By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Every effort counts. Whether it is a single game in the quest for a Big Ten Championship or a small donation to assist in finding a cure for breast cancer, each step factors into achieving the ultimate goal at hand.
For Coach Charlene Morett and the Penn State field hockey team, Sunday's
victory over California served as a step in the right direction in the quest of
tackling two goals very important to the program--beating breast cancer and
winning a Big Ten regular season championship.
The Nittany Lions wore pink and white uniforms in their 6-2 thrashing of the Golden Bears for their annual "Pink Zone" game.
"Obviously, it affects every one of us in some way," said Morett in reference to disease.
"With the Pink Zone, what Coquese [Washington] has done is just outstanding. We just want to keep building from every athletic standpoint to make sure we're doing our best to try and find a cure."
Washington, along with the entire Penn State women's basketball team, was in attendance on Sunday, supporting the field hockey team and the fight against cancer.
During the matchup, fans helped the Nittany Lions in their quest to tackle their goals by way of purchasing raffle tickets proceeding breast cancer research and cheering the Lions one game closer to a pivotal matchup against Iowa next week with Big Ten title implications on the line.
"We have to stay focused at the task at hand," said junior Ashtin Klingler, who registered her ninth goal of the season on Sunday.
Defeating Cal doesn't directly benefit the Lions regarding a Big Ten regular season title, but the game served as an important confidence boost and way to work out some kinks before hosting Iowa next Sunday.
"I said to the team, 'It's a way to come back'," said Morett. "To have that win and to make a statement today...what's really important right now is to focus back on Big Ten competition with Iowa on Sunday."
A great defensive effort, constant communication and offensive execution carried Penn State to the victory over the Golden Bears.
"I think that our defense really stepped up in this game," said Klingler. "They really came through and came up with interceptions that kept it out of our circle."
Klingler and junior Whitney Reddig exhibited tremendous communication and chemistry with one another during the contest, forcing California turnovers and pushing the ball together into the scoring territory.
"From the start, we always say 'Let's try to work well together this game'," said Reddig in reference to her communication strategy with Klingler.
The two juniors pieced together a flawless drive down the field in the first half following a Reddig forced turnover, leading to a Klingler score.
"Our communication as a team has gotten so much better since the Northwestern game," said sophomore Taylor Herold.
Penn State lost a heartbreaker to Northwestern last weekend, falling in overtime to the Wildcats. Several Nittany Lions cited some communication issues in the loss, but there was no sign of that during Sunday's victory.
As for placement in the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions (2-1 in the conference) sit one game behind the Hawkeyes (3-0 in the conference). Each team has three Big Ten games remaining, including the matchup against each other on Sunday.
"I think for us, we know if we're going to try and vie for that Big Ten Championship, it's going to go through Iowa," said Morett.
The teams will square off at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex on Sunday, Oct. 14 at noon.