By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fourteen minutes and 16 seconds. When fans, players, and coaches look for those clutch, crunch-time moments in a game, they usually think that there is much less time remaining on the clock than nearly a quarter of an hour.
Not for Penn State field hockey head coach Charlene Morett--because 14:16 is
what the clock showed when she decided that her team needed to gain back some
momentum in a heated defensive battle and 3-2 overtime loss to the Princeton
Tigers on Thursday night.
At this key moment, Morett called a timeout--and had a clear message for her team. Be organized.
"We were getting a little tired and disorganized on the field," said Morett. "I thought I'd bring them back in, pep them up a little bit, and organize them better with our formation and our structure."
Prior to the timeout, the Nittany Lions had just surrendered a tie-breaking goal to the Tigers and were now more in need than ever to capitalize on one of their many goal-scoring opportunities.
In enters sophomore Katie Andrews off the bench for the Nittany Lions.
What was on her mind? Capitalize.
"Right spot at the right time. I just got in and got it finished," said Andrews in regards to the game-tying and eventually overtime-forcing goal that she scored after the crucial timeout.
"The build up was awesome. A lot of our forwards touched the ball but I was just lucky to get that last touch on it."
The Nittany Lions' bench erupted after Andrews found the back of the cage. It was as if 45 minutes worth of frustration of not being able to find the cage, after so many close opportunities, was lifted off their shoulders.
"I thought Katie Andrews was just outstanding," said Morett. "She's the kid who came off the bench and was just a difference maker today."
Andrew's goal came with just under 14 minutes remaining in the contest against the Tigers. It was a clutch, momentum-gaining moment, but plenty of time still remained.
As possession switched back-and-forth between the teams, the clock dwindled down until the Nittany Lions found themselves with another opportunity--this time with only two and a half minutes remaining.
Senior forward Kelsey Amy found herself racing down the left side of the field with four Princeton defenders surrounding her, and was able to get the ball into her team's offensive zone.
For the next two minutes, the Nittany Lions offense was unable to get the ball out of the corner to create another legitimate goal-scoring chance.
With just seconds remaining in the contest, the Tigers showed that they weren't quite content with overtime. The Princeton attack drove down the field, and earned a penalty corner attempt with no time remaining on the clock.
The Tigers generated a great shot attempt out of the penalty corner, but Penn State goalkeeper Ayla Halus denied the shot with a kick save.
The game entered a sudden death, 15-minute overtime period.
"Heading into overtime, we were just talking about possession and about how once we get that breakaway, go with it," said Andrews. "We have fifteen minutes to get it done."
The Nittany Lions stormed down the field in the first minute of overtime, but the Princeton defense shut down Amy's scoring attempt and forced her into the corner.
Two minutes and 17 seconds after the overtime period began, Princeton capitalized on their transition play and scored the sudden death, game-ending goal under Halus' diving save attempt.
"I think we played a full 70 minutes today," said Andrews. "It was a tough loss, but our attitude and effort was a full 70 minutes today out there on the field and it was a full team effort."
The Nittany Lions will take the field again on Saturday as they travel to Philadelphia to take on Temple at 1 p.m.