Grzywacz's Penalty Strokes Give Lions the Edge

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A quick glance at the stat sheet would give the impression that the Penn State field hockey team enjoyed a comfortable win over Cornell on Sunday.

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The Nittany Lions recorded 32 shots compared to Cornell's three, but the contest was much closer than the uneven spread would suggest.

Giving the edge to Penn State in the low scoring affair was junior Brittany Grzywacz, whose two penalty stroke goals in the first half served as the only two scores in the Nittany Lion's 2-0 victory over the Big Red on Sunday.

There was no question for head coach Charlene Morett and the Nittany Lions as to who would take the penalty strokes--Grzywacz had established herself as the team's own penalty stroke specialist.

"I think she really stepped up when we needed her," said senior captain Hannah Allison in regards to Grzywacz's penalty strokes. "She practices those strokes every day and clearly came through in the clutch."

Grzywacz's two goals brought her tally to six on the season, four of which have come from penalty strokes.

Her perfect success rate from the charity strike isn't by chance--for she has been shooting, and scoring, to that same lower left corner of the cage all season.

"It's the same spot that I've been going to since I've been stroking," said Grzywacz. "It is just repetition and practicing it over and over again."

The two Nittany Lion scores came within the first eight minutes of the contest against the Big Red, leaving 62 minutes of scoreless hockey and missed opportunities by both squads.

"We need to finish," said Allison. "We are getting the shots, we are getting the corners, but it's all about finishing now and I'm sure that will be in the practice plan this week."

For Coach Morett and the Nittany Lions, finishing on offense and finding the back of the cage is just a matter of generating as many opportunities as possible.

"I really thought that we weren't drawing enough corners which is really our bread and butter," said Morett. "In the first half I thought we were just missing our mark and we weren't keeping possession."

Despite the scoring difficulties, Morett and the Nittany Lions were pleased with how they moved and possessed the ball in the second half.

"We did a really good job of getting the ball down the field and into the circle," said Grzywacz. "We talked at halftime about trying to draw a foul in the circle to get more corners."

Following the conclusion of the low-scoring affair, Penn State players and coaches stuck around the Penn State Field Hockey Complex to host a youth clinic.

"I give our players a lot of credit for staying out here and being enthusiastic," said Morett. "Field hockey is a great sport and if we don't promote it ourselves we can't ask others to do it."

Sunday's game against Cornell marked the third game in four days for the Nittany Lions, but the squad won't have long to rest as they prepare to host Lock Haven on Wednesday evening.

The team will get a break from practice on Monday, but will return to the film room and the field on Tuesday to draw up a game plan for the last home game before entering conference play.

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