By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Finishing on offense. It's a concept that field hockey head coach Charlene Morett and her team stressed at practice leading up to Wednesday's matchup with Lock Haven.
But how do you finish and find the back of the cage?
The answers drawn up at practice were simple for the Nittany Lions--and during Wednesday night's decisive 5-0 victory over Lock Haven, it became evident that the team had found these answers.
Vision, selflessness, and scoring from the field.
"It was awesome--there was just so much more fluidity," said sophomore Laura Gebhart, who registered a goal and an assist against the Lady Eagles.
"We just opened up and were there for each other. We had a lot of support passes and just built up for each other."
Gebhart scored the first goal of the game for Penn State and was one of five Nittany Lions who put a goal on the board in the contest.
"I thought during the Cornell game we were a bit too individual," said Morett.
The Nittany Lions certainly weren't too individually minded in Wednesday night's shutout of Lock Haven.
Not only did five different Penn Staters tally a goal, seven players recorded a point (goal or assist) and 11 members of the squad registered a shot.
Among the players making a big impact in the victory was junior Whitney Reddig, responsible for two assists against the Lady Eagles.
"I thought we did really well and I didn't think there was any changes when subs came in," said Reddig. "We did keep our heads up and we possessed [the ball] pretty well."
Reddig's two assists came via her specialty--inserting a pass during a penalty corner.
The first was a beautiful insert directly to senior Kelsey Amy who fired it into the back of the cage. The second got even more Nittany Lions involved as Reddig rocketed the pass into Gebhart, who stopped the ball in its tracks and set up a Hannah Allison shot and goal.
"We have really great shooters at the top of the circle and really great stoppers," said Reddig.
Reddig's impact was certainly felt for Penn State, as she was on the field for all five of the Nittany Lion's goals.
"She just has such a strong insert," said Morett. "When she is not in the game we are very mindful of that."
Penalty corners are a focus of the Coach Morett's strategy and are the source of many Penn State goals. Following Wednesday's victory, the Nittany Lions totaled 38 more combined penalty corners than their opponents.
As for what makes Penn State's penalty corner strategy so effective compared to opponents--a lot of Lions getting a touch on the ball.
"It all starts with getting the foul first and then Whitney's hit out and then the shot on cage," said junior Ashtin Klingler, who also registered a goal against Lock Haven.
The team veterans weren't the only influential factors in the game for Penn State. Given the sizeable lead, Morett was able to display some of her younger talent.
Among the talented youth for the Nittany Lions getting in-game action was freshman Ally Lauth. The forward, praised for her speed and competitive nature, displayed an impressive amount of hustle late in the contest.
"Ally is just a great competitor and she will dive after everything so she can be so dangerous," said Morett. "She has that spark."
Getting some playing time in the cage was redshirt sophomore Kylie Licata, who entered the contest about midway through the second half.
In 21 minutes of action, Licata registered three saves and allowed no goals.
"It was just great to see Kylie get some action and get some saves," said Morett.
The Nittany Lions will take the field again on Friday when they head to Bethlehem to take on Lehigh. Game time is slated for 6 p.m.