their first look at Coach O'Brien's offensive
scheme at the Blue-White Game.While the
Nittany Lions will not show everything they will be doing in the fall, the fans
will get a taste of the style and pace at which Penn State will look to play at
in 2012.At the center of the offense is
the quarterback position.Senior Matt
McGloin, junior Rob Bolden and sophomore Paul Jones have split the reps
throughout the spring.All three players
will see plenty of time on the White team on Saturday.Collectively, the quarterbacks have improved
throughout spring practice.
Coach O'Brien will be calling all of the offensive plays.When the play is called, expect to see the
quarterbacks make several reads at the line of scrimmage, often signaling new
routes to the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs.Among the many features on the offense will
be the tight ends.The tight end corps
of Garry Gilliam, Kyle Carter, Kevin Haplea, Jesse James, among others, will
play a big role in what Coach O'Brien will do on the offensive side of the
ball.The White team will spread the
ball around to a variety of players lined up in a variety of places.
Tempo The theme throughout spring practice has been tempo for the Nittany Lion
offense.Coach O'Brien wants the offense
to play fast.Penn State has moved from
drill-to-drill on the practice field at a very swift pace.The same has been true for scrimmaging, which
has often featured two huddles.Look for
the quarterbacks to keep things moving at a quick tempo on Saturday, which will
certainly challenge the defense.Penn
State has worked on no-huddle offense at times during spring practice.Keep an eye out for that, as well.
coordinator Ted Roof wants to play aggressive on defense.Spring practice has featured blitzing from a
wide variety of places on defense.The
players love the aggressive approach to the new defensive scheme.Additionally, the Nittany Lions will show
multiple looks pre-snap before moving into the defensive call for each
play.The Blue team will be looking to
get into the backfield often on Saturday.Sacks and tackles for a loss will be rewarded for four points and two
points, respectively.Aggressive play on
defense often leads to turnover opportunities, as well.On Saturday, fumbles and interceptions will
be six points for the defense.Keep that
Numbers to Watch For Below is a list of players who are either new to significant playing time
or veterans who have really stood out during the spring practice season.
#6 Gerald Hodges - He is no stranger
to the field, but Gerald Hodges has put together as good of a spring practice
season that you will see from a linebacker.
#8 Allen Robinson - The sophomore
wide receiver has been a playmaker for the Nittany Lion offense throughout the
spring.Robinson did play in 2011, but
the Michigan native is poised to have a big fall.
#18 Deion Barnes - The long,
athletic pass rusher possesses a great blend of size and speed.Barnes has the tools to spend a lot of time
in the backfield this fall, along with fellow ends Pete Massaro and Sean
Stanley, among others.
#47 Jordan Hill - Like Gerald
Hodges, Jordan Hill is a veteran defensive player who has played at a very high
level during the spring.Hill is in
great physical shape, and he is primed for a big season.
#58 Adam Gress - The redshirt junior has been heralded by his teammates and
coaches for the progress he has made at the left tackle position this spring.
#87 Kyle Carter - The entire stable
of tight ends have done a good job progressing this spring, but keep an eye on
the redshirt freshman from Delaware.He
has great size and hands.
It has been competitive all spring long between the offense and the
defense.Saturday's game will truly pit
the two units against one another, and it will be very fun to watch.The scoring system will make things very
interesting to track and follow.
Make sure to get into the stadium at noon on Saturday for an opportunity to say
hello to the players and obtain autographs of your favorite Nittany Lions.The game will start at 2 p.m.The carnival and entertainment stage will
open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, as well.
GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Cassie Speno, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Nittany Lions' starting lineup features five
freshmen that have truly made an impact on the success of the women's lacrosse program
this season. Even though they are just freshmen, Tatum Coffey, Haley Ford, Cat Layne,
Kelly Lechner and Maggie McCormick sure don't play like it on the lacrosse
field. These Nittany Lions bring versatility, talent, speed and composure to
every practice and game.
"Our freshmen have made a great push for our team," said Missy Doherty. "In
the midfield with Tatum Coffey, Kelly Lechner and Haley Ford, defensively Cat
Layne has been in and out of the line up and in the attacking end we have
Coffey, a New Jersey native, leads the team in goals scored (29) and draw
controls (45). Coffey also has an impressive (22) number of ground balls (22) and
caused turnovers (15) on the season. In the Nittany Lion's victories over
Hofstra and Vanderbilt Coffey registered 11 of her career goals earning her ALC
Offensive Player of the week, Women'sLax.com Rookie of the Week, Nike Player of
the Week and SynapseSports.com National Offensive Player of the Week.
Ford has also made a tremendous impact since her debut. After registering a hat
trick against Northwestern, this White Hall, Md. native earned herself a
starting position in both the Lehigh and Ohio State games. Ford registered a
goal against Lehigh and a career-high four goals against Ohio State.
Layne, a defender from Downingtown, Pa., has started in eight games this
season. Layne a talented 1v1 defender has been crucial in the Nittany Lion's
success defensively this season.
Lechner has been a phenomenal all around player for the Nittany Lions.
Lechner is a key presence in both the attacking and defensive ends of the field
and brings a great deal of speed. In 13 games, she has scored 16 goals,
registered four assists, controlled 20 ground balls and 15 draw controls.
McCormick, an Eldersburg, Md., native, earned ALC Rookie of the Week and
Womenslax.com Rookie of the week for the second time this season after her
stellar performances against Lehigh and Ohio State. McCormick who is second on
the team in total points (42) is the quarterback to Penn State's offense.
McCormick, with a team high (23) assists, ranks second nationally among
freshmen in this leader category.
Together the five rookies have combined for a total of 73 goals, 30
assists, 70 draw controls and 58 ground balls. Head coach Missy Doherty is
looking forward to their continued success this season and the direction in
which they are going to take the program.
Follow these five freshmen and the rest of the Penn State women's lacrosse team
as they close out their regular season with Johns Hopkins this Saturday and
Princeton on April 28.
This past weekend wasn't one of our best with two losses to BYU. Despite coming off strong in the first game on Friday night the Cougars found a way back in it and finished us off in 4 and then defeated us in 3 the next night. Thankfully, since BYU isn't in our conference, those losses won't have any effect on our standings in the EIVA; so we are still all set to host the championship here on home court at the end of April and have all of our fans (mostly our parents..) cheering for us to win yet another EIVA championship.
This week of practice has been short yet effective as all of us are getting excited for our final push through the playoffs. We will be preparing ourselves for our last regular season match against St. Francis in which we will be honoring our seniors for all the hard work they have put into our program over the years. Unfortunately Main Gym was taken today so our team and the girl's team had to practice at the same time in South Gym, practicing at the same time as the girls in South Gym could be considered a form of torture due the headaches caused from the girls' constant screaming. Seriously, we can't even hear ourselves think.
In other news we finally caught that mouse in our locker room that has been torturing Ian and eating all the food he leaves in his locker for the past couple weeks. And by mouse, I mean mice, all ten of them. Hopefully now we can finally live in peace knowing that Ian is no longer being outsmarted by a rodent.
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Baseball is a sport with two faces.Players experience numerous highs and lows
throughout a season and the ones who are able to buckle down and stay positive
during the mental rollercoaster will always pull through.
Senior first baseman
Jordan Steranka has shown his mental durability time and again throughout his
career at Penn State.After being
selected by the Astros in the 2011 MLB Draft, Steranka decided to return to State
College for his senior year.Now, with
more than half of the 2012 season already past, Steranka leads the Nittany
Lions in batting average (.369), hits (55), RBIs (29) and homeruns (7). Steranka was an
essential component last weekend in Penn State's 2-1 series win over Big Ten
rival Michigan, going 6-11 at the plate with three homeruns and seven
RBIs.He has played consistently well
all year and attributes his recent hot streak to the fact that he has settled
into his groove.
"Earlier in the year
I got kind of wide-eyed and swung out of my shoes, tried to do a little too
much," said Steranka."Now it's that
midpoint in the season where I'm just relaxed and focused and just doing what I
got to do."
Baseball has its ups
and downs and players are subject to the challenges of two opposing
mindsets.A player who is going through
a slump may have a completely different mentality than when he is hitting
everything that crosses the plate.As
Steranka points out, it is important to understand that it all comes with the
"Baseball is a funny
sport," said Steranka."You'll be in a
slump for two or three games and I know that fourth game I'm going to get right
back on track."
The game moves
quickly for a player who is struggling and it's easy for him to focus on the
negatives.The more he labors over the
technicalities of his swing, the harder he tries to get out of the slump, which
further feeds the cycle.To break the
mental bind, the player must let loose and trust his instincts.
"When you're in a
slump, everything speeds up," said Steranka."You feel like you got to do too much.You got to slow things down and just relax."
When Steranka is
going through a rough patch, he likes to go back to basics and simplify his
swing.Focusing on the basics allows him
to see the ball and hit it, without the complexities of an at bat.
"I actually get
simpler," said Steranka on times when he is struggling."If I'm going through a tough streak, next
day I'll do some early work in the cage off the tee and just simplify things.Less is more, just see the ball, hit the
Confidence has been a
crucial part for Steranka throughout his collegiate career.His belief in his abilities keeps him
levelheaded and sees him through the rough performances.
"The confidence is
huge," said Steranka."Can't get too
high, can't get too low.You strikeout a
couple times one game, hit a couple home runs the next.Just start over next game."
The mentality changes
dramatically when a player is hitting well.His mind is clear and the game seems easy.The ball slows down coming out of the
pitcher's hand and making contact goes hand in hand with swinging the bat.
"When you're feeling
good you kind of just forget about everything," said Steranka."You just see the ball, hit the ball."
Steranka takes a
mixed approach when he steps into the batters box during a hot streak.He understands the importance of staying
relaxed, but at the same time avoiding laziness.He also knows that if he is on fire, then he
should look for a pitch to hit early in the count.
"I would say more of
a relaxed aggression," said Steranka on his approach when he is hitting
well."You don't want to just be lazy,
but when you're seeing the ball well you want to be aggressive early."
Experience is a big
factor for a player as he faces baseball's highs and lows.A veteran knows that when he has a bad game,
there will be ample opportunities to turn the performance around.Experience teaches players the discipline
they need to stay positive when they're in a slump and to keep their mental
"I know it's a long
season," said Steranka."Even early
season struggles, you have a lot of games, a lot of at bats.You're going to have those highs and lows."
His four years in a
Nittany Lion uniform has also given Steranka a key advantage against opposing
pitchers.Teams have a scouting report
on him and he knows what his strengths and weaknesses are, which hints to what
a pitcher will throw to him in a given situation.
"They have a scouting
report on me," said Steranka."I have a
good idea of what their plan to try to get me out is, what to look for in a
certain count, in a certain at bat, so that plays a big factor."
Steranka has had a
lot on his plate this season.He is determined
to move up in the MLB Draft and that desire has motivated him to work hard and
improve his game.His three homeruns in
the series against Michigan moved him to sixth all-time among Penn State
homerun hitters and after crushing a triple against Bucknell on Wednesday,
Steranka is only 30 hits away from Penn State's all-time hits record.Despite the looming achievements, Steranka
has remained focused on his short-term goals.
"It's a nice
thought," said Steranka on breaking the hits record."But right now, I'm not thinking about that at
all.Just taking each game one day at a
Steranka will lead
the Nittany Lions into Iowa this weekend for a key series against the
Hawkeyes.It will be crucial for the
seniors at the top of the order to step up and propel Penn State to victory and
Steranka is their anchor.
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Legendary Penn State broadcaster Steve Jones has
seen a lot of top level play and teams in his days announcing Penn State sports,
and now he will have a top level facility named in his honor.
Penn State announced on Thursday the opening of the Steve Jones Student Sports
Broadcasting Complex in Rec Hall.This
facility is one of a kind in the world of college athletics, and will be envied
and emulated for years to come.
"The complex is ready to deliver HD, broadcast quality programing directly to
the Big Ten Network live," said Penn State acting Athletic Director Dave
Joyner."Currently this is the only
facility of its kind not only in the Big Ten, but in all of higher education."
The facility in Rec Hall, which has features similar to a broadcasting truck
that a company like BTN or ESPN may bring to an event, will be able to work
with events at Rec Hall, Beaver Stadium, the Bryce Jordan Center, and (when
completed) the Pegula Ice Arena.
The project came together through years of collaboration between Penn State
and the Big Ten Network, also the first of its kind.
From the Network's perspective this is only a positive going forward.
"You can't get a job in television without practical experience," said the
Big Ten Network's Vice President, Production and Executive Producer Mark
Hulsey."This room, this facility, gives
students that practical experience."
The facilities and training will not only be a huge help and benefit to
production groups working events at Penn State, it will also benefit the future
students on campus.
Using the room for everything from classes to guest speakers and more
practical experiences will all be benefits that students at other universities just
"When I first learned about the complex I thought about how it would
revolutionize the future for Penn State broadcast students like myself," said
Penn State senior (and former student of Steve Jones) Alexis Morgan.
Morgan went on to add how one of the biggest things she remembered from
having Jones as a professor was how he always emphasized practice, and how
important it was to being successful in the field of broadcasting.
With a facility named in his honor, Jones will have the perfect place to
help give students that practice, a place right on our own campus.
For Jones, as great an honor this recognition is, for him it isn't about
him, but about those students like Morgan.
"This day is not about me at all, this day is about Rick and Sue Berry (who
donated the money for the facility) and the Penn State students," Jones
With the facility that is now named in his honor, Jones will be able to
continue to spread his knowledge and experience to not only students like
Morgan, but students for many years to come.
This facility, like Jones, is one of a kind, and it takes a special place
like Penn State to bring them both together.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions practiced for the 13th time
during the spring season in full pads on Wednesday afternoon.
One more session remains before the team competes in front of the Penn State
faithful on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium for the annual Blue-White
Game.It has been a spring marked by
collective progress on both sides of the ball.
GoPSUsports.com caught up redshirt junior guard John Urschel and junior
linebacker Glenn Carson after practice on Wednesday to talk about the spring
practices and the excitement leading up to Saturday's Blue-White Game.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Laura Finley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sharaya Musser hopes the third
time is the charm. After competing at nationals as an individual for each of
the past two seasons, the junior gymnast heads to Duluth, Ga., to compete this
weekend in the NCAA National Championships for a third time in her career.
After qualifying for the championships during regional
finals with a score of 39.450, Musser looks to continue finding success on the
"Being at nationals two times already as an individual, I will definitely know
how to prepare myself and what to expect," said Musser. "Going into practice
with that mentality is nice. But because I don't have a team there it's a lot
different. I have a different mindset competing individually."
During the regular season, Musser performed exceptionally,
winning 10 of the 12 all-around titles and being recognized as the 2012 Big Ten
Gymnast of the Year. To say she will not be a threat would be a mistake. Musser
has a strong focus in the gym every day and she is determined now more than
ever, to place within the top three in Georgia.
"As a freshman I was just going with it," said Musser. "I
didn't know what to expect. I think the difference between then and now is the
confidence that I have in myself and really believing that I can accomplish the
goal that I have set. This year, my goal is to make it in the top three in all-around
and just to enjoy it."
Musser is already off to a good start, as she will be
rotating with the No. 1 team in the country, the Florida Gators. Although her
own team will not be there cheering her on, Musser and head coach Jeff Thompson
are confident in the support she will receive from the Florida gymnasts.
"We feel like she has a great draw," said Coach Thompson.
"She's with the number one team in the nation. The caliber of gymnastics that
she'll follow is as good as or better than what she does. The fact that she's
following a really good team means that if they have a really good day and she
has an excellent day, then the chances are better for her making the finals on
Competing in four events, Musser has plenty to work for. It
is the vault, however, that she and Coach Thompson are practicing with most.
With an average score of 9.887 during the season, vault has been Musser's best
and most consistent event. And it is vault that is one of Florida's best events
With this in mind, the game plan going into nationals is
simple: practice the little details. Musser and Coach Thompson have the process
figured out, learning from past mistakes and conferring with one another on
"Last year we tried to add some difficulty, but it backfired
a little bit," said Coach Thompson. "Although she was able to hit them 9 out of
10 times in the gym, under the pressure of competition the national
championship stage probably wasn't the best time to try that. Knowing that, the
only thing we're working to do is work on vault. She's an outstanding vaulter
and there's a good chance she'll qualify for vault event titles."
Musser will begin her rotation at nationals this Friday
starting at vault and ending with the floor event. If she places in the top
four in any of the events, she will then go on to compete Sunday in the
Coach Thompson is confident Penn State will be well
represented. Working with Musser over the past two years, he knows she has all
of the attributes necessary to succeed in the sport.
"The thing that sets her apart from other gymnasts is that
I've never seen her have a bad day," said Coach Thompson. "Even when she's
struggling in the gym, she still finds a way to laugh about it or to find the silver
lining. We expect her to do extremely well."
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (16-20, 4-5 Big Ten) defeated Bucknell
(19-20), 2-0, on Wednesday night behind an exceptional pitching performance by
senior midweek starter Mike Franklin.
Franklin had his strongest outing of the season, pitching a complete game
shutout of the Bison with 10 strikeouts and allowing just four hits.He was able to keep the opposing hitters
guessing through all nine innings with good command of his fastball and an
"I was locating my fastball well as well as throwing my changeup
effectively," said Franklin."I think
the combination of the two really kept the hitters off balance."
"He really worked ahead," said pitching coach Jason Bell on his starter's
performance."He threw strikes early and
then he got them to chase."
Franklin's sole challenge came in the seventh inning, when Bucknell's Rob
Krentzman reached first on a bunt and advanced to second on a single by Gerry
Runyan.With one out, runners on first
and second, Franklin zeroed in and struck out the next two batters he faced,
ending the threat.
"Even with guys on base I try to buckle down and really just hit my spots,"
said Franklin."As a pitcher that's all
I can really do."
"He (Franklin) didn't get rattled and just went back to commanding the zone
and getting ahead," said Bell.
Offensively, the Nittany Lions were hitting the ball hard all game, but
were unable to come up with timely hits until the bottom of the seventh.Feeding off Franklin's dominance on the
mound, freshman catcher J.C. Coban singled to start the inning and reached
second on an errant pickoff throw by the pitcher.With two outs, sophomore outfielder Steve
Snyder drove the ball to left field, scoring Coban and giving Penn State a 1-0
"I was just trying to get a hit, put us on the board," said Snyder."It was getting late in the game and we were
kind of getting antsy, so just wanted to get a hit and get us in the book."
The Nittany Lions added a run in the eighth after senior first baseman
Jordan Steranka led off with a triple and scored on a wild pitch.The two run lead was all Penn State needed as
Franklin shut down the Bison hitters to end the game.
Penn State heads to Iowa this weekend for a crucial conference series
against the Hawkeyes.
Head coach Robbie Wine is changing the starting rotation with sophomore Joe
Kurrasch pitching Friday, junior Steven Hill pitching Saturday, and junior John
Walter on the mound for Sunday's series finale.The Nittany Lions have struggled on the road all season, but the players
know that confidence is the key to success.
"I think we're all confident right now, so we're just going to carry that
confidence over to Iowa," said Snyder."Whether we're home or away I think if we're confident we're going to
play well and that's what we need."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's division
name will remain the same for the second-straight season, but the Big Ten
Leaders Division will certainly have a new look in 2012.
Headlining the division changes will be three new head coaches.Joining Nittany Lion head coach Bill O'Brien
will be new Ohio State leader Urban Meyer and Illinois coach Tim Beckman.The six Leaders Division coaches combine for
10 years of Big Ten head coaching experience.
In addition to the head coaching changes, the six Leaders Division teams will field
33 new assistant coaches out of a total of 54.
In 2011, Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Purdue played in bowls from the
Penn State returns 10 starters (five on offense and four on defense) from its
2011 Leaders Division co-champion team.Among the key returnees is junior tailback Silas Redd, who finished
fourth in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,241 yards.Coach O'Brien and the Lions are taking things
one day at a time is they prepare for the 2012 season.
"We're just trying to get better everyday and
that's my main concern," Coach O'Brien said."I know that this is a great conference with a lot of great coaches and
great players so it will be a huge challenge for us next fall."
The defending division champion and Big Ten title game champion Wisconsin Badgers
will enter the season with a target on their back.However, it will be a year of transition for
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema with six new assistant coaches on his staff.The Badgers return 11 starters (five on
offense and six on defense).While
Wisconsin is the defending conference champion, Coach Bielema's squad enters
the season focused on getting better each day.
"We have won two-straight championships, and I think it is because we take one
day at a time," Bielema said."Our kids
don't worry about outside influences or outside voices.They worry about taking care of their own
Despite the graduation of several key pieces, including All-Big Ten QB Russell
Wilson, Wisconsin returns the nation's top rusher from 2011 in Montee
Ball.Ball tallied 1,923 yards and 39
total touchdowns last season.
Ohio State returns 18 starters (seven on offense and nine on defense) during
the first year of Meyer's tenure in Columbus.However, the Buckeyes are not eligible for postseason competition (Big
Ten or bowl) in 2012.
Coming off a victory in the Little Caesars Bowl, Purdue head coach Danny Hope
returns to West Lafayette for his fourth season at the helm of the
Boilermakers.Purdue returns 19 starters
(nine on offense and nine on defense), most of any team in the division.
Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson kicks off his second season in Bloomington with
16 starters (seven on offense and eight on defense) back from 2011.The Hoosiers went 1-11 overall and 0-8 in the
conference during Wilson's first season.
"This year, with the changes, it will be interesting," Wilson said of the
new-look Leaders Division."There are
some great coaches.A lot of those guys
are at great programs where they ought to do well."
Following three seasons as head coach at Toledo, Beckman will now lead the
Illinois program.The Fighting Illini
return 17 starters, including seven on offense and eight on defense.
"It is Big Ten football," Beckman said."It is about grinding it out.It
is about being physical.I see that,
having to play against it when we were at Toledo.And now I am seeing the same Big Ten
With the personnel and coaching changes, the race for a berth in the 2012 Big
Ten Championship Game could be wide open in the Leaders Division when the
conference season kicks off on Sept. 29.
Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Former Penn State great Ki-Jana Carter stood
alongside the practice field closest to the Lasch Football Building on Monday
afternoon talking with ESPN analysts Jesse Palmer and Joe Schad while Silas
Redd moved through positional drills.
At the time, Redd was working on footwork with running backs coach Charles
London and the rest of the backs on an unseasonably warm April afternoon.Looking on, Palmer and Schad asked the 1994
Heisman Trophy runner-up what he thought of Redd.
"He is really, really good," Carter said."With his speed and quickness, he is great player."
Carter, who will work as an analyst for the BTN during Saturday's Blue-White
Game, went on to compare Redd to some of the all-time great backs in Penn State
It's hard to argue with Carter.Redd,
who is coming off a 1,200-yard season in 2011, looks to be well on his way to
an even better 2012 campaign.The
Norwalk, Conn., native has been very impressive throughout the spring practice
Watching Redd during his first two seasons, you wouldn't think he could get
much lighter on his feet, but the junior looks a step quicker this spring.Weighing shy of 210 pounds, Redd is currently
at the playing weight he is most comfortable with.
Heading into his third full season, Redd is now a veteran and a leader for the
Nittany Lion offense.
"During the winter workouts, I was a little more vocal," said Redd."I tried to lead by example, not cheating any
reps.It is the same out here on the
field.I try to give it my all in the
individual drills, when we do team work, I try to give it my all on every rep."
Redd played very well in the team's intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday.Like the rest of the Nittany Lion offense, he
has put in a great deal of time learning the new playbook.
"After I am done with my schoolwork, you have to put your head in the playbook
or you aren't going to be successful out here," said Redd.
Always eager to face a challenge, Redd has enjoyed learning the new Penn State
"It has been like another class for us," Redd said."If you are buying into it, it almost becomes
fun for you."
Coach O'Brien has repeatedly said that the offense will throw the ball to the
running backs.With Redd's speed and
elusiveness in the open field, the potential of more balls thrown his way in
space is something Redd is really looking forward to in the fall.He watched the Patriots do it in the NFL
Playoffs, and now he is going to see it firsthand.
"What I really liked a lot (watching the Patriots) was the offense's ability to
play to each player's strengths," said Redd.
Redd's talent level and work ethic have not gone unnoticed by Coach O'Brien
this spring.Coach O'Brien has often
stated how impressed he is with the way Redd conducts himself on and off the
field.The two have talked about what
Redd needs to work on as he pursues a career on Sundays when his time at Penn
State is done.
"Coach says that most rookie running backs don't know how to block," said
Redd."God willing, if I get the chance
to go to the next level, that is something I really want to be good at."
In all, the Big Ten returns nine of its top 10 rushers from 2011.Redd was the Big Ten's fourth-leading rusher
in fall, but he is working towards more.
"I think our effort is second to none," Redd said."Sometimes you have to focus more on the
little things, but that will come.It is
still pretty new for us.We are buckling
down and working to be successful because that is what we want to do."
Judging by the way he looks this spring, Redd is primed to take things to the
next level in 2012.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
Hello Penn State Volleyball Fans! We hope you're having a great week and enjoying this
awesome spring weather. We are when we're not in the gym!It was great to see some of you this past weekend at our Spring Scrimmages. It was great to be competing in main gym again in front of some of our fan faithful.If you weren't able to make it, that's okay! I'll fill you in on everything that happened.
We had some new team colors in the gym with the arrival of Bucknell, Syracuse, Kent State, and George Mason. To cap it off we split our team into two squads to battle it out against the other schools. With each team we played two games to 25 points, and if time allowed we squeezed in a quick third game. It was fun to be competing against other teams in our home gym. There is nothing like playing in Rec Hall in front of our student section, families, and faithful crowd. All that was missing was the band! I'm really looking forward to being back in there Friday and Saturday nights in the fall with all of you. There was one thing that was a little different about the look of these matches, though: the up-referee. A few times Coach Rose took over the whistle. Coach seemed to be having a good time, and it put him in a prime spot to see the action and give feedback. Overall, it was a great day to be in the gym. If you missed out on the action there is still one more opportunity to see us play this spring. We will be playing in main gym, once again, this coming Saturday for a Blue/White scrimmage. The match is set before the Men's Volleyball match. Be sure to stick around after and show your support for Penn State Athletics. Hope to see you all there!
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Lady Lions coach Coquese Washington
doesn't normally make opening statements at press conferences, but after the
news she relayed in one on Monday Nittany Lions fans may be wishing she did it
Washington announced this afternoon that she will be staying in Happy
Valley, ending speculation that she could be moving on to University of
Michigan after interviewing for the head coaching position there this past
"I love it here at Penn State, I really do," Washington said in her opening
statement."I really love being at Penn
State. I love what my life is like here. I love what my family's life is like
here. This is a tremendous community to raise a family in."
That community has seen Washington grow the Lady Lions program into a
national contender, including a Sweet 16 berth this past season, ending the
year ranked in the top 10 in the country.
Washington has led the program to back-to-back NCAA tournament berths and a
92-67 career record.
Keeping things together and improving in State College is not only great news
for Lady Lions fans, but for her players as well.
The team, all of whom were recruited by Washington, has built a special
bond in this program on the rise.
"The decision to stay here at Penn State, for me, was really a simple one when
I look in the back of that room and I see those player's faces," Washington
said."They are fantastic, tremendous
young women and representatives of this university."
That group, which will only be losing one player off this past season's
squad, has been a group that has put the hard work in over their time in Happy
Valley, and they are ready to keep climbing up the national radar.
"She considers us her family and we consider her our family," said Lady Lion
guard Maggie Lucas on Washington."We've
got a lot of hard work ahead of us but we're ready to meet it head on and just
improve and take this program to the next level."
A plan to get to the next level is something that Washington laid out to
these players during their recruiting process over the years, and something she
wants to see through.
"I look at those young ladies in the back of the room and
they came here to put this program on an elite level. That was their focus,"
said Washington on that process. "That's why I came here. I believed that we
could do that. Together, we're going to work to finish it out. Together, we're
going to do that."
That is something that the players echoed, and something
they clearly believe.
"She showed us a layout
during our recruiting of how this program would look and she's right on
schedule with everything she said," Lucas said."We trust her."
"She has trust in us, she has faith in us, it really builds our confidence
(that she wants to stay and see this process through)," added guard Alex
Bentley."Coquese is the powerhouse that
runs the women's basketball team."
Luckily for Penn State Lady Lions fans it doesn't look like that powerhouse is
going anywhere anytime soon.
By Laura Finley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Kasie Hatfield stood at the plate, her bat ready.
With the bases loaded and Penn State leading 4-1, she knew a hit could give her
team a much-needed cushion.
Indiana's Lora Olson released the pitch, ball one. Olson threw another
One hit was all it took for the sophomore to score the first grand slam
of her career, extending Penn State's lead 8-1.
"I just wanted to get a base hit and score some runs," said Hatfield.
"Anything to help [Marissa Diescher] out and give the defense a little bit to
relax about. I just wanted to hit. I don't think it hit me that it was a grand
slam until later."
With the help of Hatfield's grand slam and five RBIs, the Penn State
softball team ended a three game series against Indiana on Sunday winning 9-4. After
splitting a doubleheader on Saturday, the Nittany Lions immediately established
their lead with a home run in the first by junior Cassidy Bell, her sixth of
This was only the beginning for Penn State, who collected seven
additional runs in the second. Senior Danee Collett started the streak bringing
in three runners and extending the lead 4-1. Head coach Robin Petrini
attributed this hit to be a major factor in the game.
"One person opens the door and it takes the pressure off of everybody
else," said Coach Petrini. "Everybody else can relax. You drive the ball to the
alley and you get multiple people scoring on it. Kasey's just seeing the ball
really well. She crushed it. After cracking the bat there was just no
hesitation that the ball was going out."
Following Collett's success, Hatfield dealt another blow to the Hoosiers
with a grand slam, closing out the second with a Penn State score of 8-1. With
this lead, Penn State settled down the rest of the game, holding on to their
lead with relative ease.
"Everyone was just relaxed because we had confidence that our defense
could make plays," said Hatfield. "Having that cushion especially for [Marissa
Diescher] is a big thing. We had such a big lead that we could allow a few runs
here and there. We knew we split the runs the first time so we could score them
Indiana made an attempt at a comeback, scoring a run in the fifth and
two runs in the sixth, but freshman pitcher Marissa Diescher kept calm with
reassurance from her catcher, Hatfield.
"I had a lead so it wasn't bad," said Diescher. "Once I had the runs
come in, I just had to settle down and get back to just getting ground balls
and taking outs one at a time. That's exactly what Kasie said to me. 'Just keep
pitching, you're doing great'."
With Diescher and her team able to hold off the Hoosiers another inning,
Hatfield came up with another hit to score junior Kailyn Johnson and increase
the lead 9-4. The win was well within the grasp of the Nittany Lions with only
one inning left in the game. Indiana had nothing left for Penn State, however,
as Diescher ended a complete game, allowing only one hit in the seventh.
"Our defense is
handling the ball really well," said Coach Petrini. "Late in the innings one of
the things we talked about was just to get outs. We're still learning and
growing, but our offense put up tremendous numbers and Diescher pitched well."
Penn State hopes to continue producing on offense as the team heads back on the
road this week against Wisconsin and Kent State.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The ESPN/DirecTV College Football bus pulled into
the parking lot of the Lasch Football Building on Monday to check in with the
Nittany Lions during spring practice.
ESPN analysts Jesse Palmer and Joe Schad met with head coach Bill O'Brien in
his office before the leader of Penn State football conducted a live interview
on the bus for SportsCenter.Nittany
Lion junior running back Silas Redd also interviewed on the bus before a
one-on-one with Schad.Look for Redd's
interview with Schad on College Football Live this week.
Take a behind the scenes look at the ESPN interviews on Monday.
Penn State will practice for the 11th on Monday afternoon.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
Greetings from Happy Valley. This past weekend we faced two EIVA opponents in the Pioneers
of Sacred Heart, and the Crimson of Harvard. Friday night brought us the Pioneers, from watching video and what we focused on in practice we knew we couldn't take them lightly even though we had beaten them in three games back in February. The match started out with a couple big points and a huge block by Jace Olsen and Aaron Russell; we had practiced a lot of blocking in practice during the week and with Sacred Heart's slower offense we were confident we could win the blocking battle. Sacred heart never gave up though and had a few players that could put some heat behind the ball, it may have been a three game sweep but each game was hard fought. In the end though we won the battle on the net, played hard, and came away victorious. Saturday night we had Harvard in Main gym with the chance to clinch home court advantage for the EIVA tournament, expectations were high, and we were looking forward to the challenge. The first set started off with our side gaining an early 13-7 lead, only to see Harvard storm back to win the set 25-20. The second set had Harvard winning 25-21; we hadn't been down 0-2 to an EIVA opponent all year and went into the locker room knowing we would have to go 5 sets if we wanted to clinch home court. After the halftime speech from Pav and the coaches we came out and showed our home crowd what we could do by easily beating the Crimson in the third, fourth, and fifth sets clinching home court advantage. It was a great ending to a stellar match. We never had a doubt in our minds we'd be in the position we are now and look forward to the rest of the season.Thanks for stopping by and thanks for all your support, we'll see ya back in Rec April 21st for our final EIVA match of the season.
I can't believe it has already been a week since our season ended as a team. The emotions I felt
after coming up short once again at regionals were all too familiar. Even though it seemed like the grueling seven months of training never fully came together in the comminating part of the season, we learned a lot for next year.
I couldn't believe regionals was the last meet I would compete with the seniors. I have been so close with all four of them since the first day I came to Penn State. My relationships with them beginning my freshman year helped to form who I am as a collegiate gymnast. I'm grateful to have been on a team with such passionate young women for three years, creating amazing friendships with them that will go far beyond our gymnastics careers. I congratulate them all on successful gymnastics careers but I don't have to wish them luck in the real world yet since they all will continue with their Penn State educations at least through the summer.
Now that season is over I am definitely concentrating on my school work and enjoying the free time I have for the next two weeks. It's hard to believe that my senior year is basically here. I am incredibly excited to lead a brand new team next year with eight new girls coming in. It may be a challenge at first but I think it will be a refreshing change. I hope everyone has an amazing summer!
We are so happy you have been following us all year, and we hope you enjoyed "Bringing
it Back" with us! We don't even know where to begin. It has been such a great journey, and we all learned so much. Although the team's season has come to an end, we will send Sharaya off to Nationals with all our love and support as she represents Penn State with pride, passion, and purpose.
We started out the season strong as a bonded group of sisters and continued to grow even closer as the season progressed. Each meet we came together as a team and continually made improvements. Even though it was cut short, we are proud of how we fought at each and every meet as we were reaching toward our goal. We are going to miss our senior class: Whitney, Daryl, Natalie, and Alex. They led us through the season and continually inspired each of us in their own way.
As a sophomore class, we took everything that we learned from last year and applied it to making this year even better. This year was much less stressful for all of us individually because we had already been through classes and practices and season once before! It made it a lot easier to have fun and it was definitely easier to enjoy the year. We all can't believe we are basically juniors now. We are half way done with our college careers! These past two years have flown by, and we are just trying to take everything in because we know the next two years will go by even faster.
For us, next year starts now and we couldn't be more excited! Good luck to Sharaya next weekend down in Duluth, Georgia!
Enjoy your summer and look for us next year,
Kristin Blades, Kassidy Stauder, Lindsay Musgrove, and Stephanie Brock
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Robbie Wine earned his 200th win at the
helm of the Penn State baseball team on Sunday as the Nittany Lions (15-20, 4-5
Big Ten) defeated Michigan (16-21, 3-6 Big Ten) 6-4 and took two out of three
games from the Wolverines over the weekend.It was Penn State's first Big Ten series win of the season and marked a
turning point for the team going forward.
"Every game is so important and in the end we've got to start somewhere and
winning the series was important," said coach Wine."Good two wins here."
The Nittany Lions fell in game one, 7-3, despite outhitting Michigan
10-9.Wolverine starter Brandon Sinnery
pitched a complete game and prevented the Penn State offense from coming up
with clutch hits when they needed them.
"We're hitting the ball," said senior first baseman Jordan Seranka."We're just not getting timely hits."
Steranka and senior third baseman Joey DeBernardis both had successful
nights at the plate, going 2-3 and 3-4 respectively.DeBernardis launched his fifth home run of
the season and was instrumental throughout the weekend both offensively and
defensively.Junior John Walter went
four innings, allowing two runs on three hits with five strikeouts.
With Penn State leading 2-1, Michigan put the game out of reach in the
fifth, scoring four runs on three walks and just two hits.Penn State would get one back in the bottom
of the fifth, but the Wolverines responded with a run in the eighth and the
ninth innings to end the game.
Penn State rebounded in game two with an offensive outburst, putting
together 14 runs on 17 hits and routing the Wolverines 14-1.The senior leaders at the top of the order,
Steranka, DeBernardis and senior outfielder Sean Deegan, led the charge going a
combined 10-14.Steranka belted his
fifth and sixth home runs of the season, tallying five RBIs on the day, and
DeBernardis went 4-5, driving in three.Coach Wine talked about the play of his seniors throughout the weekend.
"It's experience," said Wine of his seniors' crucial performance."Guys being there and trusting their
abilities and not letting the anxiety of the scoreboard and the inning,
whatever the situation is, get in their heads."
The Nittany Lions scored early and often, plating runs in six different
innings and doing it in every way possible.DeBernardis tripled in the first to start the scoring frenzy, bringing
sophomore Steve Snyder home from first base.Penn State then put up a five spot in the second behind an RBI bunt by
junior Elliot Searer, an RBI single by DeBernardis and a three-run homerun by
Steranka.In the sixth, with the Nittany
Lions leading 9-1, Steranka knocked his second homerun of the game.
"I'm feeling great," said Steranka."I know DeBo (DeBernardis) is swinging the bat really well, which helps
me... It takes some pressure off me and I'm just seeing the ball really good
The Nittany Lions proceeded to score four runs in the eighth for good
measure.Sophomore starter Joe Kurrasch
had another strong outing, throwing for seven innings and allowing just one run
on four hits with three strikeouts.
"He was fantastic," said freshman catcher J.C. Coban."He came out hungry; everyone on the team was
Penn State took the positive outcome from game two into game three and,
behind a solid outing from junior starter Steven Hill, stole the series in a
back and fourth battle to the finish.
Clutch hits were the story of the afternoon for the Nittany Lions who
struck first in the second and later in the sixth, manufacturing a run with two
outs in both innings.
In the seventh, with Penn State leading 2-0, Michigan finally got to Hill,
scoring three runs on four hits.They
were the only runs allowed by Hill who went seven innings, giving up three runs
on seven hits with four strikeouts.
The Nittany Lions responded in the bottom of the seventh when Deegan came
to the plate and, with two outs and a 1-2 count, drove a fastball high in the
zone over the right centerfield wall to give Penn State a 4-3 lead.
"I actually thought that he was going to come with a slider," said
Deegan."I was like 'alright, just see
the ball up' and then he just left a fastball right where I wanted it, up in
the zone, so I just tried to hit it hard."
Snyder would score later in the inning after being hit by a pitch, stealing
second, moving to third on an errant throw by the catcher and going home on a
After Michigan added a run in the eighth, Steranka crushed a solo homerun, his
third of the weekend, to give Penn State a 6-4 lead heading into the ninth. Greg Welsh took the mound for the Nittany
Lions and when the leadoff hitter reached on an error, Welsh shut the door,
dropping the next three batters in order.
"It's big to send a statement this weekend against big rival Michigan,"
said Steranka on the series victory."Come out and the seniors step up and Steve pitched a great game today,
pitching was great this weekend, so I thought it was a big statement weekend
for Penn State baseball."
Steranka's three-homerun weekend moved him to sixth on Penn State's
all-time homeruns list with 18 games left to play.The crowd was also a huge factor as the fans
broke last year's attendance total with nine home games remaining.The Nittany Lions return to Medlar Field on
Wednesday to face Bucknell at 6:05 p.m.
By Laura Finley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State softball ended on a high note Saturday
evening, taking home a win after dropping its first game against Indiana, 12-6.
The Nittany Lions gave a strong offensive showing during the second game of the
day, as junior Lauren Yao and sophomore Kasie Hatfield led the team knocking in
two runs each and contributing to a final score of 5-2. Penn State's hitting
performance was the key to their success, with the team logging 10 hits during
their second game, twice that of their first.
"I thought we were hitting the ball well in the first game, so we just kept it
going and kept focusing in on hitting our pitches," said Yao.
During the first outing, the Hoosiers jumped to a 5-0 lead by the top of the
third, but junior Cassidy Bell gave Penn State renewed energy hitting her fifth
homerun of the season. With the score 5-1, Penn State began an offensive push,
scoring four runs in the fifth, taking the lead 6-5. The Nittany Lions came up
short, however, as the Hoosiers answered with seven runs to close out the game
Sophomore Jordan Wheatley took the circle for the second game, pitching a
complete game and helping bring Penn State to its 5-2 victory. The first score
of the game went to Penn State after Wheatley drove home Yao and Hatfield
giving the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead. Using this offensive rhythm Penn State
continued to push, but gave up two runs to the Hoosiers in the sixth. Yao would
not give in, hitting her third double of the day starting a 3-0 run. Indiana
tried to rally, but with the bases loaded and two outs, the Penn State defense held
"I was worried," said Wheatley, "but I was staying as calm as I could. It was a
little stressful but I had a great defense behind me."
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State baseball players and coaches knew how
big Saturday's matchup with the Michigan Wolverines was following a tough
Friday night loss, and they played like it.
The Lions found their groove Saturday as the destroyed the Wolverines in a
14-1 rout, evening the three game series at one apiece.
Penn State was led on the offensive side of the ball by huge hitting from
Jordan Steranka and Joey DeBernardis to help set the pace.Steranka brought the power with two homeruns
on the afternoon, to go along with DeBernardis going 4-5 with three RBIs.
"They're our guys, and they're going to have days like this," said head coach
Robbie Wine on his two sluggers."It's
got to carry over, we can't rely on those two guys all the time, but it's
expected from those guys."
The second inning is where Penn State was really able to do damage, scoring
five runs to break open a 1-0 lead to 6-0.
That rally was led by DeBernardis and Steranka, as DeBernardis singled to score
a run and Steranka came up right after and homered to bring in three more.
"I'm feeling great, I know DeBo (DeBernardis) is swinging the bat really well
which helps me," said Steranka on his play."It takes some pressure off me and I'm just seeing the ball really good
right now, hoping it continues."
Those two weren't the only two hitting as freshman JC Coban went 3-5 to
help the bottom of the lineup keep the pressure on all game long.
"It's huge to keep it up the whole game, keep the pressure on them," Steranka
"It (keeping the pressure on) was very important, "Coban added."It showed we really had a lot of confidence,
we didn't want to give up, we wanted to keep hitting."
On the pitching side starter Joe Kurrasch was strong for the Lions, going
seven innings and only giving up four hits for the win.
"He was fantastic," Coban said about Kurrasch, "He came out hungry;
everyone on the team was hungry."
The team will be looking to keep that hunger and try and win the rubber
match of the three game series tomorrow at home at 1:05 p.m.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions wrapped up spring practice
number nine on Friday afternoon under sunny skies on the practice fields
adjacent to Lasch Football Building.
Friday's session was conducted without pads as the Nittany Lions prep for their
scrimmage on Saturday.GoPSUsports.com
caught up with junior safety Malcolm Willis and junior tight end Garry Gilliam
after practice on Friday as they ready for the scrimmage.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite getting 10 hits on offense, the Penn State
baseball team was never able to truly get in a rhythm Friday night, falling 7-3
at home vs. the Michigan Wolverines.
Joey DeBernardis and Jordan Steranka were once again bright spots for the
Nittany Lions offense as they were able to gain a 2-1 lead in the fourth off of
a DeBernardis homer and Steranka triple.But unfortunately for Lions fans the team was never able to capitalize
more than that.
Michigan bounced back to score four runs in the fifth and never look back
for the win.
Even with the tough loss, the team is looking to bounce back tomorrow in
the second game of the three game series.
"It's going to be big, we need those two wins (Saturday and Sunday)
especially being down in the conference right now," said DeBernardis. "We just
got to come back out tomorrow."
"We're getting to a point now where we have to win, win every game," echoed disappointed
head coach Robbie Wine following the loss.
Despite the tough loss the team does have a few positives looking
"We're hitting the ball, we're just not getting timely hits," said Jordan
Steranka on one positive moving forward.
That sense of urgency and positives will be huge motivators for the Lions
as they look to bounce back in game two of their three game series vs. Michigan
Saturday at 2:05 pm.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Several members of the Nittany Lion football team
addressed the media on the practice field prior to Friday's ninth spring
session of the season.
Take a look at what senior wide receiver Justin Brown, senior linebacker Gerald
Hodges, senior defensive end Pete Massaro, senior linebacker Michael Mauti,
junior running back Silas Redd and senior center Matt Stankiewitch had to say
on a sun-splashed day in Happy Valley.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Bill O'Brien joked that he would by lying if he
told you that he has unpacked any boxes at his new home in Boalsburg.
That is what he told a room full of 25 sports editors and reporters earlier
this week at the Penn Stater Hotel, a place Coach O'Brien grew to know quite
well while living there in Room 253 before his family moved from Massachusetts
at the end of March.
Coach O'Brien did put his clothes away, but he has left the task of
unpacking to his wife, Colleen.The
O'Brien family's belongings rolled into Happy Valley three weeks ago, aboard
the same blue and white clad moving tractor-trailer that carries the Penn State
football equipment to all of its road games.The O'Briens' two sons, Jack (9) and Michael (6), have both started
school, and things are beginning to settle down.
But the work on the field is just beginning for the new leader of Penn State
Coach O'Brien and the Nittany Lions are more than halfway done with the 15 allotted
spring practices, but he would probably like an additional 15 days of on-field
work to get through everything he wants to this spring.
Nonetheless, the Lions have made obvious progress on the field from practice one
to practice eight.The players are
beginning to understand the pace at which Coach O'Brien wants to practice at
and how much pre-practice preparation goes into learning the new schemes,
signals, and lingo that come with a Penn State's new offense and defense.
"Things are progressing at a
decent pace," Coach O'Brien said."We
have a long way to go, but we're looking forward to the Blue-White Game, summer
conditioning and then training camp.We
feel decent about where we are right now."
It is a tall order to implement a completely new, complex, pro-style system in
15 practices.The learning curve has
been steep for the Nittany Lion players with a plethora of new things to pick
up each day on the field.Additionally,
practice moves at a swift pace because that is the tempo at which Coach O'Brien
wants the Nittany Lions to play at in the fall.
He wants to play fast.
As one period ends on the practice field an air horn sounds, and the players
sprint to the next location on the field.Getting the maximum number of reps during each drill or scrimmage in the
allotted period of time is important this spring.
So too is teaching.
That's why you often see Coach O'Brien and the rest of the staff frequently
pull units or individual players aside for one-on-one instruction during
practice.The players have responded
well, and they have worked hard throughout spring practice.
"I have been very, very impressed with the players," Coach O'Brien said."These are kids that want to be coached, that
want to be good, that want to get a degree...I have been very impressed with how
they practice, how they've caught on to our tempo of practice, their
intelligence and how they carry themselves in the football building and outside
the football building."
No one has faced a steeper learning curve than the quarterbacks.At the focal point of Coach O'Brien's
offensive philosophy is the quarterback position.Senior Matt McGloin, junior Rob Bolden and
sophomore Paul Jones have split reps throughout spring practice.
Coach O'Brien calls all of the plays during practice, and he spends a great
deal of time talking with, critiquing and teaching all three quarterbacks.While he wants to see continued improvement
in decision making, accuracy and grasping of the offense, Coach O'Brien has
been impressed with the group's willingness to learn and work ethic.
"The thing that I have been impressed with about these three guys is that they
come in for extra film, they want to be coached, they want to be good and they
all have the tools," Coach O'Brien said."I have really enjoyed working with them during this first few spring
practices.I am looking forward to the
In addition to the players learning new schemes this spring, Coach O'Brien,
himself, is transitioning back into college football after spending the last
five years in the NFL.Among the list of
things he noted as adjustments - the depth of recruiting and the way it is
covered by the media, field dimensions with wider hash marks and rules, namely
a defensive back's ability to make contact with a receiver more than five yards
down the field.
There is one significant constant between the way things operated for Coach
O'Brien at the New England Patriots and now at Penn State - the value of
"Teamwork is something that we will make sure our players always understand,"
Coach O'Brien said."We play as one
unit.We play as one team.No player will ever be bigger than the
team.No coach will ever be bigger than
the team.The team is what will lead us
With Coach O'Brien, what you see is what you get.He is a hard-working, organized, ultra-competitive,
straightforward guy with a fiery intensity level and a deep passion for the
game of football.That is apparent every
time he steps onto the practice field with a whistle around his neck.
A typical day for Coach O'Brien begins early in the morning, before most of the
staff gets into the office.
"I am an early morning guy," Coach O'Brien said."I try to get a lot of things done early in
the morning.I try to budget my time so,
what I try to do early in the morning is recruiting.Then I do what I call check-ups on our
academics to see how our kids are doing in school.In the afternoon, it is football."
Outside of football, what does he do for fun?
"I like to laugh, so we have good humor in my house," Coach O'Brien said."My wife gets a little sick of it sometimes
(laughter).I like to read.I love to play golf.I stink, but I love to play.Obviously, number one would be hanging out
with my family."
While there is a lot of work to be done between today and the
season-opener on Sept. 1, Coach O'Brien and the Nittany Lions are off and
running in a new era of Penn State football.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
Hi family, friends, and fans! It is already April and I can't believe it; there are only three short
weeks left of the spring semester until it's summer time! I know I am excited for summer so I can finally be back in the nice Florida sunshine and also to see my family and friends! As most of you know our season came to an end this past weekend at regionals. As a whole I think we had an awesome season and we grew so much as a team this entire year. It was, however, disappointing to not make nationals and actually having to come to terms with us being finished with the season. But, I think we will all remember this feeling which will make us come back better than ever next year. But other than that, classes are going really well and I have already started training for next year. I will be going home for part of the summer, about a month and a half, and then I will be coming back to State College. I am going to be teaching at the summer camp and then I will start classes for the second summer session so I'll be back up here training as well. But, that is it for now; hope everyone is enjoying this lovely spring weather. We Are...
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Exactly five weeks after clinching the 2012 NCAA
Team Championship in St. Louis, four Nittany Lion wrestlers will contend for a
spot on the U.S. Olympic team traveling to London this summer.
Penn State's 2012 national champions, Ed Ruth and David Taylor, along with 2011
national champion Quentin Wright and Matt Brown will travel to Carver-Hawkeye
Arena on April 21-22 to compete in the freestyle competition at the U.S.
Olympic Team Trials.
Taylor, who won the 2012 Hodge Trophy after a dominant 32-0 season at 165
pounds, earned a wildcard spot at 74 kg (163 pounds).Additionally, redshirt freshman Matt Brown
will contend for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team at 74 kg after a second place
finish at the Final Olympic Trials Qualifier.
Ruth, who was recently named InterMat Wrestler of the Year after an undefeated
national championship season, clinched a wildcard spot for the trials at 84 kg
(185 pounds).Fellow Nittany Lion and
2011 national champion Quentin Wright will join Ruth at 84 kg after also being
named a wildcard selection.
Nittany Lion wrestling head coach Cael Sanderson won the World Team Trials
after seven years away from competition last summer at 84 kg, but Coach
Sanderson is not expected to wrestle at the U.S. Olympic Trials next week.
The winner from each weight class at the Olympic Trials will represent the U.S.
at the London 2012 Summer Games.
GoPSUsports.com caught up with all four Nittany Lions preparing for the Olympic
Trials at the Penn State wrestling room.Take a look what they had to say about the adjustment to freestyle
competition as they get set for competition in Iowa City.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK,
Pa. - Since the final game of the three-game series against Big Ten-leading
Purdue in West Lafayette two weeks ago, Penn State has gone through a significant
transformation on offense.
The players are being more patient at the plate, getting on base, manufacturing
runs, hitting the long-ball and coming through in clutch situations.One contributing factor to this offensive
surge has been the play of the seniors, particularly senior outfielder Sean Deegan.
Head coach Robbie
Wine moved Deegan to the top of the lineup prior to game three against Purdue,
a position he is all too familiar with having been the leadoff hitter last season.Penn State went on to score a season high 16
runs, blowing out the Boilermakers 16-6 in the series finale.Deegan crossed home plate three times and
went two for six with an RBI during the game.
"I definitely like
leading off," said Deegan."I think I
just feel comfortable there.I like
being able to set the tone."
early on in the season, Deegan has settled into his role at the top of the
order, batting .333 with three homeruns, eight RBIs and 13 runs scored during
the last seven games where the Nittany Lions have gone 6-1.Their only loss came at Pitt on
Wednesday.Deegan attributes his
offensive turnaround to learning patience at the plate.
"[I'm] just trying
not to do too much, as opposed to earlier in the year where I was trying to
beat a guy, to get the big hit every time," said Deegan."Instead I'm just relaxing and just trying to
take it one pitch at a time."
In the series
against Canisius last weekend, Deegan came away with seven RBIs, two homeruns
and a walk-off single in the 11th inning during game two.Penn State finished the series with a sweep
of the Golden Griffins on Sunday.
"As a team we've
been trying to see more pitches and I think that helps us early on just by
getting a read for all the pitches that the pitcher has," said Deegan."You just got to see how the game dictates
Deegan grew up
watching baseball.He has lived and
breathed the sport for as long as he can remember, drawing his inspiration from
family.His father has been by his side
every step of the way, taking him to the battings cages, throwing the ball in
the yard and attending virtually all of his games.
"My dad's been a
big factor in my life," said Deegan."He's probably made it to about 99 percent of my games my whole life,
little league, everything.He's always
been there and he's always encouraged me."
is a crucial part of any team and Deegan is at the heart of the Penn State
squad.He is a vocal leader in the
dugout who also tries to set an example for the younger players, while
immersing himself into the team's relaxed, comedic culture.
"I just try to be a
vocal leader as well as lead by example," said Deegan."And obviously I'm part of the comedians
The Nittany Lions
have developed a loose, light-hearted personality that keeps the game enjoyable
and acts as the glue that keeps them together.They know what it takes to win and they are determined to have fun doing
"I think that helps
us play better," said Deegan of the team's personality."We're just all loose, joking around and that
keeps everybody into the game."
If a player is in a
slump, his teammates are there to pick him up.Deegan notes that the key to getting out of a negative streak is to keep
a positive mentality.
"You got to just
take the positives," said Deegan."You
have a full count at bat and you strike out, well that was a good at bat.Just think of the positives and know that you
got the talent."
Such leadership and
wisdom from seniors who have been in these situations before is important for a
team because it gives the newer players confidence in tight situations.When the seniors are performing well
offensively it takes a lot of pressure off the younger guys, allowing them to
settle down and play their style of baseball.
"When [the seniors]
can go out there and set the tone for everybody and get the ball rolling, then
that takes the stress off the other guys and I think they hit better that way,"
said Deegan."They can be loose and in
baseball when you're loose, that's when you play the best."
Penn State has a
critical test this weekend at home against Michigan.The Wolverines are riding the momentum of a
2-1 series win versus Michigan State last weekend.Michigan has a solid starting rotation backed
by an even stronger bullpen. It's an
even matchup on paper, but playing at home will be a big advantage for the
Nittany Lions and winning this series is paramount.The players are excited to perform in front
of the crowd at Medlar field.
"It just makes it
exciting as a player when you got your peers out there," said Deegan."When you got a full ballpark it just gives
you that adrenaline."
Game one kicks off
at 5 p.m. on Friday with junior John Walter on the mound for Penn State.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The Nittany Lions are nearing the mid-way point of spring practice after
Monday's seventh session.
Coach O'Brien and the Lions have made strides on both sides of the ball as the
Blue-White Game approaches.With spring
practice nearly half over, take a look through five new faces (and one old face in a new place) that have emerged
#2 Curtis Drake - Junior, Cornerback By no means is Curtis Drake a new face for the Nittany Lions, but the
junior has a new number and a new position this spring.The Philadelphia native missed all of 2010
with a broken left leg.Drake reinjured
his lower left leg during spring practice in 2011.He appeared in eight games at receiver last
season, but was limited by the leg injury.The West Philadelphia Catholic HS product emerged as a playmaker for the
Nittany Lions at the end of 2009 and in the Capital One Bowl victory over
LSU.After two injury-plagued seasons,
Drake is looking to play a big role for the Nittany Lion secondary in
2012.The junior has superb athleticism
and has adapted well to his new home at cornerback this spring.With the graduation of four senior starters,
the Nittany Lions will be looking to Drake for added depth in the secondary.
#13 Tim Buckley - Freshman, Safety The departure of four seniors in the Penn State secondary opened the door for
new faces to emerge this spring.Redshirt freshman Tim Buckley is player who has found his way into the
secondary rotation for the Nittany Lions in spring practice.With bumps and bruises at times this spring
in the secondary, the Raleigh, N.C., native has worked with the first team from
time to time.Buckley is a physical defender
with good size (6-0, 202).With
continued progress, Buckley is one of numerous players who will look to battle
for playing time at safety in 2012.
#15 Alex Kenney - Sophomore, Wide
Receiver With the graduation of standout wide receiver Derek Moye, the Nittany Lions
moved into the spring looking to bolster their depth at the receiver spot.State College product Alex Kenney is a name
to keep an eye on for the 2012 season.After
moving from the secondary to receiver during the TicketCity Bowl practice
season, Kenney appears to have found a home at receiver.Kenney, who helped lead State College HS to
the PIAA AAAA state title game in 2010, is poised to play a significant role on
the Penn State offense in the fall.A
crisp route runner with good hands and speed, Kenney has made very good
progress so far this spring.
#18 Deion Barnes - Freshman, Defensive
End Despite the graduation of All-American Devon Still, Jack Crawford and Eric
Latimore, the defensive line will be a strength for the Nittany Lions in
2012.The battles for playing time on
the D-Line will be very competitive throughout fall camp leading up to the
Sept. 1 opener against Ohio.Redshirt
freshman Deion Barnes will be among the contenders for playing time at end, in
addition to seniors Pete Massaro, Sean Stanley and a host of others.Barnes passes the visual test with superb
size, a long wingspan and a quick first step to get into the backfield.The Philadelphia native has made great progress
this spring.Barnes has recently spent
time rotating into the first unit on the defensive line.
#58 Adam Gress - Junior, Offensive Tackle The Nittany Lions return just one starter from the offensive line that took
the field at the TicketCity Bowl in January (C Matt Stankiewitch).However, the graduation of four seniors has
opened the door for new contributors in the trenches.Adam Gress, who saw action on 20 plays in
2011, is among the athletes who have stepped up this spring.Gress, a West Mifflin, Pa., native has consistently
practiced with the first team offensive line this spring.Coach O'Brien singled out the redshirt junior
for his hard work during the winter strength and conditioning program.With continued hard work, Gress will
challenge for a starting spot at tackle during fall camp.
Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Pegula Ice Arena will not open until September of 2013, but if you close your eyes and open them up inside the CAVE model of the future home of Penn State Hockey at the Applied Research Laboratory on the west side of campus you would think it was open now.
The hockey head coaches and a few staff members recently received an incredible first-hand look at Pegula Ice Arena inside the Applied Research Lab 3D Stereoscopic Model.Women's hockey head coach Josh Brandwene summed up the detailed model of Pegula Ice Arena best.
"In a word - awesome," Brandwene said."It makes you realize what a first class facility this going to be at Penn State."
With aid of a wireless controller, the interactive model enabled the coaches and staff to virtually move throughout the arena.From the ice and benches to the concourse and suites, the CAVE model inside the Synthetic Environment Applications Laboratory (SEA Lab) takes onlookers through a 1:1 scale tour of the facility.All four walls and the floor provide a virtual experience of Pegula Ice Arena unlike anywhere else in the world.
Tim Shaw, Head of the SEA Lab, Vaughn Whisker, Research Associate at the SEA Lab, and the SEA Lab staff worked with Mortenson Construction and Crawford Architects to build an exact 1:1 model of the 6,000-seat home of Penn State Hockey before it is constructed.
Men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky was impressed from the moment he stepped into the CAVE model.
"It is awesome," Coach Gadowsky said."It is so cool being able to go through the arena.It gives you a great idea about what Pegula Ice Arena is going to be like.I just wish it were here right now.It is going to be beautiful."
One of the trademark features that stood out in the Pegula Ice Arena model was the student section.The steep architectural design in the 1,000-seat student section will put Penn State students on top of the goalie at one end of the ice.
Take a look inside Pegula Ice Arena CAVE model.
With superb weather in Happy Valley this spring, construction of Pegula Ice Arena at the corner of University Drive and Curtin Road is progressing on schedule for completion in September of 2013.The men's and women's hockey teams will begin varsity competition during the 2012-'13 season.
Pegula Ice Arena CAVE Model Photos:
Men's head coach Guy Gadowsky, director of operations Bill Downey, and Vaughn Whisker from the SEA Lab.
Coach Gadowsky inside the CAVE.
Pegula Ice Arena.
Looking towards the Student Section from the ice.
A look at the bench from the ice.
Coach Gadowsky looking at the ice from the bench.
The view from the bench.
The Student Section at Pegula Ice Arena.
Pegula Ice Arena.
Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Cassie Speno, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Beginning with the 2012 women's lacrosse season,
the NCAA Rules Committee announced several rule changes, which would take
effect this season.
Little did the lacrosse community know what an impact these changes would truly
have on the sport of women's lacrosse. Head coach Missy Doherty who is a member
of the NCAA Rules Committee supports the changes and believes it will make the
game much cleaner.
The rule changes have taken place on two crucial aspects of the game, the
issuing of yellow cards for dangerous fouls and the number of players allowed
on the circle during the draw.
"I do agree with the new rule changes that have been put in place," said
Doherty. "It is an off sides call that has been changed for the most part. With the new
rule, you have to have four people behind the restraining line, whether it is on the
attacking end or on the defensive end. The rule is an important change in the
game because before when you got a yellow card there was no consequence as you
were still playing even at both ends. Now you have to care a little bit more
because you are going to be down a player on both ends of the field."
The player that has been issued a yellow card is now required to sit or stand
in front of the scoring table. Prior to the change the player who committed the
foul was able to resume standing on the sideline next to her coaches and the
rest of the team.
"Having the player sit near the scoring table is really for the referees," said
Doherty. "This way they know there is a penalty and one team should be playing
Once issued a yellow card the player is required to sit out of the contest for
two minutes. However if during that two minutes the opposing team scores, the
penalty is then released.
In the Nittany Lions match up against the Florida Gators, yellow cards proved
to be an issue during the contest. Penn State was issued six yellow cards,
which relegated two key players to the sideline for the remainder of the game.
"Florida was a physical game it was unfortunate that we were the recipients of
all the cards," said Doherty. "I thought both teams were equally physical, but
unfortunately sometimes that how it goes."
Even though the new rule has shown some disadvantages for the squad this
season, it has also shown its perks. The Penn State women's lacrosse team
prides itself on its man up offense. One of the squad's best assets is their
man up offense.
"Our man up offense is one of our best assets as a team," said Doherty. "We
have some smart attackers that see the field really well. Our game-winning
overtime goal against Vanderbilt was a man up goal. Maggie sat behind the cage
and had a couple cutters early, but waited for Tatum who was wide open."
The other rule change that took effect this season is centered on the draw
circle. Now, only two players from each team are allowed to stand on the
outside of the draw circle along with the person in the middle.
"It allows for a much cleaner draw, however that is good and bad," said
Doherty. "It is going to be hard to have an even slate with teams that really
dominate the draw because you can no longer just crowd people in there. We
really want to be a team that recognizes that and hopefully uses that to our
Against a team who historically dominates the draw controls, Penn State hang
tough with Northwestern capturing 11 to Northwestern's 12.
Committee members in an effort to keep the fastest growing sport in the country
and what some call "the fastest game on two feet" safe consistently revisit the
rules each year. This year, introducing some of the biggest changes yet.
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (13-18, 2-4 Big Ten) completed a three-game
sweep of Canisius College (17-17) on Sunday with the help of a walk-off single
by sophomore right fielder Zach Ell in the bottom of the ninth.The Nittany Lions earned their sixth straight
victory and are undefeated in the month of April, setting the tone for the team
"We're having a blast," said Ell."I
think that's the big key to what we're doing now is we're relaxing, we're
sticking to our approaches and we're having some fun."
Penn State's performance this weekend was picturesque of their performance
throughout the six-game winning streak. The Nittany Lions have shown strong offensive
capabilities as well as a desire to win when the game comes down to the wire.The pitching has been at a consistently high
level, giving the team a chance to win time after time.Junior starter Steven Hill talked about the
change in the rotation over the past few weeks, resulting in some impressive
"We're just finding our groove and hitting spots," said Hill."Everyone's just settling in and getting used
to going seven innings a week, over a hundred pitches, hitting spots and
learning from your mistakes."
Junior John Walter took the mound on Friday in game one against Canisius
and set the standard for his fellow weekend starters.He went six innings, allowing three runs on
seven hits with seven strikeouts.
Offensively Penn State caught fire, scoring five runs in the second, seven
runs in the sixth and three runs in the seventh for a final score of 15-5.Seniors Sean Deegan and Jordan Steranka
accounted for five RBIs each and both tallied three-run homeruns on the
night.Penn State as a team combined for
twelve hits with three players producing multi-hit games.
"Guys are realizing that whether you're up 10 or down 10, it's the same
bat, same ball, same field," said head coach Robbie Wine after the game."This game can be easy if you let it be
Game two took the form of a pitchers duel between Penn State sophomore Joe
Kurrasch and Golden Griffins starter Devon Stewart.After giving up an unearned run in the first,
Kurrasch settled down for a dominant 6.2 innings of work where he struck out 10
and allowed just four hits.
The Nittany Lions finally got to Stewart in the sixth as Deegan belted his
second homerun of the series, a solo shot over the right field wall, tying the
game at one.
In the ninth with the game tied 3-3, Canisius loaded the bases with one out
when sophomore pitcher Tim "The Gun" Dunn took the mound and induced a crucial
6-4-3 double play to end the threat.The
game would then head into extra innings.Dunn proceeded to shut down the Griffin offense for 2.2 innings without
allowing a hit or run.
"That just gives you momentum," said Deegan of Dunn's performance."He just kept going out there and keeping us
in it, so that was just big."
Sophomore catcher Alex Farkes started the rally in the 11th, battling
through 12 pitches to earn the leadoff walk. Later, with runners on first and second, Deegan
came to the plate and singled off the right field wall, driving in Farkes and
taking home the win.
"I was just in a good situation," said Deegan."Alex [Farkes] had an awesome at bat and then
Elliot [Searer] had a good at bat too and it was only one out so I knew I could
The Nittany Lions rode the momentum into game three and took an early 3-0
lead in the second.Junior Steven Hill
continued the string of high-quality starts by pitching a complete game, giving
up three runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and just two walks.
After scoring a run in the fifth, Canisius tied the game at three in the
seventh.Despite the brief lapse, the
coaches kept their trusted starter in the game and Hill settled down, keeping
the Golden Griffins off the board into the ninth inning.
Freshman Aaron Novak led off the bottom of the ninth with a single and was
bunted to second by junior Luis Montesinos.Zach Ell stepped into the batters box and with two strikes, drove the
ball back up the middle for the walk-off base hit as Penn State defeated
Canisius 4-3 in dramatic fashion for the second day in a row.
"It's a great win," said Ell."It's
great for the team to keep going on the streak, so it feels awesome to get this
for the team, it feels awesome."
Ell had a 3-4 day with two RBIs and was one of many heroes contributing to
Penn State's weekend sweep.
The Nittany Lions head to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.They will face Michigan next weekend at home.
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State softball team added three more to its
wins column after sweeping its conference series against Michigan State over
The Nittany Lions faced the Spartans in a doubleheader on Saturday, winning
4-3 and 11-5, and played one more on Sunday afternoon, winning 7-5, to put up a
handful of season-bests and power to a four-game winning streak for the second
time this season.
In their second game of the series, the Lions scored a season-high 11 runs
on another season-high 16 hits, including three homeruns. One of those homers
came in the third inning of that game from junior second baseman Lauren Yao,
who was also celebrating her 21st birthday that afternoon.
"It was a really great feeling," said Yao. "I've known that it was
something I have the ability to do and hitting well in practice and to get it
on this day, in particular, it's just a really cool thing to do and I'll
definitely remember it."
Penn State tallied impressive numbers off of the mound in the second game
as well as senior hurler Lisa Akamine tallied a season-high 12 strikeouts in
just six innings of work. Akamine allowed just two runs, one of them unearned,
and gave up just two hits against the Spartans.
"Her rise ball was working really well and she just seemed more confident,"
said sophomore catcher Kasie Hatfield of Akamine. "When she pitches well we all
want to produce behind her even more and I think she knew that and she just
found her groove."
Before Saturday, the team hadn't scored more than eight runs or tallied
more than 11 hits all season. Hatfield and Yao agreed that after being on the
road for so much time to begin their year, coming home to Beard Field and
playing under sunny State College skies seemed to put the team at ease.
"You realize that being home is an advantage on weekends like these," said
Yao. "I think we all wanted to come out and show what we have more and I think
that confidence just really carried from one at-bat to another."
Penn State head coach Robin Petrini said that her offense looked especially
comfortable this weekend compared to most so far this year. She said they looked
more like "sluggers" as the team put a total of five long-balls over the
outfield wall on the weekend.
The Nittany Lions improved their record to 11-22 overall and 3-6 in the Big
Ten, and Petrini said that the weekend of wins makes a statement for her team
in more ways than one.
"It just gives them a little extra confidence and it really keeps them
believing," said Petrini. "We have more of the season to play and we have more
to work on so we'll keep with that plan and see what we can make of it every
Finishing up the Big Ten series at Nittany Lion Softball Park, Penn State
has played five consecutive games at home and will continue to do so in the
next five contests on its schedule. Next up, the Nittany Lions will play host
to the Temple Owls in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
This past Saturday, as one of our spring competition days, we were fortunate enough to travel to
the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. When we got there our team split into small groups and all paired up with players from the Navy team, who showed us around the yard. We had gorgeous weather, and loved seeing the river come up to the edge of campus. It was really neat to get a behind-the-scenes tour of a campus so different from ours. I don't think many of us would last with some of the things they have to do (freshmen aren't even allowed to listen to music!). We got to eat lunch in the mess hall, where on weekdays all the midshipmen (a little over 4000 total) eat every meal together. Again, it was really cool to get to experience something so different from what we're used to. After lunch we hit the gym for a couple hours, intermixing with the Navy team to play some competitive drills. It was a little distracting having an entire wall of the field house be windows, with boats docked in the river twenty yards away! All in all it was an awesome day, meeting and playing with new people, and getting to see a very impressive academy!
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK,
Pa. - Penn State defeated Canisius, 4-3, on Saturday with the help of a
game-winning single by senior outfielder Sean Deegan in the bottom of the 11th,
extending the Nittany Lions' winning streak to five games.
Joe Kurrasch pitched a gem against the Golden Griffins in front of about a
dozen baseball scouts who had arrived in Happy Valley to watch the lefthander's
performance.Despite the added pressure,
Kurrasch remained focused and threw for 6.2 innings, allowing just one unearned
run on four hits with 10 strikeouts.
"I don't think
about it," said Kurrasch in reference to the presence of scouts at the
game."When I'm pitching, it's mainly
about pitching and our team getting a win."
After Canisius took
an early 1-0 lead off of an unearned run in the first, Kurrasch and Golden
Griffin starter Devon Stewart continued the pitchers duel into the sixth.It was Deegan who finally struck back for the
Nittany Lions with a solo shot over the right field wall, tying the game at one
"Joe was pitching
great, so just to even it up and know that we had a chance, I thought that it
was going to spark something," said Deegan
The hit was enough
to awaken the offense as Penn State manufactured two runs in the seventh with
two outs.Sophomore catcher Alex Farkes
started the rally, reaching first on a throwing error by the third baseman and
advancing to second when junior Ryan Clark took his base on a walk.Junior Elliot Searer then extended his
hitting streak to seven games with a single to left, scoring Farkes and giving
the Nittany Lions the lead.After
intentionally walking Deegan to load the bases, Stewart plunked sophomore Steve
Snyder to give Penn State the 3-1 advantage.
by scoring two runs in the eighth, tying the game at three.In the top of the ninth, the Golden Griffins
loaded the bases with one out when sophomore reliever Tim "The Gun" Dunn
replaced Evan Dixon on the mound.With
one pitch, Dunn induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and the
threat.Dunn continued his dominance on
the mound through the next two innings, giving the Nittany Lions a chance to
win in the bottom of the eleventh.
"That just gives
you momentum," said Deegan of Dunn's performance."He just kept going out there and keeping us
in it, so that was just big."
The Golden Griffins
had their ace closer in for a third straight inning when Penn State came to bat
in the 11th.Once again Farkes sparked
the rally, battling for 12 pitches before finally earning first base on ball
four.Junior Matt Paradise bunted Farkes
to second and Searer fought to obtain a walk of his own.With runners on first and second, Deegan came
to the plate and launched the game-winning single off the right field wall,
giving the Nittany Lions the 4-3 win.
"I was just in a
good situation," said Deegan."Alex
[Farkes] had an awesome at bat and then Elliot [Searer] had a good at bat too
and it was only one out so I knew I could be aggressive."
victory was huge for the players' confidence and it showed their resolve to
fight until the bitter end.
"For us to show the
character that we had today and us sticking in it for as long as we did and not
giving up says a lot," said Kurrasch.
concludes the series against Canisius on Sunday at 1 p.m.Junior Steven Hill will take the mound for
the Nittany Lions in their attempt to sweep the Golden Griffins at home.
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball used another strong
offensive performance to bring home its fourth-straight win Friday night,
topping Canisius 15-5 in the first game of a three game weekend series.
The Nittany Lions used a big second inning to take a quick 5-0 lead
over the Golden Griffins.Jordan
Steranka started off the inning quick with a hit, with runners then advancing
on a two bunts and a wild throw by the Canisius pitcher.
With the runners on base the Lions really started to do damage as
Elliot Searer doubled down the right field line scoring two with the bases
loaded to give the home team a 2-0 lead.Outfielder Sean Deegan then added to the lead with a big-time homer to
bring the score to 5-0.
Canisius bounced back in the fifth inning, as they finally got to Walter
and the Penn State defense, turning two hits, a hit-by-pitch and a walk into
three runs, cutting the deficit to 5-3.
Despite Canisius bringing the game within two, it was never closer as
the Lions used a seven run sixth inning to break the game open to 12-3, where
they never looked back.
The outburst was powered by another homerun for Penn State, this time a
three-run shot for Steranka.
This has been the fourth straight game where the Lions have scored eight or
more runs, as the offense has really been clicking.
On the pitching side of things, John Walter was solid for Penn State,
going six innings and getting seven strikeouts to get the win.
With the team playing so well momentum has begun to build in Happy
"Guys are realizing that whether you're up 10 or down 10, it's the same
bat, same ball, same field," said head coach Robbie Wine on the team starting
to play well and momentum building."This game can be easy if you let it be easy."
The way they've been playing it's all looking easy right now for the
Nittany Lions, and they're looking to continue that on Saturday vs. Canisius.
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For seven consecutive matches the Penn State
men's volleyball team was away from State College and playing as the visiting
team. On Friday night, the Nittany Lions snapped their road streak and returned
to their home court confinements in Rec Hall where they swept Sacred Heart.
Thanks to a productive offense that swung at a .380 clip, collectively,
and a defense that tallied a season-high 15.5 blocks, the Lions sailed to their
12th conference win of the season. With just two EIVA matches left to go play
this season, Penn State remains atop the leader board in conference standings
with an undefeated 12-0 mark.
The Nittany Lion defense made it tough for the Pioneers to score as it
relied on the big single-, double- and triple-blocks throughout the night. Penn
State held Sacred Heart to just a .085 offensive average for the match and won
25-19, 25-22 and 25-19 respectively.
Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik said that the blocking effort that his
team put up all evening was just about as good as it has been all season long.
"You saw our best blocking defense tonight," said Pavlik. "I think what
you saw what were the results of the work we've been doing in the past couple
of weeks with it."
The freshmen kept things especially tight at the net as Aaron Russell
led the pack with eight block assists and Nick Goodell followed with another
six. Pavlik said that the team has been focusing on their block technique and
really concentrating on the block during practices especially for the past
three or four weeks.
The head coach said that one of those freshmen in particular has really
turned his game around since the beginning of the 2011-'12 season.
"Goodell, who at one point in the fall we were wondering if he could
block an intersection with a car, he did a really nice job on our block and
defense," said Pavlik.
While Goodell laughed at his coach's critique, he too agreed that his
improvements and his team's have been a huge help defensively at the net.
"It's just all starting to pay off," Goodell said of the blocking game.
"Even in practice, not just getting blocks but just touching the ball and
keeping it on our side. It's just hard work really paying off."
Penn State led the way offensively as well with the help of redshirt
senior Joe Sunder's match high 13 kills hitting .409 for the evening. Sunder
said that his performance on the court has not been as productive as he would
have liked in recent matches, and that his match high hitting was a good
reminder of what he can do.
"It felt like something I haven't really done in a while," said Sunder.
"Tonight was the first time in a while that I felt confident coming out
Sunder said that it was an especially nice feeling to be able to wake up
in his own bed and catch a short ride to Rec Hall for the night's match rather
than have to meet in a hotel lobby and ride a charter bus to an opposing team's
Pavlik agreed, and said that the idea of having home court advantage is
something that usually gets taken for granted.
"That is one of the underrated joys of coaching," said Pavlik. "Waking
up in your own bed after long road trips and on game-day saying, you know
everything can be in a normal routine."
The Nittany Lions will host Harvard on Saturday night in hopes of a 13th
conference win, which would make Penn State the owner of the EIVA title yet
again and allow the team to host both the conference semifinals and finals at
the end of the month.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Success is often measured by one's ability to
move from one setback to the next without losing enthusiasm.
Penn State tight end Garry Gilliam and defensive end Pete Massaro know a thing
or two about setbacks.They also know a
thing or two about the work ethic and positive attitude necessary to overcome
Neither player ever doubted that the opportunity to step back on the field might
not happen again, but overcoming a serious knee injury is as difficult mentally
as it is physically.
But the hours and hours of rehab work, often side-by-side, are behind them, and
Gilliam and Massaro are back on the practice field this spring looking ahead to
playing a big role for the Nittany Lions in the fall.
"It was kind of surreal," Gilliam said of stepping back onto the practice field
for the first time."It was just good to
get out there and play again."
"It feels so good to finally get back out there," Massaro said.
While Gilliam has no limitations this spring and Massaro's knee is not quite
100 percent, both players will be at full strength when the 2012 season begins
The road back to the field is virtually over, but it was by no means an easy
road to get there for either Nittany Lion.
While blocking down field in the latter stages of the first half at Kinnick
Stadium during Penn State's primetime clash at Iowa on Oct. 2, 2010, Gilliam's
knee gave out.He knew instantly that
something was wrong.Gilliam had suffered
a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), torn medial collateral ligament (MCL),
torn patellar tendon, torn lateral meniscus and bone bruising in his left knee.
After starting three of the first five games during the 2010 season, Gilliam's
promising redshirt freshman campaign ended after just five weeks.
His first question to Penn State team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli after the
injury diagnosis was whether or not he would be able to return to the field at
full strength.Dr. Sebastianelli told
Gilliam that while it would be a difficult recovery, he would return to the
That is all Gilliam needed to hear.
From that moment forward, Gilliam put his head down and went to work.
The Carlisle, Pa., native was scheduled for surgery to repair the damages in
his left knee during the week after Thanksgiving in 2010.However, the swelling had not reduced as
quickly as it should have, so Gilliam underwent further testing.
Things became more complicated from there.
It was determined during the week prior to the surgery that Gilliam had a
severe infection in his injured knee, thus delaying surgery.After extensive treatment for the infection,
the tight end underwent surgery in May, six months after it had been originally
scheduled.Gilliam had a second
operation for a follow up procedure to clean up the area, as well.
He then missed all of the 2011 season while he rehabbed the knee.Gilliam said it was tough to stay mentally
strong during the prolonged recovery period, but knowing that a return to the
field was at the end of the battle was all he needed to keep working hard.
In January, Gilliam began to feel like his knee was nearing 100 percent.He was a full participant in offseason
conditioning drills, and now, he is back practicing for the first time in 18
"No, I am not limited," Gilliam said."The knee is good.I am still
trying to build up my confidence up, but it is going great...I am able to do
everything at practice."
Like the rest of the offensive players, Gilliam is learning a new playbook and
offensive scheme this spring.
"It is kind of like being a freshman again, learning an entirely new offense,"
Gilliam said."Everything is fast and
precise in the offense."
The tight ends will be at the center of the Penn State offense, and Gilliam is
eager to continue learning the 'Y' and 'F' positions.
"I am really excited about the offense," Gilliam said."The tight ends will have a big role in
it.It is a lot to learn, but I am
excited about what it has in store for us."
Gilliam, who will petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility so that
he will have three seasons remaining, said that learning the new offense is
like learning a new language.
Massaro's plot features many of the same chapters as Gilliam's during the past
The senior defensive end redshirted as a freshman in 2008.After suffering a torn ACL in his right knee
during the 2009 Blue-White Game, Massaro missed the entire 2009 season.
Nonetheless, the Newton Square, Pa., native came back with a vengeance in
2010.A starter in the final 11 games,
Massaro evolved into a consistent pass rusher for the Nittany Lion
defense.He tallied 37 tackles and 8.0 tackles
for a loss.Massaro was named an
Academic All-American following his strong season on the field and in the
classroom in 2010.
Poised for a big season in 2011, Massaro entered spring practice with a
great deal of confidence.But nearly two
years after his first serious knee injury, Massaro tore the ACL in his left
knee during spring practice.
Facing his second recovery in two years, Massaro's confidence level never
"I knew that I needed to keep my nose to the grindstone, and that everything is
going to turn out all right," Massaro said.
He never doubted whether or not he would play again.
"Despite second injury, I knew I was going to come back.There was never a question," Massaro said.
Through countless hours of rehab work, again, Massaro is back in uniform
this spring.While his left knee is not
quite at full strength, Massaro has practiced every day this spring.He is not a full participant yet, but he is
working his way back into game shape.
"It does take time to get muscle memory back," said Massaro."I want to get back to last spring's form
before the injury."
Massaro said the spring practice season has gone well for him so far.It is decided day-to-day which drills he
participates in.Additionally, he is
enjoying the challenge of learning a new defensive scheme under new coordinator
"Coach Roof is great at pushing people and getting the best out of people,"
Gilliam and Massaro spent much of the past 12 months enduring the same challenges,
often rehabbing together.
"We have gone through rehab together, and pretty much every day we talk about
our knees and how they are feeling," Gilliam said."It has helped both of us because we have had
that person to go through it with us.We
are going through the same thing, so it helps."
Having been off the field for so long, both players are understandably rusty this
"I am obviously a little rusty because it has been a long time since I have
played football," Gilliam said."The
hardest thing was probably my confidence, just really trusting the fact that my
knee is good to go."
"I'm a little rusty at this point," said Massaro, who does not expect to wear a
brace in the fall."The knee is not
quite 100 percent, but it feels good."
The Sept. 1 home opener against Ohio cannot come soon enough for two players
deserving of a strong 2012 season.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Jeff Sattora, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer University Park, Pa.- The team could see it coming, following
Saturday's tough loss to Purdue, the Penn State baseball players knew they were
very close to finally breaking open the offensive floodgates.Following a third straight big win since Saturday;
it looks like they were exactly right.
The Lions used another strong offensive show to go along with great pitching to
come away with an 8-2 win Wednesday night at home vs. Binghamton.
Just like Purdue on Sunday (a 16-6 Lions win) the top of the lineup was yet
again a driving force for the Nittany Lions as Sean Deegan and Jordan Steranka
each had three hits, with Steve Snyder and Joey DeBernardis each having one hit
and two RBIs.
"We were able to carry on what we've been able to do the last two games," said
outfielder Sean Deegan."Everything's
been clicking, everyone's been hitting, top to bottom putting runs on the
When everyone is getting on base the approach can change, and the team
can start to be more aggressive at the plate.
"When we're scoring a lot of runs you can be so much more aggressive,"
Deegan said."You can try driving the
ball a little bit more."
That ability to be aggressive led to 12 hits in the win over Binghamton, with
eight different players getting at least one hit.
Binghamton had started off the game quick with a 1-0 first inning lead, but the
Lions bounced back off the hitting of the top of that lineup to score four in
the third and never look back.
This was a great sign for the home team to be able to bounce back, as
previously they had been 2-12 in games where the opposing team scored
"I think early in the season when we got down we got down on ourselves,
but recently we've been playing well it's not going to phase us, especially
being at home," said third baseman Joey DeBernardis."It's only one run and you got to score a run
to win, so I don't think it phased us that much."
DeBernardis has been anything but phased lately as he has really been
knocking the cover off the ball for the Lions, not only did he have two RBIs
vs. Binghamton, but he was 4-5 with a homerun vs. Kent State on Tuesday.
"It's been about time," DeBernardis said about not only the team's
hitting, but his as well.Adding he
hasn't changed anything at the plate too much, just trying to be more relaxed
One way to continue to be relaxed and comfortable at the plate is when
you know you have a strong pitcher on the mound, and that is exactly what the
Lions had on Wednesday in Cody Lewis.
Lewis was able to pick up his second win on the season, throwing five
innings and allowing only one earned run on seven hits for the win.
"I definitely pitched better than I had this season," Lewis said on his
performance."Settle down, try and keep
the ball down, let my defense do the work."
With the strong offensive outbursts and the solid pitching the team is
confident they will be able to keep this three game winning streak going.
"The last few games we've got a lot more confidence, especially
offensively," said assistant coach Eric Folmar.
The team will look to add to that streak and confidence this weekend as they
battle Canisius at home in a three game series.
By Cassie Speno, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK,
Pa. - The No.12 Penn State women's lacrosse team will take on the No.1
Northwestern Wildcats Friday at 7 p.m. The team is looking forward to playing
its first night game at the brand new Penn State Lacrosse Field in its second
consecutive top five opponent.
Head coach Missy
Doherty says the program has really turned a corner this season, but there is
still more work to be done.
"I think we have
really turned a corner in games like Vanderbilt and Virginia," said Doherty.
"We are in the mix, but now our next step in the program is to really start
competing with these top five teams. In order to do that, we need to dominate
possession and get the draw."
The Nittany Lions
struggled to gain possession of the ball against the Florida Gators only
obtaining nine draw controls to Florida's 23. In the game of women's lacrosse the draw is
often said to win games as it gives the team dominating the draw more
opportunities to score.
Penn State did its
best to make the most of the opportunities they were given and scored 11 goals
on 22 shots. However, Florida's attack proved to dominate possession time and
fired 43 shots on goal. Doherty says this is something they will need to
improve on if they are going to succeed against top five teams in the future.
"Our main issue in
games with these top teams is controlling the ball," said Doherty. "It is all
about being able to control the ball and get the draw. Our draw controls
against Florida were a lot to a little, and that played a factor. Possession
time is key when you play against a team like Northwestern."
Northwestern is undefeated so far this season (10-0) with close overtime
victories against Syracuse (11-9) and Ohio State (13-12).Doherty and her Nittany Lion squad will look
to hand the Wildcat's their first loss of the season by beating them at their
the type of team that really takes its time on offense, but really rushes you
in the defensive end," said Doherty. "If you are on defense the majority of the
game against them you are not going to win. So we really need to keep control,
be patient on offense so we tire out their defense and finish strong."
By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK,
Pa. - Penn State's starting rotation faced an intimidating test last weekend
against 19th-ranked Purdue (21-5, 4-2 Big Ten), who featured the nation's top
offense.Though Purdue took two of three
in the series, the offense dropped to ninth in the country after quality
performances by each of the three Penn State starters.
Purdue entered the
day with a team batting average of .340 and five players with averages above
.360.Junior John Walter opened the
series pitching a solid 6.2 innings while allowing five runs, only one of them
earned, during the contest.Penn State's
offense struggled against boilermaker starter Joe Haas and the Nittany Lions
Joe Kurrasch followed up on Saturday throwing for 7.1 innings and holding
Purdue's offense to just two runs on three hits with five strikeouts, dropping
his ERA to 2.95.Though Penn State fell short,
2-0, during the pitchers' duel, the momentum in the series was beginning to
shift.Kurrasch talked about his mindset
going up against such a potent lineup.
"I just approached
them as if they were any other team," said Kurrasch."You don't make the game bigger than it
is.Then it was just not thinking about
that aspect of it, it was just to pitch."
Junior Steven Hill
wrapped up the series on Sunday, which held a completely different
outcome.The Nittany Lions ignited on
offense, scoring 13 times in the first three innings and finishing the game
with a season-high16 runs.
Junior Steven Hill, pitching with a commanding lead, threw for 6.2 innings,
holding the Boilermakers to four runs with three strikeouts and just one
walk.Regardless of the score, Hill
stayed focused throughout with the same goal in mind.
"My goal was just
to keep us in the game as much as possible because we were due for a big
offensive game," said Hill.
The scoring spree
was a huge confidence booster for the team as a whole and it allowed Hill to
relax and play his game.
"You see guys
squaring bunts up and runs are getting pushed across the plate and you feel
like you've got some leeway," said Hill."It helps you relax and know that if a run scores it's not the end of
On the defensive
side, bringing Purdue's offense back down to earth was no easy task.Each starter had to be focused because one
mistake to virtually any of the Boilermaker hitters would have been
costly.Penn State came in with a good
strategy and the pitchers stuck to it.
"You just got to
execute the game plan and we had a great game plan going into it," said Hill.
"For me it's the
same thing no matter what the situation is," said Kurrasch."I have confidence in my stuff and it's up to
me to go out there and execute."
Hill explained that
the key to facing a lineup like Purdue's is to battle and challenge the
"You got to grind
it out," said Hill."Grind innings out
and just be a bulldog out there and pound the zone and get ahead."
The bullpen backed
the starters both on Saturday and Sunday, holding Purdue to a mere two hits and
two runs over a combined three innings.The bullpen has had its highs and lows all season, but they have come
through when it matters and their support at the end of the rotation is
essential to the team's success.
"You want to feel
confident in the fact that the bullpen's going to get that crucial guy out with
runners on base," said Hill."I think
they've been doing a heck of a job lately just stepping up."
"They all have a
very similar mentality and they show up every day and they're going to do their
job," said Kurrasch."There's been
confidence all year in the bullpen."
pitching staff shares a unique bond.They joke and tease each other, but at the end of the day they are a
close-knit group of players.
"We go through the
same thing, the same conditioning with the pitchers so we definitely forge a
special bond," said junior John Walter.
whether they are winning or losing, one thing is certain; they know how to
enjoy the sport they love.
"It's great," said
Hill."Playing baseball is just
fun.Being a pitcher is just fun.There's no other way to put it."
Penn State returns
to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park this weekend to play a three-game series
against Canisius.Walter, Kurrasch and
Hill look to extend Penn State's three-game winning streak and ride the
momentum into the next Big Ten series against Michigan.
While some people on the team (and Steve) thought it was the longest trip of their lives being a five hour trip, it was just another drive home for me. We got to Mechanicsville late that Friday night and there was my mom, the Slay's and Racibarskas' welcoming us. The next morning my mother, who is close to being the most wonderful person in the world, fixed us the best breakfast that I have ever seen. The girls had a field day and I was excited because I knew that I got to take any leftovers back to State College. It was weird seeing coach chilling on my front porch and I was certain that my above normal heighted teammates wouldn't fit in my house but somehow it happened. We got to my high school and it was just a blast from the past. Some of my former teachers and teammates stopped by as well as anyone who has been a part of my volleyball career. We played some really competitive drills and it was really great to play in my old high school gym. It was nice to finally play someone besides ourselves and UNC is a great team. I love watching our team make such big strides and that's what the spring is all about. We're getting better and I can't wait to see what the rest of the spring has in store for us.
By Laura Finley, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The greater the challenge, the harder one must work.
The Penn State
women's gymnastics team can attest to this. After closing the regular season
with a winning record and placing sixth in the Big Ten Championships, the
Nittany Lions head to Raleigh, N.C., this weekend for the NCAA Regionals.
definitely a lot of emotions because we know that this is it," said junior
Madison Merriam. "This could be our last meet if we don't do what we need to do
and go in there to Raleigh and do our job. But at the same time we have to put
that feeling aside and just tell ourselves it's just another meet in order to
get the job done."
Penn State has
worked hard all season to find the right balance in every routine. With two
meets left in the regular season, the gymnasts came close, hitting all 24 of
their routines against the University of Pittsburgh and the University of
"Watching them come
together has been exciting because you see all of their hard work throughout
the season coming together," said associate coach Rachelle Thompson. "All year
it has been a slow and steady progress for us. The last two weeks in the
regular season they hit all 24 routines. That's been a slow and steady thing
for us because that was the first two meets out of all twelve that we've hit all
of our routines."
Now, with the
success of the regular season behind them, the women look on to their next
challenge, the NCAA Regionals. After failing to qualify for nationals by only
.075 in last year's regional finals, Penn State is all focus going in to the
For the team, this
weekend culminates to one thing: Bring it Back.
this year, there's a constant reminder every time we say 'bring it back'," said
Thompson. "It's not just about winning and it's not just about a championship,
it's about a daily attitude and mentality of bringing into this gym what we
want to see happen and remembering how we felt at regionals last year. We want
to bring that feeling back to the gym so we never lose a meet by .075 again."
With two weeks to
prepare for regionals following the Big Ten tournament, the women have brought
that attitude and mentality to the gym during every practice. They know that to
carry on a Penn State tradition, hard work and dedication is a necessity.
"The team mindset
going into practice is on fixing the little details," said Merriam. "We're
coming in to the gym and trying to make those changes so we can keep advancing
in the future. If we can make those changes and get bigger scores, we have the
opportunity to move on to nationals."
With a season spent
competing against top teams such as Alabama, Ohio State and NC State, Penn
State knows what to expect from the challenge that awaits it in Raleigh.
"I think competing with those big teams helps us," said Senior Alex Stine. "We
know how much we have to push ourselves every day in the gym to get to that level.
It has definitely helped us."
And this experience
will help the team as the Nittany Lions compete against Ohio State, NC State
and the University of North Carolina for a second time this season while also
facing the top team in the nation, the University of Florida.
"Looking on to the
regional meet, we're all really excited," said Stine. "We always talk about the
greater the challenge, the harder you have to work and raise your expectations.
We're ready to go down there and show the gymnastics community how hard we've
been training. We're ready to bring it back."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion football team completed its
fifth practice of the spring season on Wednesday afternoon.
For the third time this spring, Penn State practiced in full pads. Like Monday's
practice, the Lions scrimmaged during the final few periods at the end of
Wednesday's fast-paced practice.The
sixth of 15 spring practices will be on Friday afternoon.The Blue-White Game is scheduled for April 21
at Beaver Stadium.
Following practice on Wednesday, GoPSUsports.com caught up with junior running
back Silas Redd and senior defensive end Pete Massaro for their thoughts on the
first five days of on-field work this spring.Both players talked about learning new schemes and the progress the team
has made since practice began on March 26.
Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Instead of waking up in a hotel and taking a bus
to an opposing team's field like they've done for the past 28 games they've
played, the Nittany Lions were able to get out of their own beds and some could
even walk to Beard Field where they opened their home season against in-state
rival Pittsburgh on Tuesday afternoon.
Penn State split the twinbill against the Panthers, dropping the first game of
the afternoon 7-2 but bouncing back in the second with a 4-0 victory that
snapped what had been a 13-game losing streak.
Freshman hurler Marissa Diescher got the nod in the second contest of
the day after senior ace Lisa Akamine tossed the first seven innings of play
against the Panthers. Behind solid defense and timely offensive production,
Diescher tossed a two-hit shutout under the afternoon sun.
Diescher's teammate and junior centerfielder Cassidy Bell provided the
spark at the very start of the second game of the day with a lead-off home run
against Pittsburgh's Alexa Larkin. That run would be the only number on the
board for either of the two teams until the Nittany Lions struck again in the
But with a tough infield behind her and a mix of outfielders that
battled the rays looming over Nittany Lion Softball Park, Diescher said that
one run was enough to get her going.
"It was great," said Diescher. "Usually that's not a lot to feel
comfortable on but after that [run] I knew I had to kind of keep them off of
the board and I knew we'd come through in the end."
The freshman right-hander struck out three and walked six en route to
the much-needed win and said she was mostly reliant on hitting spots on the
outer half of the plate in the 28 Panther at-bats that she faced.
Defensively, the Nittany Lions made it look effortless with no errors
and 21 put-outs in the field. Diescher said that she was trying to keep
Pittsburgh off balance at the plate with a mixture of off-speed pitches and
fastballs on every corner of the plate to produce what were nine weak ground
balls for easy Penn State outs.
After the win, Bell said that head coach Robin Petrini was all smiles in
the dugout as she had a few words of congratulations for her team.
"Take a breath - it's over," Bell said, echoing her head coach. "We got
the 'W' and we won and that's all that matters right now."
Bell said that the four runs she and her teammates produced and the
solid pitching that Diescher provided off of the mound were something that fans
and spectators should take note of.
"We felt this was a very important win to get," said Bell. "We were just
concentrated on trying to jump on it first and keep the energy up - keep all of
the positive attitude and keep fighting. We've been fighting for basically the
whole season and I feel like it's finally dropping in for us now."
The win gives the Nittany Lions an 8-22 overall mark this season and
prevented the team from tying what would have been the longest losing-streak in
the program's history had they lost.
The opening pair of contests against the Panthers was the first two of
ten consecutive games that Penn State will get to host in State College. Next
up, the Nittany Lions welcome Michigan State to Bear Field for their third
conference series of the season this coming weekend.
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the second season in a row, sophomore Austin Kaut
(Morton, Pa.) is among the top goalies in the nation, serving as a security
blanket for his team's defense.
like the quarterback of the defense in lacrosse," said Kaut. "As a goalie it's
my responsibility to communicate with the defense and make sure everyone is in
Starting in the
net for the second-straight year, Kaut is continuing to exhibit spectacular
play that earned him CAA Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman.
In his impressive
rookie campaign, the net minder topped several NCAA statistical lists,
including save percentage (.635) and saves per game (13.64).
"Austin is one
of the best goalies in the country, and it's great to work with him," said teammate
and fellow goalie Conor Baucum (Chevy Chase, Md.).
junior, has seen limited in-game action in the net, and has found other ways to
help out his team.
kind of a 'rah-rah' guy on the sidelines," said Baucum. "This is what I can do
to help the team and if it keeps up the enthusiasm, then we can play better as
intensity and motivation is not the only method of contribution for Baucum. He
and fellow goalie Dave Baker (Havertown, Pa.) help on the offensive side of the
ball when they stay back at practice and tend the net while the offense
practices their shooting and accuracy.
"We have a
really tight-knit pack of goalies on this team, and that's how it should be,"
said Baucum. He explained how the three goalies share tips and strategies to
help each other improve.
As for Kaut, the
presence of the other goalies on the roster helps him stay sharp.
nipping at my toes at practice to get my spot keeps me going," said Kaut. "It
prompts me to work hard on and off the field to become the best goalie I can
Kaut has seen
the majority of the action in the goal this season, and his put up impressive
numbers against challenging opponents and skilled offenses.
ranks in the top 10 in the nation in goals against average and save percentage,
which is an impressive feat considering the competition he has faced.
Lions have faced eight ranked opponents this season, and of those teams, Kaut
has tended the net against four teams in the top-ten in scoring offense.
In a loss to
No. 16 Bucknell, Kaut allowed nine goals, which is significantly less than the
astounding 13.33 goals per game average scored by the Bison.
still has a difficult test ahead, as the team will face four-straight
conference opponents to round out the season.
"We are ready
for our upcoming games," said Kaut. "We have our work cut out for us because we
need to get some wins and get a nice spot in the CAA tournament."
The Penn State
men's lacrosse team will face Drexel in Philadelphia on Saturday. Faceoff is
slated for 2 p.m.
I hope you all had or are looking forward to a great spring break! The past couple weeks have been great inside the gym! As championship season is beginning we have been working extra hard to focus and put ourselves in meet-like situations for more preparation. Two weeks ago was the start of it all, Big Ten Championships. Unfortunately, we didn't do as well as we wanted.As we walked out of that competition we were more motivated than ever! Our goal was to get back in the gym and work really hard to fix the things we needed to so we could put it all together for regionals! I think we are as prepared as we can be for this competition. This weekend we will be bussing it to North Carolina State to compete against NC State, Florida, Ohio State, Kent State, and UNC. The top two teams will then qualify to NCAA's.We look at Big Ten's as just another thing that will help us prepare, and better us on our journey to the top! Last week we had the privilege of hearing an amazing man, Coach Mike Morse, speak to us. He has lived an incredible life of challenges you can't even imagine! He talked to us and explained how you can be great, but you are nothing without your team. You're stronger together then you are apart. It was an emotional yet truly inspiring speech. This week as our close knit team competes, we will fight until the very end to claim the spot we earned and deserve!
This past weekend we took on Princeton and George Mason. On Friday night Princeton gave us more than we had expected, but we squeaked out a five set victory. It would be an understatement to say we didn't play our cleanest volleyball the first three sets of the match, but Princeton was taking advantage of our mistakes. After being down two sets to one and facing match point in the fourth set, it was amazing to see how easy the game of volleyball is when you step on the court and just have fun and compete. Joe Sunder and Jace Olsen came up with some crucial swings in the fourth set and we overcame seven match points to take the set 37-35. As long as I've been at Penn State, I think this was the highest scoring set I've been a part of and probably the most that we've been pushed by an EIVA team. We might not have played our best or prettiest match, but sometimes it's good to be punched in the mouth and see how you will respond.Princeton played a great game, but it was good to see us fight through the match when things weren't going our way and come out on top.
On Saturday we headed down to Virginia to take on George Mason. It was interesting to see how we were going to respond after playing a long five set match the night before. Once again, our opponent came out firing and rode the support of their loud crowd to a first set victory. After that we responded, by quieting their crowd and taking control of the match.We went on to beat Mason in four sets.
After a long month away, we finally return home to Rec Hall this weekend. Our countless number of hours spent on the bus seemed to take its toll on our bodies, and we will enjoy not having to travel for a week. As much I love being cooped up on a bus with the guys for hours upon hours, I can safely say I will never have to endure a bus ride again! It's been fun experiencing snowstorms, broken down busses, and nauseating smells from the back of the bus for the past four years, but I can't say I will miss it. However, I am saddened to say that I will no longer be greeted by or hear Kurt, our bus driver's motivational speeches as he has kick started our journey to many victories.
I look forward to seeing all your faces in Rec Hall. Until next time...
We are headed North on Route 15 back to PA from Fairfax, VA where the Nittany Lions defeated the George Mason Patriots 21-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-20 to move to 11-0 in the EIVA. Today Harvard defeated NJIT which puts them currently in second place in the EIVA with a record of 8-2. The Nittany Lion magic number is 2: any combination of Nittany Lion wins and/or Harvard losses will clinch the EIVA top seed for us. Since we host Sacred Heart and Harvard next weekend we are looking to clinch then!
Tonight's match against the Patriots had me concerned about our recovery from last night's five gamer against Princeton. It seems like we have been running on fumes and we were back on the bus this morning at 11:30 AM for the three-and-a-half hour trip to Fairfax. The Patriots had returned last weekend from their spring break trip to the west coast but had defeated Saint Francis yesterday in four games. I was hoping they would be feeling the effects of their travel but their scores against SFU indicated nothing of the sort.
We rolled into Fairfax about 3:30 PM and stopped for a pre-game meal at Jason's Deli. Our trainer extraordinaire, Kelly Saxton, gave the Deli her blessing as a great place for a pre-game meal...besides, it offered free ice cream. I was in!
We headed to the gym and managed to get 45 minutes of passing and serving and the guys seemed to be in great spirits and ready to play. In GMU's new Recreation and Athletic Center, the volleyball gym is well lit (a bright contrast from Dillon Gym at Princeton) and a great facility in which to compete.
Game one began with GMU seemingly blocking everything at which we tried to swing! With GMU up 10-13 they had already recorded five blocks! Our offense just didn't have any pop and we certainly weren't giving GMU much to worry about. The best we could do was to get to 19-22 but GMU wouldn't let us get any closer and a Mason kill gave them game one 21-25. Mason stuffed seven balls in game one. My concern about recovery after last night's match seemed accurate.
Game two began with PSU gaining a 5-1 lead. We stretched it to 15-8 with a solid sideout game and we were starting to create opportunities with our serving and blocking that we were finishing with our transition game. The closest Mason could get was 23-18. An Aaron Russell kill ended the game 25-19 and tied the match at one game apiece.
Game three had the Nittany Lions pick up right where we left off in game two. Our blockers were forcing GMU in altering their shots and our defense was doing a great job picking them up and we were putting them away. All of sudden the lethargy of the first half of game one was completely gone. It was replaced with a very enthusiastic energy that kept us dictating to the GMU crowd their silence and the Nittany Lion faithful in attendance kept their support loud and often. It appeared that we were carrying our crowd with us. We found ourselves up 20-13 and not allowing Mason to mount any type of sustained effort put us up 24-16 when a Sunder kill ended game three 25-16.
Game fours always make me apprehensive on the road. If we take too much for granted we could be in a game five with a revitalized GMU team and crowd. We needed to keep doing what we were doing. We reminded the team that 10-10 was a good score for the first twenty points and just keep the pressure on them with our serving and passing. Well, we were at 11-11 when things started to unravel for the Patriots. It all started with a very poor pass by us which we had to desperately throw back over the net. We threw it high but it was only five feet off the net. It was an overpass that had GMU salivating...until the GMU hitter miss-timed his swing and hit it straight down - on his side of the net! This hitting error was followed by two more GMU hitting errors and we had separation at 14-11. That was all we needed as GMU would come no closer. At 24-20, a GMU serving error closed out the match 25-20.
We have finished our seven game road trip at 5-2. 5-0 in EIVA road matches and can clinch hosting the EIVA semifinals and finals next weekend! Our guys found some revitalizing formula somewhere in game one. Jace Olsen entered the game and gave us good passing and delivered some key kills but he certainly brought his own brand of energy. Match leaders for the Nittany Lions were Aaron Russell (Kills - 12; Blocks - 5), Olsen (Kills - 12), Goas (Blocks - 5; Aces - 3) and Sunder and Curry (Digs - 11). PSU out-hit GMU .76 to .194; out-blocked them 9 to 8 (remember they had seven in game one!); out-dug them 38 to 33 while both teams served five aces!
One of the best things about the Princeton - GMU road trip is the number of PSU MVB alums who make the trek to either gym. Last night in Dillon Gym we had visits from Bo Hunkins and four of five his boys. We saw Jose Rubayo and Fred Gozum. Tonight it was Jay Stauffer, Ricky Mattei , Marcus Neumann and John "Griz" Philips to name but a few! Thanks to all who manage to greet us in gyms across the country in Blue-and-White. We truly appreciate your support!
Now we get to enjoy the friendly confines of Rec Hall for next weekend's matches against Sacred Heart and Harvard. It would be great to have a big crowd to help us clinch the 2012 EIVA regular season championship! We'll get the guys some rest this week and have them ready to go next weekend!
We are heading down to George Mason after a great five game match at Princeton last evening which we managed to pull out 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 37-35, 15-12!
It was a match that had everything a fan would want to see and certainly every emotion a fan would want to experience...and it didn't matter which team that fan supported. This match had great personal and collective efforts. It had stretches of great volleyball and moments of great controversy but more than anything else it had a team which showed it claws and bared its fangs when they realized we weren't playing great. Princeton didn't go away; in fact, they kept the pressure on us through most of the match.
Game one started like so many of our matches at Dillon Gym. We had a good many PSU faithful in the stands and the Nittany Lions with a 9-5 lead that forced a Princeton timeout. Princeton closed to 17-13 but then three PSU hitting errors made it 17-16. Princeton tied it at 21 but two more hitting errors by the Nittany Lions gave Princeton a 23-21 lead. Sideouts were exchanged with the final sideout belonging to Princeton for a 23-25 win. Game one leaders for PSU were Aaron Russell (Kills - 5; Aces - 1), Goodell and Peter Russell (Blocks - 1) and Curry (Digs - 5). PSU hit .212 while Princeton hit .429.
Game two had PSU up 6-3 on Princeton's first timeout. The Tigers tied it at 12. A Goas overpass kill from a Turko serve made it 18-16. That was the separation we needed as the teams traded sideouts and a Tiger serving error gave PSU game two 25-22. Leaders for the Nittany Lions were Comfort (Kills - 6) Peter Russell (Blocks - 1; Aces - 1), Goas (Blocks - 1) and Curry (Digs - 4). PSU hit .320 while the Tigers hit .269.
Game three once again had Princeton take the first timeout as we were up 8-4. Once again, like a bad movie that you've seen on every cable movie channel at 1 AM, Princeton tied and went ahead 15-14. PSU went up 22-21 on a Peter Russell kill but then two Princeton blocks plus a PSU hitting error gave them the 22-24 lead. A Comfort kill gave us the serve at 23-24 and we dug a ball but Princeton stuffed our swing to tie for a 23-25 win. Game three PSU leaders were Comfort (Kills - 4), Aaron Russell (Blocks - 1), Turko (Aces - 1) and Curry (Digs - 6). PSU hit .077 while Princeton hit .276.
Game four's first timeout was taken by - guess who - Princeton! Yep, they were down 8-5. Kinda getting the "been there, done that" feeling yet? You no doubt knew that the score would be tied at 14! Neither team could pull away. From that point on the game was tied twenty more times! Princeton served at 23-24 but a Sunder kill fought off the first of what was to be eight match points. Sunder put away five of the eight. PSU had one game point early at 25-24 after a Russell kill but the Tigers fought back to the advantage and held it from that point on the game was tied twenty more times! Princeton served at 23-24 but a Sunder kill fought off the first of what was to be eight match points. Sunder put away five of the eight. PSU had one game point early at 25-24 after a Russell kill but the Tigers fought back to the advantage and held it until a Goodell/Turko stuff gave PSU the advantage at 34-33. Then Sunder came through one more time at 36-35 with a kill to force a game five with a 37-35 game four win! Leaders for PSU were Sunder (Kills - 14; Aces - 1), Goodell, Goas, Aaron Russell and Turko (Blocks - 1) and Olsen (Digs - 4). PSU hit .288 while Princeton hit .349.
Game five once again had PSU gain the early advantage as Jace Olsen started serving. Jace started us off with a 6e as Jace Olsen started serving. Jace started us off with a 6-0 lead aided by -0 lead aided by three Princeton hitting errors, an ace and two Sunder kills. "Great, "I remember thinking sarcastically as Princeton called timeout at 4-0, "Princeton has us right where they want us!" The guys were the ones reminding each other that it was far from over before I could. Princeton, true to form, brought it back to 10-8 on a PSU hitting error, but an Olsen kill gave the serve to Turko who responded with an ace. The next Princeton swing sailed wide and PSU had a 13-8 lead! The teams traded sideouts for a 14-10 score, but, as Lee Corso, ESPN College Football talking head would say, "Not so fast, my friends!" A Princeton kill gave them the serve at 14-11. They then stuffed our first swing and then our next swing to make it 14-12. In our timeout, Edgardo had the offense spelled out. He then went out and delivered a great set to Aaron Russell off of a tight pass which Aaron planted for the 15-12 win! Game five Nittany Lion leaders were Aaron Russell (Kills - 3), Turko (Aces - 1) and Curry (Digs - 3). PSU hit .286 while Princeton hit .111.
It was a match that was easy to see what we didn't do well but it was the first EIVA match in about six or seven years that we came back to force a game five and win it. Recently, at least in the last five years or so, we had lost similar matches in similar situations in four games. Last night we just competed. It seemed we finally relaxed when we were in the extended part of game four. At that time we went back to just doing what we needed to do without trying to do more.Three outstanding efforts deserve special mention. Jace Olsen came off the bench and handled the Princeton float serves as only he can. He had a couple of crucial kills and digs but Jace's six serves to start game five off really gave us the jump we were looking for! Connor Curry had a personal high of 21 digs. The vast majority of them were settable leading to point scoring opportunities. He made some tough digs and his passing was solid. Then, there was Joe Sunder. Joe was hitting .048 after game three, but then he delivered the most clutch performance of his year with 14 kills in game four! And five of those to fend off match points! Joe hit .524 in game four when his team needed him the most for the longest stretch! Match leaders for PSU were Sunder (Kills - 25; Points - 26), Goodell, Goas and the brothers Russell (Blocks - 2), Turko (Aces - 2) and Curry (Digs - 21). Princeton out-hit us .299 to .227 (but we out-killed them 77 to 63) and out-blocked us 15.5 to 6.5. We out-aced them 7 to 2 and out-dug them 43 to 33.
This was a great EIVA match! I have no doubt that Princeton will be giving us all we can handle in another year or so. They are young and talented and will be fun to play.Coach Sam Shweisky is doing all the right things and if he can warrant a little more administrative support for the team they will be making a lot of noise. Between them and Harvard the EIVA is starting to develop some young talent. We must be ready for some serious barn-burners in upcoming years...and certainly in the upcoming weeks as the EIVA playoffs take shape. So, if you missed this one you missed a good one! Now we have GMU. They are sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot and no doubt they will be as desperate as Princeton was against us. It'll be a typical Patriot - Nittany Lion match: closely fought with a wild crowd. Can it be any more fun?? I'll fill you in on the way back home tonight!
Greetings from the second seat behind the bus driver!
We are headed southwest from Princeton to Fairfax to take on GMU tonight. I apologize for the absence of my updates over the past three weeks. I wish I could claim jet lag but even I have recovered from our spring break trip. So allow me to update you on our team's last three weeks.
Our Spring Break trip to Pepperdine and USC was a disappointment results-wise. We lost a tough five game match at Pepperdine where we suffered through our worst serving match in a long time. If any part of your game is off against a Marv Dunphy Waves team it'll cost you. It certainly did us; however, when you look at the fact that in game five we were down 8-10 I thought we certainly had the opportunity to win it. However, the next night against USC we went down in flames as the Trojans swept us. Our offense was not very good. We were creating scoring opportunities but couldn't make enough count against a tough Trojan block and defense. The more opportunities we created the more we pressed to score and the worst our offense became.We came away from those two matches convinced that we could serve and pass with anyone but our transition game needed work.
It was great to see Marv Dunphy and his Pepperdine staff and Bill Ferguson and his USC staff. The coaching fraternity in the men's game is awesome. We all want to win badly but after that final point goes down there is such respect and genuine friendship which puts the competition into a very healthy realm!
We flew back to State College on Saturday, March 10 so not only did we lose the three hours coming back east but we also lost another hour due to Daylight Savings Time change. At 51, I am finding those lost hours take a toll on me more so than they did ten to fifteen years ago.I need those hours!
The next weekend we travelled up the mountain to Loretto, PA to Saint Francis University. This match completed our first half of the EIVA schedule. SFU was proving to be a very good blocking team and I was hoping we would be recovered from the west coast trip. We ended up sweeping them and did it with good serving and defense. Our work in our transition game paid off handsomely as we were getting some outstanding swings in point scoring opportunities. We had successfully navigated the first half of the EIVA season with a 7-0 record.
We then took to the road again. Last weekend we headed out to Newark, NJ to take on NJIT and Rutgers-Newark. We defeated NJIT in four games but they have shown improvement since we last saw them at Rec Hall in early February. It was the first time many of our guys have played in their gym. It is a smaller gym with ceiling trusses that run parallel to the net. So there are areas above your court where care must be taken to keep a ball under control. But we took care of the Highlanders and headed to Tops Diner. Tops was introduced to us by long-time friend Ron Larsen when he coached Rutgers-Newark. It has been a regular stop for a number of years now.
The next day we faced Rutgers-Newark. They had a coaching change late in the summer and had only eight guys on the roster. After their spring break they were down to seven as one of the guys had been hit by a car while home for the break. We played well enough to get the win and we headed back to State College.
We seem to be stuck in a mid-season slump. Not a terrible slump but one that shows sign of fatigue. Don't get me wrong. We are getting very good effort from this team but we aren't quite executing with deadly precision. We will keep working on that and I'll not throw in a 3 week delay on the updates again this year!
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a back-and-forth first half, a goal scored just
seven seconds into the third quarter sparked an offensive streak that led the
Penn State men's lacrosse team to a win over Villanova on Saturday.
Junior midfielder Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) secured the
opening faceoff in the third quarter, charged down the field and dished a pass
to sophomore Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) who dumped the ball into the
"We haven't been a real second half team all season," said goalkeeper
Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.). "We really needed to come out with energy and click
on all cylinders and that's what we did."
Kaut had a superb outing, tallying 17 saves. The sophomore entered
Saturday's contest with an impressive .600 save percentage, which is ranked
sixth in the nation.
"Austin was awesome today," said sophomore attack Shane Sturgis (Downingtown,
Pa.), who scored two goals and tallied an assist against the Wildcats. "If you
shoot from the outside, not many goals are going to go in against him."
Forcing shots from the outside was exactly what Coach Tambroni and the
Nittany Lions planned to do heading into the game.
Tambroni stressed to his team that they would be in good shape if they
didn't allow inside looks, which is something they allowed a lot of in last
week's loss to Bucknell.
Kaut wasn't alone in his efforts to quiet Villanova's high-powered offense.
Physical play from the defense contributed to 13 clears, seven forced
turnovers, and 28 ground balls secured - all of which aided the goalie in his
The tough defensive play was reflected on the other side of the field, as
clears and turnovers provided the offense with transition opportunities.
"Any time we can get transition goals is a plus for us," said senior
midfielder Ryan Link (Englewood, Colo.). "It gives our defense some time to
rest and gives our offense a good opportunity to put goals on the board."
Link gets a taste of both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
The midfielder switches between a long pole and a short pole several times
The senior forced two turnovers and secured three ground balls in the
contest against Villanova.
Penn State's offensive firepower was distributed evenly against the
Wildcats, as nine different Nittany Lions were credited with a point in the
Seniors Matthew Mackrides (Newtown Square, Pa.) and Jack Forster
(Jenkintown, Pa.) were atop the scoring list for the Nittany Lions, each
registering five points.
"I think the offense shared possession and responsibility today," said
Tambroni. "We never got away from the game plan and that allowed us to meticulously
go through the game and secure a win."
Saturday's game served as the final non-conference game of the season for
Penn State. The team will now enter the heart of their conference schedule,
facing four-straight CAA opponents to close out the regular season.
"We needed a win like this heading into conference play to get our momentum
back," said Forster.
Penn State will travel to Philadelphia next Saturday to take on Drexel.
Faceoff is set for 2 p.m.