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September 2014 Archives

Men's Hockey Media Day - Sights and Sounds

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VIDEO: Guy Gadowsky Press Conference | VIDEO: Juha-Scheid-Skoff |
VIDEO:Goodwin-Holstrom-KoudysPhoto Gallery

By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Reporters, photographers and video cameras filled the media room of Pegula Ice Arena Tuesday afternoon for the annual Penn State men's hockey media day.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky fielded questions for 30 minutes about the Big Ten Conference, the overall excitement surrounding the upcoming season and the development of the team over the past year.

Here are some sights and sounds of this year's men's hockey media day.


With an endless list of firsts now behind the team, the Lions know what to expect of this season. They have played their first Division I game. They have played their first game in Pegula Ice Arena. They have played their first Big Ten game.

Furthermore, the Nittany Lions have an almost identical roster to that of last year's team. With the loss of only one, and the addition of three freshmen, the Lions are mature and much more prepared for the season that lies ahead.

They are ready to pick up from where they left off last season.

"This is the first year we have that continuity," said Gadowsky. "We know where we are. We know who we're starting with. Although there are three unknowns, the basic core of the team is the same. We expect that we're going to be a lot further ahead come October 10 than we were October 11 last year on our opening night, and basically due to the fact that everybody is together. We've been through it with our systems. We've been through it against an opponent. We were able to play against the top teams in the nation, including conference games where it's so important. As a team maturity, we're way ahead."

Big Ten Conference

Playing in the same conference as teams like Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin allows the Lions to compete at a high level day in and day out. Teams are getting stronger and more skilled each year, and this season is no exception.

"Every other program in the Big Ten, that's what makes this so exciting, has a tremendous history, has a lot of success, whether it was nationally in the CCHA or the WCHA," said Gadowsky. "Their goal is to get better, just like ours, so with Penn State getting better, I really hope to see a lot more parity, but at the same time when you play in the Big Ten with these hockey programs, you're going to be playing someone great every night."

Penn State will play a total 20 conference games this season, the first of which will be at Michigan on Nov. 21.

Team Captain

During the off-season, the Nittany Lions announced a change in captaincy, awarding defenseman Patrick Koudys the "C" for the 2014-'15 run.

Although many fans wondered about the impact of the switch on not only the team, but also former captain Tommy Olczyk, Gadowsky reinforced this change will ultimately assist the Lions in learning a very important lesson.

"It establishes the fact that you don't have to wear a letter to be a great leader, and we do want to establish that," Gadowsky said. "This is one way we can do it. At the same time, Patrick Koudys, he certainly has earned that, and he's earned the respect of the team."

Koudys, who is a Washington Capitals draft pick, proved his dedication to Penn State hockey, and was a unanimous decision for the position following a player vote.

"He's just a man," Gadowsky said of Koudys. "He's a manimal. He's the guy. Everybody can see it, so he's the guy."

Alaska Trip

Looking ahead, the Lions are scheduled to make the trek to Alaska for games on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, which is a trip Gadowsky and the team are both looking forward to.

"Probably the main reason is I really enjoyed my time in Alaska," Gadowsky said of why he wanted his team to play these games. "They love hockey, and I would like to share that experience with our guys. For the majority of our team, they've never been to Alaska, so this is one great way to see it."

Unlike the majority of the team, forward Casey Bailey makes the trip to Alaska regularly. These games will allow the Alaska-native to play in his home state in front of family and friends.

"The guy who's most versed in it is Casey Bailey, so he's actually going to present to the team the week that we go up there about the Do's and the Don't's of traveling in Alaska," said Gadowsky.

"If things don't go well," he jokingly added, "it's not our fault. It's his."

James Franklin Bye Week Media Roundup

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10389166.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - Sept. 30

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are idle on Saturday for the first time in 2014. Head coach James Franklin addressed the media on Tuesday afternoon during the weekly Big Ten conference call to provide an update on the team's bye week.

"We are in a bye week this week, so we are excited to get out on the field today and make some corrections," Franklin said. "We will practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and then go on the road recruiting Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And then get back going again on Sunday with our next opponent. We are looking forward to it. Probably, the bye week came at a great time for us with our lack of depth at some positions. We are banged up, and this is coming at a great time for us."

The Nittany Lions watched film and practice on Sunday before the players had their normal day off on Monday. The team resumed its practice week on Tuesday with meetings and practice. The squad will do the same on Wednesday before having a few days off. The coaching staff will hit the road recruiting while the players finish the week academically. The team will then have the weekend off and reconvene on Sunday to begin preparations for Michigan.

The bye week is a great chance to spend more time and reps on correcting the issues the team is looking to fix after five weeks of football. Additionally, it is an opportunity to get the young players on the roster more experience.

"We are going to try and get our young guys as much work as possible this week to continue their development," Franklin said. "We will try to make our corrections with the older guys while still taking some of the banging off of their bodies so that we can get into our next game being as fresh as we possibly can and be as healthy as possibly can. That's kind of our priority this week. We have a lot of things to correct and a lot of things to work on. You know, let's do those things and then move on."

Franklin often says that winning minimizes a team's issues and losing magnifies the issues. However, regardless of the outcome, the issues are still there. That being said, the team has approached the week with the mindset that it is a great opportunity to get better.

"If you handle this the right way, it can turn into a positive," Franklin said. "It forces you to deal with some of the issues that you have."

Senior linebacker Mike Hull said it best on a Tuesday morning conference call.

"You are going to face adversity. It's how you respond to it," Hull said.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With two big wins over Northwestern and Illinois, the Penn State women's soccer team swept its first Big Ten home weekend.

"Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday is the longest and toughest stretch of our season and to end it with three wins is massive," said head coach Erica Walsh.

The team is known for playing its best at Jeffery Field. In the last three years, the Lions have only lost two home games.

"It's the atmosphere here; it's perfect, said midfielder Salina Williford. "We get so excited playing here because of how much support that is in the community. We owe it to the people who come watch us to put on a show."

The first game of the weekend was against Northwester, and the Lions played strong and defeated the Wildcats, 4-1.

 "I think we came out with a fire under our tail tonight," said senior Kori Chapic.

With goals scored by Raquel Rodriguez, Chapic, Megan Schafer, and Williford, the entire team was on fire.

"The first 25 minutes was some of the best soccer I've seen in a long time," Walsh said. "We talk about this being the best place to play college soccer and in that first half, I absolutely felt it."

Rolling off of the momentum of Friday's game, the Lions faced their second Big Ten team of the weekend, llinois, on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams came out extremely strong displaying solid defense and the first half of the game remained scoreless.

The first goal of the game was made by freshman Frannie Crouse in the second half. Emily Hurd passed it over from the left side of the box to the middle, allowing the Lions to make the scoreboard.

Only 47 seconds after the team scored, Illinois tied the game.

Motivated for a win, the team used the Fighting Illini's goal to keep their aggression up.

"It's very hard when they come back that quickly," Crouse said. "You just have to keep your composure and never stop trying. We fought tonight and came out with a great win."

The team continued to take shots to try to regain its lead.

Then with 83:11 on the clock, Selina Williford saved the day with her goal to ensure the Lion's win.

"It's very humbling to score another goal," Williford said. "I credit my entire team because they are always keeping me going.

"I always want to keep improving. As a team, we never want to feel like we're content. We always want to feel like we're still moving and not taking our foot off the gas."

Last year, Williford primarily played defense but has been making her way up the field this season.

Williford just recently had her first career goal but proved this weekend she is a force to be reckon with on offense.

"Salina Williford has been the best surprise so far this season," Walsh said. "She played back for us last season, but this is the best I've seen her play."

Alongside Williford, the 2014 women's soccer team is packed with talented players who have been helping the team continue its winning streak.

"I think one of the biggest strengths about this team is that we're taking players off the bench and they're delivering," said Walsh. "Every player on this team is playing their best and it's such a great feeling as a coach knowing those players on the bench can always help lift the team."

After three home games this week, the Lions hit the road to face Minnesota.

The team is keeping its intensity up for every game and is looking strong as the Big Ten season continues.

Said Walsh, "This team believes right now."

Conway Ready for Nittany Lion Experience

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following each on-ice session, freshmen Scott Conway heads into the team locker room inside the beautiful Pegula Ice Arena.

The facility, which helped convince Conway to attend Penn State, is merely one of the reasons he has found himself in State College this year. Now, the forward is excited for the season to begin and more than ready to get his first real taste of hockey as a Nittany Lion.

Although he grew up in England, Conway has been playing hockey in the states for a few years now. He will once again find himself a long way from home and from his family this season.

The freshman currently holds dual citizenship in Great Britain and in Canada, the home countries of both his parents.

"My mom's English, and my dad's Canadian," Conway explained. "My dad played hockey in the states and in Canada. At an older age, he moved over there to play hockey in England. That's where he ended his career and met my mom, so that's how it happened."

Despite being away from home, the forward knows with certainty that choosing Penn State was the right decision for the advancement of both his hockey and academic careers. Almost immediately following Conway's first tour of the arena and of campus, he was hooked on the university and all that it had to offer.

"I had a tour around campus," said Conway. "It was actually my first visit, and looking at the facilities, it was unbelievable. The weight room just got put in the day before I came here, so I was pretty excited to see that with all the weights and stuff in there.

"Coach [Keith] Fisher took me up to the student section, right at the top, and it was an unbelievable view up there. He took me around campus too, and it was so pretty. I couldn't say no."

Last season, the 6-foot forward found himself competing for the USHL's Indiana Ice, a team he helped lead to the Clark Cup title during the 2013-'14 season.

Conway tallied 33 goals during the year and was tied for first in the league with a plus-40 rating. Additionally, he recorded the first four-goal game in the team's history, demonstrating his dominance on the ice.

"I think a lot of it is mental toughness, on and off the ice," Conway explained of his personal success and the success of his previous team. "I think our coach did a nice job last year of making us do the little things right, and I'm hoping to bring that to this team this year."

Conway is also looking to help the Lions skill-wise this season. He is a forward that likes to not only work the corners and take pucks to the net, but he also keeps his eyes focused, looking for open teammates to make plays.

Even with his past experiences, Conway knows making the jump from junior hockey to the collegiate level will be a process, and he has already begun to experience some of the changes that go hand-in-hand with the transition.

"I feel like a lot of sticks go flying everywhere in college hockey compared to junior hockey," Conway said. "The guys in college hockey are a lot stronger than the guys in junior hockey and a lot more physical. The tempo is pretty much the same, but I'm excited to play some games here."

Looking forward, Conway is anxiously awaiting the moment he gets to put on his jersey, lace up his skates and take the ice at Pegula Ice Arena for his first game as a Nittany Lion. He has a few dates circled on his calendar, but there is not a single game the freshman is more excited for than the season opener.

"Definitely the home opener," Conway said. "My dad is coming to the first game, and I have a couple friends that are too. I'm really excited to play in front of them. The student section sold out in like three minutes, so I'm pretty pumped about that too."

Fencers Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Women In Sport

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fn_blog_1.jpgBy Jennifer Hudson, Student Athlete Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's fencing team participated in multiple events during the 50th Anniversary of Women in Sport earlier this month.

The weekend kicked off with a Friday reception at the Nittany Lion Inn, followed on Saturday by a breakfast at the All Sports Museum and a tailgate at Medlar Field before the UMass football game. Sunday concluded with a brunch and ceremony of the Women in Sports 50th Anniversary at the Bryce Jordan Center.

A few members on the current team volunteered for each event and were able to meet and talk to the alums of the team.

There were five decades of women's fencers that were represented at the events, the 1960s-2000s, so it was inspirational for everyone to learn about the fencing team then and now.

"Getting to know the alumni is always a great experience," said Clarisse Luminet, captain of the women's team. "Because of my position within the fencing team and my role as a captain, it was great to get feedback from their own experiences as leaders, and understand how that role has changed in 50 years."

Johanna Hall, a current assistant coach and Penn State fencing alumna (Class of '88), played a big role in organizing the event for everyone to enjoy.

"It allowed us to connect with former fencers as well as meet others on the team who paved the way for the program," said Hall. "Being recognized during the football game and being able to share that with hundreds of other women athletes from Penn State was very special."

Another alum, Beth Alphin, former head coach (1968-'85), was flattered she had the opportunity to speak at the Sunday brunch about coaching at Penn State "back then".

Like Alphin, the fencing alumni enjoyed themselves and even had the chance to meet up for a fencing dinner on Saturday evening.

"It was a true joy to see so many of the fencers and hear how their lives have progressed since Penn State," said Alphin. "I enjoyed watching them reconnect with each other. It should come as no surprise that upon meeting them it was as if no time had passed. We were family then and still today. I think my very favorite thing was watching the smiles and hearing the familiar laughs of people who were so much a part of my life for a few years."

The next time the current Penn State Fencing team will reconnect with the former fencers is April 18, 2015 in the annual alumni meet and team banquet.

Here are a list of accomplishments our Penn State women's fencing team has achieved over the years:

- 2 AIAW Team Championships

- 1 AIAW Individual Champion

- 1 NCAA Women's Team Championship

- 13 NCAA Men's and Women's Combined Team Championships

 - 9 Individual NCAA Champions (14 titles)

- 54 All-Americans (121 times)

- 11 World Championships participants (to 26 championships)

- 12 World University Games participants (to 15 championships)

- 3 Olympians (to 5 Olympiads)

- 8 Pan Am Games participants (to 11 Games)


The Penn State Women's Fencing team would like to recognize all of the alums who participated this weekend. It was great to meet you all and we hope to see you visit again soon!


Beth Alphin

Jana Angelakis

Margot Summers

Raquel Berg

Alyson Van Alstyne

Nicole Glon

Adrienne Eiss

Eleanor Reigel

Sandra Jablonski

Mary McGuire

Pamela Resetar

Sue Lympany

Hope Meyer

Johanna Hall

Jenni Blat

Sarah Kuzio

Nancy Sell

Hanne Skattebol

Cynthia Lyons

Jane Nagel

Kate Wulf

Jennifer Hudson is a senior on the women's fencing team.

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State men's soccer team set a school record on Sunday against Michigan.

Well technically, the record belongs to Andrew Wolverton. The senior goalkeeper notched his team record 29th career shutout as the Nittany Lions defeated Michigan 1-0. 

At the same time, it goes a bit deeper than that. While Wolverton has been a lynchpin for the Nittany Lions for four years, shutouts are the ultimate mark of team play. It takes solid defense, enough offense and great goalkeeping to pull one off. 

On Sunday, the Nittany Lions received all of that. Connor Maloney scored his conference-leading seventh goal, the backline allowed just four shots on net, and the goalkeeper known as "Wolvie" made a terrific diving save to preserve the win. 

"I told the whole team after the game, I'm going to make sure in the record books and in the media guide, that all of their names are next to Andrew's for playing in front of him for this shutout," head coach Bob Warming said. "Our team is a team and it takes a whole team to get a shutout and Andrew understands that." 

Against the Wolverines, Penn State's defense certainly earned that right, but it wasn't as if Wolverton didn't also earn the mark for himself.

With 8:50 remaining and the Lions holding on to a one-goal lead, Michigan forward Tyler Arnone took a pass from James Murphy and fired a shot from 18-yards out to the right corner of the net.

For a moment, it seemed as if the ball was headed in. Then came the hand of the sprawling 6-foot-6 goaltender, knocking the ball away and keeping the shutout intact. 

"We don't give him a whole lot to do so it was great to see him make a play when he had to," Warming said jokingly. "It was a great save, and that's what he trains for. Eventually, when you're playing against great talent they're going to break through and you're going to need to make a save."

The defense would take over in the final minutes, as the Wolverines would bring their entire team up in a final last-ditch attempt to tie the game.

Randy Falk and Kyle MacDonald would both make big stops to prevent Michigan from getting a shot on goal before the clock finally hit zero.

Having given up two goals and ten shots on goal during Wednesday's 6-2 win over Penn, the Nittany Lions and their backline of Eli Dennis, Mike Robinson and Mason Klerks were extra motivated to get back to the play that had led to just one allowed goal in the team's first seven games.

"I'm so proud of the team for playing great team defense," Warming said. "We always have a game plan but I didn't need to say anything special to them. There were plenty of things we wanted to get done today because playing in the Big Ten is always tough."

In true Penn State fashion, the game would go into halftime tied 0-0, until the Nittany Lions finally got on the board in the second half thanks to none other than Maloney.

The sophomore entered the game with six goals in the first eight games of the season, and he produced once again, taking a beautiful cross from senior Mikey Minutillo and putting it past Adam Grinwis from six yards out to get the Lions on the board 11 minutes into the second half.

While Maloney has clearly been Penn State's most effective goal-scorer this season, Warming again maintained that his team doesn't have to become dependent on any one player.

Once again, the Nittany Lions win as a team, and Maloney's ability to score depends on his teammates putting him in the right position to get the ball in the net.

"Something we like about our team is that everyone can score goals and we can score in a variety of ways," Warming said. "Mikey [Minutillo] can score, Mark [Wadid] can score, Kyle [MacDonald] can score, Owen [Griffith] can score. We just kept fighting and fighting and eventually we were going to get one in."

Monday Notebook: Nittany Lions Begin First Bye Week

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10384729.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions went back to work with a normal schedule on Sunday afternoon with meetings and practice at the Lasch Football Complex.

Penn State reviewed the Northwestern game before turning the page onto the first of two bye weeks during the 2014 season. The Lions take a 4-1 overall record (1-1 Big Ten) into the week following Saturday's game against Northwestern.

"The bye week couldn't come at a better time," said head coach James Franklin. "We have to spend some more time cleaning some things up there. Special teams, I did not think we were consistent. We had a chance to flip the field on punt team a couple times and weren't able to do that. On defense, I thought overall, we played solid, but we did not tackle as well as we have in previous weeks. We were throwing shoulders, not wrapping up, things like that. Again, I take full responsibility and we will get it fixed."

The Nittany Lion defense remains among the nation's elite in the NCAA stat rankings. Through five weeks, Penn State sits No. 2 nationally in rushing defense. The Lions have allowed just 60.2 rushing yards per game. Penn State leads the Big Ten in rushing defense.

Additionally, the Nittany Lions sit 10th in total defense (288.8 ypg), 12th in scoring defense (14.6 ppg) and eighth in red zone defense (0.647).

Penn State will focus on corrections and improvements during the bye week before shifting gears into preparations for Michigan. The Nittany Lions collide with the Wolverines inside Michigan Stadium on Oct. 11 in Ann Arbor (7 p.m. on ESPN2).

Lions in the Stat Rankings
In addition to the defensive stat rankings, several Nittany Lions are among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:

QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is sixth in the nation in passing yards (1,477) and 19th in the nation in passing yards per game (295.4 ypg). He leads the Big Ten in passing yards.

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is 11th nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receiving yards with 502. He ranks 17th in the nation and first in the Big Ten with 7.2 receptions per game.

WR Geno Lewis - Lewis ranks 12th in the nation in receiving yards and second in the Big Ten with 495 on the season. He is third in the Big Ten with 5.8 receptions per game.

DT Anthony Zettel - Zettel ranks second in the Big Ten 1.4 tackles for loss per game.

LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten in solo tackles per game at 6.4. He ranks second in the Big Ten in tackles at 10.6 per contest.

K Sam Ficken - Ficken is seventh in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 2.00.

Final Numbers

Take a look through some standout numbers from the Northwestern game.

102,910 - Saturday's attendance (102,910) was the largest figure for a non-primetime game in Beaver Stadium since Nov. 12, 2011.

4,398 - With 221 yards of total offense, Christian Hackenberg now has 4,398 yards of total offense, which is the 10th highest mark in Penn State history.

213 - Kicker Sam Ficken now has 213 career points. He sits eighth on the all-time Penn State list.

41 - Jesse Della Valle notched the longest punt return of his career on Saturday. His 41-yard burst topped his previous career-high of 31 yards against Syracuse in 2013.

16 - Senior linebacker Mike Hull set a new career-high with 16 tackles against Northwestern. It marked the highest total by a Penn State player since Gerald Hodges had 19 against Illinois in 2011.

8 - Linebacker Jason Cabinda became the eighth true freshman to play for the Nittany Lions on Saturday.

- Defensive end Deion Barnes equaled his career high with six tackles against Northwestern on Saturday.

1 - Walk-on Von Walker made his first career start for the Nittany Lions at linebacker on Saturday. He had three tackles against Northwestern.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Recording an assist on the team's first goal of the season and scoring two unassisted goals at first glance may seem like an offensive upperclassmen's opening to the 2014-15 season.

However, it was freshman defenseman Bella Sutton who produced the previously described 'dazzling performance' in her Penn State debut to lead the Nittany Lions to a 5-2 victory over Western in Friday's exhibition at Pegula Ice Arena.

"My teammates definitely rallied around me and gave me the confidence that I could step into the role of being that offensive defenseman when I could be," said Sutton. "It's really good to have their support. It's always been in my blood wanting to join the rush and take it when the opportunity presents itself."

 The Shoreview native took advantage of a first period 5-on-4 power play to set up Laura Bowman with a beautiful pass en route to the very first Blue and White goal of the game.

It only makes sense that Bowman scored the first goal of the season. The sophomore assistant captain was named to the 2013-14 All-CHA Rookie Team after leading the Nittany Lions with ten goals last season.

Just three minutes after Bowman buried the biscuit, Sutton joined the offensive rush following an odd ricochet off the boards behind the Western net to notch an unassisted goal on a slick wraparound to push the Nittany Lions ahead, 2-0.

Sutton wasn't done after just one period of play. Rather she used a blistering snap shot from the slot to tally her second unassisted goal of the game to give Penn State a 3-1 lead with 12:13 remaining in the second period.

"I'm really, really proud of her," said junior captain Shannon Yoxheimer. "She played awesome. Her performance says a lot about her character because she is so hard working. She's a stay-home 'D' when she needs to be and then when she can join the play she doesn't hesitate and good results happen."

Sutton chose Penn State due to its rich balance of academics and athletics, but it was her vision and footwork that led to head coach Josh Brandwene recruiting her to the Blue and White.

"She's a tremendous athlete and an even better teammate...She's a terrific two-way defender with great footwork," said head coach Josh Brandwene.

The Nittany Lions pulled away 3:25 into the third period when junior Hannah Hoenshell scored on a pass from freshman Irene Kiroplis to give Penn State a 4-2 advantage.

Penn State refused to slow down as Emily Laurenzi shot a crisp pass to junior line mate Micayla Catanzariti for a top-shelf beauty past the glove of Western's goalie to give the Blue and White a commanding 5-2 lead nearly nine minutes into the final period.

The Mustangs managed to muster two goals past Penn State junior goalie Celine Whitlinger in the second period, but it wasn't enough to skate by the well-orchestrated Nittany Lions.

Although Friday's game was an exhibition, a three-goal win to start this season shows just how progressive this program is under Brandwene.

"The mindset is to build and get better," said Brandwene. "This is an incredibly coachable group that is hungry to learn and get better."

Next up for the Nittany Lions will be a competitive weekend series October 3-4 in Minneapolis, Minn., where Penn State will faceoff against Minnesota on Friday and St. Cloud State on Saturday.

"When we get our opportunities on the power play we are going to have to get the puck to the net and take those chances because Minnesota is a very good team, and we know that when we get those opportunities we are going to have to capitalize," said Yoxheimer. 

VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame vs. Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addresses the media following Saturday's game against Northwestern.

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks vs. Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Several Nittany Lions addresses the media following Saturday's game against Northwestern.

2014 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Lions' Big Ten home opener against Northwestern in Beaver Stadium.


2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Northwestern

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all 12 games on the schedule. Today, the Nittany Lions open the Big Ten home schedule with a matchup against Northwestern.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Northwestern

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Life on the road is nothing new to the Penn State men's soccer team. Playing in the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions frequently travel long distances and this weekend will be no different. Head Coach Bob Warming and crew will trek about 390 miles (approximately a six hour drive) from State College to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan on Sunday at 1 p.m.

"We bus, we don't fly," Warming said. "The big thing for us is mental regeneration and doing some things the next couple of days and doing some yoga on the trip to stretch out and prepare ourselves."

The Wolverines are just 1-3-2 on the season, but that doesn't mean that Warming believes his team can just roll off the bus and beat their conference rivals without being properly prepared.

"It ain't easy," Warming said of the upcoming trip.

Still, the Nittany Lions are feeling good going into the contest with a 7-0-1 record. They are also coming off their highest scoring performance in 15 years, a 6-2 win over Penn on Wednesday.

Records aside, the game will still be a battle the way every game in the Big Ten is. Having graduated just three starters from last year's 8-7-3 team, the Wolverines have plenty of experience and will have their eyes set on the Nittany Lions after losing to them 3-1 last season.

Last season's leading scorer junior James Murphy (four goals, 11 points in 2013) and starting goalkeeper senior Adam Grinwis have both returned this season, giving Michigan a solid foundation.

With a 2-0 record in conference play, the Nittany Lions biggest focus will be making sure their legs are fresh on Sunday after their long trip.

"At this point it's all about regeneration," midfielder Drew Klingenberg said. "We're [unbeaten] which is awesome but it's taking a toll on us. [Against Penn] we did really well and the scoreboard says it but there are some things we can definitely work on.

"Going into Michigan, [the focus] is a bunch of regeneration and getting our minds right and back in a Big Ten mentality."

The Maloney Magic

At the Nittany Lions' preseason press conference, Warming said that sophomore Connor Maloney was "developing into a great forward."

He certainly wasn't kidding.

Eight games into Penn State's season, Maloney has already scored six goals. Twice, he has scored a pair of goals in a game and has added two assists, giving him 14 points on the year already.

By comparison, Jordan Tyler led last year's Nittany Lions, a team that made it to the Sweet 16, with five goals and 11 points. It has taken Maloney 13 fewer games to surpass those numbers.

Last year, Maloney was more of a creator than a scorer, finishing the season with two goals and seven assists. That has changed this year as Penn State has needed someone to step up as a scorer and the 5-foot-6 dynamo has more than filled that role.

"He's just an impressive player," Warming said. "What you see when you watch a game, we see it every day in training. He has not taken one practice off since he's gotten here and what I mean by that is he's fully engaged every practice. He works as hard at practice as he does out here on the field."

The last Nittany Lion to score ten or more goals in a season was Corey Hertzog, who scored an astounding 20 times in 2010 after scoring 11 in 2009. With nine games left on the Nittany Lions' regular season schedule alone, Maloney has a great chance to reach double digits.

Not that he cares about such things. Many individuals are classified as team players, but Maloney is someone who truly fits the bill.

Following his two-goal game against the Quakers on Wednesday, Maloney answered questions about his own performance by complimenting his teammates, just minutes after Warming had finished praising him on his work ethic.

"It definitely gives the whole team confidence, it's not just about myself," Maloney said. "All of us got [the ball] in, all of us got minutes and we're pretty confident going into Michigan."

That's the kind of attitude that Warming likes to see, and it's the reason the head coach wants the rest of his players to take after the 19-year-old from Harrisburg, even if he's just a sophomore.

"He needs to be a role model for some of our other guys," Warming said. "They need to work that hard in practice every day." 

Beaver Stadium Pictorial: Northwestern Preview

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the many traditions of the Penn State football program's gameday experience is the Beaver Stadium Pictorial, the official gameday magazine of the Nittany Lions. The publication originated in the 1920s and continues to evolve, bringing fans closer to the football program, its student-athletes and the entire Penn State athletic department.

Each week throughout the home portion of the of the Nittany Lions' schedule you can find a preview of the content for the upcoming Beaver Stadium Pictorial on

Here is a preview of the feature content inside the Penn State vs. Northwestern BSP that will be sold during the 95th Homecoming game.

Pick up your copy on each home game day for just $5.00.

Upholding the Linebacker U. Tradition
BY: Paul Marboe, Penn State Athletic Communications
For anyone who watches senior Mike Hull, it is easy to see the traits and work-ethic that make him the player next in line to leave his mark at "Linebacker U." and add to its superlative legacy.

On fall Saturdays, Hull can be seen flying around the field, making plays from sideline to sideline on defense and special teams. The 6-0, 225-pound Hull contains that blend of toughness, discipline, instincts, speed and playmaking ability that makes the Penn State linebacker tradition so special.

After three years playing alongside some great linebackers, Hull has emerged as the clear leader of the 2014 unit and the Penn State defense.

Dan Radakovich: The Man Behind "Linebacker U."
by: Lou Prato, Penn State Sports Historian
The man most responsible for the creation of "Linebacker U." doesn't know when the nickname started or who came up with it, but it's the perfect and succinct description for the bevy of talented linebackers at Penn State over the last four decades.

Dan Radakovich is certain that the name evolved after he became Penn State's first linebacker coach in 1958 and helped develop All-Americans Denny Onkotz and Jack Ham and NFL stalwarts Ralph Baker and Bill Saul.

It wasn't just what the linebackers did at Penn State that gave the school its initial reputation in the 1970s. What they did in professional football had even more influence on the conception of the nickname.

Men's Hockey Looks to Build on Last Year's Late Season Success
By: Matt Caracappa, Penn State Athletic Communications
Under the direction of third-year head coach Guy Gadowsky, the Nittany Lion men's hockey team will look for continued success during the 2014-15 campaign. After an impressive run to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals, Penn State returns 24 lettermen from last year's squad while welcoming three newcomers to the fold.

The Nittany Lions opened the 2013-14 season with heightened anticipation and excitement throughout the Centre Region as the campaign commenced with a 4-1 victory over Army at the state-of-the-art Pegula Ice Arena. Penn State also began its first foray into the Big Ten Conference, as the conference sponsored the sport for the first time.

The Nittany Lions battled through the second-hardest schedule in college hockey a season ago and came away with many monumental firsts for the program. Penn State defeated Michigan for both its first Big Ten win, which occurred at home, and its initial Big Ten road victory. The Lions also defeated the Wolverines for a third time during the Big Ten Tournament.

The Penn State vs. Northwestern BSP also features;
Expanded Game Notes
Unrivaled Moment: vs. UMass
Player Q&As w/ Ryan Keiser, Deron Thompson & Matt Zanellato
University Feature: Nittany Lion Bonds All Penn Staters
2014 Penn State Football Team Photo
Penn State Athletics Sports Planner

Gondak, Nittany Lions Look Forward to New Era

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10372381.jpegBy Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State is many things. It is a research institution and an athletic empire. It is history, tradition and culture.

For most people that come across this campus, though, of any age, any background, or any position, Penn State is one simple thing - a dream come true.

Dreams, like many things in life, come true through hard work, dedication, and a vast amount of time.

After eight years with the University and two long months as an interim, John Gondak has been officially named the Penn State cross country and track and field programs' head coach and he could not be more thrilled.

"Words can't describe what this means to me," said Gondak. "I'm thrilled and honored to continue to work with the student-athletes here. To be the head coach here is the pinnacle of my career to this point and I'm looking to continue that and achieve greater heights here with the program."

Gondak comes with a long history of experience and a great deal of time on the track.

He was a walk-on runner onto the Syracuse University cross country team where he earned a scholarship and the accolade of team captain. After graduating as valedictorian of the civil engineering program, he made his way through over a decade of coaching and recruiting experience at Georgia Tech, Toledo, and Kentucky before ending up in Happy Valley.

During his time with the NIttany Lions, Gondak has been remarkable.

During his eight years, he has been named United States Track and Field/Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year five times, along with assisting to lead multiple Big Ten, NCAA, and All-Regional championship appearances.

It's impossible to deny Gondak's passion, which flows right through him when he speaks about the University and its athletic program.

"Every coach has that one university in mind that they would really love to work for and for me Penn State has always been that," said Gondak. "Penn State is the university I grew up with. I've been coming to athletic events here ever since I can remember. Both my parents went to school here. They've been saying great things about Penn State their whole lives."

His demeanor is confident and approachable, and he stands proudly and poised.

"I truly believe we have the best student-athletes in the world here at Penn State. They're not only highly focused to achieve success athletically but their academics [are] a huge piece to them," he said. "Going forward to watch the athletes come through the program and move on to the real world is exciting to see."

Fortunately for Gondak, the student-athletes seem to feel the same way.

"I can't think of anyone better for the position considering how much he cares about the guys and the program," said senior Glen Burkhardt. "He does a very good job on everyone's individual needs. He cares a lot and I think everyone really likes him. That alone is big incentive to work hard."

Most days, Gondak can be found on the track or out on the running course. The days when he is in his office sitting at his dark burgundy desk, he is planning practice workouts and reflecting on previous races.

The future brings big changes for Gondak and his professional career but, as for the program, he simply hopes to continue the excellence that is already established.

"We have a great platform for success that was built not only by Coach [Beth Alford] Sullivan but also, by Coach [Harry] Groves and the coaches before them. We want to continue to build on that but we've got this thing going in the right direction right now with two of what, I think, could be the best teams Penn State has ever had," Gondak said.

Next weekend, Gondak will travel with the cross country team, for the first time as their head coach, to South Bend, Indiana, for their first NCAA qualifying meet at Notre Dame. The team has already been thinking about it, preparing, and working towards their goals every day.

As they continue to prepare for the competition, perhaps the program can rest peacefully, indeed, they have chosen the most dedicated man for the job.

2014 Gameday Preview - Lions Meet Northwestern on Homecoming

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GAME BLOG - Northwestern

Game Notes | Gameday Central | Northwestern Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Press Conference Roundup | Coach Gattis Q&A | Player Q&A Video | BSP Preview

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (4-0, 1-0)) welcomes Northwestern (1-2, 0-0) to Beaver Stadium on Saturday for the 2014 Big Ten home opener and Homecoming. The Nittany Lions and Wildcats are slated for noon kick on BTN.

10369524.jpegThe Lions marched to their fourth-straight win to open the season last week with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball against UMass. Thanks to strong play in the trenches, Penn State rushed for 228 yards and five touchdowns. Seniors Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak each visited the end zone twice and Akeel Lynch scored once in a 48-7 victory.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions turned in another strong effort against the Minutemen. Limiting UMass to just three rushing yards, Penn State leads the nation in rushing defense at 45.9 yards per game.
The Nittany Lions rank sixth in scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and 10th in total defense (270.8 ypg). In the past 12 quarters of football, Penn State has allowed just two offensive touchdowns. Collectively, the Nittany Lions have yielded 12.38 rushing yards per quarter during the 2014 season.

Northwestern enters Saturday's game following a 24-7 home victory over Western Illinois. The Wildcats opened the season with two one-score losses against California (31-24) and Northern Illinois (23-15). Led by head coach Pat Fitzgerald, the Wildcats return 18 starters from the 2013 squad. That list includes senior quarterback Trevor Siemian.

Saturday's gameday marks Penn State's 95th Homecoming game. The Alumni Blue Band will be featured as they join the Blue Band performance at halftime. The Homecoming court will parade onto the field and the 2014-'15 King and Queen will be announced during halftime. The annual Homecoming Parade will be held on campus and downtown State College on Friday night.

Also, a Varsity "S" tunnel will take place for team entrance against the Wildcats, with hundreds of former student-athletes lining up on the field just prior to kickoff.

The Penn State and Northwestern coaching staffs will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. More than 110 FBS schools will be wearing a Coach to Cure MD patch in this the seventh year of the annual initiative. Fans are encouraged to donate online at or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.

Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week five matchup against Northwestern.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10369526.jpeg1. The Penn State ground attack played its best football of the season against UMass last week. Junior Akeel Lynch said this week that the performance against the Minutemen gave the running game some confidence, but now it is up to the group to improve. Lynch, Belton and Zwinak are a formidable trio when the offense is executing at a high level. In addition to the importance of consistency from the running game, the success of the Penn State running backs opens the door for play-action passing from Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg is leading the Big Ten in passing at 315.2 yards per game. Geno Lewis leads the conference in receiving yards per game at 115.5. DaeSean Hamilton leads the Big Ten in receptions per game at 7.5. When all of the offensive units are playing well, they complement one another.

2. Penn State's run defense has been lights out in 2014. Holding its opponents to less than 50 yards per game speaks to unit's ability to swarm to the football. The strong run defense begins with stout play in the trenches, but the second level of the Penn State defense deserves a great deal of credit, as well. The linebacker trio of Mike Hull, Brandon Bell and Nyeem Wartman has played at a consistently high level since the season began in Ireland. Hull leads the Nittany Lions in tackling with 37 stops on the season. Wartman, who was named Defensive Player of the Week for the UMass game by the coaching staff, has come on strong in recent weeks. He has 20 tackles. Bell has nine stops on the season, but his impact on the defense goes far beyond the tackle numbers. The New Jersey native has been a disruptive player for the Nittany Lions throughout the 2014 season.

3. No player has been more consistent for the Nittany Lions since the end of spring practice than kicker Sam Ficken. A perfectionist when it comes to mastering his craft, Ficken is off to a strong start for the Nittany Lions this season. He is 8-of-9 on field goal attempts and is 12-of-12 on PATs. Ficken has also been a weapon on the kickoff unit. He has 12 touchbacks this season, including eight touchbacks on nine attempts last week against UMass.

What to Watch For - Northwestern
10369570.jpeg1. Northwestern senior quarterback Trevore Siemian is a veteran of 36 career games for Northwestern. Ranked ninth on the school's all-time passing list, Siemian entered 2014 third on the active passer list in the Big Ten. He has completed 59 percent of his passes this season. Siemian has thrown for 614 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His top target thus far has been superback (TE/HB) Dan Vitale, who has 11 catches for 103 yards. Senior wide receiver Kyle Prater has 10 receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.

2. Defensively, Northwestern is a fundamentally sound unit led by a veteran cast of players. In all, eight of Northwestern's 11 starters on defense are juniors or seniors. That list includes the linebacker duo of Chi Chi Ariguzo (30) and Collin Ellis (28), who have combined for 58 career starts for the Wildcats. Ariguzo and Ellis are the anchors of the Northwestern defense. The two linebackers lead the Wildcats in tackling with 28 and 26 hits, respectively. Ellis, however, was listed on the final injury report as out for the game on Saturday. Sophomore defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo has been disruptive this season, as well, with 2.0 sacks and three forced fumbles.

3. Sophomore punter Chris Gradone was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in week four. Gradone averaged 44.1 yards on seven punts. Six of his seven kicks were downed inside the 20-yard line, including two kicks inside the 5-yard line. Junior wide receiver Miles Shuler has been Northwestern's top returner. Shuler is averaging 21.2 yards per return on kickoffs.

The Final Word:
Penn State played its first Homecoming game on Oct. 9, 1920 against Dartmouth (W, 14-7). All-time, the Nittany Lions are 68-21-5 in games contested on Homecoming. That list includes eight on-field victories in the last 10 Homecoming games, including last season's thrilling 43-40 triple overtime win against Michigan. Saturday's game marks the third time the Nittany Lions will host Northwestern on Homecoming. The Nittany Lions topped the Wildcats in 2002 (49-0) and 2012 (39-28). Dating back the latter stages of 2013, head coach James Franklin and the seven members of the coaching staff who were with him at Vanderbilt last year have won nine-straight games heading into the Northwestern game.  Kickoff is slated for 12:01 p.m. on BTN.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Grant Off to Hot Start During Final Season

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10370582.jpegBy Samantha DelRosso, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The journey to Penn State for Nia Grant was an interesting one. In middle school, she missed volleyball tryouts and instead decided she wanted to become a professional basketball player.

But that all changed when her mom brought her to a local gym near her Warren, Ohio, home to practice volleyball. The skills stuck, and Grant ran with it. She tried out for the team, made it and the rest was history.

Grant began her college search during the Christa Harmotto and Arielle Wilson era of Penn State women's volleyball. Watching the standout athletes win national championships and Big Ten titles, Grant knew she wanted to play for Penn State. When Grant and Wilson met, they quickly became friends and Grant found herself in Happy Valley very frequently to spend time with Wilson.

"I just loved [Penn State]. And it was where I wanted to be all of the time," Grant said.

Now, five years later, Grant is playing in her final season as a Penn State women's volleyball player. She has grown as a player over the last four years, especially from her junior to senior season. This season, Grant tallied 100 kills on a .525 hitting percentage during the non-conference slate. At that point last season, she had 53 kills.

But Grant said it's her mental game that has really improved.

"My mindset is different. Something clicked. Being good is a decision, and I need to be good," Grant said. "Everything just seems like it's falling into place."

This season, Grant has been playing with much more confidence, approaching the net with swings like never before. She said the confidence boost is the product of being a senior and understanding that she has a leadership role this season.

"Being a senior, having to play a big role, having a lot of freshmen and knowing that you have to teach them a lot of different things, I had to step up," Grant said. "And I feel really good about it."

Leading the freshmen is something that Grant has loved so far this season and said that she could not have asked for a better class of freshmen. But rather than telling the newcomers how to be successful as a Nittany Lion, she shows them.

"I hope more so that I lead them by example, rather than teach them anything with my words," Grant said. "They're an awesome group of girls."

With conference play kicking off this week, Grant and the other veterans have explained the nature of the Big Ten to the freshmen. They also have established goals to achieve as a team during the 10-week conference schedule.

"[We] just want to grow and win as many games as possible. I want the team to peak when we need to peak and just continually get better every day and keep working hard in the gym," Grant said.

Individually, Grant said she wants to improve her blocking during her senior season.

The Nittany Lions head to Minnesota on Saturday following a 3-0 sweep at No. 5 Wisconsin on Wednesday. Grant and the Lions are fired up for the Big Ten season.

"I'm really excited...I can't wait," Grant said. 

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's been more than six months since the Nittany Lions were on the ice together. 203 days to be exact. But this past Saturday the Penn State women's ice hockey team embarked on its 2014-15 campaign.

The transition from a club team to a Division-I program a mere three seasons ago trickled into last year as the Blue and White finished just 4-29-3. However, as third-year head coach Josh Brandwene and his Nittany Lions   enter their third season as a varsity program, the energy in the first week of practice has been very high.

"Things have been really good," said junior captain Shannon Yoxheimer. "The momentum has been at a really, really high pace. It's been really competitive, and it's a really good environment to come to practice to everyday."

Practice has incorporated half-ice and full-ice game situations as well as conditioning drills. From a coaching perspective, the year has gotten off to a progressive start.

"The effort, the intensity, the pace, and the enthusiasm are exactly where we want it right now," said Brandwene. "Lot's of work still to do. Any a number of things to work the kinks out of and clean up, but we're making good progress."

A big reason why practice has started so smoothly is due in large part to the newly appointed leadership. Yoxheimer and fellow junior Jordin Pardoski were voted on by their fellow teammates as the captains this season, while junior Sarah Wilkie and sophomore Laura Bowman both earned assistant captain duties.

"We're all honored that we were voted by the team to be captains, and we hope that we can represent the team well," said Bowman.

And, despite earning team leadership honors, the two captains and assistants plan on acting the same on and off the ice as they have in previous seasons.

"It doesn't really mean anything different than we were last year and in previous seasons," said Pardoski. "It's just us stepping up and being able to be leaders vocally or leading by example."

Although a letter distinctively separates the four captains from the rest of the team, according to Yoxheimer, each player on the squad adds a unique characteristic that makes for a well-rounded group.

"We have a lot of good leaders on the team who aren't captains, too," said Yoxheimer. "It adds to the whole environment of the team. Just having other leaders creates a positive ripple effect with everyone."

Penn State's first game of the season is this upcoming Friday, and due to the lengthy offseason, the Nittany Lions have been anticipating this game for a long time.

"We've been preparing for this since the end of the last season," said Wilkie. "Everyone has been thinking about this day and really focused and excited to get to the game Friday."

Even though the game Friday is simply an exhibition, the competitive ambiance that has overtaken the Nittany Lions has created a game-like mindset for the contest.

"We are not looking at Friday's game as an exhibition game," said Pardoski. "We are acting like Friday's game is our first real game of the season. We're pumped and ready to go for the game."

The puck drops at Pegula Ice Arena at 8:00 p.m. on Friday as the Penn State's season commences against the Western Ontario Mustangs.

"It's so great to be rocking and rolling now," said Brandwene.

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- After the first four games of the 2014 season, the Penn State men's soccer team had scored six goals.

After 89 minutes on Wednesday night against Penn, they had scored the same amount.

Generally a defensive minded, low-scoring squad, the Nittany Lions looked like a new team on Wednesday, scoring six times in a 6-2 win over the Quakers.

"The movement between [the players] was unbelievable," head coach Bob Warming said. "We had to lift a really heavy weight in playing Ohio State (a 1-0 win last Sunday). Their defenders were tremendous and they were tough to beat. Now this was a little easier backline to break down and it showed up on the scoreboard."

The last time the Nittany Lions scored six goals in a game? Warming was coaching at St. Louis and leading goal scorer Connor Maloney was just four years old. It was 1999 and the Lions beat Villanova 6-3.

As for the last time they scored just five, Warming had 52 fewer wins with Penn State than he does now. That's because it came in his first game at the helm of the Lions, back in 2010 during a 5-0 win against Buffalo.

"Wow," said Maloney after hearing those stats.

"That's pretty cool," midfielder Drew Klingenberg added.

With 17 goals as a team in 2014, the Nittany Lions' outburst on Wednesday accounted for more than a third of their scoring this season. Equally impressive though was the number of players who got the ball in the net.

Five Nittany Lions got on the stat sheet, with Maloney scoring twice and Mikey Minutillo, Brandon Savino, Klingenberg and Riley Grant all netting the ball once.

"It just gives those guys confidence going into the next game," Maloney said. "They're great players and they could definitely have more goals and you'll see it in the next game."

Typically a second half team, Penn State came out of the gates looking to score right from the start against the Quakers.

The Nittany Lions scored twice in the first 16 minutes, and three times in the first half, giving themselves their first two-goal halftime lead of the season with a 3-1 score at the break.

"[Halftime] was definitely a little calmer in the locker room," Maloney said. "We didn't have to make many changes. We just told ourselves keep working harder and getting our goals so we didn't have to keep them around we could get other guys off the bench and in."

After Minutillo got the barrage started less than 10 minutes in, the Quakers fought back, tying the game less than five minutes later when senior Duke Lacroix sent a dagger to the left corner past the reach of Andrew Wolverton, the first goal the star goalie had allowed all season.

Not content to stay tied, the Nittany Lions needed all of a minute and a half to retake the lead, as Savino tallied an unassisted goal to give them a 2-1 advantage.

"It's a hard group, it's a tough group, it's a determined group," Warming said of his team. "Everybody knew at some point, the dam was going to break and we were going to give up a goal. Instead of hanging their heads, it was the completely opposite reaction. They said 'Andrew and the defense have held us for such a long time and it's our turn to turn it on.'"

Maloney would score on an unassisted play 17 minutes later before adding his second goal of the game five minutes into the second half.

The scoring plays gave Maloney a team-leading six goals on the season. When Klingenberg and Grant added goals later in the period however, it was the first time either player had scored all year.

Even in a blowout, it was a sweet moment for Klingenberg. The junior midfielder is known for his gritty and competitive play but had scored just once in his career entering Wednesday.

"I was telling everybody that [scoring] was alluding me for the first couple of games," Klingenberg said. "It was good to get a goal. I'm feeling good right now."

Although he wasn't able to notch his team record 29th career shutout, Wolverton made a number of highlight saves, finishing with eight on the night.

With a game against Michigan coming up on Sunday, the Blue and White will try again to get Wolverton the record, while also trying to remain undefeated in the Big Ten.

"I wouldn't call the goals Andrew's fault," Warming said. "He can make big time saves for us and he's going to need to this weekend at Michigan. They're really good." 

Northwestern Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Josh Gattis

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Gattis_Josh_A-14-UMass-MS_1867.jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State offensive recruiting coordinator, assistant special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis spoke with the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions host Northwestern on Saturday at 12 p.m. (BTN). Take a look at a Q&A with Gattis leading up to Saturday's home game.

Q: Since you got here, how have Geno and DaeSean worked to improve and in what ways have they gotten better?
"They both continue to focus on the fundamentals and the details of route running, as well as improving their ball skills. I think as an overall group their commitment to improving their ball skills by drills and everything that we do in practice has been a true testament to some of the plays they continue to make, and they continue to increase their concentration and detail on each and every one of the plays."

Q: How does Geno Lewis compare to some of the other players you have coached?
"I think Geno is a really good football player. I still think his best football is ahead of him. I think he is very conscious of everything we ask of him as far as the details go. He's a very hard worker. He shows up every day and continues to work hard and get better."

Q: What type of guy is DaeSean Hamilton away from the field when you are in the meeting room?
"He's an awesome kid. He's a very, very smart kid. He's probably one of the smartest minds in our meeting room. He's come a very long way because he didn't get a chance to practice in the spring. He took advantage of every bit of coaching and paid attention to all of the details. He grew his game from understanding our offense. He came from a military background that's lived in numerous places. He's always got a smile on his face. He's always cracking jokes. He's really a great kid to be around. He's a guy who brings excitement and energy to our group."

Q: As young as the receiver group was when you got here, who has stepped up as leaders?
"I think we have stepped up as an overall group as leaders. But specifically, I would say with the game experience, DaeSean and Geno have stepped up tremendously. We are a very young group, and that is the exciting thing about it. I still say that our best football is still ahead of us. We are just scratching the surface on our potential and looking to transfer that over into production. Those two guys have been tremendous leaders, not just on the field but off the field, as well. Both of those kids carry over a 3.0 GPA and that speaks for the group itself."

Q: What is the receiver group's role in the running game?
"We are very unselfish. One of our goals on offense is that we want to create explosive plays. You create explosive plays with explosive players. But you also create explosive plays with downfield blocking. We are active in the run game. We are active as far as blocking our assignments. We need to make sure we are doing a good job keeping the guy we are blocking out of the picture, as well as stretching the defense. Obviously, by having the threat of the pass it allows you to put stress on a defense. Also, some of the short screen game, we consider that an extension of our running game. A lot of times on our run plays we will have options to throw the ball based on the looks. The more effective we can be out on the perimeter with some of our screens, the more effective we will be opening things up on the inside for our ball carriers."

Q: Like an effective run game, can a physical receiver group do its part in wearing down a defense?
"Absolutely. Everything in the pass game with the receivers, I preach all the time about going down to the details. It's not about how fast you are or how big you are or how strong you are. It's really about the details and the fundamentals of running routes and catching the football. You can be a guy with 4.3 blazing speed, but if you don't always catch the football, it doesn't make a difference. At the end of the day, it comes down to the technique and fundamentals and the details in plays that make things successful."

Q: What have Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall showed you through the first four weeks?
"Their progress has been astonishing. We still have a long way to go, but their improvement has been tremendous. Just their understanding of the offense, they are getting better as football players. They are playing with confidence. The most exciting thing about this (group) is that it is a bunch of young guys who love football. Geno Lewis hasn't even grazed the surface of how good he can be. DaeSean Hamilton hasn't scraped the surface of how good he can be. So, for all of these guys to go out each week and continue to get better and game reps and gain confidence, it is going to be a tremendous asset to us in the future. But to see guys like Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall, who are true freshmen, to be able to go out and play in front of 107,000 people and do the things you ask of them is exciting. Out of all these guys, they are so unselfish. They do what you ask. And you can't ask for more out of a group."

Q: As the offensive recruiting coordinator, what can you say about the recruiting message you have at Penn State?
"There is a lot of excitement around our program right now. Obviously, there is a new coaching staff. We're able to lay the foundation for the future of this program. But we've got an unbelievable product here to sell at Penn State. You're talking about the 37th ranked school in the country academically. You're talking about coming to place that gives you a world-class education with the largest dues paying alumni associations in the country. When you speak about what a Penn State degree means, you are not only talking about what it is going to do for you, but what it is going to do for your future and being able to put you out in areas of the country that are going to be in places with active Penn State alumni who can help you with your transition. As far as the rich football tradition here, you look over in Beaver Stadium and see 107,000 of the best fans in the country. When you look at the history here in terms of the national championships and undefeated seasons, there is a lot to sell with this program. This is one of the most storied programs in all of college football. When you have a great product to sell and you've got great coaches and a great head coach in Coach Franklin, it makes it easy to sell."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Nittany Lion offense made themselves comfortable in the Lady Eagles' circle in Tuesday night's contest. Aside from a 5-1 win, Penn State was able to notch a season high 16 corners, scoring off four of them.

The Importance of the Corner...
A field hockey corner is much like earning a corner kick in soccer or a free throw in basketball: it's a scoring opportunity that doesn't come along often. For a field hockey corner to be earned, the offense must force the ball into the defense's feet or cause an obstruction of play inside the circle. If successful, the offense will be given an opportunity to take a direct shot on the cage, with only four opposing defensive players and a keeper attempting to stop the goal. Teams often come up "trick plays" to lure the defense to the ball, then dishing it to a player at the post. Penn State has been most successful with a direct shot coming from senior Taylor Herold.

"Lock Haven did a great job in the first half triple teaming in the circle," coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss said. "But, we were diligent about drawing the corner."

Turning on the 'Scoring Switch'
In Tuesday's contest, the first Nittany Lion goal was scored off a corner. Herold received the ball from Emilee Ehret and took a direct drive from the top of the circle. Amanda Dinunzio was then able to tip it in, giving Penn State an early lead. Ehret notched her third goal of the season off another corner, lifting Penn State to a 2-0 lead. 

"I just need to make sure I send the ball into the circle quickly and accurately," Ehret said. "The flyers we face are super fast, so the quicker the insert gets the ball off the more time the hitter has time to get a shot off."

Before halftime, Lock Haven received a penalty stoke (another rarity in the game of field hockey). A penalty stroke, much a like a penalty shot in ice hockey, is a one-on-one chance to earn a goal. The Lady Eagles were able to score off the stroke, when Taylor Kennedy flicked the ball into the top left corner of the cage. The Nittany Lions were lead 2-1 at halftime.

"During halftime, our coaches told us we needed to get more results," Herold said. "We needed to draw more corners and get more shots on goal. We tried to force the corner play."

Penn State opened the second half with three back-to-back corner opportunities. Like the saying goes, "third time's a charm," Herold fired off a direct shot on the cage on the third corner. Just a few minutes later, the Nittany Lions earned another corner and Herold found the back of the net off of her direct drive. With just over 10 minutes left to play, Dinunzio found the back of the net off of another Penn State corner, lifting the Nittany Lions to a 5-1 lead.

Penn State has successfully been able to force corner play in each game this season. In the past eight games, the Nittany Lions have capitalized off one or more corners in all but two games, posting 69 corners thus far.

Looking Ahead...
The Nittany Lions are on the road for the next five games, three of which are Big Ten Contests. This weekend they will visit Michigan State and Ohio State for two Big Ten contests, followed by a weekend in Philadelphia, Pa. taking on Drexel and Temple. The Nittany Lions will round out their travel schedule with a matchup against new Big Ten matchup, Maryland.

"The energy that we had in the second half against Lock Haven is something we need to keep up, especially with our Big Ten play," Herold said. "We need to keep making things happen." 

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Northwestern Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin provided an update to the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex. The Nittany Lions host Northwestern on Saturday for a noon kick on BTN.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Opponent Previews - Northwestern

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10366695.jpegNorthwestern | Beaver Stadium | Noon | Big Ten Network

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions welcome Big Ten foe Northwestern for their annual Homecoming game on Saturday. Get to know the Wildcats in this week's scouting report.

Pat Fitzgerald, who is in his ninth year leading the Wildcats, has a record of 56-48 at Northwestern. The Wildcats finished last year with a 5-7 record, including 1-7 in the Big Ten. Northwestern is 1-2 this season.  The Wildcats returned 57 lettermen and 18 starters from 2013.

Northwestern earned its first win of the 2014 campaign last week against Western Illinois (24-7).  The Wildcat offense gained 283 yards on 66 plays, including 166 yards rushing.  Quarterback Trevor Siemian completed 15-of-25 passes for 117 yards.  Running back Justin Jackson picked up 92 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.  Treyvon Green added 38 yards on eight attempts.  Solomon Vault scored twice, with six carries for 31 yards.  Ten different Wildcats caught a pass.

The Wildcat defense allowed 376 yards, including 292 through the air.  They forced four turnovers, with three fumbles and an interception.  Defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo forced all three fumbles, recovered one, and added two sacks.  Senior linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo led the defense with 12 tackles, while cornerback Matthew Harris added 10 stops.  Fellow cornerback Nick VanHoose recorded seven tackles and an interception.

Northwestern's offense ranks 14th in the Big Ten in scoring (21.0 ppg) and 13th in total offense (343.7 ypg).  The Wildcats average 115.3 rushing yards per game to rank 12th in the conference and 228.3 yards passing to rank ninth.

Siemian, a senior, has completed 59 percent of his passes for 614 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. 

Freshman running back Justin Jackson averages 4.5 yards per carry with a total of 184 yards and two touchdowns.  The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Jackson also has 35 yards receiving on five catches. Green has 101 yards rushing on 31 carries. 

Dan Vitale, a tight end/H-back in the Wildcat offense, leads the team with 11 receptions for 103 yards.  Six-foot-five senior wideout Kyle Prater has caught 10 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.  Another big target, 6-foot-3 Cameron Dickson has 129 yards and a score on seven receptions.  Junior Miles Shuler has eight catches for 68 yards. 

The Wildcat offensive line features two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore.  Senior center Brandon Vitabile was a preseason second team All-Big Ten selection by Phil Steele.

Northwestern ranks eighth in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing 20.3 points per game.  They also come in 10th in the conference in total defense, allowing 397 yards per contest.  The Wildcats give up 139.7 yards per game on the ground and 257.3 through the air, ranking 10th and 11th, respectively, in the Big Ten. 

Defensive end Dean Lowry, a junior, leads the defense with 2.5 sacks. He has 10 total tackles (six solo).  Odenigbo, a sophomore, has six tackles to go along with two sacks and three forced fumbles.  End Deonte Gibson has three tackles for loss and a sack.

Ariguzo ranks sixth in the Big Ten, averaging 9.3 tackles per game.  He has 19 solo tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery.  Linebacker Collin Ellis has 26 tackles (18 solo) and an interception.

Harris, a sophomore cornerback, leads the secondary with 22 stops (18 solo). VanHoose has five pass breakups and an interception to go with 21 tackles.  VanHoose has also blocked a kick.  Safety Ibraheim Campbell, a senior, has 21 stops, an interception and a forced fumble.

Sophomore kicker Jack Mitchell has hit on both of his field goals attempts in 2014, with a long of 28 yards. Junior punter Chris Gradone averages nearly 40 yards per punt and has placed 10 kicks inside the 20-yard line.  Gradone was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. Shuler handles kick return duties, averaging 21.2 yards per return.

Penn State is 13-3 on the field all-time against Northwestern.  The teams last played in 2012, with the Nittany Lions earning a 39-28 win.  Penn State overcame a 28-17 deficit in the fourth quarter to claim the victory.

What Pat Fitzgerald is saying about Penn State:

"We're playing an outstanding football team this weekend. James and his staff have done a great job. They've found a way to win a couple games that went down to the wire. Very impressive ways to win."

"(Christian) Hackenberg is as good as anyone in the country. He's a very talented young man. He's elusive in the pocket. He moves around well. If you aren't run lane conscious, he can escape and make plays with his feet. He's deadly accurate and he does a terrific job."

"(Bill) Belton and (Zach) Zwinak are very talented players. They run with different styles, but both are very talented and physical. (DaeSean) Hamilton has made a lot of plays for them at wide receiver. They spread the ball around. They use their tight ends well. (Geno) Lewis has made some big plays."

"Defensively, they are very, very good. Up front, they have very active and physical guys. They get up the field and in your face. Anthony Zettel is a terrific football player. He's a dominant football player. He's active in the run and pass game and (Austin) Johnson is a big, physical guy inside."

Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by Student Writer Paul Marboe.

By Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State women's soccer team continues on their winning streak the team continues to stay focused on its "one game at a time attitude." After Tuesday's victory over Bucknell, the Lions are overall 8-1 record.

As the team's season continues, head coach Erica Walsh continues to guide the team to success.

"I think we kept our cool and fought through any frustration pretty well tonight," said Walsh.

"Right off the bat the attitude was good and the mentality was right. I was extremely proud of this team tonight."

Beating Bucknell 7-0, the team gave everything they had in the game and made sure to seize any scoring opportunity possible with a total of 21 shots during the game.

Later in the week, the Lions welcome fellow Big Ten schools Northwestern and Illinois to Happy Valley.

With two big matches coming up, Walsh tells her team to embrace every game as a new challenge, encouraging the Lions stay focus and treat every game as their last.

"We have to always remind ourselves, especially when things are going well, we still have so much more we need to accomplish if we are going to reach our goals this year," said Walsh.

The combination of an aggressive offense and a solid defense proves the team embraces any obstacle that comes its way.

One notable goal against Bucknell was by Anna Witte during the second half. This was Witte's first career goal.

"After such an accomplishment I definitely am proud of all my hard work and am thankful for everything the coaches have helped me with," said Witte.

Alongside Witte, freshman Frannie Crouse scored a pair and had an assist in the night's game.

Coming off of earning the Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, Crouse expressed how much the coaches impact her game.

"They definitely give you confidence while still teaching you how to improve. They are able to show you how to be your best and to break things down to teach you if need be," she said.

A big role in the team's outstanding performances so far is the handwork and dedication that comes from its coaching staff.

"Coach Walsh is always encouraging us to keep the intensity up," said Crouse.

Being extremely proud of the team, Walsh understands there is always room for improvement.

"I think the feelings so far this season are good, but we still have a lot of work to do, "Walsh said.

This marks Walsh's eighth season with Penn State. Before her highly successful career at Penn State, Walsh was an assistant coach for U.S. Women's National team and head coach at Harvard University.

Making Tuesday night's game more interesting is the fact that Walsh and Bucknell's head coach Ben Landis not only have coached together at Harvard but are also good friends.

"He's one of my closest friends and he does a great job with his program," said Walsh. "I'm so proud of what he's done at Bucknell and wish him all the luck in the Patriot League."

Walsh is a competitive coach that pushes her team to success. Since being with Penn State, she has had seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances, six consecutive Big Ten regular season titles and several other major team honors.

In 2012, she was named the NSCAA and Soccer America National Coach of the Year. Additionally, she was the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2012.

Coaches are able to make players into true athletes and Walsh knows the team is doing great so far. However, she is keeping her goals clear for where she wants to take the team this year.

"We always are talking about and teaching them what it really means to be a competitor," she said. "We have a plan and a schedule that will hopefully get us to that Big Ten Tournament when the time comes."


Nittany Lions Set for Big Ten Play

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10366343.jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Established nearly 120 years ago, The Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in America.

The conference's storied history includes a rich tradition of excellence in women's volleyball.

Since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1991, Penn State teams have acquired 60 regular season conference titles and 13 tournament titles, including a record of eight-straight wins in women's volleyball (2003-'10), which is the longest streak in Big Ten volleyball history.

The 2014 version of Nittany Lion women's volleyball is determined to build on the legacy that they have set for themselves within the past decade, but this year may feature one of the deepest fields in the Big Ten.

The Nittany Lions will begin their first 20 Big Ten matches on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. (BTN) against No. 5 Wisconsin (9-1) in UW Fieldhouse. These two teams will be meeting for the first time since the 2013 NCAA title match where the Nittany Lions emerged with a 3-1 victory (25-19, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23) against the Badgers.

"The last time we played them was in the national championship," said senior Lacey Fuller. "So playing them in the first game in the Big Ten is an intense first game, and I hope we play well."

The Badgers are just coming off their first loss of the season after they fell to now-ranked No. 4 Washington Huskies in five-set match.

"It's the two teams that played in the finals of last year's national championship match although in our case, it's not the same roster, it's just the same school," said head coach Russ Rose. "It's just the first of 20 matches, in my opinion, but I certainty also acknowledge that Wisconsin may be the top team in the conference certainty watching them on television last weekend against USC and Washington. I was impressed by a number of things that they do so well."

The players were also impressed by Wisconsin's performance last week.

"We watched [Wisconsin] play USC and Washington and they've been playing really well against really good teams early in the season so we know they're really good. I feel like they're better than last year and they definitely have a hunger to win, especially having lost to us in the national championship," said Fuller. "They play really hard. They dig a ton of balls, so they have really good defense, and they have a very good setter who makes it difficult to read the offense and everyone on that team is very skilled and I think they're a close-knit team that plays well together."

Freshman Ali Frantti will be playing her first Big Ten match in her collegiate career, but she seems to be eager and prepared for it.

"I'm excited to be on the road and just play all the teams. I've watch the Big Ten season on BTN and I'm just real excited to be out there playing these great teams," said Frantti. "I think the Big Ten conference is the best conference out there for volleyball."

The leadership provided by the upperclassmen and returning players have helped Frantti to compose herself for the upcoming matches.

"Before every match, Dom [Gonzalez] usually pulls me aside and she'll do a scavenger report with me, like this girl takes cross. Just stuff like that," said Frantti. "She gives me little advice here and there and it helps me stay calm and collective."

Penn State's Big Ten slate continues on Saturday, Sept. 27 when they take on No. 17 Minnesota (10-1) at Sports Pavilion. The Golden Gophers concluded their non-conference season in a straight-sets win against IPFW (25-11, 25-14, 25-23). Their only loss this season was to the Louisville Cardinals back in August, and they're currently on a nine-match winning streak.

"Last year, we just had a veteran team...and now I might have two or three freshmen starting. They'll see a similar [to Wisconsin] sold-out gym I would imagine on Saturday at Minnesota and the following week in Nebraska because they've been filling their gym for a number of years," said Rose. "It's all part of the process; I don't think you win or lose the conference championship the first weekend and from a coaching standpoint, you want your kids to play well. For sure you want to win, but more importantly, you want [the players] to play well and you want to see how certain individuals handle different match-ups, and how they handle the crowd, and expectations, so it's an exciting thing for the players."

The next 20 matches for Penn State will all be strenuous, but the Nittany Lions are excited for the challenges that are ahead. Penn State opens with four-straight matches on the road before hosting Northwestern on Oct. 8. 

VIDEO: Northwestern Week Player Q&As - Jesse Della Valle & Andrew Nelson

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with safety Jesse Della Valle and offensive tackle Andrew Nelson leading up to the Northwestern game.

Week Five Press Conference Roundup - Northwestern Week

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10364016.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - Sept. 23

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State will cap off a two-game homestand on Saturday with its Big Ten home opener against Northwestern (12 p.m. on BTN).

Head coach James Franklin previewed the Homecoming matchup against the Wildcats on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room.

Franklin opened the weekly press conference by delivering a birthday cake to legendary radio announcer Fran Fisher, who turned 91 on Tuesday. Fisher is a fixture at the weekly press conferences and at practice during the week. Fisher began his association with Penn State Athletics in 1966 when he joined the Penn State Football Radio Network as color announcer.

"Like to obviously start by wishing happy birthday to Fran Fisher," Franklin said. "A legend when it comes to Penn State Athletics, a legend when it comes to this community, and he's earned it. So I wanted to take some time and let him know how much we all appreciate all his years of service to Penn State."

Moving to the review of the UMass game, Franklin highlighted the improvement of the Penn State running game. The Nittany Lions rushed for a season-high 228 yards, including 134 rushing yards in the second quarter alone. Franklin addressed a few areas that he is looking for more gains out of the offense this week, namely cutting down on the number of penalties.

"Offensively, details in our foot work, I think our foot work can be a lot better across the board at every position," Franklin said. "Coordination of our protection, there's still some times that we're not coordinated, and then we already talked about the elimination of penalties."

The Penn State defense shined in Saturday's 48-7 win over UMass. Now, the focus is solely on Northwestern and building upon the first four weeks of action. Penn State leads the nation in defending the run heading into this week. The centerpieces of the defensive line, Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel, have been big reasons why. Franklin noted Johnson's workmanlike play in the middle.

"Well, it's funny, because a lot of times he may not get the stats that maybe our linebacker or our other defensive linemen are getting, but a lot of it is, he's the cause of it," said Franklin. "I think he's got a chance to continue to be a special player for us and we're going to need him to be. When you can dominate the line of scrimmage on the defensive line or the offensive line, you have a chance to be successful. Him and Zettel make a really nice one two punch for us inside."

Franklin will be facing the Wildcats for the second time during his career on Saturday. He coached against Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern in 2012 when Vanderbilt played in Evanston.

"Yeah, I don't think there's any doubt that having history with people, with teams, with coaching staffs, with players and things like that, there comes a little bit of a comfort level there or an understanding," said Franklin. "I don't know if one game really does that, but it's better than none."

Saturday's game will be the 17th game between Penn State and Northwestern. The Nittany Lions own a 13-3 edge in the series on the field.

Press Conference Notes
- Coach Franklin announced that the team's internal players of the week for the UMass game were Angelo Mangiro on offense, Nyeem Wartman on defense and Sam Ficken on special teams.

- Franklin on the Northwestern offense:
One of the things that we're going to have to be aware of and have to do a good job with and this is where our fans are going to be huge with a sold out stadium is they are a no-huddle tempo team that does a lot of communication at the line of scrimmage."

- Franklin on the Northwestern defense:
"Their defense and Mike Hankwitz, who is in his seventh season there, 44 years overall. They got eight starters on defense that are juniors or seniors, so you're talking about a veteran defense. They play base 4-3, fundamentally sound and in a lot of way he's they're similar to us, maybe a little bit less pressure in their scheme."

- Franklin on the Northwestern special teams:

"On special teams, Pat Fitzgerald runs their special teams. A guy that shows up to us over and over again is a kid out of New Jersey, No. 21, Kyle Queiro."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Within the first few minutes of play vs. Michigan, it was obvious that it was going to be a hard-fought fight.

At the end of last Sunday's win against Lafayette, coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss fielded some questions about playing Michigan. In response to whether or not she was "excited" to start the Big Ten schedule, she replied, "When two Big Ten teams go at it, you never know what is going to happen. It's going to come down to the wire. We are looking forward to it."

She was right.

Friday's contest between the two Big Ten rivals was unpredictable. Any sports fan would have been on the edge of their seat for the 74 minutes the two teams were on the field. After two halves and a few minutes of overtime play, the Nittany Lions fell short of a victory, falling to the Wolverines 3-2.

While it is never easy to lose, losing allows for a team to go back to the drawing board and to fix the little things. 

"We could have done a better job of boxing them in the corner," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "We let them get to the circle and when you do that you're in trouble."

First Half Notables

On Friday, the Nittany Lions came right out of the gate and put the ball in the back of the cage. Four minutes into the first half, Taylor Herold received a pass from Emilee Ehret on a penalty corner, putting the Nittany Lions on the board first. 

The next Nittany Lion goal wouldn't come for another 15 minutes. Penn State was awarded a corner and Ehret found the back of the net, propelling the Nittany Lions to a 2-0 leading heading into halftime.

Even though Penn State was leading 2-0, the Wolverines outshot the Nittany Lions in the first half, 5-4. Each team was awarded the same amount of corners, along with a pair of penalty cards.

"I said to the girls at half time that it was going to be a physical game," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "It's aggressive hockey, its Big Ten hockey."

Second Half Notables

The momentum shifted in the second half. It was more physical and much faster. There was an obvious shift in the Michigan offense, as they were playing with a girl inside the Penn State circle, looking for a long pass, for most of the half.

Michigan found the back of the net just three minutes into the second half. The next 32 minutes of regulation play would be the most physical yet. With the 2-1 score, it was anyone's game. Three penalty cards were issued between the first and second Michigan goal: one to the Wolverines, a pair to the Nittany Lions. With 15 minutes left in the second half, the Wolverines found the back of the net, again to tie the score.

But, one more card was given out before the end of regulation play. Penn State received a five-minute penalty card with just 30 seconds before the over-time half would begin. The Nittany Lions played the entire overtime period down a player.

Just 18 seconds before Penn State would be able to field another player, Michigan found the back of the net, making the score 3-2.

"I give Michigan credit," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "They came back being down 2-0. Its really unfortunate for us to start overtime down a player. We have chances the last two minutes. Their goalie came up with some saves, but we just couldn't connect on a couple of those corner opportunities. We just couldn't put one in."

Preparing for Lock Haven 

The Nittany Lions will host Lock Haven on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Penn State has won the last 12 games of the series. 

"Lock Haven is always a tough game," senior Laura Gebhart said. "We need to learn from our loss to Michigan and come out ready to play on Tuesday." 

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- When the Penn State men's soccer team celebrated Mack Brady's life during a game against California last season, it was Kyle MacDonald's heroics that forced a 1-1 tie. 

On the same day this year, the midfielder went a step further by giving his team a victory.

Against Ohio State on the second annual "Mack Brady Game," MacDonald's goal 18 minutes into the second half was the only score of the game as the Nittany Lions defeated the Buckeyes 1-0.

"Ohio State, credit to them, they played really strong defensively," MacDonald said. "[The goal] broke the tension of the game and everything settled down from there."

A redshirt-junior, MacDonald has now scored just two career goals, yet both of them have come on arguably the most special day of Penn State's season.

Sunday's game marked the second straight year that Penn State soccer has honored Mack Brady, the son of Penn State Schreyer's Honors College Dean Christian Brady, who passed away unexpectedly from a blood infection on Dec. 31, 2012 at the age of eight.

MacDonald, an architectural engineering major and a member of Schreyer's, provided the day's highlight for the second straight year, beating Buckeyes goalie Alex Ivanov to a back heel pass from Connor Maloney, before maneuvering around the keeper and firing the ball into the empty net.

"Being the Mack Brady game, we're playing for more than just our team, we're playing as a Penn State community," MacDonald said. "We're playing for the Brady have that all in my mind, it was great to put one away."

Mack Brady was an aspiring goalie, so it was only fitting that the play of both goalies dominated nearly the entire game.

For almost 90 minutes, the Nittany Lions created opportunity after opportunity yet were unable to get the ball past Ivanov more than once.

In total, Penn State took 22 shots, getting 11 of them on net, giving the Ohio State keeper an astounding 10 saves.

With three minutes to go in the first half, Mark Wadid had a great opportunity come up short when he hit the right side of the net, and Mikey Minutillo (three), Connor Maloney (two) and Brian James (two) all got multiple shots on net during the contest.

"Sometimes when you don't get a goal and you've been trying and things haven't gone your way, sometimes you can start losing a little faith," head coach Bob Warming said. "I was giving them a lot of instructions, and I thought, man you know what, I just need to tell these guys they're really good. Stay the course, pick up the tempo, it's going to happen, games are won in the second half and you're going to win."

In order to secure the win, the Nittany Lions needed a clutch performance from their own goalie.

Andrew Wolverton has long been the backbone of Penn State's team, but for most of Sunday he bided his time as his defense took care of business and the Buckeyes got just three shots on net.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, with the score still knotted at 0-0, Wolverton showed why he is the reigning Big Ten Goalie of the Year, making a brilliant kick save on a shot by forward Danny Jensen.

"It's just something you've got to do," Wolverton said of staying focused during a day with little action. "The communication helps me stay focused but it's part of the job. The defense did awesome and kept them to a few shots."

Wolverton, who like his backups Danny Sheerin and Evan Finney wears a patch on the back of his jersey in honor of Mack, said the shutout was extra special.

Not just because it put him in second place on the Nittany Lions all-time shutout list with his 28th scoreless effort, but also because it came on the day dedicated to the boy that idolized him.

"It's a tragedy what happened, but for us to celebrate such a great little kid's life is an honor to us," Wolverton said. "Something we have hanging up in our locker room is 'we're living Mack's dream.' It's all for the support of their family.

The win improves the Blue and White to 6-0-1 on the season, but it was the Brady family that was on everyone's mind after the game.

"I love them all and it's wonderful to have an opportunity to celebrate [Mack's] life," Warming said. "To have a Schreyer's Honors College guy do it made it even more special."

Monday Notebook: Nittany Lion Defense Off and Running

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10359507.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State offense played its most complete game of the season against UMass on Saturday, but the story from the first month of football in 2014 has been the standout play from the Nittany Lion defense.

Penn State (4-0) will take a great deal of momentum on the defensive side of the ball into Saturday's Homecoming clash against Northwestern (1-2).

The outstanding start to the season on the defensive side of the ball begins with Penn State's ability to stop the run. The Lions lead the nation in rushing defense at 49.5 yards per game. UMass had just three rushing yards on Saturday.

"I think our D-line has been playing really well all year," said head coach James Franklin. "The fact that we're able to make teams one-dimensional is huge on defense."

In addition to leading the nation in rushing defense, the Nittany Lions rank sixth in scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and 10th in total defense (270.8 ypg). In the past 12 quarters of football, Penn State has allowed just two offensive touchdowns. Collectively, the Nittany Lions have yielded 12.38 rushing yards per quarter during the 2014 season.

The Lions have also been strong on defense in the red zone. Opponents are scoring at a 63.6 percent rate on red zone visits, which ranks eighth in the country.

Penn State is one of 25 teams unbeaten in the FBS after four weeks of football.

Saturday's game marks the final contest in a string of five-straight weeks of games.

Lions in the Stat Rankings
In addition to the defensive stat rankings, several Nittany Lions are among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:

QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is eighth in the nation in passing yards (1,261) and 13th in the nation in passing yards per game (315.3 ypg). He leads the Big Ten in both of those categories.

WR Geno Lewis - Lewis ranks seventh in the nation in receiving yards and tops the Big Ten with 462 on the season. He is 11th nationally and first in the Big Ten with 115.5 yards per game.

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is 14th nationally (second in the Big Ten) in receiving yards with 402. He ranks 13th in the nation and first in the Big Ten with 7.5 receptions per game.

DT Anthony Zettel - Zettel leads the Big Ten and is 12th in the nation with 1.8 tackles for loss per game.

K Sam Ficken - Ficken is ninth in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 2.00.

Final Numbers

Take a look through some standout numbers from the victory over UMass.

99,155 - Saturday's attendance (99,155) was the largest figure for a non-conference home game since 2011 (Alabama).

228 - The Nittany Lions entered Saturday's game with 227 rushing yards on the season. The Lions rushed for 228 yards on Saturday, alone.

207 - Kicker Sam Ficken now has 207 career points. He is the 11th player in school history to have scored at least 200 points.

198 - Through four games, Penn State has allowed a total of 198 rushing yards.

48 - The Nittany Lions scored 48 points on Saturday, marking their most since 52 against Eastern Illinois in 2009.

46 - Akeel Lynch's 46-yard rush during the first quarter was the longest of his career and the longest for Penn State this season.

20 - Penn State has outscored its opponents by a margin of 20-0 during the first quarter this season.

8 - Penn State scored on eight-straight possessions during the UMass game, stretching from the first quarter to the third quarter.

7 - Punter Daniel Pasquariello became the seventh true freshman to play for the Nittany Lions on Saturday.

5 - Five days remain until the Nittany Lions meet Northwestern.

UMass Extended Game Highlights

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Nittany Lions Notch Four Wins at Alumni Classic

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10358855.jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 3 Penn State women's volleyball (12-1) wrapped up its non-conference portion of the 2014 season after capturing the Penn State Alumni Classic title with a straight-set victory (25-11, 25-17, 25-10) against East Carolina (6-2) Saturday night.

Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney earned the Penn State Alumni Classic MVP honors for her excellent offense and defensive performances throughout the weekend. She tallied a .722 hitting percentage against UIC (5-9) and .667 hitting percentage against DePaul (2-8) and EIU (5-6). She also recorded her second double-digit kill performance of the season in a win against Illinois-Chicago with 13 kills. Senior Dominique Gonzalez also joined her on the all-tournament team.

"Aiyana had a great weekend attacking," said head coach Russ Rose. "Dom had a good weekend passing and playing defense."

Head coach Russ Rose is now in first place on the all-time DI NCAA wins list with 1,137 wins after passing current Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji.

Penn State vs. Eastern Illinois
The Nittany Lions opened up the tournament with a straight set victory (25-10, 25-9, 25-17) against EIU Friday afternoon.

Senior Nia Grant led the offense with 10 kills and a .625 hitting percentage. Grant also recorded a team-high of five blocks for the match. Freshman Simone Lee tied with Grant in recording 10 kills and helped the team defensively with three blocks.

Junior Megan Courtney and Whitney each finished with seven kills for the night. Courtney tied alongside with senior Micha Hancock with ten digs apiece.

Penn State started the game with an early advantage of 11-4 and though EIU came back with a kill, Penn State scored five unanswered points. The Nittany Lions continued their surge and ended up with a 25-10 win.

The momentum continued into the second set with another early advantage of 5-2, but the Panthers were no match for the Penn State as they extend their lead to 17-3. Courtney scored the set point with a kill and ends the set at 25-9.

The Nittany Lions continued their rhythm into the final set by gaining an eight-point lead to make it 12-4. The Panthers closed to within four at 19-15, but Penn State regrouped with a six-point streak to earn a 25-17 win to complete the sweep.

Penn State vs. DePaul
Penn State improved to 2-0 in the Alumni Classic with a straight-set victory (25-8, 25-10, 25-13) against DePaul Friday evening.

Freshmen Ali Frantii led the team with nine kills on .571 hitting and Whitney and Courtney were close behind with six kills apiece. Whitney had three blocks, which was the most for the entire team. She also earned a career-high of two aces.

Hancock and Gonzalez finished with six digs each.

The Nittany Lions went up 16-4 in the opening set to create a safe lead for themselves. DePaul trimmed the lead down to 10, Penn State ended DePaul's brief surge and went on a 7-0 run to win 25-8 in the first set.

Penn State opened the second set with a six-point advantage and went on to claim set two, 25-10.

Penn State finished off the match with a 25-13 win by creating an 11-point advantage mid-way through the set.

Penn State vs. Illinois-Chicago
Penn State went 3-0 in the Alumni Classic with a straight-set victory (25-18, 25-13, 25-16) over Illinois-Chicago.

Whitney had superb match with a double-digit kill performance of 13 kills on .722 hitting percentage. Courtney had nine kills and six digs. Grant and freshmen Haleigh Washington and Simone Lee finished the match with seven kills each.

Penn State started with a one-point lead, but spurted ahead to earn 15-11. The Lions didn't look back from there en route to a 25-16 set victory.

Instead of repeating the first set, the Nittany Lions started the second set with an early 12-4 score. From there, UIC never got within 10 points and Penn State won the second set, 25-13.

The Nittany Lions and Flames opened the third in a tight fashion. Penn State used a run to claim a 9-6 edge. The Lions never looked back from there on their way to a 25-16 victory to close out the match.

Penn State vs. Eastern Carolina
Penn State captured the Penn State Alumni Classic title with another straight-set victory (25-11, 25-17, 25-10) against Eastern Carolina after the raising of the 2013 NCAA national championship banner.

Frantii and Courtney led the offense with 10 kills apiece, and Washington, Grant, and Whitney each earned seven kills. Gonzalez ended the night with a team-high of five digs and Hancock finished with a standout performance of 33 assists, four digs, and a season-high of eight aces.

"Micha came out of the gate and served really well," said head coach Rose. "I think that really set the tone for most of the night."

Penn State started the match with a 6-1 lead and eventually won the set, 25-11, as Hancock delivered an ace.

The Pirates started the second set off with a 5-1 lead, but a service error led to a big swing in momentum before the Lions roared to a 25-17 win.

The Nittany Lions finished their final set of the weekend with 25-10 win.

Penn State will begin their conference portion of the schedule at No.4 Wisconsin in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA national finals on Wednesday at 7:40 p.m.

One Volleyball Family

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10358795.jpegBy Samantha DelRosso, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Prior to any sporting event, the coaches shake hands. But in Rec Hall this weekend, that was not the proper etiquette.

Penn State women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose greeted each of the opposing coaches with a hug, like he was welcoming a family member. And that's because he was.

Fourteen former members of the Penn State women's volleyball family returned to Rec Hall to be honored at this weekend's Penn State Alumni Classic as part of the 50 years of Women in Sport celebration.

Four of these women were on the opposite side of the net this weekend, coaching teams of their own. Eastern Illinois, coached by former outside hitter Kate Price, fell to the Nittany Lions in straight sets on Friday night. Price said she was happy to be back in Happy Valley, but playing against the Nittany Lions was tough.

"The cool thing about being a Penn State player is that you walk on the court and you have the confidence. You know you're going to walk out with a win," Price said. "Coming in and playing against Penn State is just the opposite feeling."

Three other coaches, DePaul's Nadia Edwards (2001), UIC's Katie Schumacher-Cawley (2002) and East Carolina's Julie Torbett (1990) were also a part of the tournament.

In between the second and third sets of the evening matches this weekend, the fourteen former players were honored, celebrated and greeted with a standing ovation and a roaring crowd.

"It's awesome to be back. It's awesome to see our home fans," Price said.

Rose has seen these former players grow from to college stars to college coaches. He's also watched them grow as players, students, coaches and as women.

For current players, meeting the women who left behind the legacy that they are playing for is second to none. They are the women who started the traditions and rituals that the team still has.

Sophomore Laura Broerman said it's great to meet the pioneers of this program and the players that created the team's traditions.

"We are a program based a lot in tradition. Almost everything we do before games and in the middle of games is all tradition," Broerman said. "It's cool to see the girls who started the tradition of winning and everything else we do."

The Penn State women's volleyball team began in 1976. In those 38 years, six national championships have been won, countless individual accolades have been earned awarded, and history has been made. This weekend was a celebration of the program's rich history and those who made Penn State women's volleyball into what it is today.

Rose said it was special to see the individuals who have shaped this program.

"So many of those guys had great experiences here. Their pictures are all over the walls for multiple All-American awards," Rose said.

In 32 out of Rose's 33 seasons coached, there has been at least one All-American on the team. While the players may have been stars individually, as a program, they shined even brighter.

The team has made it to the NCAA tournament every year since the tournament began in 1981. After the 2013 season, the Nittany Lions have won 16 conference titles to go along with the six national titles.

The program's history is rich with great players who turned into great coaches and teammates who turned into family.

"It's a family. Whether or not you played with any of the players, it's one family. You gotta love it," Price said.

The Nittany Lions went 4-0 on the weekend. Up next for the team is a trip to Wisconsin on Wednesday to kick off conference play. 

Offense Looking to Build on Strong Outing vs. UMass

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10356689.jpegVIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - UMass | VIDEO: Coach Franklin Postgame Interview

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Entering Saturday's game against UMass, the Nittany Lion offense had tallied 227 rushing yards during the 3-0 start to the season.

Yes, the Lions were pleased with victories during the first three weeks of the season, but the offensive unit knew it needed to take another step forward to become the offense it wants to be in 2014.

Thanks to another tremendous performance from the Penn State defense, the Nittany Lion offense found another gear on Saturday afternoon in a 48-7 route of the Minutemen. Penn State rushed for 228 yards and scored five touchdowns on the ground in the unit's most complete performance thus far in 2014.

"I think it's awesome. I think it's great to establish a running game and be able to make some plays with multiple backs and multiple people," said head coach James Franklin. "I don't know what our total yardage was, but we were able to be balanced. We were able to take some pressure off of [Christian Hackenberg], which is great."

A focused week on the practice field fueled the offensive line's effort on a day where the running back trio of Bill Belton (two), Zach Zwinak (two) and Akeel Lynch each visited the end zone.

"We were working hard for a long time and when you keep working and working and working the success is going to come," said Belton. "We just continued to go out there and work hard each day and we came today to show what we've been working on all week."

Penn State's big afternoon on the ground was a collective effort from each member of the offense.

"First, it is definitely a full team effort," freshman tackle Andrew Nelson said. "I think the line played better than we usually do but it takes the entire offense to do well. All practice long we have been stressing the run game and throwing the ball when we had to throw it. I think all week in practice Coach Hand was just really stressing that we would get better this week and I think we did."

Lynch kick-started the strong ground day with a 46-yard burst off the right side of the line. The junior led the rushing attack with a stellar 10.1-yard average on eight carries. Lynch finished with 81 yards, which included a 15-yard touchdown run mid-way through the third quarter.

"It's a stepping-stone for all of us. As you see, we did well with more than 200 yards as a group," Lynch said. "It's always good to have that as a stepping stone into the next game."

Following a stand from the defense on a fourth-down play at the start of the second quarter, Belton capped off an eight-play, 69-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown run to put the Lions up 13-0. Linebacker Mike Hull forced a fumble on next UMass possession, which put the Nittany Lion offense in a great position to strike again.

Belton, who finished the day with 76 yards, scampered 20 yards for a score to make it a 20-0 lead. Belton's two rushing touchdowns ignited Penn State's first 28-point quarter since the 2009 season. The Nittany Lions had 134 yards on the ground in the second quarter alone.

"It was the focal point for us all week at practice," said quarterback Christian Hackenberg. "It has been the theme for us and just being able to get that going and get those guys clicking was really good. It was really good hearing the offensive line making calls and making the right calls and getting everything going in the right direction to be able to some of those runs off."

With the Northwestern game on the horizon, the Nittany Lions have a lot to build on following a strong team effort in a dominant performance against UMass.

"I think it definitely helps us confidence wise because we knew what kind of line we could be but we just weren't executing," said Nelson. "Today we executed it and it showed us that we can be the guys that we want to be."

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - UMass

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VIDEO: Coach Franklin Postgame Interview

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head into the winning locker room to hear from several Nittany Lions following Saturday's 48-7 victory over UMass.

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VIDEO: Postgame Interview with Coach Franklin - UMass

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - UMass

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin talks with following Saturday's 48-7 victory over UMass. Penn State moves to 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2008.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Under the Friday night lights at Jeffery field, the Penn State women's soccer team hosted its first Big Ten match of the season against rivals Ohio State.

The Lions started the match off with aggressive plays right away. Within the first two minutes of the game, Mallory Weber crossed over to Frannie Crouse for the first goal of the night.

Crouse's opening goal was one of five for the Lions, the final 5-1 scoring adding to their perfect home record.

"These guys are on a mission and they're playing like they have something to prove," said head coach Erica Walsh.

Returning from two weekends on the road, the team made sure to keep the pressure on Ohio State with consistent attacks on goal and sharp defense.

"Anytime we get the chance to play Ohio State at Jeffery Field, it's going to be a good night for us," said Walsh. "We came out hard and we came out strong."

The team took a total of 15 shots, making it one of their most offensive games yet of the season.

Freshman forward Frannie Crouse was one of the players who kept the pressure on the Buckeyes. Not only did she start the game off with a goal, she scored her second goal of the night early in the second half on a breakaway.

One of eleven freshman on the team this year, she is already a key player on the team's offense.

"I take it as the entire team doing their job," Crouse said. "I give all my credit to them since they've made my transition so easy."

She already scored four goals this season. Although this is her first year playing on Jeffery Field, she is a standout player.

"I think Frannie Crouse is the real deal. She's going to be a great leader for us," said Walsh.

Crouse is the kind of player who gives her all whenever she plays. With her speed and drive, she sets the standards for the team's aggression during any match.

"Scoring right away is such a great feeling. It gets the entire team excited and keeps you motivated," said Crouse.

Another player who led the way for the Lions' win was Salina Williford.

As a returning sophomore, Williford is continuing to help the Lions win. She is a midfielder and forward for the team that keeps the team motivated regardless of where she is playing.

During the first half, Williford scored her first career goal. She got the ball off of a turnover and kicked it perfectly in the net, giving the Lions a 2-0 lead in the first half.

After taking 17 shots so far this season, Williford proved her determination to score.

"It was such a great feeling seeing the ball go into the net," Williford said. "I've come so close to making a goal so it was great being able to score."

In the beginning of the second half, Ohio State scored from a scramble in front of the net. Frustrated and determined for a win, the Lions responded with a goal from senior defender Whitney Church.

Her first goal of the season, Church gave the Lions their two goal lead back and the team's momentum for the second half.

Nearing the end of regulation, Echard crossed the ball to Rodriguez for a goal to secure the Lions' 5-1 victory.

With its third Big Ten win of the season, the team is keeping focused as they move through the schedule. Said Walsh, "We have big hopes and high aspirations for this season."

2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. UMass

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all 12 games on the schedule. The Nittany Lions face UMass inside Beaver Stadium, today, in the fourth game on the schedule.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Massachusetts

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2014 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. UMass

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Lions' matchup against UMass in Beaver Stadium.

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Tenacity, Focus at Root of Rodden's Success

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10326919.jpegBy Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Every weekday afternoon she enters the Penn State Multi-Sport Facility for practice. She is driven. She is quiet. She is sharp. She is ready.

Senior Katie Rodden is in the midst of her final season with the Penn State women's cross country team but with the NCAA Championships still about two months away, she is not ready to say good-bye to the Blue and White or running quite yet.

Rodden has been a runner her entire life.

"I started running in the fourth grade," Rodden said. "In the seventh grade, I was [still] running long distance and that's how it all started."

"In high school, I was one of the only ones on my team that was really into running," Rodden added. "The best part about Penn State is that everyone is into it too. We run seven days a week and at any time, I can find someone to run with."

It's evident in her performance: She is driven.

In 2013, she finished in the top 25 for both the indoor and outdoor Big Ten Championships, she was just shy of all-region status at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, and she earned national experience as an alternate on the Nittany Lions' NCAA-qualifying group.

She is sharp.

The Ardmore, Pennslyvania, native is an exemplary student. She maintains a stellar 4.0 grade-point average, she has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, and she was a finalist for the NCAA Elite 89 Award.

The Elite 89 award is the NCAA's way of student-athletes who have reached a pinnacle in his or her competitive sport as well as in the classroom. The award is given to the student-athlete with the highest grade-point average competing in any of the NCAA's 89 championships.

"I feel like I'm just like any other person," she said. "If you work hard, it will all fall into place."

Rodden juggles running 70-75 miles per week and six days per week of practice. She is finishing up a kinesiology major, she is a member of in the Athletic Director's Leadership Institute, and she has a research job for Penn State's Noll Laboratory.

"I do work pretty hard. I guess I don't have the most fun social life ever but I enjoy doing well academically and athletically," she said.

She is ready.

Come November, when the Penn State cross country regular season has come to an end, Rodden will be well on her way to yet another finish line - her collegiate career.

"Honestly, I try not to think about it being over," she said. "I love it here and I'm really going to miss it,"

She has aspirations of attending medical school after her time at Penn State has expired.

"I've applied to [medical] schools and I'm just waiting for hear back," Rodden said. "I want to something with sports medicine or orthopedics."

Through all of it, the academic honors, the medical school applications, the research projects, running will always be a part of her.

"This is something that I'm just naturally good at and I definitely I can't see myself just stopping," she said. "Maybe [after college] I'll get into marathons."

Beaver Stadium Pictorial: UMass Preview

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One of the many traditions of the Penn State football program's gameday experience is the Beaver Stadium Pictorial, the official gameday magazine of the Nittany Lions. The publication originated in the 1920s and continues to evolve, bringing fans closer to the football program, its student-athletes and the entire Penn State athletic department.

Each week throughout the home portion of the of the Nittany Lions' schedule you can find a preview of the content for the upcoming Beaver Stadium Pictorial on

Here is a preview of the feature content inside the Penn State vs. Massachusetts BSP.

Pick up your copy on each home game day for just $5.00.

Sam Ficken was just a laid-back high school kid awaiting the start of his junior season when a coaching change prompted a decision that would alter his athletic career and ultimately his future.

The season Ficken was preparing for was soccer. It was the sport he grew up playing. The sport his mother had coached him and his older brother in when they were younger. But coaching changes just days before the season made him re-think things.

"Football wasn't on my radar until my junior year of high school," said Ficken. "A coaching decision right before the first (soccer) game of my junior year changed my view on some things. So, I called the football coach and said, 'I'm thinking about playing football.'"

A Lasting Impact: A Journey Through 50 Years Of Women's Athletics
by: Char Morett-Curtiss, fIELD hOCKEY hEAD cOACH; Class of 1979
I first traveled the road to Penn State from my hometown of Aden, a quiet and quaint suburb of Philadelphia, back in the summer 1975. The trip, primarily on the single-lane winding road that was Route 322 West, took four hours. It was a journey of -- and for -- a lifetime.

The middle-class family I was leaving behind included five boys and two girls, who spilled out onto Sycamore every day to play street hockey, pick-up basketball and steal the bases, often under the streetlights. We were tight-knit, but competition was 24/7.

The Penn State family I was joining was largely an unknown. In the summer of '74, I attended the Pocono Mountain Field Hockey Camp with my teammates from Lansdowne-Aldan High School. It was there that my field hockey skills caught the attention of Gillian Rattray, Penn State's head coach for both field hockey and lacrosse (what a bargain she was!).

A Look Inside The Penn State Blue Band In Its 115th Year
By: Christine Kilbride, Third-Year Blue Band Member, Piccolo; Class of 2016
"For the Glory of Old State, for her founders strong and great, for the future that we wait, raise the song."

These lyrics ring true especially for members of the Penn State Blue Band. The 315-member band has become a staple of Penn State football and the gameday experience.

Like most Penn State students, band members anxiously await the first home game each season. But home games for members of the Blue Band are not as simple as filing into the student section.

The Penn State vs. Massachusetts also features;
Expanded Game Notes
Unrivaled Moment: at Rutgers
Player Q&As w/ Bill Belton, Jordan Lucas and Angelo Mangiro
University Feature on Penn State College of Nursing
2014 Penn State Football Team Photo
Penn State Athletics Sports Planner

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- A little over a year ago, Christian Brady stood on the grass at Jeffrey Field and looked out at the scene around him, many emotions running through his mind.

It was September 13, 2013. The Penn State men's soccer team had just battled California, the No. 5 team in the nation, to a 1-1 tie. For Brady however, the night was about much more than soccer.

Brady, the Dean of Penn State's Schreyer's Honor College, had lost his eight-year-old son Mack less than nine months earlier to an unexpected blood infection on Dec. 31, 2012. It was just 16 days before Mack's ninth birthday.

Mack, a huge Penn State soccer fan and aspiring goalie, was honored by the Nittany Lions that night against California, in what was dubbed "Mack Brady Night."

"The night was phenomenal," Brady said. "Obviously it doesn't get any easier, but it was incredibly powerful and emotional moment or us. It was such an incredible game."

Nearly 21 months have gone by since Mack Brady lost his life, but his legacy at Penn State is as strong as ever. This Sunday, the Nittany Lions will host the second annual Mack Brady Game when they play Ohio State at 1 p.m.

For the second straight year, Christian Brady will watch as the Penn State community rallies around him, his wife Elizabeth and his daughter Isabel.

For the second straight year, he will find comfort in the 26 players and three coaches who have become a second family to him.

For the second straight year, he will wish that his son could see everything that he has inspired.

And for the second straight year, the day will mean much more than which team winds up ahead on the scoreboard.

How 'Mack the Jeff' Began

"Last year, they ran a promotion for the game and said they wanted fans to 'Pack the Jeff,'" Brady said. "I suggested that it should be changed to 'Mack the Jeff.'"

What started as a simple suggestion, a way to encourage fans to take part in a celebration of Mack's life, didn't take long to catch on.

In the days leading up to the California game, the phrase 'Mack the Jeff' began to show up across every outlet of social media. By game time, Jeffrey Field was filled with 3,032 fans.

"It's wonderful," Brady said. "It's really humbling how folks have rallied around during this time."

Goalkeeper University

Mack Brady was a child that was passionate about many things, and soccer was certainly among them.

By the age of five, Mack had fallen in love with the position of goalkeeper. It was his dream to one day suit up in goal for the Nittany Lions and later the United States Men's National Team.

After his passing, his parents knew that there was no better way to remember him than to give back to the soccer program. They established the Mack Brady Fund to support Penn State's goalkeeping program with youth clinics, new equipment and scholarship funds.

The goal of the fund? Turn Penn State into the best goalkeeping school in the country.

"We wanted to be able to inspire something more and we want to make Penn State Goalkeeper U," Brady said. "The fact that Mack has inspired this is pretty special."

In return, the Nittany Lions have given back to the Brady's as well.

Since the beginning of last season, the Penn State goalies have worn a patch on their jerseys in honor Mack.

For Andrew Wolverton, being asked to wear the patch is as high an honor as he can imagine. Higher than being named last season's Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, and higher than one day becoming Penn State's record holder for career shutouts.

"It's a great honor, obviously, to always be playing for Mack," Wolverton said. "Every time we come out here we want to do our best but it's different when you're playing a little kid like that. You just want to get a shutout on his day."

Those types of sentiments are the one's that mean the most to Christian Brady.

"It means a lot when the players tell me how much they think about Mack," Brady said. "Coach [Bob Warming] has brought together a great group of young men who seem to appreciate this."

The Next Stage

All the sympathy in the world can't replace the void that Mack's passing has left in Christian Brady's life.

Now, almost two years later, Brady and his wife and daughter are slowly learning to live without Mack.

"Obviously we wish this never had to happen," Brady said. We're slowly living with the loss of Mack. We'd love to have him back if that was a choice. We're going to find joy in seeing the guys play and we know that if Mack could, he'd be out there cheering them on."

During the most painful times, Brady found himself lucky to have Warming to lean on. Nine months prior to Mack's death, Warming lost his 21-year old daughter Audrey in a car accident.

One thing that the two tragic events have taught both men, it is that they are fortunate to live in a community like State College, and be a part of a school like Penn State.

"What a wonderful community this is that it comes out and supports one of our own who's had a tragedy in his life," Warming said. "What sticks out to me is what a great place Penn State is and what a great place State College is. We're all in this thing together and I think people realize that."

When Brady watches the Nittany Lions take the field against the Buckeyes on Sunday, he knows his son will be with him.

Mack Brady's legacy lives on, not just with his father and the Penn State soccer team, but with every Nittany Lions fan who shows up to "Mack the Jeff."

2014 Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Host UMass

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Game Notes | Gameday Central | UMass Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Press Conference Roundup | Coach Smith Q&A | Player Q&A Video | BSP Preview

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After playing two out of its first three games on the road, Penn State (3-0) returns home on Saturday for its first game against UMass (0-3). The Nittany Lions and Minutemen will collide at 4 p.m. inside Beaver Stadium (BTN).

10323244.jpegThanks to a superb defensive performance in the second half and a game-winning drive orchestrated by sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the Nittany Lions moved to 3-0 in a dramatic victory at Rutgers last week. Senior Bill Belton scored a game-winning touchdown with 1:13 to play inside sold out Highpoint Solutions Stadium to lift the Lions past the Scarlet Knights, 13-10, in the first Big Ten game of 2014.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions have been tremendous to start the season. Penn State ranks among the nation's elite in three major statistical categories heading into this weekend. Penn State is seventh in the country in rushing defense at 68.3 yards per game allowed. The Lions are 11th in scoring defense (12.3 ppg) and 13th in total defense (275.7 ypg). Thanks to five interceptions on Saturday night, Penn State is also sixth in the nation in passes intercepted.

UMass enters the game following back-to-back three-point losses to Colorado and at Vanderbilt. Led by veteran head coach Mark Whipple, the Minutemen, took the Commodores down to the wire in Nashville last week. UMass led for most of the game before a late score from Vanderbilt and a missed field goal in final seconds sealed a 34-31 setback.

Saturday's gameday will feature two major events off the field. Throughout the 2014-15 academic year, Penn State will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics on the University Park campus. Some of Penn State's current and former head coaches and student-athletes will be recognized at the UMass games for their accomplishments during the past 50 years of varsity women's sports.

Additionally, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and the Penn State Marching Blue Band will host the Unrivaled Band Jam, which will highlight Band Day activities on Saturday. Several high school bands will perform with the storied Blue Band and the UMass Minuteman Marching Band pre-game in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Unrivaled Band Jam will begin at 2 p.m. in the Jordan Center. There is no admission fee.

Welcome to the Gameday Preview for week four matchup against UMass.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10323164.jpeg1. So much has been written about the talent and skill level of sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg. And it is deservedly so. Hackenberg is an incredibly gifted athlete with all the things you look for in an elite quarterback. But his leadership and maturity level for a player his age cannot be overstated enough. Sure, Hackenberg has already etched his place in the Penn State record book with a plethora of accolades, but his demeanor in the huddle, leadership on and off the field and poise are all attributes that a coach cannot teach a player. Hackenberg has been terrific during the first three games of the season, throwing for 1,082 yards and four touchdowns. But his impact on the team goes far beyond the numbers and two game-winning drives in the final minutes.

2. Penn State's defense has been stout during the first three weeks of the season, allowing opponents just 12.3 points per game and 272.3 yards of total offense. A big piece to the Nittany Lions' success on the defensive side of the ball is the standout play from the group in the trenches. Junior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel has been the catalyst along the front line. The Michigan native enters the UMass game ranked fifth nationally with 7.0 tackles for loss. Zettel has been disruptive constantly during the first three weeks. He leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss and also has 3.0 sacks this season. What he lacks in prototypical defensive tackle size, Zettel makes up with a tenacious attitude, relentless motor and standout quickness. Keep a close eye on No. 98.

3. Prior to last week's game at Rutgers, the Nittany Lions had gained just one turnover during the first two games. However, the defense answered coordinator Bob Shoop's challenge by snagging five interceptions against the Scarlet Knights, including two from Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Trevor Williams. The five interceptions in the Rutgers game from the Nittany Lion are most by one team in a game this season. It was the first time Penn State had notched five interceptions in a game since 2004 against Michigan State. Turnovers will continue to play a paramount role in Penn State's success on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye on the turnover battle.

What to Watch For - UMass
10323188.jpeg1. Graduate student Blake Frohnapfel leads the UMass offense. A Marshall transfer (undergrad degree from Marshall), Frohnapfel was named the starting quarterback for the Minutemen during training camp. He has led UMass to 34.5 points per game during the last two games and an average of 358.5 yards. Frohnapfel has thrown for 619 yards and five touchdowns this season.  Wide receiver Tajae Sharpe and 6-foot-7 tight end Jean Sifrin are among Frohnapfel's top targets.

2. The UMass defense enters the week looking to take a step forward defending the run. The Minutemen have allowed an average of 218 rushing yards per game during the first three weeks. Sophomore linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox leads the nation in tackling at 14.0 hits per game. Santos-Knox had a career-high 15 stops at Vanderbilt last week. Senior Stanley Andre is the leader of the UMass defense. The fifth-year player has started in 27 consecutive games.

3. On the heels of a narrow loss at Vanderbilt last week, head coach Mark Whipple will take over the duties of special teams play for the Minutemen. Junior Trey Dudley-Giles is second the nation in kickoff return yardage (35.4 yards per return). Another player to keep an eye on when UMass takes the field on offense and special teams is hybrid fullback/tight end Rodney Mills. Mills has three touchdowns to start the season, including a 53-yard touchdown reception on a fake punt at Vanderbilt last week. Coach Franklin noted earlier in the week that UMass provides a number of different looks on offense. Mills is a player to keep an eye on in the formations.

The Final Word:
Dating back to 1887, Penn State's football tradition stretches 128 years. During that time frame, the Nittany Lions have played 153 different teams on the gridiron. UMass will become the 154th squad the Nittany Lions have played against when the two teams take the field on Saturday. Penn State is 112-33-8 in first games against opponents. The Minutemen mark the first new team on the Penn State schedule since the Lions played against Indiana State in 2011. Saturday's game also marks the second in a string of three-straight contests televised by Big Ten Network. Kickoff is slated for 4:01 p.m. in the first of two-straight Saturdays inside Beaver Stadium.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Celebrating a Storied Legacy of Women In Sports

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By Alexis Shelton, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's Dec. 21, 2013. Key Arena in Seattle, Washington, is filled with women's volleyball fans from all over the country. It's match-and-set point, as Penn State has come from behind in the fourth set against Big Ten rival Wisconsin looking for a victory.

Then, in one final play, Micha Hancock delivered an ace that put Penn State back on top of the volleyball world. Blue and white streamers filled the arena as the Nittany Lions stormed the court, winning their sixth National Championship. Months of hard work, dedication, and stress had finally paid off.

Still, even that success was more than months in the making. Penn State has been building its its legacy in women's sports, and adding to its rich history of success, for decades.

It all began in 1964, when the University introduced its nine intercollegiate athletic programs---basketball, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, rifle, softball and tennis. Later on that year, the field hockey team competed in the first game for women at the intercollegiate level as they defeated Susquehanna University 2-0. The game was played at Pollock Field, which is now the location of the Life Sciences Building.

Throughout the years, the University has gone on to win a number of honors and awards. Some of these include 19 NCAA National Championships and 56 Big Ten Championships.

The first female to win a national title was given Kathy Marra. Marra won the National Championship in bowling in 1970.

Years passed, as the Penn State women's intercollegiate teams continued to be successful. From Karen Schuckman (gymnastics) becoming the first All-American, to Brenda Stauffer (field hockey) becoming the first National Player of the Year, Penn State has always found a way to be among the elite in the women's sports world.

When mentioning field hockey, it's important to include one of the most successful players to ever wear a jersey. Charlene Morett-Curtiss is the only player in field hockey history to become a three-time All-American, as well as a two-time Olympian (1980, '84). Morett has been the head coach of the Nittany Lion field hockey team since 1986, compiling a 463-181-17 (.713) record.

"My fondest memories are those moments with the players. Just feeling their intensity and their passion and sharing that with them as an alum. Just having that same competitive spirit as a coach that they have a player and knowing that when we get on that field and in that locker room, it's us," said Morett-Curtiss.

In 1992, the field hockey team, as well as the women's volleyball team, both went on to win Penn State's first Big Ten Championships. Additionally, Fran McDermid (swimming) also was the first Nittany Lion to win the Big Ten Individual Championship the same year.

With many star athletes and Olympians today being proud to say they've attended Penn State, the University is looking forward to celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Women in Sport. The weekend celebration kicks off on Friday at 4 p.m. when women's soccer and volleyball play in Happy Valley.

"I just think it speaks so highly of Penn State University," Morett-Curtiss said. "Their vision and their respect and their celebration of all the female athletes that have participated here and the coaches is just an amazing thing.

Morett-Curtiss and the No. 6 field hockey team will open up their Big Ten play with a game against No. 18 Michigan on Friday at 4 p.m. At halftime, a ceremony will take place to honor field hockey legends. Additionally, ceremonies will take place at the women's soccer game (6 p.m. vs. Ohio State) and the women's volleyball match (7:30 p.m. vs. DePaul) on Friday.

Saturday at 1 p.m. will feature a tailgate at Medlar Field to celebrate the Women in Sport 50th Anniversary. During halftime of Saturday's football game against UMass, the several influential figures will be honored at midfield.

The celebration will end on Sunday, with a brunch to be held at 11 a.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center. Stay tuned for coverage from a special weekend for Penn State Athletics.

By Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2014 Penn State women's soccer team has started the season with the best record since the undefeated team of 2005. The impressive 6-1 start wouldn't be possible without the Nittany Lions' determination for success this season.

One player on the team who embodies that mindset both on and off the field is midfielder Emily Hurd. Returning for her second year as a team captain, she is one of the many upperclassman who are leading by example.

"The biggest difference this season is that the senior leadership is fantastic," Hurd said. "The upperclassmen have the drive and push to motivate the team and it creates this whole new environment."

Coming from redshirting her first season with the Lions to now being a leader on the team, Hurd is a player who demonstrates determination in all aspects of her life.

Dealing with a foot injury her first season, Hurd made it her goal to get better and play on Jeffery Field again.

"I went through a big struggle both on and off the field my first year due to an injury," said Hurd.

Through her dedication and passion for the sport, Hurd not only recovered but became a key player on the team.

"Having soccer being taken away also took part of my identity away," she said. "Recovering from that made me both stronger physically and mentally. That taught me to never take things for granted and that nothing is given to me."

Hurd takes every opportunity to succeed that she can, including fulfilling an internship at Beaver Stadium and making Academic All-Big Ten in 2012 and 2013.

"I've had a great academic career thanks to Penn State," said Hurd.

She finished her undergraduate program in only three years, graduating in May 2013 with her B.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences. Currently, Hurd is in Penn State's graduate program for Higher Education and pursue a career in university athletic administration.

Excelling in both soccer and school, Hurd is a role model for the entire team.

"Both on and off the field she has grown as a leader, and that's become her biggest asset to the team," said redshirt junior Britt Ecke

Part of what makes Hurd a great leader on the team is her consistent desire to improve. She is the type of player that is always working on getting better and motivating her team.

"She understands the importance of coming out to train and play every game. She understands that when there's a lull, it's her responsibility to pick things up, and she shoulders that responsibility really well," head coach Erica Walsh said. "As far as I'm concerned, she's the best left-sided player in the country."

Hurd plays a vital role in motivating the team's performance and also makes sure the team's energy is up. She is known as one of the most outgoing players on the team.

UMass Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Terry M. Smith

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10322810.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry M. Smith talked to the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions host UMass on Saturday at 4 p.m. (BTN). Take a look at a Q&A with Smith leading up to Saturday's home game.

Q: What have these first few months been like for you coaching back at your alma mater?
"It's been really, really exciting. You couldn't dream of such an outcome for myself career-wise. It's been an exciting opportunity for me to work with such a great staff. Obviously, coming back to Penn State has been so good for not only me, but my entire family, as well."

Q: What have you seen from this group of freshmen cornerbacks so far?
"I think we've got a group of tremendously talented freshmen at corner. They are all a little bit different. Amani (Oruwariye) is a big, long guy. Christian (Campbell) is kind of long and athletic. Grant (Haley) is more of a smaller, more explosive athlete. Daquan (Worley) is kind of that type of athlete, as well. They bring something different. I think they are all quality players for us. Clearly, Grant is having a really good freshman season so far. We got Christian in a little bit last week. Our plans are for him to have a little more action this week. They are all guys we think will be very successful in the program."

Q: How do you feel like your guys at corner have done at tackling so far this year?
"This past game, as a defensive unit, we had some struggles with missing some tackles. The running back we played this past week was a pretty good running back. We do tackling drills each day on Tuesday and Wednesday when we are in pads. We do some angle tackles, some sideline tackles, some form-fit tackles. It's an area of emphasis for us. As we move forward into the heart of the Big Ten season, the backs are bigger and stronger, so we can't afford to have missed tackles."

Q: Were you frustrated at all during the first couple weeks not coming away with interceptions? And then after last week, what was the feeling after getting so many?
"We weren't frustrated. You are calculated as to when you have your opportunities. The critical piece is when you get your hands on the ball, you have to make the play that is there. You've got to be patient. Sometimes it's there; sometimes it's not. Obviously, as the season has gone on, we are getting better. We are a lot better this week than we were UCF week. That's a critical piece. Are we improving week to week? And right now, we are making those improvements, and hopefully we'll take another step this week."

Q: What can last week do for Trevor Williams and what level is he playing at right now?
"Tremendous confidence boost for him. Two interceptions. He had a tremendous night. Obviously, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. I think this could take Trevor to another level. He's been practicing really well for the last few weeks. It wasn't any surprise that he played well because he has been practicing well. I think Trevor could potentially be one of the top corners in the league. Obviously, he has to continue to get better and provide consistency at the corner. But we are very happy with his approach to practice and games each day."

Q: What did you learn at your last stop coaching wide receivers that has helped you in teaching your guys at corner?
"The biggest thing is route recognition. When guys have certain splits or when guys take certain stems towards our cornerbacks, I can tell our guys basically on the first three steps that it is one of three routes. And then based on the next couple steps, I can tell my guys (what I think is coming). So, we've got better route recognition of what is coming at you, so it can be easier for our guys to know what is coming and defend. The route recognition is first and foremost."

Q: What are some of the nuances that go with blitzing from the cornerback position?
"Well, depending on what the blitz is - if it's just a corner crasher coming off the side, you've got to time it. You've got to disguise your look. Once you show it, they will slide the protection to you and you will have a big 330-pound tackle on a corner, which isn't fair. So, we work on our hedge and release. There are also certain blitzes where we send a backer up the field and a corner comes underneath. We work on that technique, as well. It takes a lot of time and effort at practice to get it right. We've got to make sure we get it right because each Saturday it has to be perfect to execute and be right."

Q: What have you seen from the UMass offense and the passing game in particular?
"They do some things that make you think about what you are doing. They want you to prepare for a lot of different looks. They do some formational things with unbalance. They do a little bit of wildcat, just enough to make you prepare for it. They've got a big, strong quarterback behind center. They've got three good targets that they want to get the football to. So, they try to make plays to get those three guys the football. And they do it in some unorthodox ways with bubble screens, some motions, some shifts and just a lot of things you have to prepare for. They are just looking for that one breakdown to exploit."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Women's intercollegiate athletics have come along way over the last 50 years. The first women's intercollegiate athletic contest took place at Pollock Field, home of the Nittany Lion field hockey team. Over the past 50 years, the Penn State field hockey program has grown in both success and prowess in the NCAA and Big Ten. Here's a look back over the past 50 years of one of Penn State's first women's sports team.

1960s: intercollegiate athletics are no longer just played by men...

-1964: Penn State's field hockey team began its first season. Pat Seni coached the team.

-The Nittany Lions went 4-0 that season.

-The Nittany Lions appeared in four USFHA field hockey tournaments.

1970s:  Building A Program

-1970-1973: Tonya Toole coached the Nittany Lions for four seasons. Under Toole's direction, Penn State won 13 games.

-1972: Title IX is passed and gender equality is now required in education and athletics.

-1974: Coach Gillian Rattray took over the helm as the head coach of Penn State's field hockey program. The Nittany Lions closed out the 70s with a record of 59-21.

-Five different Nittany Lions were named NFHCA All-Americans (starting in 1977), including current head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss three times.

1980s: The Nittany Lions Gain A Foothold in Collegiate Field Hockey

-Coach Rattray led the Nittany Lions for seven more seasons and celebrated the only undefeated season in 1980 (22-0-2), and the first AIAW national championship. Penn State also won the 1981 AIAW National Championship.

-1980: Broderick Award given to Jeannie Fissinger.

-1981: Broderick Award given Candy Finn.

-1982: Field hockey player Brenda Stauffer was named National Player of the Year. Penn State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance.

-1984: Stauffer, Chris Larson and Charlene Morett earned the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Ca.

-1987: Former Nittany Lion and Olympian, Morett, took over the helm as Penn State's head coach.

-Penn State had nine different first team All-Americans in the 80s.

1990s: Dominating the A-10, the Big Ten and the NCAA

-1990: The Nittany Lions won the A-10 Conference and represented Penn State in the NCAA semi-finals.

-1992: Penn State joins the Big Ten conference and finish with an 8-2 conference record.

-1993: Morett-Curtiss' Nittany Lions won Penn State's first Big Ten Championship and made another appearance in the NCAA semi-finals.

-1995-1998: Penn State is crowned either Big Ten Conference regular season or tournament champion each year.

-Penn State had 16 NFHCA first team All-Americans in the 90s and made the NCAA Tournament each season.

2000s: Making It To The Finals...

-2002: The Nittany Lions make it to the final round of the NCAA Championships for the first time.

-2005: The Nittany Lions win another Big Ten Championship

-2007: Morett-Curtiss' Nittany Lions make it to the final round of the NCAA Championships again.

-2008: Another Big Ten Championship is added to the list.

-Eight different individuals were named first team All-Americans in the 90s. 

2010s: WE ARE...not finished yet

-2011-2013: The Nittany Lions have successfully won either the Big Ten regular season or tournament championship, each year. In 2012, they won both.

-One NFHCA All-American.

-As of 2014, there have been 15 different former Nittany Lions represented on the U.S. National Team.



















VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - UMass Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin provided an update to the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex. The Nittany Lions host UMass on Saturday for an 4 p.m. kick on BTN.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Koudys, Jensen, Glen: Trio of Leaders for Penn State Hockey

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10321310.jpegBy Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Wearing the "C" or "A" in hockey means something much more significant than donning an extra letter on the front of a jersey. These letters represent ideals such as leadership, experience, strength and dedication.

As announced in June, defenseman Patrick Koudys will serve as captain this season for Penn State, while defenseman Nate Jensen and forward David Glen will both reprise their assistant captains roles.


The three Penn State hockey captains were chosen based on a team vote at the conclusion of the Spring 2014 semester. The results were then taken to the coaching staff to both approve the team's selections and finalize the decision.

"It's a huge honor," said Koudys of his captaincy. "We had a great bunch of guys, so it's obviously a nice thing when a lot of the guys think that about you, but we've got a lot of guys who are in the locker room leading, so it's kind of easy for me.

During the 2013-'14 run, the Ontario-native blocked a team-high 79 shots and was one of only four Nittany Lions to compete in all 36 games. The 6-foot-3 defenseman also recorded a career-high eight points, tallying two goals and six assists on the season.

While this may be Koudys' first year as a captain for the Blue and White, two veterans join him. This season will mark Jensen's third and Glen's second consecutive year as assistant captains.

Glen and Jensen both appeared in 32 and 28 games, respectively. Jensen's eight missed games were all due to injury. The defenseman totaled 10 points with a career-high three goals, one of which was the first ever scored at Pegula Ice Arena.

"I lead by example," said Jensen. "I go out there every day and work hard, and hopefully the younger guys follow me, see what I do. "

Three of Glen's four absences can be attributed to the bone marrow donation procedure he underwent in late January and early February. Throughout his 32 games, the forward accumulated a plus-three rating, earning him recognition as the sole Lion with a positive mark.

All three are ready to work together and help their team continue on the path of success this season.

"Koudys is our captain this year, and he does a great job," said Jensen. "He leads by example, and he has a voice to him too. Glen and I are just his disciples. We help him out whenever we can. Since he's still kind of new, we fill him in on some stuff, but we all work as a team really well. I think that's what makes our captains really great."


As a captain, there are a number of added responsibilities, one of which includes coordinating schedules with all student-athletes on the 27-man roster.

"I think a main part of it is organization," Koudys said. "I have to try to organize 26 guys and myself to be doing the same thing, whether it's on the ice or off the ice, especially now when the coaches aren't allowed on the ice. I try to get practices going and things like that, but like I said, we've got a great group of guys so I wouldn't say it's difficult by any means. Everyone's doing the right thing and trying to get better out there, so it's pretty easy for me."

Although the Penn State squad is mostly comprised of upperclassmen veterans, the captains still act as mentors. Koudys, Jensen and Glen are all people the rest of the team, including the three freshmen, can look to for guidance and advice.

"We kind of take care of the freshmen a little bit more," Jensen explained. "If they have any questions, we help them out. Other than that, if any of the guys have some questions outside the rink, or needs someone to talk to, we're always there. We're just kind of a big brother to lean on."

2014-'15 Expectations

With eight seniors, nine juniors and seven sophomores on the roster, 24 of the 27 student-athletes are returning members, which not only gives the Lions an added edge but also leadership that expands far past the three captains.

"Our whole senior class, and then even the juniors, we've got a lot of older guys," said Koudys. "Everyone is kind of a leader in their own way, whether it's on the ice or in the classroom. I think if you look around the room, everyone has certain qualities that you try to do and try to beat, and if everyone is doing that, we're doing just fine."

With the majority of last year's team still intact, the dynamic finish to the 2013-14 year and a thrilling performance in the Big Ten Tournament is still fresh in the minds of the Lions. Penn State hockey and its captains are ready to pick up where it left off.

"We need to build off last year," Koudys said. "I think we grew as a team, so we need to continue from where we finished and come back this year at that spot or better. I feel like we're in better shape than last year. Guys are working really hard right now, and I expect to win more games and go from there."

"With everyone coming back, we're looking to make some noise this year," added Jensen. "I'm not going to say a Big Ten Championship, but I don't think we're far from it. I think we're going to have a great year." 

2014 Opponent Previews - UMass

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10321001.jpegUMass | Beaver Stadium | 4 p.m. | Big Ten Network

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions return home this Saturday to host Massachusetts in the first ever meeting between the schools. Get to know the Minutemen in this week's scouting report.

Mark Whipple returned as head coach at UMass in 2014 after spending eight years as a coach in the NFL and a brief stint at the University of Miami. Whipple previously coached UMass from 1998-2003, which included three Atlantic 10 titles, three NCAA I-AA Tournament appearances and an NCAA I-AA National Championship in 1998. Whipple most recently was quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns from 2011-12. He has an overall record of 49-29 at UMass.

The Minutemen finished 1-11 and 1-7 in the Mid-American Conference in 2013, their second year as an FBS program. They returned 59 lettermen and 13 starters in 2014.

UMass is searching for its first win (0-3) after a close loss to Vanderbilt last week. The Minutemen gained 346 yards, including 258 passing, during a 34-31 loss in Nashville. Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel completed 17-of-34 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked three times. Running back Lorenzo Woodley gained 43 yards and scored two touchdowns on 22 carries. He also caught two passes for 241 yards. Tajae Sharpe caught eight passes for 73 yards, while Rodney Mills hauled in three receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns, including a 53-yard score on a fake punt in the first quarter. Kicker Blake Lucas hit a 32-yard field goal, but missed a 22-yard attempt as time expired.

The UMass defense allowed 310 yards, including 160 on the ground. Linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox recorded 15 tackles, three solo, and 0.5 TFL. Safety Joe Colton added 12 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a sack. Fellow safety Trey Dudley-Giles forced a fumble and picked off a pass. Dudley-Giles also gained 94 yards on two kick returns.

The Minutemen are averaging just over 25 points per game and 306 yards of total offense. Frohnapfel has completed 48 percent of his passes for 619 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.

Three different running backs have more 20 carries this season. Redshirt junior Jamal Wilson has 88 yards and a touchdown. Freshman J.T. Blyden has 68 yards. Woodley, a 6-foot, 212-pound sophomore, has 53 yards and two touchdowns. All three backs are also active in the passing game, as Wilson has five receptions, Blyden has three and Woodley has two.

Sharpe leads the receiving corps with 246 yards and a touchdown on 15 catches. He is averaging 16.4 yards per catch. Mills has 112 yards and three scores on five receptions and junior Jean Sifrin has five catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns.

The UMass offensive line features three sophomores and two juniors.

Opponents are averaging 35 points and 431.7 yards against the UMass defense, including 218 yards per game on the ground. The Minutemen use a 3-4 defense.

Nose tackle Daniel Maynes leads the Minutemen with four tackles for loss. He has 17 total tackles.

Santos-Knox, a junior, leads the team with 42 tackles (11 solo). He also has three tackles for loss and a sack. Fellow linebacker Kassan Messiah has 25 tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a sack.

Colton, a junior, leads the secondary with 34 tackles, 13 solo, and 3.5 for loss, including a sack. Cornerback Randall Jette has 18 tackles and leads the team with two interceptions. Dudley-Giles has 16 tackles and an interception.

Lucas has connected on two-of-four field goal attempts with a long of 34 yards. Punter Brian McDonald is averaging 39 yards per kick, placing five inside the 20-yard line. Dudley-Giles is one of the most dangerous returners in the nation, averaging 35 yards per return. He ranks second in the nation in kick return yards.

What Mark Whipple is saying about Penn State:

"Bill O'Brien and I are close and I saw every game last year. Penn State was great to my son, Austin, so I was there a lot last year. They have great kids and it is a great place. Penn State is a great place to play and has tremendous history." 

"(Hackenberg) is an awesome kid. To see the way he's taken the team on his shoulders, the way he played all last year and the way he handles not only success but also the way he handles failures... Hackenberg is a winner and I couldn't say enough about him. I've seen him play every single game, I've seen his practice habits, seen him in the meeting rooms, I've seen the way he's worked with Bill O'Brien and he's the real deal.

"Austin Johnson is a great player and Anthony Zettel is playing out of his mind. Deion Barnes is a great player who can rush the passer. I think their whole defense is set up and Bob Shoop has done a great job. They've got the guys up front and they play coverage very well, but those guys up front are making it happen." 

Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by Student Writer Paul Marboe.

National Champions Take on Stadium Clean Up

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IMG_4846.JPGBy Jennifer Hudson, Student Athlete Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Bright and early on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 7 a.m., the men's and women's national championship fencing team took on their first challenge of the year - cleaning Beaver Stadium.

It is a continuing tradition that the fencing team cleans half of the stadium right after the first home football game.

In return for their hard work, the team gets money to fund the season for travel and other events.

Unlike other varsity teams, fencing does not have many sponsors to help fund traveling during the year, which is why stadium clean up is mandatory for the entire team.

Although it is not a group favorite, it does give the chance for a little team bonding before the season begins.

"It was an excellent team building exercise," said sophomore epee fencer, Conor Shepard. "It's been a tradition for a long time, and does an amazing job of bringing all classes together in order to get to know each other."

The upperclassmen will take a section to sweep next to freshmen to show them the best way for clean up. The coaches will also come around every so often to let team members know if they missed any piece of trash, any little wrapper.

"It was a good way to build discipline for the whole team," said freshmen saber fencer, Andrew Mackiewicz. "The freshman fencers were able to connect with the upperclassmen by helping each other out which is crucial for the upcoming season."

Communication during the whole process was key for the team.

With half the stadium to clean, it was important to see who needed help or who needed motivated to get everyone back on their feet in order to finish the task as soon as possible. Just like if it were a meet, it was important for everyone to be focused and in it together, no matter how mundane and tiring the task.

The team worked together in pairs, taking sections at a time to look for any little Minute Maid Lemonade wrapper and every popcorn kernel.

Seven hours later, the fencers were cleared to leave the spotless cleanup site.

With the joyous news, some of the team went with the coaches to get pizza, while others went home to shower and sleep.

Everyone was happy that this year's clean up was completed and some of the seniors rejoiced a little more.

"It was my last time," said senior saber fencer, Michael Brand. "It makes reality set in that I'm graduating this year."

The next task for the Penn State fencing team is to train hard for its first meet of the season, The Nittany Lion Cup Open on Oct. 4 and 5 at the White Building.

Jennifer Hudson is a junior on the women
's fencing team.

Success Begins with Guidance

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10320311.jpegBy Samantha DelRosso, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State women's volleyball team is off to a great start this season, with much of its success coming from the novice players. But the team's success isn't possible without a veteran corps of talent.

The success begins with the veterans leading the way.

Playing on a defending national championship team is a big adjustment from high school volleyball, so how did the freshmen adjust so quickly? They have guidance from the defending national champs themselves.

Head coach Russ Rose said this guidance is "tradition." The responsibility to be a good role model and provide good direction is something that Rose expects out of the older players.

Veterans like seniors Dominique Gonzalez, Nia Grant, Lacey Fuller and Micha Hancock, along with junior Megan Courtney, are being challenged to teach the younger players what it takes to work hard, recognize challenges, and take care of themselves and their academic responsibilities.

Gonzalez said the veteran leadership is crucial to the team's success.

She said that her goal is to ensure in the younger players what is going to happen before each play.

"[We] make sure they know the rotation if we're changing it up, explain to them which players like to hit which shot, and [tell them] where they need to stand," Gonzalez said. "If something doesn't go right in the play, [we're] not jumping down people's throats. [We're] being more helpful rather than critiquing people." 

Courtney has also been leading the younger players by encouraging them to take big swings and showing them that if the block is there, she will be there to cover them.

She is also trying to instill in the freshmen that they can make errors. Courtney said telling them it's OK to make errors has allowed them to take big swings without fear. She said that is the reason why the young players have been so successful.

"It's a great thing for them to be able to have, just knowing that we've got their backs and that we'll take the pressure off of them by putting the pressure on us," Courtney said.

Setter Micha Hancock, a prominent leader on the team, has been in the same shoes that the current freshmen are in now. The older players taught her as a freshman and helped shape her into the player she is today. And Rose hopes that she can do the same for the freshmen this season.

"She knows so much of how I'll judge senior year is how she can lead the youngsters," Rose said.

For a freshman like Haleigh Washington, advice from older players is an important factor in her success. In just a few months, they have taught Washington many things, but above all else, they have taught her to always give it her all.

"Whether it's in practice, passing back and forth with a teammate, or serving before practice," Washington said. "Always going hard."

In her collegiate-debut last weekend at Villanova, the veteran players helped Washington figure out what was going on. She said the older players got her into the flow of things. During practice, they make sure she knows the rules, where to stand, how loud she needs to be, and what's happening.

The No. 3-ranked Nittany Lions have a busy weekend beginning on Friday, as they take on Eastern Illinois and DePaul. On Saturday, the Lions will face UIC and East Carolina.

The team has three matches in a very short amount of time (4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday and 9:00 a.m. Saturday). Rose would like to see the team play at a high level despite the hectic schedule.

"You don't want to give games away. I'm not just going to play everybody, just so they have a chance to play," Rose said.  "I want us to play at a high level, whoever is on the floor, and respect the opponent and respect the game. That's always something we want to continue."

This weekend is also the celebration of 50 years of women's athletics at Penn State. During two of the matches this weekend, on Friday and Saturday evening, former Penn State women's volleyball players that now coach Division I teams will be honored.

With less than two weeks until conference play begins, the Nittany Lions are gearing up to compete in the rigorous Big Ten. The team's first conference match is next Wednesday at Wisconsin. The veteran players will have to step up even more to help the freshmen when conference play begins.

"We are a work in progress. I don't think we're a finished product and I think we will find a lot of challenge, maybe not as much this weekend as we will once we hit Big Ten play," Rose said.

The veterans have a very important role on this team. They are expected to perform at the caliber of a national championship team, while making sure the younger players perform well by guiding them in practices and matches.

Much of the team's success must be attributed to the older players. Their guidance, advice and leadership is driving the team to match wins. 

VIDEO: One-on-One with Dominique Gonzalez - Sept. 17

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with senior libero Dominique Gonzalez to recap the first three weeks of 2014 and look ahead to a busy weekend in Rec Hall.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Mikey Minutillo was always supposed to be the difference maker.

After a 2013 season in which six of the Penn State men's soccer team's 13 wins came by a score of 1-0, the San Jose, Calif. native's return to the lineup after a missed season was expected to be the spark that ignited the Nittany Lions offense.

Tuesday night against Saint Francis, Minutillo was more of an explosion than a spark. The senior scored twice, once in the first half and once in the second, as Penn State rolled to a 3-0 victory over the Red Flash.

"[Scoring twice] is awesome and hopefully it's going to carry over into the next game," Minutillo said. "I just read the play on both of them, made good runs into the end of the box and got on the end of some good [passes]."

Early on, it was clear that Minutillo was locked in and focused, but whether he would end up on the stat sheet at the end of the game was not as certain.

Twice in the first half between the 27:00 mark to the 24:00 mark, Minutillo had great goal-scoring opportunites stymied by Saint Francis goalie Andrew Garcia.

"I think I should have put one of those away," Minutillo said. "If you put your head down you're never going to score. You've got to keep getting on the end of things."

With plenty of time still remaining, Minutillo continued plugging away. Less than five minutes later, the 6-foot-1 forward found himself on the receiving end of a pass from Drew Klingenberg near the left side of the box, though at angle that seemed implausible to score from.

However tricky it seemed, it wasn't too tough for Minutillo. He fired a shot by Garcia that ricocheted off the right post and into the net.

"Drew played a good ball and I just took a touch forward to eliminate the defenders," Minutillo said. "The defender might have got a touch on it [after I shot it] but it went to the back post, hit it and went in."

In the second half, it would take Minutillo less than eight minutes to turn what could have been another low scoring nail biter into an eventual rout, knocking a perfect pass from Riley Grant into the net. Brandon Savino would later add the first goal of his Nittany Lion career to put the icing on the cake.

While the second goal was a big of moment for Minutillo, who registered his first multi-goal game as a Nittany Lion, it was even bigger for Grant. The assist gave the sophomore his first collegiate point.  

"The play by Riley was absolutely nothing short of remarkable," head coach Bob Warming said. "I told Riley in front of the team at halftime, 'you're not in for your heading ability, you're not in because you're a great defender, you're in because you're incredible on the ball...go get the ball, do something with it every time you get.' He was unreal, I thought he was terrific tonight."

As for Minutillo, Warming credited the senior's big night to a positional adjustment made before the game.

For the most of the first five games of the season, Warming placed Minutillo at the top of the Nittany Lion offense as a forward, where his job was to post up the opposing team's center back.

Looking to better utilize his speed and athleticism by getting him into open space, the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year moved Minutillo back to attacking midfield. Obviously, the results were splendid.

"Mikey had been so caught up - and it was my fault - about posting up at the top that it hurt his game," Warming said. "Now he came back in the midfield, got a ball, laid it off and showed up someplace else...they couldn't find him. That made a big difference in the game and in his play."

Though the goals were just Minutillo's second and third of the season, Warming dismissed the notion that the performance was a needed confidence boost for the fifth-year player.

One of the most determined players on the team, Minutillo never needed more confidence. According to Warming, he just needed a change to get him going.

"I don't think Mikey has ever lacked confidence," Warming said. "He believes in himself, I believe in him and I've believed in him ever since I had him in camp when he was 13 years old. He's a great talent."

VIDEO: UMass Week Player Q&As - Brandon Bell & DaeSean Hamilton

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with linebacker Brandon Bell and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton leading up to the UMass game.

Week Four Press Conference Roundup - UMass Week

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10317801.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - September 16

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions return home on Saturday for a week four matchup against UMass in Beaver Stadium (4 p.m. on BTN).

Head coach James Franklin previewed the matchup against the Minutemen on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room. Franklin reviewed Saturday's 13-10 win over Rutgers before shifting gears into conversation about UMass.

"Overall, I say it was a great team victory, and by that I mean that's the offense, that's the defense, that's special teams, that's the coaches, that's the trainers, doctors, that's the administration; that's everybody that has a part, academic support, great team victory, really proud of the guys for that. Really pleased with how they persevered in a really difficult, hostile environment," Franklin said.

The Nittany Lions lifted and practiced on Sunday afternoon before Monday's off day. Practice preparations for UMass resumed on Tuesday afternoon. Two big areas that Coach Franklin said are points of emphasis this week focus on protecting the quarterback and establishing the running game. Communication is key for both.

"I think it really comes down to our communication and coordination up front, making sure that all five or six guys, depending on the protection or the play, are all on the same page and working together and that has not been case so far," Franklin said. "So we're going to make sure that's happening. That's time, that's chemistry. That's all those things that have to happen."

Defensively, the Nittany Lions are coming off a stellar second-half effort against Rutgers. Penn State held the Scarlet Knights to just three first downs in the final two quarters. The success on the defensive side of the ball begins with the game plans put forth by defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and the staff. The players talk constantly about how familiar they are with the opponent each week. Shoop does a terrific job of preparing for the week's foe, and the Nittany Lions have entered the first three games with great confidence.

"I've been on the head set with the defense where Bob's called out 75 percent of the plays before they have been run," Franklin said. "He's called out, we are going to get an interception here and things like that. It's pretty impressive at times, it really is. And I think that confidence that he has coming into the game, because of the amount of time he's put in, spills over to our players, and I think the same thing with our staff."

Defensive tackle Anthony Zettel has been a big key to the defense's success during the first three weeks. Zettel leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 7.0. Zettel was a quick player at the defensive end position prior to this season. By moving to an inside tackle position, Zettel is able to use the speed advantage to his favor on every snap.

"He's got a tremendous motor," Franklin said. "He's got really good quickness. He's really sudden off of the ball. His spin move I think is really, really good, which is one of his big plays last week he made off of his spin move. His tenacity is unbelievable."

Saturday's game will mark the first meeting between Penn State and UMass.

Press Conference Notes
- Coach Franklin announced that the team's internal players of the week for the Rutgers game were Christian Hackenberg and Bill Belton on offense and Trevor Williams and Anthony Zettel on defense. Grant Haley was the honoree on special teams.

- Franklin on the UMass offense:
"On offense, Mark Whipple, the offensive coordinator, five starters, they run a multiple offense. They are unorthodox, as well, in a lot of ways, utilize a lot of different formations, misdirection and deception. They scored over 30 points in their lost two games against FBS opponents."

- Franklin on the UMass defense:
"Defensive notes, returning six starters, they place a base 3-4 defense. Defense runs very well. They play really hard. They utilize, really, an unorthodox scheme and concepts, and I think that's kind of part of their plan. They are trying to make up for some challenges that they have by being unorthodox. A lot of different fronts, a lot of different pressures and a lot of different looks at the secondary."

- Franklin on the UMass special teams:

"UMass, special teams, from what I understand, Coach Whipple will be running the special teams this week and for the remainder of the season. We've got to do a better job with our kickoffs and be more consistent. They do have a really good returner and we need to be aware of that. No. 9, Trey Dudley-Giles, 5-11, 282-pound junior is doing both their kick return and punt return. Punt return is averaging over 15 yards and kick return is averaging over 35 yards. So there's no doubt he's a playmaker and we have got a tremendous challenge."

- The Penn State wide receiver duo of Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton were added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List on Tuesday.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Scoring early is one of the most vital weapons in any sport. From a touchdown on the opening drive to a quick pin, the percentage of teams who win due to an early score is significantly higher than those who come from behind.

The New York Times conducted a study [] on this statistic while looking at the NHL playoffs. The study found that teams who score first have an 83% chance of winning.

The Penn State field hockey team proved that statistic wrong this weekend, as they came from behind to beat both the No. 14 Princeton Tigers and the Lafayette Leopards.

After early goals were scored in each game, offensive leadership from Taylor Herold and Jenna Chrismer helped the Nittany Lions earn a pair of wins this weekend.

First Half Tiger Goal Ignites Second Half Nittany Lion Offense

From the sound of the first whistle, any spectator could see that this matchup was going to be a hard fight. Most of the play between the No. 6 Nittany Lions and the No. 14 Tigers was centered at the middle of the field. Heading into the final minutes of the first half, Princeton's Ryan McCarthy received a pass in the center of Penn State's circle and fired a shot into the back of the net. While the Nittany Lions outshot the Tigers 6-3 in the first half, they were unable to answer and headed to the locker room trailing 1-0.

"It's always disappointing to give up an early goal like that," coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "In the locker room I just kept telling them that they needed to get hungry and put the press on."

At the start of the second half, you could hear Coach Morett-Curtiss chanting from the sideline, "play smart!" Her Nittany Lions listened.

The first of five goals came from Chrismer. After taking two shots on the cage in just one minute, Chrismer finally found the back of the net, tying the score. The Nittany Lions found the back of the cage just two minutes later when Herold blasted a corner drive from the top of the circle. No coach could draw up a corner play that was better executed than Herold's shot. It was flawless.

"I practice that shot constantly," Herold said. "I have been working on that shot a lot lately. That was the first time I was able to put one of those in this season. It was such a relief. I was so happy to finally hit the back of the cage."

Two minutes later, the Nittany Lions notched another score when Carly Celkos tapped in a pass from Chrismer. The Nittany Lions were up 3-1 with 27 minutes left to play.

"During the second half Coach [Morett-Curtiss] was telling us we needed to be more hungry in the circle," Herold said. "All I was thinking is that we needed to get a shot off as quick as possible. It doesn't matter what kind of a shot it is."

What Herold did next was almost unbelievable.

The next Nittany Lion goal deserves a spot on the list of "how did that go in" shots. Chrismer brought the ball into the circle. She dribbled in front of the cage and managed to pull Princeton's keeper out to the stroke mark. Chrismer's shot was deflected, but Herold intercepted the ball and reversed chipped it, while on her knees, into the top corner of the cage. As the crowd erupted and her fellow Nittany Lions jumped on her in celebration, Herold lifted the score to 4-1.

Herold's speed is one of the many weapons of the Nittany Lion offense. Whenever she receives a ball in open space, it is almost guaranteed that she will either make it into the circle or gain enough yardage for the Lions to make it into the circle on the next play.

"When I see open space I am just going as fast as I can," Herold said. "My favorite moment of a game is when I have open space."

The Tigers managed to score another goal, but Herold found the back of the net again, after receiving another pass from Chrismer. The duo pulled the goalie out again, and was able to lift the ball over her pads into the back of the net. Herold's shot lifted Penn State to a 5-2 victory over Princeton and her first hat-tick of her career.

"We wanted to put a strong press on." Morett-Curtiss said. "Jenna [Chrismer] and Taylor [Herold] are just great goal scorers and they took advantage of those opportunities. It was just a great second half."

Nittany Lions Come From Behind, Again

The Nittany Lions were trailing 1-0 after five minutes of play in Sunday's contest against the Lafayette Leopards.

But, the Nittany Lions had been in that position before.

"We knew that we needed to get down in the other end," Chrimser said. "We needed to put pressure on and take shots on goal."

The Leopards held onto their 1-0 lead for the next 10 minutes. But after a string of Penn State shots and corners, Emilee Ehret successfully knocked in a rebound shot, tying the score. Just over a minute later, Chrismer found the back of the cage, tapping in another goal off of a rebound shot.

Five minutes later, Chrismer received a pass from Laura Gebhart at the far end of the circle. Again, this was one of those shots that rarely make it to the back of the cage but Chrismer fired off a drive and lifted the Nittany Lions over the Leopards 3-1 before the half.

For twenty minutes after the half, the Nittany Lions pressed the Leopard's defense. The Nittany Lions took nine shots on goal, but were unable to capitalize off of their scoring opportunities. Gebhart lifted the score to 4-1 when she dribbled into the circle and fired off a shot. The Leopard's keeper blocked the shot, but Gebhart successfully tapped in a shot off a rebound. Three minutes later, Kirsten Gochnauer found the back of the net for the first time in her career, lifting the Nittany Lions to a final score of 5-1.

The Dynamic Scoring Duo

Over the course of four seasons, Chrismer and Herold have aided the Nittany Lions' offense with both speed and play making. Just this weekend, the duo contributed to eight of Penn State's ten goals. In the game against Princeton, Chrismer assisted each of Herold's scores, a trend we will likely see for the rest of the season.

"Taylor [Herold] and I have been connected since freshman year," Chrismer said. "We are always looking for each other. It's great."

"We know where each other is going to be," Herold said. "Since our freshman year we have scored tons of goals together; we plan on continuing that this season."

Looking Ahead...

The Nittany Lions open their Big Ten schedule next weekend, at home, against longtime rival Michigan. The Wolverines are 4-2 heading into this weekend's matchup.

"Michigan is a tough, tough team," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "When two Big Ten teams go at it, you never know what is going to happen. It's going to come down to the wire. We are looking forward to it."




Monday Notebook: Lions Set to Return Home

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10313503.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Having played two of the first three weeks on the road, the Nittany Lions return home on Saturday for the first of two-straight games in Beaver Stadium.

Penn State (3-0) will face off with UMass (0-3) for the first time in program history at 4 p.m. (BTN) on Saturday afternoon.

A gritty performance from the Nittany Lion offense and a stifling second-half defensive effort fueled the Nittany Lions to a dramatic 13-10 victory at Rutgers on Saturday. The Nittany Lions only led for 73 seconds in the primetime victory, but the group again illustrated an ability to make winning plays when it had to.

Junior cornerback Trevor Williams was a key figure in another standout effort from the Nittany Lion defense. Williams hauled in two interceptions and finished with five tackles in the victory. For his efforts, Williams garnered Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career on Monday.

Williams and the Nittany Lion defense held Rutgers to just three first downs and 95 yards during a scoreless second half for the Scarlet Knights. Additionally, Penn State forced five turnovers in the victory.

Saturday's game marks the final non-conference matchup until mid-November when the Nittany Lions take on Temple.

Defense Among Nation's Best
Three games into the 2014 season, the Penn State defense is among the nation's top units in three major statistical categories. Penn State is seventh in the country in rushing defense at 68.3 yards per game allowed. The Lions are 11th in scoring defense (12.3 ppg) and 13th in total defense (275.7 ypg). Thanks to five interceptions on Saturday night, Penn State is also sixth in the nation in passes intercepted.

Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions are among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:

QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is sixth in the nation in passing yards (1,082) and seventh in the nation in passing yards per game (360.7 ypg). He leads the Big Ten in both of those categories. He is 12th nationally in completions per game at 26.33. Hackenberg is eighth nationally in total offense (367.7).

WR Geno Lewis - Lewis ranks fifth in the nation in receiving yards and tops the Big Ten with 380 on the season. He is ninth nationally and second in the Big Ten with 126.7 yards per game.

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is 13th nationally (second in the Big Ten) in receiving yards with 337. He ranks seventh in the nation and first in the Big Ten with 8.7 receptions per game.

DT Anthony Zettel - Zettel leads the Big Ten and is fourth in the nation with 2.3 tackles for loss per game.

Final Numbers

Take a look through some standout numbers from the Big Ten opener at Rutgers.

4,000 - Christian Hackenberg became the 10th quarterback in Penn State history to reach 4,000 career yards. Hackenberg reached the figure just 15 games into his college career.

100 - The wide receiver duo of DaeSean Hamilton and Geno Lewis both eclipsed 100 yards in a game for the second time this season on Saturday. The last time two Penn State receivers both had 100 yards in multiple games was in 1994 when Bobby Engram and Freddie Scott had 100 yards in the same game three times.

95 - The Penn State defense limited Rutgers to just 95 total yards and three first downs in a scoreless second half on Saturday night.

73 - The Nittany Lions led Rutgers for 73 seconds.

13 - After trailing 10-0 at halftime, the Lions scored 13-unanswered points, including a game-winning touchdown from Bill Belton with 1:13 to play.

7 - Anthony Zettel has already equaled his season-high in TFL with seven hits for loss this season.

6 - Cornerback Christian Campbell became the sixth Penn State true freshman to make his debut when he played in the first half at Rutgers.

5 - The Nittany Lions tallied five interceptions on Saturday. The last time Penn State had at least four interceptions in a game was at Michigan State in 2005.

5 - Five days remain until the Nittany Lions meet UMass.

Rutgers Extended Game Highlights

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lions Triumphant at Rainy Spiked Shoe Invitational

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10312949.jpegBy Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion cross country teams dominated on a cool, rainy Saturday morning, as both the men's and women's squads took the winning titles at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational for the first time since 2003.

The men finished with a total team score of 41, topping No. 8 Syracuse, which finished second with 47 points.

The men's team had a big boost from senior Matt Fischer. Fischer scored an individual victory, marking the second-straight year that a Nittany Lion has scored the individual title. Glen Burkhardt (4), Robby Creese (8), and Wade Endress (10) also played big roles for the team by finishing in the top 10.

"I think, finally, we can say that we have some really good distance depth with this team and that these guys are ready to compete with some of the best teams in the nation," said Fischer. "We wanted to go out there and have fun and feel out the season a little bit. I think we did a great job as a team and I couldn't be more excited about where everyone's [fitness level] is at."

The Penn State women finished with 27 points, defeating the No. 13 Syracuse women who came in second place with a score of 38. The Nittany Lions had four women finish within the top 10 runners, including freshman Elizabeth Chikotas in third, senior Leigha Anderson (4), freshman Jillian Hunsberger (5) and junior Tori Gerlach (9).

"We really worked together to get us through the first half of the race and it is a really cool experience to have teammates around you that make you believe in yourself. We worked hard and pushed and I felt really good going into those hills. [In those] last 1200 [meters] we were going all out," said Chikotas.

So far this season, the Nittany Lions have illustrated impressive teamwork. Their pack running strategy has improved greatly and their confidence in themselves and their team camaraderie is evident.

"On the women's side we had two freshmen in our top three, which is outstanding. Jillian [Hunsberger] and Elizabeth [Chikotas] have come in and they have been running and working hard and [today] they really showed that the hard work they put in this summer has paid off," said interim head coach John Gondak.

"Matt and the group ran as a pack through almost four miles of the race and it turned into a last mile and a half sprint [between] us, Georgetown, and Syracuse and our guys really responded well and pulled out a six-point victory. It was a great day for them," Gondak said.

In attendance at the Invitational was former Penn State head coach Harry Groves for whom the invitational is named after.

Groves remains an important part of Penn State and is definitely the program's No. 1 fan. He followed every race around in his golf cart cheering on the team and telling stories about his time at the University.

"Harry and I set up the course every year so we spend a lot of time out here together and he's still a very big, big part of Penn State Track and Field. We're excited that he comes to events like these," said Gondak.

The Nittany Lions will be rigorously training for the next three weeks before racing again on Oct. 3 when the team will travel to South Bend, Indiana, for the Notre Dame Invitational to officially begin their qualification races for the NCAA Championships.

Blue and White Swim Meet Strengthens Team Unity

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9745537.jpegBy Meghan Miceli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Split into two teams, Blue and White, the Nittany Lions had the opportunity to race at their annual intra-squad meet on Friday. Swimmers and divers were able to see how they stack up against their teammates as well as strengthen team camaraderie.

The meet also gave head coach Tim Murphy, diving coach Dennis Ceppa and assistant coaches Steve Barnes, Doak Finch and Liz McMillan an opportunity to gauge where their swimmers and divers stand early in the season. With nontraditional distances, the meet was geared towards team unity and wrapped up with a tailgate in the natatorium with friends, family and fans.

For Murphy, he gave the team three things to focus on: their teammates, being competitive and race preparation.

"Competitively, we saw some good races," Murphy said. "We saw some spunk from the younger group, but we still have work to do. Overall, I think they did a good job."

The Blue and White meet typically takes place further into the year, but with an earlier meet schedule in 2014, the Nittany Lions were ready to race.

"I think it was a great experience for our first meet, we really saw how we fit as one team and it was great to race each other this early on," said junior Kaitlin Jones. "We definitely were able to see how in and out of shape we are."

For senior captain, Nate Savoy, the Blue and White meet marked the beginning of his final season.

"Time has gone by fast," Savoy said. "But I'm excited to get my last season started and it was really good to have an opportunity to race this early in the year."

When asked about his thoughts on the overall meet, Savoy responded with enthusiasm.

"I was really proud of how much energy and effort the team brought to the table," said Savoy. "I'm excited to see this team grow over the upcoming months."

The strong team dynamic was evident to fans when the team lined the pool deck following the final relay to lead fans in a singing of the Alma Mater. The team then gathered in for a final "We Are! Penn State!" cheer before warming down.

With three weeks until their first official meet, coach Murphy is planning how the team will prepare for Georgia Tech.

"We'll be doing more racing in practice," Murphy said. "We have to keep pushing the envelope but I think they are in a good place for now."

The newly-installed endless pool system will also help the team prepare to take on the Yellow Jackets. Endless pools are much shorter than competition pools and use propellers to generate currents. The currents prevent the swimmer from reaching the end of the pool and can be adjusted based on skill level.

For the Nittany Lions, the new addition to the pool deck will allow coaches to break down stroke mechanics and correct technique.

"The current really lets them feel what they're doing," Murphy said. "They're so used to just going up and down the pool, it's a great tool."

While there are a few tweaks to be made, Murphy and his coaching staff are excited to get it up and running in the near future. But for now, it's business as usual for the swimmers and divers as they look towards their next opportunity to compete.

Catch the Nittany Lions in action on Friday, Oct. 3 at McCoy Natatorium as they kick off the official 2014-'15 season against Georgia Tech.

Hackenberg, Nittany Lions Cool Under Fire

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10310972.jpegVIDEO: Player Interviews at Rutgers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No matter how many times it happens, the magnitude of clockwork execution on a game-winning drive cannot be overstated.

The Nittany Lions added another chapter in a long list of dramatic victories on the road Saturday night when the offense marched 80 yards in 1:49 to knock off Rutgers, 13-10, in the first Big Ten game of the season.

Simply put, it did not matter to the Lions that they had played 56:58 without visiting the end zone, or that the largest crowd in Highpoint Solutions Stadium history was on its feet roaring.

Down 10-6 with 3:02 to play following a stand from the Nittany Lion defense, Christian Hackenberg led the offense onto the field in a very familiar set of circumstances - score a touchdown or the game was over.

Never rattled by the size of the stage, the stakes or having been sacked five times, the field general's message to the huddle was simple when the game was on the line.

"He basically said, 'let's make the plays we need to make and get out of here with a win,'" said junior Geno Lewis.

It's truly remarkable to think that Hackenberg is just 19. He has firm command of the huddle and the ultimate level of respect from his peers.

"The mindset when we came on the field was to follow Christian. He is the leader of the offense, and we know he can make big plays for us," senior Bill Belton said.

It took the Lions one play to move from their own 20-yard line to the Rutgers 27. Hackenberg found Lewis on a slant. Lewis split two Rutgers defensive backs and raced down the sideline in front of the Penn State bench.

"The first one was a high ball on a high slant, and I just made a play on it. I broke a couple tackles and tried to get as many yards as I could," Lewis said.

Three plays later, it appeared as though the Lions had scored a go-ahead touchdown on a pass to Jesse James. But a holding penalty nullified the big play.

Again, never fazed by the circumstances, Hackenberg and the Lions regrouped immediately. On the next play, Hackenberg dropped a ball in between the corner and safety along the Penn State sideline for a 23-yard connection with Lewis.

"We went right back to him. It was a double move. He beat the corner, and the safety was too deep," Hackenberg said. "He made a great catch, and then Bill (Belton) finished it off."

Belton scampered into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown two plays after Lewis hauled in his second crucial catch of the drive.

"The line did a great job on that play clearing everything out of the way," Belton said.

In all, the drive covered 80 yards in 1:49. Hackenberg finished 3-of-4 for 84 yards (due to penalties).

"Obviously, he is a talented guy. When you are getting pressured and sacked as many times as he is getting and the running game is not where we want it to be, it's a lot on his shoulders," head coach James Franklin said. "I think he's handled all of that really well. His poise is steady, and he is a lot more athletic than I think people realize."

Hackenberg played in just his 15th game as a Penn State student-athlete on Saturday night. He directed his fourth comeback win in the fourth quarter or overtime. The sophomore now has seven career 300-yard passing games, which is more than anyone in Penn State history. Additionally, Hackenberg eclipsed 4,000 passing yards with his 309-yard effort at Rutgers.

The numbers speak for themselves, but you can't teach the intangibles No. 14 brings to the field for the Blue and White.

"He is light years ahead of a true sophomore," Franklin said. "To me, you grade quarterbacks on third-down percentage, red zone and wins and losses. The wins and losses are the most important thing, and comeback fourth quarter drives. He's done those things. I'm really, really proud of him."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Press Conference at Rutgers

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews at Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Head into the media room to hear from head coach James Franklin following Saturday night's dramatic 13-10 victory at Rutgers.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks at Rutgers

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VIDEO: James Franklin Press Conference

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Hear from several Nittany Lions following Penn State's 13-10 road victory over Rutgers on Saturday night.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Photo Blog - Penn State at Rutgers

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Lions' Big Ten opener at Rutgers.


2014 Game Blog - Penn State at Rutgers

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all 12 games on the schedule. The Nittany Lions open the Big Ten schedule on the road against Rutgers under the lights.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State at Rutgers

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Senior Nittany Lions to Compete Final Spiked Shoe Invitational

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10302695.jpegBy Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's and women's cross country teams will have a chance to check out their regional and ranked rivals on Saturday when the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational kicks off at the Blue-White Golf Courses.

The Spiked Shoe Invitational will bring in a host of competitors in the region, including Pittsburgh (men and women), No. 20 West Virginia (women) and No. 29 Georgetown (men), along with the No. 8 Syracuse men's team and the 13th-ranked Syracuse women's team.

While national championship qualifying doesn't begin until October, the teams are entering this weekend with their notable relentless attitudes led by seniors like Matt Fischer and Abigail Benson, who are anxious to participate in the Spiked Shoe invitational for their final time.

Benson finished eighth last year and is entering this weekend with a new mindset and some new goals.

"I am excited about the competition this weekend. I am definitely in a better mind set this year than last. I believe [coach John] Gondak is an awesome coach and [he is] really taking the time to make us better runners," Benson said. "I believe in his coaching and [I] think this is going to be a good year and now that I am a senior I believe in myself. [I] want to make this year a great one."

Although he sat out last year, this weekend marks Fischer's third and final time running the Spiked Shoe Invitational. At his last Spiked Shoe, Fischer had the highest individual finish and with four-plus years of collegiate running experience under his belt, he is sure to be one of the top competitors of the weekend.

"At this point I know the course in and out really well and I'm going to start it off the right way. We want to go out there and have fun and use this as a confidence booster," said Fischer. "It's a good chance to see where the other teams are at and I'm going to use this as a step to get closer to achieving the goals I have set out for myself and my team."

After a successful weekend at the Dolan Duals, interim head coach John Gondak is excited to see some of the team's top athletes out for the first time this season.

"We will be seeing the full lineup for the first time and I'm excited to see them go up against some top teams and see where they can finish," said Gondak. "I was really impressed with the men's competitive attitude and fight [last weekend]."

There is no doubt that the Nittany Lions will benefit from racing on their home course. Both Benson and Gondak believe that the team will be able to carry a strong advantage from the beginning.

"Knowing the course is really an advantage and can go a long way. Being able to race on the course during the year really helps prepare us for the regional meet," said Gondak.

"If we can all just stay in a pack and work together, I feel that talking to each other and working off each other we can truly do some amazing things," said Benson. "It will be a fast first mile but after that if we pack up and work it, it should be fun."

The women will begin their 6k race at 10 a.m. and the men will run at 10:45 a.m., with a 5.2 mile run.

2014 Gameday Preview - Big Ten Opener at Rutgers

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GAME BLOG - Penn State at Rutgers

Game Notes | Gameday Central | Rutgers Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Press Conference Roundup | Coach Rahne Q&A | Player Q&A Video | PSU In The NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (2-0) will begin its 22nd season in the Big Ten on Saturday under the lights at Rutgers (2-0) in the conference's opening game of the 2014 season. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. with television coverage by BTN.

10299450.jpegThe Nittany Lions remained unbeaten with a 21-3 victory over Akron last week in the team's home opener. Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Junior Jesse James also hauled in a pair of touchdown catches to help fuel the Lions.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions were stout for the second-straight week. Through two games, the Lions have allowed just 93 rushing yards on 54 carries (1.7 ypc). Senior linebacker Mike Hull has been the catalyst of the defense. Hull is second in the Big Ten with 22 tackles in the first two games.

This will be the 25th meeting between Penn State and Rutgers. The border foes have not met since 1995 when the two squads clashed in Giants Stadium. Penn State leads the all-time series with Rutgers, 22-2. The two teams met annually from 1982-'95. Now, as members of the East Division, the Lions and Scarlet Knights will play every season.

Led by head coach Kyle Flood, Rutgers enters the week with a 2-0 mark after knocking off Howard (38-25) last week. The Scarlet Knights defeated Washington State (41-38) in Seattle during the opening weekend of the season. Flood is 9-0 as a head coach during the month of September. Rutgers officially became a member of the Big Ten Conference on July 1.

Penn State's Adam Taliaferro and Eric LeGrand of Rutgers, forever linked through horrific spinal cord injuries suffered on the field and their courageous recovery efforts that followed, will serve as honorary game captains on Saturday. Both players will be on the field for the pre-game coin toss.

Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the trip to Rutgers.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10299409.jpeg1. No game is more important to Coach Franklin and the Nittany Lions than the next game on the schedule. The mindset never changes for the Lions. Regardless of the week's news and events or the opponent, focus is solely on preparing to the best of the team's ability leading up to Saturday's game. This week, the coaching staff and players have worked to maximize each day with preparation for the conference opener. Corrections from the Akron game were made on Sunday afternoon. From there, the team has been focused on Rutgers and the challenges it presents on offense, defense and special teams. Coach Franklin said on Tuesday that the big thing he is looking for across the entire depth chart is consistency this week.

2. First and foremost on the defensive side of the ball, the Nittany Lions will be looking to defend the run like they have during the first two weeks. Forcing teams to be one-dimensional on offense is a big point of emphasis every time the Lions step onto the field. Nonetheless, Penn State will be looking to limit the big-play ability of Rutgers. Through two games, the Scarlet Knights have scored 10 touchdowns on offense. Five of the 10 visits to end zone have come on plays of 30 or more yards, including three scores of more than 50 yards. Limiting big plays when the Nittany Lions are on defense is a key area to watch. Last week, the Penn State defense did not allow a running play of more than 13 yards or a passing play of more than 23 yards against Akron.

3. The Nittany Lions enter the third game of the season looking to take better care of the football and force more miscues on defense. Penn State has committed six turnovers and forced just one during the opening two games. Taking care of the football is priority number one for quarterback Christian Hackenberg and the offense. Defensively, Coach Franklin said this week that he is looking for a big play from the defense on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions have done a great job limiting big plays since the season-opener in Ireland, but the defense is searching for a turnover.

What to Watch For - Rutgers
10299404.jpeg1. Energy will be high inside High Point Solutions Stadium on Saturday night. The Scarlet Knights have had this date circled, and they will host a raucous sold out crowd in their first Big Ten game. Penn State and Rutgers are separated by 228 miles. There are 15 players on the Penn State roster from New Jersey. All that being said, there is a regional component to Saturday's matchup between the Nittany Lions and Scarlet Knights. Like any other game, though, this contest counts for just one victory for the triumphant group. On the field, the Scarlet Knights are 15-2 when they score 20 or more points under head coach Kyle Flood.

2. Senior quarterback Gary Nova headlines a veteran group of offensive players for Rutgers. Nova has started 30 games for the Scarlet Knights, and he enters the weekend playing with great confidence. Nova is the Big Ten's leader in pass efficiency (208.9) after opening the season with six touchdowns and just one interception. Junior Leonte Carroo is Nova's primary big-play target in the passing game. Carroo has two touchdown catches this season, both of which coming on plays of more than 35 yards or more. In his career, Carroo has 10 scores of 60 yards or longer. Junior running back Paul James spearheads the rushing attack. James enters week three with 216 yards and four touchdowns. The Scarlet Knights return all five offensive line starters from 2013.

3. Sophomore linebacker Steve Longa is the top tackler on the Rutgers defense. Longa has 15 stops this season. Redshirt freshman Komoko Turay leads the unit with 3.5 sacks during the first two weeks of the season. As a group, Rutgers has allowed 31.5 points per game and 482.5 yards per contest, but the Scarlet Knights have averaged two turnovers forced during the first two games of the season.

The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions will play their 19th night game during the past 10 seasons on Saturday at Rugers. Penn State has played in at least one primetime game in each of the past 15 seasons. In 2014, the Nittany Lions will play three night games, including two on the road. The Lions last played to night games on the road in 2008 when they met Wisconsin and Ohio State under the lights away from Beaver Stadium. In a series that began in 1918, Penn State and Rutgers have met just three times on the Rutgers campus. The Nittany Lions have traveled to New Jersey to meet Rutgers nine times, with six of those games coming at Giants Stadium, including the most recent meeting in 1995. Penn State has not played on the Rutgers campus since 1955. Kickoff is slated for just after 8 p.m. on Saturday inside a sold out High Point Solutions Stadium.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony


By Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While starting every game for the Nittany Lions' women's soccer team and excelling in Penn State's architectural engineering program, Kori Chapic shines both on and off the field. 

Last season, Chapic punched in the third most minutes on the field and continues to put in hard work and dedication as the 2014 season rolls. Her excellence comes as no surprise. Chapic earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in both 2012 and 2013.

Kori Chapic is the all-around definition of leadership.

"Architectural engineering is a passion of mine," she said. "When you have something that is a passion of yours, like soccer, it seems less of a job and more of something you do for fun. It's a lot easier dedicating the time and managing it because you enjoy it and want to be involved."

Not only is Chapic a serious student and tremendous athlete, but she is also a member of a few leadership programs on campus. Chapic is one of 30 students in her class who were selected to the Presidential Leadership Academy and
 is also involved in the Athletic Director's Leadership Institute, or commonly known as ADLI.

"I just love staying active," said Chapic. "I want to make use of everything this school has to offer since Penn State is full of opportunity."

Staying committed and continuing to better herself on and off the field, Chapic stepped up and became a role model on the team for her senior season.

"Kori is the ideal student athlete," said head coach Erica Walsh. "She
's grown both technically and tactically the last few seasons. But most importantly, she has grown as a leader on this team."

Chapic moved from Russell, Ohio to become a Lion. However, her passion for Penn State is rooted back to when she was a little girl.

She explained how she fell in love with Happy Valley when she was younger and on a college visit for one of her two older sisters. When it was Kori
's turn to find her school, she noted that both Penn State's amazing engineering program and highly competitive soccer program won her over.

"I was told when it
's the right field and the right team you'll know. I fell in love with the school as soon as I stepped foot on it," said Chapic.

Playing alongside Chapic is one of her best friends, and roommate, classmate
 Kindrah Kohne. 

"Since freshman year, she has always been my sounding board for anything going good or bad in my life," Kohne said. "It's fun always having her around."

Competing the last four years together has led the pair to become extremely close. The two have been a part of the women
's soccer team since their freshman year and continue to put as much effort into their schooling as they do soccer.

"We both are each other's motivation factors," Chapic said. "When I see her working so hard in the classroom, it makes me want to be better. I look up to her as a person and as a friend."

Known as one of the hardest workers on the team, Chapic works through any challenge that comes her way. Chapic handles everything that is thrown her way with ease and determination. 

Walsh stated that
 Chapic is essential to the team because of her mental strength to not only accept any challenge, but to conquer it, as well.

Chapic and the other Nittany Lions are prepared and excited to go back on the road for this weekend's
 matches at Purdue and Indiana.

's Chapic's motivation for success that keeps the Lions doing their best, reminding them to embrace every challenge thrown their way.

"Part of what keeps me motivated is this team," she said. "It
's about having a great team and great chemistry. We're a family that sets expectations for each other and we want the best for one another."

By Gabrielle RichardsGoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Leadership isn't always something you can learn in a classroom; it's something you have to experience. For Penn State field hockey team, choosing seniors Katie Andrews and Laura Gebhart as team captains was an easy choice. 

Between the two seniors they have shared the field together 58 times in their four years at Penn State. Andrews, who plays defense, and Gebhart, who shifts between the forward and mid position, have helped lead their team to two Big Ten Championships. 

"It's a huge honor to know that our teammates respect us and think highly enough of us to put us in this position," Andrews said. "It's exciting to know that we get to lead the team this year to all of our success." 

Their team is off to a great start. With a record of 3-1 and a No.6 ranking heading into this week's matchups against Princeton and Lafayette, the Nittany Lions are on the right track to make this one of the best seasons yet. 

The Nittany Lions' only loss came to defending NCAA Champions, University of Connecticut. They lost in overtime off of a corner shot bringing the final score to 1-0. 

"Everyone knows what that devastating loss feels like," Andrews said. "We are just focusing on taking that mentality and that excitement we had during that game into the rest of the season."

"It was amazing to see everyone on the field gut it out," Gebhart said. "At that point we [as captains] don't really need to say anything. We just feed off our teammates and work together." 

Gebhart's success on the field is unprecedented; she has represented Penn State and her country on the U.S. National Team and the Junior World Cup Team. Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-American and U.S. Team Captain are just a few titles that follow her name. 

"Going into this season with Laura and someone of her caliber is really exciting," Andrews said. 

Andrews, an agriculture major and business minor, and Gebhart, a community and environmental development major, are not only a leaders on the field, but in the classroom. Since 2012, Andrews and Gebhart have made the Academic All-Big Ten list (2012, 2013) and the NFHCA National Academic Squad (2012, 2013). 

But when all is said and done after this season and Gebhart and Andrews turn their tassels at graduation, they will miss their teammates the most. 

"It has been such a learning experience over the years," Gebhart said. "Its heartwarming to know that these girls will be there for me and I will be there for them, no matter what." 

The captains understand that their success on the field and in the classroom wouldn't be possible without the help of their coaching, academic and support staff. 

"The relationships we have with our teammates are amazing," Andrews said. "But our support staff, academic advisors at the Morgan Center, the Varsity 'S' Club...those are priceless relationships we have been able to build together." 

The Nittany Lions take on No. 14 Princeton (Friday) and Lafayette (Sunday) this weekend at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Penn State men's soccer head coach Bob Warming likes to compare the ascension a program makes over a number of years to someone climbing a mountain. 

A year after guiding the Nittany Lions to the Sweet 16, Warming believes his team has the top of the mountain in sight. On Saturday, Penn State will face a team that has been there recently. 

Indiana, the 2012 NCAA National Champions, will host the Nittany Lions at legendary Bill Armstrong Stadium in both team's Big Ten opener. Although they are coming off a disappointing 8-12-2 season, the Hoosiers have gotten off to a 3-0-1 start this year, the same as Penn State. 

"We know our conference is amazing," Warming said. "The venue is going to be terrific for it. They have some super talented players. The big pieces are there and the little pieces that still cause you problems...they've got a lot of weapons." 

Although the Hoosiers have graduated last year's top three leading point scorers, they return a collection of young talent. Sophomore Tanner Thompson is a dangerous playmaker who can play forward or midfield and junior Femi Hollinger-Janzen, who tied for the team lead in goals last season with five, offers similar versatility. 

Sophomore goalie Colin Webb has gotten off to a fast start in his first season as the team's full-time starter, allowing just one goal in the Hoosiers first four games. 

Still, the Nittany Lions have recent history on their side, having defeated the Hoosiers 2-0 in Bloomington last season.

"In the past they've played better soccer than us but I think we play a much quicker style now and they're the one's that lump it a little more," senior defender Owen Griffith said. "I think that's going to help us.

"[The atmosphere] is good and it's just like here. They've got a ton of kids lining the sideline and the band going so it's going to feel just like home, except the fans are going to be cheering for them instead of us." 

Griffith had perhaps the highlight of his career last season against the Hoosiers when he scored a goal from 18 yards out to give the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead in their eventual victory. Still, he has not forgotten how difficult an opponent Indiana has been over his four years in blue and white.

The Nittany Lions fell to Hoosiers in 2012 and 2011, Griffith's first two years at Penn State. In Warming's five years in Happy Valley, the Lions are 2-3-1 against the Hoosiers. 

"They're historically a really big rival of ours," Griffith said. "[Beating them last year] was a big statement for us. It's going to be a battle this year...they lost a bunch of guys but they're still looking pretty tough." 

One player who will be particularly amped on Saturday is midfielder Christian Kaschak, who missed last season with a torn ACL and has never set foot inside Armstrong Stadium. 

"Just hearing what the guys had to say [about Armstrong Stadium], it seems incredible," Kaschak said. "Their fan base is amazing and historically they're a tremendous always want to go there and show them what we have." 

Even coming off of consecutive Big Ten regular season titles, the Nittany Lions still view the Hoosiers as the pinnacle of where they want to be.

Hoosiers coach Todd Yeagley is entering his fifth year at Indiana, the same amount of time Warming has been at Penn State, and the Blue and White want to give their coach the national title their rival has won. 

"Coach Warming has only been here a couple of years now and I think it's his idea to get Penn State to be one of those nationally acclaimed programs like Indiana," Griffith said. "We want to be consistently at the top of the country in soccer." 

Warming Marvels at 1954-'55 Championship Teams' Reunion

Bob Warming couldn't help but think about the future last Friday as his Nittany Lions defeated Temple 1-0.

Not just the rest of his team's season, but the future of his players in general. With members of Penn State's 1954-'55 national championship team in attendance to celebrate the 60th anniversary of their first title, there were plenty of emotions being felt all night.

"I told our guys, 'I want you to think about, if we win [the NCAA Championship] this year, what will the world be like in 2074,'" Warming said. "That's when we would be celebrating again. Think about the changes that those men have seen, and that their families have seen in the last 60 years."

Fifteen players from the two teams made it back for the game, which included a halftime ceremony in front of 4,052 fans. The group was honored again the next day at Beaver Stadium during the football team's 21-3 victory over Akron. 

"How special it is for them to come back and see 4,000 people in the stands," Warming said. "With this kind of atmosphere, and this kind of quality soccer and this kind of quality field. I'm just so happy that so many of them are alive and well and healthy enough to travel and come here and enjoy the game." 

Andrew Stelnyk, a defender on those teams and a native Ukrainian, spoke about the experience of seeing his old teammates, as well as being back on campus.

"It's a great time to be here," Stelnyk said. "The change over here is unbelievable. All of us are getting older but the spirit is still here, there is no question about it."

Rutgers Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Ricky Rahne

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10298565.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne talked to the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions travel to Rutgers on Saturday for a primetime game against the Scarlet Knights (8 p.m. on BTN). Take a look at a Q&A with Rahne leading up to Saturday's Big Ten opener.

Q: Being a former quarterback, can you talk about what it's like being able to relate to a guy like Christian (Hackenberg), who is always a tough critic of himself?
"I was like that as a player. It's one of those things where it is one of your greatest strengths and one of your greatest weaknesses at the same time. My wife would probably say that I am still like that. I don't think anyone is harder on me in terms of coaching than me. I do understand how it is. The one thing that I am not going to do, and Christian knows this, and he doesn't want me to do it - it doesn't mean I give him a pass when he makes a mistake...That's really one of his greatest strengths - despite his abundance of mental and physical talent, he still is not only willing to be coached, he wants to be coached. That's the thing that makes it easier for him and I to have a good relationship. I understand where he is coming from in a lot of aspects because we have similar personalities. We both want to be the best we can be at all times."

Q: Do you ever have to remind yourself that Christian is only 19?
"Every day. Every day. Not only because of his genetic gifts that he has, but also his maturity. Watching him deal with all of the pressures that he has every day, I have to remind myself in the rare instance that he acts like a 19-year-old kid, I have to remind myself that in fact, that is how old he is...Not only should we be thankful (as the Penn State community) that he is a great player, and he really is, that he is a great person. He has handled some pressure situations very well."

Q: Overall, through the first two games, how would you assess the way Christian has played?
"Christian has played very well. There have been a couple plays in each game where we've just had lapses in judgment, and that's my job to get that fixed. Overall, he has played very well. He has thrown the ball accurately. He's made the plays that were there. I've been pleased with that. The other thing, and just like the other guys on the team, we've been able to come out with two victories, and we are working on it every week to come out with another one. I've been pleased with his play. It's cleaning up those three to four to five plays a game that we need to clean up. Some of the plays are things you probably see, some of them you probably don't. Not only have I been pleased with his play, I've been pleased with how coachable he has been."

Q: When you look at film from the first two games, how do you think Christian has done in terms of going through his progressions and putting the ball where you want it to go?
"Like I said, there are probably three to four plays a game where he didn't. Other than that, he has been very good. He has been getting back to third and fourth progressions at times, which speaks to his knowledge of the offense and the offensive line playing well and giving him time to do so. I've been pleased with how he has been working through his progressions. I think the one thing it has allowed us to get done is get the ball to a bunch of different people. A bunch of different guys have catches this year, and that helps us to get a nice balance."

Q: What have you seen from the Rutgers passing defense leading up to this game?
"I think they are a well-coached team. They are talented. They play fast. A lot is given to yards and statistics, but sometimes that's who you are playing...I know their defense has helped their team go 2-0 to this point, and the defense has helped put them in a position to start the season off in the way that they want to start off. We have to be ready for them. They've got some good schemes, in terms of their pressure game. We have to be ready and able to adjust on the fly. I think our guys have really prepared well this week knowing they are about to play a good football team."

Q: How are Trace McSorley and Michael O'Connor progressing and are either one ready to play in a game right now?
"I feel very confident in both of them to be really honest. They both have a very good grasp of the offense, which I have been really pleased with. I have been really pleased with how both of them approach the mental aspect of it. I think they both go into every week thinking, hey, I'm going to play. They both have done a nice job of their approach. I'm very confident in those guys. I think they are ready to go. If their number is every called, they are going to go in there and help us win the game."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lions Head to Villanova Classic

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10267656.jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 3-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team (4-1) will be heading back on the road again this weekend for the Villanova Classic to face off American, Villanova, Yale, and Kansas.

The Nittany Lions will be playing doubleheaders on Sept.12 by taking on American at 2:30 p.m. and Villanova at 7:30 p.m. The action will continue into Sept. 13 as Penn State competes against Yale at noon and Kansas at 5:30 p.m.

Penn State traveled to California last weekend for the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge. The Lions fell to No. 2 Stanford (4-0) in a tight five-set match. Freshman Ali Frantti led the offense with a career-high performance of 22 kills, in addition to 11 digs and two blocks. Junior Megan Courtney finished the match with 18 kills, nine digs and five blocks.

"Obviously Stanford didn't turn out the way we wanted [it] to, but I think we did a lot of things good and a lot of things not as good that led to us losing, like we can't make six errors in the last game, especially when they made zero," said Courtney. "Honestly, a win is a win just like a lost is a lost and a lost is a way to learn. It's not a way to sulk in your sorrows; it's a way to take what you did bad and turn it into something better the next day."

After the team fell to Stanford, the group rallied back by sweeping UCLA (3-2) the following day. Frantti logged her fourth double-digit kill record with 14 kills on .619 hitting. Senior Nia Grant chipped in with nine kills.

"Losing to UCLA was not an option. It was a great team effort by everyone and I think everyone brought their energy and understood that losing sucks, so we don't want to feel that feeling again," said Courtney. "It was a collective effort."

"It's a long season. We will work on the things that we need to work on," said head coach Russ Rose.  "I am not discouraged by losing to Stanford."

Penn State vs. American
The Nittany Lions are 6-0 all-time against the Eagles. The two teams last met on Dec. 3, 2004, and Penn State won the match, 3-0.

Scouting the Eagles
American (4-2) started the season well with a four-game winning streak, but is currently on a two-game losing streak after falling to Marquette (3-0) and seventh-ranked Florida State (5-0) over the weekend.

Penn State vs. Villanova
Penn State leads the series with a 13-0 record. The last matchup was on Aug. 28, 2010, and the Lions defeated the Wildcats in three sets.

Scouting the Wildcats
Villanova (4-3) opened up the season with a solid 3-0 start at the James Madison Classic, but recently struggled at the USD/SDSU Tournament by losing all three matches. The team was able to gain their winning record once again after beating Lehigh in straight sets at their home opener.

Penn State vs. Yale
The Nittany Lions have won all eight matches against Yale. Penn State's most recent win was a 3-0 sweep on Sept. 21, 2013. 

Scouting the Bulldogs
Yale owns a 1-2 record so far this season. It opened the season with a 1-2 record at the Yale Invitational where both Minnesota and Boston College swept Yale in three sets, respectively. The Bulldogs did end up with a win after beating Albany, 3-1. 

Penn State vs. Kansas
This is the first meeting between the Jayhawks and the Nittany Lions.

Scouting the Jayhawks
With a 6-1 record and a four-game winning streak, the Jayhawks are off to a strong start this season. They opened their season in the Kansas Invitational against Utah Valley, Lipscomb, and Creighton. The Jayhawks came out of the tournament with only one lost by falling to Lipscomb 2-3. A week later, the Jayhawks became tournament champions at the Denver Invitational after they defeated Bradley, Sam Houston State, and Denver. The Kansas winning streak continued earlier this week when the Jayhawks defeated UMKC.

Following the weekend in Philadelphia, Penn State will return to Rec Hall on Sept. 19 and 20 to take on Eastern Illinois, DePaul, UIC, and East Carolina in the Penn State Alumni Classic.

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Rutgers Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin provided an update to the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex. The Nittany Lions travel to Rutgers on Saturday for an 8 p.m. kick on BTN.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Season Preview: A Look at 2014-'15 with Coach Murphy

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8784541.jpegBy Meghan Miceli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State swim team is eager to dive into the 2014-'15 season.  With four new captains and an approaching intra-squad meet, the Nittany Lions are ready to make their mark.  Coming off a strong first season as head coach, Tim Murphy is excited to see what this year has in store.

Since its return to campus team has been preparing for the season both in and out of the pool.  Between goal sheets, early mornings in the weight room and afternoons in the pool, the Nittany Lions have hit the ground running.  Murphy is pleased with what he has seen from his team so far, specifically the leadership from his captains and the senior class as a whole.

"We're really working hard on carrying initiative and establishing the program we want to have," Murphy said when asked about his focus for the captains. 

Leading the Nittany Lions this year are seniors Caitlyn Karr, Carolyn Fittin, Nate Savoy and Larry Virgilio.

"This squad of seniors has been a tight group from the day we stepped onto campus as freshmen," said Virgilio, "I couldn't be happier that we are still here and captains together, working to bring this team as far as we can one last time around." 

The Nittany Lions lost a strong class last season, many of which scored at the NCAA Championships.  With the men finishing 24th in the nation and the women placing 19th, there are some gaps to fill.  But for now, Murphy is taking the season one day at a time.  This week's focus is the Blue/White intra-squad meet on Friday.

For Murphy, the Blue/White meet will be a good assessment for the teams progress so far this season and will help lay the groundwork for what needs to be done differently as the Nittany Lions prepare for their first regular season meet.

"I'm very excited for our season," said Karr, "I think this team has a lot of potential. Practices have been going well, but there's always room for improvement."

Catch the teams in action on Friday in McCoy Natatorium at 5 p.m. as they start their season with the Blue and White competition. 

2014 Opponent Previews - Rutgers

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10295908.jpegRutgers | High Points Solutions Stadium | 8 p.m. | Big Ten Network

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions travel to New Jersey on Saturday to take on Rutgers in the Big Ten opener for both teams and the first ever Big Ten conference game for Rutgers. Get to know the Scarlet Knights in this week's scouting report.

Kyle Flood, who is in his third year leading the Knights, has a record of 17-11 at Rutgers. The Knights went 6-7 overall and 3-5 in the American Athletic Conference last year. They lost 29-16 to Notre Dame in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Rutgers returns 44 letterwinners and 16 starters from a year ago.

Rutgers is 2-0 after last week's 38-25 win over Howard. The Scarlet Knights gained 397 yards of offense, including 288 through the air. Quarterback Gary Nova completed 15-of-19 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Paul James ran for 43 yards, a touchdown and caught two passes, both for touchdowns, including a 69-yard reception. Leonte Carroo and John Tsimis each caught a touchdown.

The Scarlet Knight defense allowed 427 yards, including 259 on the ground. Linebacker Steve Longa led the defense with eight tackles (five solo). Defensive end David Milewski recorded six tackles, two for loss, and forced a fumble. Milewski was one of five Knights to record at least half of a sack on the day. Cornerback Gareef Glashen intercepted a pass.

Through two games, Nova, a senior, has completed 67 percent of his passes for 563 yards, with six touchdowns and an interception. Nova leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency.

James, a redshirt junior, has 216 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while averaging 5.1 yards per rush. The six-foot, 205-pound James leads the Big Ten in scoring, with six total touchdowns. Desmon Peoples will also see time in the backfield. Peoples has 91 yards with a 4.8 yards per rush average.

Carroo leads the Rutgers receivers with eight catches for 195 yards and two scores. The 6-1 Carroo is fifth in the conference in receiving yards. Joining Carroo are 5-foot-11 sophomore Janarion Grant, who has seven receptions, and Tsimis, who has six receptions and two touchdowns. Grant also returns kicks and punts for the Knights.

The Scarlet Knight offensive line includes three seniors, led by Kaleb Johnson, a preseason first-team All-Big Ten selection by Phil Steele.

So far in 2014, Rutgers has allowed 31.5 points and 482.5 yards per game, including 350 yards passing per contest. They rank 13th in the Big Ten in scoring defense and 14th in total defense.

The Rutgers defensive line features a pair of seniors and a pair of juniors. Milewski leads the unit with seven tackles. He also has three tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Kemoko Turay has 3.5 sacks.

Longa was named First Team All-Big Ten in the preseason by Phil Steele. The redshirt sophomore leads the team with 15 tackles, nine solo. Fellow linebacker Kevin Snyder has 12 stops and a forced fumble.

Glashen, a senior, leads the secondary with 13 tackles, 10 solo, and an interception. Safety Delon Stephenson has recorded 11 stops, while Justin Goodwin has a pick.

Kicker Kyle Federico has connected on three-of-four field goals, with a long of 42. Punter Joey Roth averages 38 yards per punt.

Penn State is 22-2 all-time against Rutgers. The schools last met in 1995, when the Nittany Lions earned a 59-34 win at Giants Stadium.

What Kyle Flood is saying about Penn State:

"It's still early in the year and I haven't seen all the quarterbacks around the country, but I find it hard to believe that there's a better quarterback in the country that we'll face as an opponent. Hackenberg is the prototype NFL quarterback, he has the prototype arm, and he has weapons all over the field to use. He's an excellent player. You can tell he's been coached very well."

"They are very good on defense and they're very good on the defensive front. They are difficult to run the ball against. They are very active. They do an excellent job pressuring the quarterback and stopping the run."

Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by Student Writer Paul Marboe.

One Team, One Family

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While most Penn State fans were basking in a football victory last weekend, the men's ice hockey team had someone more special to celebrate, Colton Buckley. Buckley, the team's THON child, not only turned eight this past Saturday, but he also got to see his "big brothers" for the first time since officially beating cancer.

Tucked back behind Jeffrey Field, the team hosted a post-game birthday and cancer-free tailgate for the 8-year-old, complete with cake, singing, presents and party masks.

"He got cancer free recently, which is huge," said sophomore forward Ricky DeRosa. "Everybody was so excited for him and everything. He was actually the THON child at the football game today, so we figured they were coming up here, which gave us a great opportunity to have a little birthday party tailgate for him."

Buckley's nomination to serve as an honorary captain for a football game this year put the tailgate plan into motion. His mother, Nicole, originally tried to schedule the appearance for the annual THON football game, but after all spots were filled, she quickly realized the home opener would be a great second option.

At the game, Buckley was brought down to the field of Beaver Stadium, rushed around from place to place, introduced to countless people and even featured on the video boards. The overall experience was something new for him, but throughout the entirety of the day, Buckley knew he had his post-game party with the team, his extended family, to be even more excited about.

"Colton is our THON child," said newly appointed captain Patrick Koudys. "Some of the guys who were here before me know him a little bit better than I do, but he's a great kid. We love his family. He's always around the rink. He's got his own stall in the locker room. I mean, he puts a smile on all of our faces whenever we see him, so it's great to have him and great to be able to celebrate his birthday with him."

After quickly unwrapping and assembling his present from the hockey team, a new Nerf gun, Buckley got to work, using sophomore Dylan Richard as a human target. The scene of the 8-year-old laughing and playing with 27 of his favorite people highlighted the importance of his bond with the team and of his journey to beating pediatric cancer.

"I look at it as relief because he's not going to the hospital every single month anymore," explained Denny Buckley, Colton's father. "You try to believe the doctors that he's cancer free, and it's not going to come back. When he was on treatment and in treatment, there was such a high risk.

"Anything can really be bad like a virus or any kind of illness because he had no immune system when he was on treatment. That was our biggest worry, and now he's back to pretty much himself again, being crazy like he is."

"It's more stress now, too," added Nicole Buckley. "You don't have that blanket, that cushion anymore. I mean, we still go to the doctors every month, but you don't have that treatment. You know, the chemotherapy keeps it away. Now that's all gone, and his whole body is basically starting over. It's relief, but it's stress as well."

The connection between the Buckley family and the hockey team is incredibly special to both parties. They are family now and will continue to be there for each other throughout each and every step of Colton's journey.

As the festivities wrapped up, Buckley's father asked him to name his favorite hockey team. The answer was simple and came to the birthday boy in a matter of seconds. Penn State.

"I honestly cannot even put it in words," said Denny Buckley of his family's relationship with the hockey team. "It means way too much to try and put it into words. They could have just looked at Colton as their THON kid and done things with him here and there, but they've been so much more than that.

"We consider them family and vice versa. When we come up here, we say we're coming up to see family. We feel at home when we're here, and he absolutely loves these guys. That in itself says everything. They're family to us."

VIDEO: Rutgers Week Player Q&As - Angelo Mangiro & Geno Lewis

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with junior center Angelo Mangiro and sophomore receiver Geno Lewis leading up to the Rutgers game.

Week Three Press Conference Roundup - Rutgers Week

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10294110.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - Sept. 9

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions head back on the road this week for the Big Ten opener at Rutgers on Saturday (8 p.m. on BTN).

Head coach James Franklin previewed the week three matchup against the Scarlet Knights on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room. Saturday will mark Franklin's first Big Ten game as a head coach. Franklin is looking for the team to continue making strides on both sides of the ball and on special teams following the victory over Akron.

"We have got to continue to improve each day and each week which is something that I think this staff historically has done a good job of," Franklin said. "...Offensively, we are going to have to develop a more consistent running game. I'm not telling you guys anything you don't know. We are going to have to keep doing that and we are going to keep investing in that every single day. That will happen... Defensively, continue to not give up big plays, stopping the run has been huge for us in making teams one‑dimensional. We want to continue to do that. And then on 'wefense', we need a little bit more consistency in our kicking. When I talk about kicking, I'm talking about our kickoff and our kickoff coverage, making sure the ball location is where we want it so our defense can start out with a better field position."

With the Akron game in the rearview mirror, Franklin and the team are focused solely on preparation for Rutgers. This is a big week for team. Every week is a big week for the Nittany Lions. Franklin noted that all 12 weeks on schedule are treated the same. The approach remains constant from the start of the year to the end. The next game on the schedule is the biggest game on the schedule, and one game is no bigger than the next.

"Our approach to this game is going to be exactly the same as it was for Central Florida, exactly the same way it was for Akron. It will not change," Franklin said. "We are just as motivated in this game as we were for Akron and we are just as motivated for this game as we were for Central Florida. Our approach will not change."

With it being a primetime kick on Saturday, Franklin said the team would stick to its normal routine on gameday. The group will sleep in Saturday morning before meetings and a walkthrough. Because of an extended day, Franklin said there would be two team meals instead of one.

While the Nittany Lion football program received very good news on Monday when the NCAA and Big Ten announced that Penn State is eligible to compete for a spot in a bowl game and the Big Ten Championship, the focus is solely on the task at hand this week. The team spent very little time talking about Monday's news before shifting immediately back into Rutgers game prep. The team is focused on one team this week.

"I do think this game from a regional perspective is good for Pennsylvania," said Franklin. "I do think it's good for New Jersey and I think it's good for the Big Ten and I think it's good for both institutions. I think it's going to be a fun game and we're looking forward to playing it. But we have got tremendous respect for Rutgers, for what they have done on the football field and what they have done in the classroom."

Saturday's game will mark the 25th time Rutgers will play at Penn State. The Lions are 22-2 against the Scarlet Knights. The squads last met in 1995 with the Nittany Lions knocking off Rutgers by a score of 59-34. Saturday's game is just the fourth time Penn State has played on campus at Rutgers.

Press Conference Notes
- Following the news on Monday of the sanctions modification, Coach Franklin called a team meeting inside the Lasch Building. After Franklin outlined the announcement, he called the players and staff members who stuck with the program through the entire duration of the sanctions to the front of the room. Franklin recognized the group for their dedication and efforts during the period.

- Coach Franklin announced that Geno Lewis (offense), Mike Hull (defense) and Chris Gulla (special teams) were the internal players of the week for the Akron game.

- Franklin on the Rutgers offense:
"Their coordinator Ralph Friedgen, in his 42nd year of coaching. He's made a noticeable difference in their offense and their confidence and consistency. They run a pro‑style offense, eight returning starters, five offensive touchdowns of 30 yards or more averaging seven yards a play, and they are No. 2 in the Big Ten in scoring."

- Franklin on the Rutgers defense:
"Their defensive coordinator, Joe Rossi, has done a really, really good job for them. He's a guy that's been on the staff, left and has comeback. They have seven starters, five senior starters and they play a 4‑3 base defense. Quarter, quarter half in the secondary, very good movement up front, very disruptive, very aggressive, blue collar, hard‑nosed defense."

- Franklin on the Rutgers special teams:

"Their kick returner, No. 1, Janarion Grant we need to be aware of. I think last year as a true freshman, first time he touched a ball, he took it back for a touchdown and has done some really nice things. Then he's their kick return and punt return guy, so we are going to have to be aware of him and make sure he doesn't have too big of a factor in the game."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Monday Notebook: Lions Set to Kick Off Big Ten Play

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10289937.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions will have the honor of taking part in the first conference game of the 2014 season on Saturday when they travel to High Point Solutions Stadium to meet Rutgers (8 p.m. on BTN).

Penn State and Rutgers have played one another 24 times prior to this week's clash (22-2, PSU), but never before as members of the Big Ten. Saturday's sold out game will mark the first Big Ten contest for the Scarlet Knights. The rest of the conference season will begin on Sept. 27.

Following a superb performance from the Penn State defense, the Nittany Lions marched past Akron on Saturday in the home opener. The Lions held the Zips to 277 yards in a 21-3 victory. Through two weeks, the Penn State defense is ranked fifth in the NCAA in total defense at 261.5 yards per game.

Offensively, Christian Hackenberg leads the Big Ten in passing at 386.5 yards per game. The sophomore quarterback has thrown for 773 yards during the first two weeks, which broke the Penn State two-game mark. Redshirt freshman DaeSean Hamilton leads the conference in receptions with 18.

Saturday's game marks Penn State's first of three primetime games during the 2014 campaign. The Lions will also play under lights at Michigan (Oct. 11) and in Beaver Stadium against Ohio State (Oct. 25).

Big Ten Openers
Penn State will begin its 22nd season as a member of the Big Ten on Saturday night in New Jersey. The Nittany Lions are 9-12 on-field during Big Ten openers. Penn State's first season in the Big Ten came in 1993 when the Lions knocked off Minnesota in the season-opener by a score of 38-20.

No Strangers to the Road
Since joining the Big Ten, the Nittany Lions have been road warriors in the opening game of the conference slate. Penn State has played away 13 times and home eight times during Big Ten opener. The Lions have been on the road to open Big Ten play during nine of the last 11 seasons, including each of the last five. Penn State opens the Big Ten season at home against Rutgers in 2015.

Final Numbers

Take a look through some standout numbers from the home opener against Akron.

97,354 - Saturday's attendance mark was the highest total for a home opener since the 2010 season.

773 - Christian Hackenberg has thrown for 773 yards in two games. No other Penn State quarterback has thrown for more yards during a two-game span.

94 - More than 50 members of the undefeated 1994 team were honored during halftime of Saturday's game. The group held a reunion on Friday evening and had a chance to meet with some of the current team members during Friday's walkthrough practice.

93 - Penn State's defense has allowed a total of 93 rushing yards during the first two weeks of the season. The Nittany Lions rank fourth national in rushing defense.

40 - Junior tight end Jesse James has three touchdown catch and runs of 40 or more yards in the last nine games in Beaver Stadium. All three touchdown catches have been down the East sideling towards the South end zone in front of the Penn State students.

22 - Senior linebacker Mike Hull is second in the Big Ten in tackling with 22 stops this season. Hull has six career games with 10 tackles or more, including two-straight to open the season.

18 - DaeSean Hamilton leads the Big Ten with 18 receptions during the first two weeks. He tallied 11 catches against UCF. Hamilton notched seven receptions against Akron.

4.3 - The Penn State defense has limited its first two opponents to just 4.3 yards per play.

5 - Five days remain until the Nittany Lions meet Rutgers.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lion Defense Off to Strong Start in 2014

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blogstory_akron.jpgVIDEO: James Franklin Postgame - Akron | VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Akron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Relentless pursuit has been the name of the game for the Penn State defense since the start of spring practice in March.

Head coach James Franklin, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and the rest of the Penn State defensive coaching staff have preached aggressiveness. Through two weeks, the Nittany Lion defense has been a group attacking its opponent from the moment the team steps off the bus.

On the heels of a 21-3 victory over Akron in Saturday's home opener, the Lions sit among the nation's top 15 in two major defensive stat categories. Penn State is 15th in total defense, allowing its first two opponents just 261.5 yards per game. The Nittany Lions rank fourth nationally in rushing defense after allowing a total of 93 yards on 54 carries in the first two games (1.7 ypc).

"We played pretty well. I know we held (Akron) to around 270 yards," cornerback Jordan Lucas said. "We made some mistakes but the great thing about it is it's early in the season. We get to go watch film, have practice and go over corrections and we'll build from that."

The strong defensive start and stout play against the run begins in the trenches.  Penn State's front four has been the catalyst.

"Our defensive line will come after you and fight off the ball," said defensive tackle Anthony Zettel. "With an aggressive defense with play calling, I feel like we all benefit off it. I couldn't be happier playing with all the guys on the defense and Coach Shoop making great calls and having confidence in him."

Defensively, the Nittany Lions have allowed just one rush of more than 15 yards in the opening two games. Additionally, the group has made 14 tackles for loss. Senior linebacker Mike Hull leads the unit with 22 tackles, which ranks second in the Big Ten.

"We are always in attack mode every play from beginning to end. We are fired up and aggressive," said linebacker Brandon Bell.

The aggressive nature is something the players have become accustomed to on the practice field. And it's something they enjoy on Saturdays.

"I love it. Our defense makes us pin our ears back and get after it," Bell said.

"We're playing fast this year. We're getting to the ball. We're swarming," said defensive end Deion Barnes.

Keeping Akron out of the end zone was a big goal of the Nittany Lions. The Zips threatened with three trips inside the red zone, but the Lions held strong and limited Akron to just three points.

"With Coach Shoop, that's one of his big things is keeping the offense out of the end zone," Lucas said. "If we can hold the team out from getting in the end zone, we must do that."

Two weeks in, the Lions are playing with great confidence on the defensive side of the ball. The players relish in the opportunity to attack and play with aggression on every snap. Now, the unit is looking to take the next step.

"I think they're playing well. Probably the focus I have is to create more three-and-outs and we have to create more turnovers. We have to do those two things," said Coach Franklin.

Penn State has forced just one turnover during the first two games. That's a figure Coach Shoop and the Lions will be looking to build on this week as the team prepares for the Big Ten opener at Rutgers. Nonetheless, the defense has a lot to build on after two stout performances to open 2014.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Akron

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VIDEO: Coach Franklin Postgame Interview - Akron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head into the winning locker room to hear from several Nittany Lions following Saturday's 21-3 victory over Akron in the home opener.

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VIDEO: Postgame Interview with Coach Franklin - Akron

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VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Akron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin talks with following Saturday's 21-3 victory over Akron in the home-opener. Penn State moves to 2-0 on the season with the win.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State men's soccer team has always been a second-half squad.

That has especially been true this season. In the Nittany Lions first two games of 2014, all four of their goals came after halftime.

On Friday against Temple, it seemed like that would have to be the case again, as the clock approached the one-minute mark of the first half with the score tied at 0.

Oh, but how quickly things can change in a minute. All it took was for Mark Wadid to loft a corner kick into the box and Owen Griffith to head it into the back of the net with 59 seconds remaining to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"Coach said to make some runs into the box because he felt like I was dominating the aerial game," Griffith said. "It was good to get in there and try to get on the end of some services and luckily I got on the end of one.

"It's great [to have a lead at halftime]. We're definitely a second-half team and to have a goal in the first half was a huge confidence boost for us."

A mainstay on defense for the Nittany Lions, Griffith's header marked just the fourth goal of his career and his first since he netted the game-winner last year against Michigan on October 11.

Wadid's corner kick gave him his fourth assist in just three games this season. After a freshman season in which he scored three goals but never registered any helpers, the Ontario native is turning into one of Penn State's most reliable playmakers.

"Oh man, [the corner kick] was great," head coach Bob warming said. "Mark's good in front of the goal but he's our best server. Owen's role is to just go hunt the ball and it was a great goal."

The goal came after 44 minutes in which the Nittany Lions consistently kept the ball in Temple's zone but were unable to score. Penn State got off six shots, including a one-on-one chance between forward Connor Maloney and Owls goalie Dan Scheck that came up just short for the Blue and White.

Even with a halftime lead, the Nittany Lions continued their reputation as a second-half team. Twice in the second half they put the ball in the back of the net only to have Mikey Minutillo and Randy Falk both ruled offside respectively.

With less than a minute left, Wadid nearly gave the Nittany Lions a bigger cushion but a bullet off the sophomore's foot ricocheted off the crossbar.

"You still always win the game in the second half," Warming said. "Hitting the crossbar and hitting both was a pretty good night in this temperature and this humidity."

Once again, the Nittany Lions defense came up big. When Andrew Wolverton stopped a shot from Stefan Mueller just over five minutes into the second-half, it was the first time in 208 minutes and 57 seconds that the star goalie had had to face a shot.

"Our three other backs, Eli, Mike [Robinson] and Mason [Klerks] have been tremendous," Griffith said. "Any long ball over my head they seem to scoop up. We can also keep the ball and build out of the back which is something our teams have had trouble doing in the past."

Still, the Owls did manage to pressure the Blue and White in the final twenty minutes. Eli Dennis made an excellent clear to stop a Temple attack with 15:31 remaining and two minutes later Wolverton made a terrific save on a rocket that Jared Martinelli sent to the corner of the left net.

With his third shutout of the season, Wolverton now only needs three more to bring his career total to 29 and claim the Nittany Lions all-time record.

"I have complete confidence in Wolvie," Griffith said. "He's an unbelievable keeper."

On a night in which Penn State honored the 60th anniversary of the 1954 and 1955 national championship teams, Jeffrey Field hosted an astounding 4,052 fans, the most to attend a Penn State soccer match since August 31, 2012.

"How special is it for them to come back and see 4,000 people in the stands and this kind of atmosphere and this kind of quality soccer and this kind of field," Warming said. "I'm just so happy."

2014 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. Akron

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Lions' home-opener against Akron in Beaver Stadium.


2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Akron

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all 12 games on the schedule. The Nittany Lions open the home slate inside Beaver Stadium against Akron, today.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Akron

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By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Eight thousand four hundred and forty seven minutes equals 352 days, 217 road trips from Pennsylvania to California, and the amount of time it would take to earn 56 Bachelor's Degrees from Penn State. Eight thousand four hundred and forty seven minutes also equals the amount of time Nittany Lions Kylie Licata and Jenna Chrismer have spent on the field together. But, if we were to calculate the amount of time that Kylie and Jenna have known each other, the total would be 7,884,000 minutes or 15 years.

Before they became "Big Ten Athletes of the Week," "Big Ten Champions," and "leading scorers," Kylie and Jenna were just a couple of kids who grew up across the street from one another. From the late night kick-ball games to the backyard barbeques, the duo has been inseparable since 1999.

"Jenna [Chrismer] moved into the neighborhood when I was seven years old," Kylie said. "I was one of the first friends she made."

The duo grew up in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, a small, rural area two hours north of State College. Mountain Top is home to one of Pennsylvania's premier high school field hockey programs, the Crestwood High School Comets. Field hockey wasn't always the common denominator between these two, as Kylie is responsible for Jenna joining Crestwood's junior high team.

"It was the day before junior high sports tryouts," Kylie said. "Jenna came over my house and told me she wanted to try out for the cross-country team. I laughed at her. I said 'no, no, no, come play field hockey.'"

Five minutes later, Jenna was in Kylie's backyard with a field hockey stick in her hand.

"I never in a million years thought that I would play this sport," Jenna said. "But, then I really liked it."

...and the rest was history.

The following summer, Jenna's dad built them a field hockey cage. The duo would often be out all hours of the night, using only a spotlight to see the ball, pushing and working each other.
  The challenge of the back yard one-on-one field hockey sessions didn't stop there, they continued at practice as well.

"When you care about someone, you want to give them your very best," Jenna said. "I always made sure I tried my most difficult shots or my fastest plays on Kylie at practice. That way I knew I helped her as best I could for game situations."

This constant support system off the field translated just as well on the field. In the time that Jenna and Kylie wore their red and white Comet uniforms, they won two Wyoming Valley Conference Championships, appeared in two semifinal rounds in the PIAA championships and graduated with a near perfect record. Kylie graduated in 2010 with a .850 save percentage. Jenna graduated in 2011 with 229 career points and a spot in the Crestwood record books as the fourth highest scorer in the program's history.

"Playing without Kylie my senior year was difficult," Jenna said. "We talked on the phone every day."

Their separation wouldn't last long.

Jenna's visit to Penn State was the last on her list before the high school standout had to make her decision.

"It just felt like home," Jenna said. "Having Kylie here added to that feeling."

The duo has truly made Penn State their home, especially on the field. Kylie and Jenna are major contributors to the Nittany Lions' offensive and defensive strategy. 

Jenna, one of the leading scorers heading into this season and Kylie, who has played every minute of every game since the 2013 season started, will leave their mark when they graduate this year.

"We always joked about going to the same college when we were in high school," Kylie said. "Who would have thought that we would be ending our careers together?"

While Kylie and Jenna are the nucleus of their friendship, their parents are best friends, too. The duo might have been on the field together for 8,447 minutes, but their parents have been on the sidelines cheering for each of those minutes as well.

"It's comforting to look over my shoulder during a game and see our parents standing with one another," Jenna said. "They have always been there for us, no matter what."

"I knew we were family long before we started playing [field hockey]," Kylie said. "One summer, Jenna's mom bought a membership to the local pool; she got me a pass too. The pass read 'Kylie Chrismer.'"

For the past four seasons at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, Jenna and Kylie's names have been announced over the loudspeaker during the pre-game announcements. Their names are always followed by "Mountain Top, Pa." While their collegiate careers might end this November, the duo will never forget how their 'team' of two started.

It began 7,884,000 minutes ago when a young Kylie saw a moving van pull into the house across the street. 

2014 Gameday Preview - Lions Meet Akron in Home Opener

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Game Notes | Gameday Central | Gameday Press Release | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Presser Roundup | Q&A with Coach Pry | 1994 Team Feature | 
Akron Scouting Report

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions welcome Akron to Beaver Stadium on Saturday for the 2014 home opener and head coach James Franklin's first game in Happy Valley. The game will kick at noon and will air on ABC regionally and ESPN2 in the rest of the nation.

10275653.jpegSam Ficken's 36-yard field goal as time expired capped off a thrilling 26-24 season opening win over UCF at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. The senior converted all four of his field goal attempts and both extra point opportunities to earn his third career Big Ten Specialist of the Week honors. He ranks fourth overall and first among kickers in scoring in the Big Ten conference.

Sophomore Christian Hackenberg and redshirt-freshman DaeSean Hamilton both had record setting days in Ireland. Hackenberg set the school record for all-purpose (456) and passing yardage (454) in a single game and completed a career-high 32 passes. Hamilton earned Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week after breaking a pair of freshman receiving records. He hauled in 11 passes for 165 yards to eclipse both school freshman standards.

This will be the fourth meeting between the Nittany Lions and Zips on the gridiron, with Penn State looking to remain unbeaten. The first meeting came in 1999, with subsequent meetings coming in 2004, 2006 and 2009, all at Beaver Stadium. The 1999 contest remains the highest scoring game in Beaver Stadium history at 94 combined points (70-24).

Led by head coach Terry Bowden, quarterback Kyle Pohl helped lead Akron to a 41-0 blanking of Howard in its season opener last weekend, throwing for 304 yards on 22 of 35 passing with four touchdown passes. He found Mykel Traylor-Bennett on a pair of scoring strikes and also hooked up with L.T. Smith and Imani Davis for scoring strikes.

Saturday will be Community Hero Day in Beaver Stadium. First responders will be recognized throughout the game. Additionally, the undefeated 1994 team will be honored during halftime of the game. More than 40 members of the 12-0 squad will be back in town for a reunion, including All-Americans Kyle Brady, Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins and Jeff Hartings. The Nittany Lions topped Oregon, 38-20, in the 1995 Rose Bowl to cap off a perfect season.

The Nittany Lions are back in Beaver Stadium.  Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the home-opener against the Akron Zips.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10275671.jpeg1. There is nothing quite like the energy on opening Saturday in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions will debut a new entry into the South Tunnel of the stadium at approximately 9:20 a.m. on Saturday. The team will walk off of the Blue Buses near Medlar Field before walking down Curtin Road through a sea of Blue and White before entering the stadium. The idea behind the change was to extend the team's interaction time with the fans as they enter the stadium. Make sure to be near the stadium early to be a part of some history as the team walks into Beaver Stadium before final preparations for the game.

2. Coach Franklin opened his Tuesday press conference with positives and some things to work on this week following last week's 26-24 victory over UCF. Two big points of emphasis this week are turnovers and penalties. The Nittany Lions lost the battle in both categories against UCF and still found a way to win. The team will look to clean up both areas, namely taking care of the ball better on offense. The Lions tallied 511 yards of offense last week in the opener, but the coaching staff is looking for more consistency in the running game more touchdowns during red zone visits this week.

3. Akron's offense tests the perimeter defense of its opponents with quick passes to the outside edges of the field. Cornerback Jordan Lucas noted earlier this week that a big key for the Penn State defense against Akron will be its ability to get off of blocks and make clean tackles when the ball is in open space. Co-defensive coordinator Brent Pry was pleased with how the Nittany Lions tackled against UCF. Tackling will again be essential to a strong day for the Penn State defense against Akron. The Lions yielded just 246 total yards last week.

What to Watch For - Akron
10275677.jpeg1. Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl enters Beaver Stadium following a superb performance in Akron's season-opener against Howard last week. Pohl led the Zips with a career-high four touchdown passes on 23-of-36 passing for 308 yards. Pohl also led the Zips in rushing with 53 yards on seven attempts last week. The MAC East Player of the Week is a good athlete with the ability to hurt a defense with his arm and legs. Senior wide receiver L.T. Smith is among Pohl's top targets. Smith finished with five catches for 74 yards and a score against Howard.

2. The linebacking trio on Akron's defense is among the most experienced group of players on the depth chart. Junior Jatavis Brown and senior Justin March return as the team's top two tacklers from a season ago. Brown led the Zips with 107 stops in 2013, while March contributed 80 hits. Fellow senior linebacker C.J. Mizell led Akron with 10 stops and a fumble recovery last week.

3. The Zips enter the week with great confidence. With last week's win, Akron has won five consecutive games for the first time since 2004. In total, the Zips have won five of their last six games dating back to last season. Akron's projected starting lineup features just two players younger than junior eligibility. The starting lineup will likely include 10 seniors.

The Final Word:
Penn State fans from across the nation wait for home football weekends in Happy Valley all year long. Saturday's game begins the seven-game home slate for 2014. Beaver Stadium opened on Sept. 17, 1960 when the Lions blanked Boston University, 20-0. The 2014 campaign marks Penn State's 55th season inside Beaver Stadium. The second-largest college football shrine in America, Beaver Stadium has 106,572 seats. Penn State owns a 188-67 (.739) record inside Beaver Stadium. When the stadium is at full capacity, it becomes the fourth largest city in Pennsylvania. Be on Curtin Avenue by 9:20 on Saturday morning to watch the Nittany Lions march from Porter Road to the South Tunnel in the new, interactive team arrival. Kick is slated for 12:05 p.m.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Nittany Lions Look to Hold Nothing Back at First Race of Season

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10277173.jpegBy Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With all of the Penn State fall sports teams currently riding an 11-0 mark to start this season, the men's and women's cross country teams will look to continue the winning streak as they begin their 2014 regular season this weekend at the Dolan Duals in Lock Haven.

Last year, the women's team won its race with a perfect score, and the group enters the 2014 season ranked No. 29 according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Freshman Hannah Catalano will be one of the runners competing for the women's squad this weekend, marking her collegiate running debut. She is one of eight freshmen added to the roster this year that has spent the summer transitioning from high school and rigorously training for their first collegiate season.

"In college you do a lot more miles. I wasn't quite used to all the mileage and it was definitely a big jump," Catalano said. "It took a little bit to adapt to it but, now, after training all summer, I got used it and it feels like a routine."

She spent all summer training with veteran runners on the team in hopes of becoming a top-contributing factor.

"The seniors and juniors and all the upperclassmen have really set the pace," Catalano said. "They make sure we aren't trying to sprint past each other so that we are actually getting an effect rather than tiring ourselves out. They have really been leaders."

The upperclassmen have set the bar high for Catalano but she is fearless and prepared to give it her all.

"I'm so excited," Catalano said. "It'll be a lot different than our races in high school because there will be so much more competition even if it's a small race but I'm ready for what lies ahead."

On the men's side, five Penn State runners finished in the top 10 at the Dolan Duals last year.

Alongside an incredibly talented group of young men, freshman Will Cather will run this weekend for the Nittany Lions and he has goals set and resilience ready.

"I'm really excited for it. It's my first collegiate race and I'm going to give it my all out there," Cather said. "[I'm going to] try and place top 12 to make it onto the travel team this year and I'm just going to go for it."

Cather says he is in great shape after training all summer with the veteran runners who have been mentoring him through the transition.

"Camp went really well. The guys around me have really helped," Cather said. "They told me 'You're a freshman. Take it one step at a time and do what you can.' They've been great."

Both Catalano and Cather have one very important factor in common - they are both natives of the State College area and they have grown up their entire lives dreaming of one day running for Penn State.

To them, this weekend is more than just another race.

"[This is] a dream come true," said Cather. "[I grew] up watching [Penn State] and all the success they've had and [I] really want to be a part of this program and to be able to say that [I am] is incredible and I am so happy."

"My parents are so happy and so proud," said Catalano. "Penn State has always been my dream school and the fact that I get to run here just makes it so much better."

They both agreed on one specific thing - when they put on their blue and white for the first time, they're holding nothing back.

A resilient mentality that clearly radiates off of coach John Gondak, who will attend the Dolan Duals this weekend for the first time as the interim head coach for Penn State.

"I'm enjoying this challenge and I'm looking forward to leading the program this weekend," Gondak said.

This weekend is an important one for everyone in the program as it is the first time they are checking out their competition for the season as well as showing off what they've trained for all summer.

"We use [this meet] as a test to see where everyone's fitness is coming off the last few weeks of training and practice and to form a baseline for what we have to work on," he said.

While coach Gondak refers to the Dolan Duals as a low-key competition, he says it is equally as important as any other race for the success of the team.

"The mentality going in is 'do your best, give your best,' as long as they leave the course knowing they did their best, we will be happy," said Gondak.

The Nittany Lions will travel to Lock Haven University where they will show off their hard work beginning Friday at 6 p.m. for the women and at 6:30 p.m. for the men.


By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Take a glance at a stat sheet for the Penn State men's soccer team these days and you may have to search a bit to find Eli Dennis' name.

Last year, it was easy. The 6-foot-2 Dennis spent nearly the entire season playing forward and finished second on the team in goals (four), third in points (10) and third in shots (29).

Nowadays, things are a little different. While Dennis is still a stalwart for the Nittany Lions, he now plays the less glamorous but equally important position of center back on defense.

How has he taken to the change? Exactly the way you'd expect from a guy that seems to always have a smile on his face.

"It's a different mindset and I like that I've taken on more of a responsibility role," Dennis said. "In the back I have to be a more mature player and it's easy to be that player when you're one of the oldest guys on the team."

A redshirt-senior, Dennis has played nearly everywhere on the field in a career that is now going on five years at two different schools.

As a freshman at American University in 2010, the Easton, Md. native played his high school position of center midfield and finished third on the Eagles in points.

After redshirting the next year as he transferred to Penn State, Dennis played center back in 2012 before a leg injury prematurely ended his season. That's the same spot he's at now after playing offense last year.

While his impact can no longer be measured in goals and assists, it's hard to watch a Nittany Lions game and not notice the tall, aggressive figure with a no. 4 on his back making play after play on the back line. Dennis has played all 90 minutes in both of Penn State's victories to start the season. 

"I'm not a big stat pounder," Dennis said. "It's always nice to see your name somewhere for scoring goals but it's still nice to see your name for stopping goals as well."

This is the second straight year that Dennis has tailored his game to fit the needs of his team.

Last year, Warming needed an experienced player up front with the majority of Penn State's forwards being freshmen. This year, the return of Mikey Minutillo and the continued growth of sophomores Mark Wadid and Connor Maloney made Dennis' offensive burden less strenuous.

The defense, on the other hand, lost starters Akil Howard and Mark Seiler to graduation and freshman Dani Marks to a torn ACL. Once again, Dennis was the one who stepped up.

"He's essential to the team," head coach Bob Warming said. "Somebody had to go back there with Dani Marks going down and I can't think of anybody better than a high-character guy like Eli to jump in."

 With the style that Penn State plays, Dennis' performance certainly is essential to their success. Last year, 16 of the Nittany Lions 21 games were decided by one goal or less, with the Blue and White going 10-4-2 in those contests.

Keeping that in mind, Dennis admitted that the pressure of playing defense does outweigh that of playing offense.

"The pressure to stop goals is tough," Dennis said. "If you don't stop a goal it looks really bad for you, and soccer is a one goal game."

Still, playing defense has given Dennis the chance to play alongside one of his best friends on the team, fellow senior and captain Owen Griffith.

Griffith has always enjoyed playing with Dennis, not just for his ability  on the field but also his personality off of it.

"He's one of my best friends," Griffith said. "We can tell each other anything and it's all in good nature and great playing with him back there."

And then there's Dennis's other talent. A meteorology major, Dennis considers himself an expert at predicting storm patterns, something he showed off at practice on Tuesday when he correctly guessed how quickly a 15-minute downpour would stop, much to the amusement of his teammates and coach.

"I enjoy the weather," Dennis said with a smile. "I called this storm stopping within a couple minutes."

"He's a pretty good storm chaser," Griffith added with a laugh.

As long as he keeps chasing defenders away from the net, things should be fine for the Nittany Lions.

Temple Preview: A look at the Owls

The Penn State men's soccer team will face some international talent against an intrastate opponent this weekend.

Temple, the Nittany Lions opponent on Friday night, features upcoming forward Olli Tynkkyen, a member of the Finland U-19 National Team. The freshman scored two goals in the Owls 3-0 victory over Sacramento State last week.

Coming off of a 10-4-4 season, the Owls have started 1-1 and return six starters, including last year's leading scorer in junior Jared Martinelli and All-AAC defensive selection Robert Sagel.

While the Nittany Lions have the reigning All-Big Ten goalkeeper of the year in Andrew Wolverton, the Owls have a top-notch goalie of their own. Senior Dan Scheck tied a Temple school record last season with nine shutouts and allowed just nine goals in 18 games.

"We know they've got some really big-time, talented players," Penn State head coach Bob Warming said. "Those are guys you know you've got to keep your eye on."

By scoring two goals in the first half against Sacramento State, the Owls proved they can get off to a fast start. The Nittany Lions, who have scored all four of their goals this season in the second half, will need to watch out for that.

Friday night's game will mark the first time the two Pennsylvania school's have played each other in soccer since 1997, a 2-0 Temple victory. Penn State has a 39-18-8 all-time record against the Owls.

By Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -The 2014 Penn State women's soccer team is full of breakout stars and unique players this season.  Many of the team's upperclassman have taken on leadership roles to help the team progress. One player who has filled that role both on and off the field is junior goalkeeper Meghan Kaminski.

Starting her third season for the team, Kaminski showed her skills and passion for soccer appearing in her first game of the season last week. However, her dedication doesn't just pertain to soccer. Kaminski, who was awarded an Academic All-Big Ten title last season, is studying aerospace engineering and mathematics at Penn State.

Kaminski's dream is to be added to the short list of females to travel to outer space.

 "I didn't really know what I wanted to be coming into college, so I asked my roommate what I should be and she said I should be an astronaut so I went for it," said Kaminski. "I've always loved math and science."

Not only is she one of the few females in her program, but she is also one of the few student-athletes who is majoring in such a vigorous program. With less than 60 female astronauts to make it into space, Kaminski doesn't let anything intimidate her from her future goals.

Explaining how her mother is an engineer and her two older sisters are both dedicated to their studies, Kaminski says her family has always been an influence for her to do well in academically. Kaminski also credits her professors for always being understanding of her obligations to the team.

"I make sure to always go to office hours and my professors are very helpful and supportive of me being on the team," said Kaminski.

Not only is she heavily dedicated to her studies and the team, but Kaminski is involved in Penn State's Lunar Lion. This club plans to become the first university to lead a mission to land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon.

Keeping up with such a busy schedule is no easy task. Kaminski has been able to stay on top of her busy schedule thanks to her teammates.

"It's with the team that I get more things done. It keeps me motivated having them all around me," said Kaminski.

Just as Kaminski credits her team for keeping her motivated, her teammates recognize what an asset she is to the Nittany Lions. 

"She is honestly one of the most athletic people I have ever met," said captain Emily Hurd. "She has such a great work ethic day-in and day-out. For her to be so competitive with our other goalkeepers pressures all three of them to keep doing their best."

When she isn't at practice or planning her future space mission, Kaminski has also earned the title as the funniest player on the team, according to her teammates.

"She brings a different kind of joy to the team because she's so funny," said Kaminski's roommate and teammate Raquel Rodriguez. "She always makes everyone smile. Whenever I'm feeling down, she's one of the people I look up to relax and bring me up."

Being a key asset to the Nittany Lion's defense and a standout student, Kaminski is a role model for the team and student athletes everywhere.

"I think she's very smart," added Rodriguez. "She is very good at balancing her life, enjoying both life and school."

Kaminski is staying focused and ready to hit the road with the team for the first time this season by traveling south this weekend for two away games. Penn State will be taking its perfect record of 3-0 to the test when facing North Carolina and Duke.

Akron Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Brent Pry

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10275380.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry talked to the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions meet Akron on Saturday at noon in the home opener inside Beaver Stadium (ABC/ESPN2).  Take a look at a Q&A with Pry leading up to Saturday's clash with the Zips.

Q: What has it meant to you to be back in this region as a coach? What are some of the benefits to being back in your home region?
"Well, first of all, being able to see family. One of the tough things about this business is that you are moving all over the country. In most situations, you don't have family nearby. That's been the case for my wife and I at the last couple places we have lived. To have the chance to come back to Central PA and be close to all of my family in Altoona, Williamsport, as well, has been really good. We have seen a lot of them already. They have spent time with my children, gotten to know them. We've gotten to see their kids. Particularly for my wife and kids, it is a benefit. It's a real positive."

Q: As the assistant head coach, can you talk about the responsibilities that entails for this program?
"I would say in general that I am a sounding board that the assistants come to when they have questions or concerns that may need to go on to Coach Franklin or may not need to go on to Coach Franklin, as well as the support staff...There is a little bit of administrative responsibilities that go along with it. I think it's what I make it and what Coach wants it to be. He likes a voice. He likes opinions. He likes feedback. And I feel it is my responsibility to give him that."

Q: We've heard a lot about Gary Wooten during spring ball and practice. Do you think we are close to seeing him within the framework of the defense?
"Yes. Gary had a very good camp. I feel good about his development. I trust putting Gary into the game. Saturday's game in Ireland didn't merit it just from a reps standpoint. It just wasn't necessary to play him. We were able to ride the game out with Mike, and we were glad to do that. Gary is ready. If the situation presents itself, I feel good about putting Gary in the game this weekend."

Q: How has the depth at linebacker developed?
"Obviously, the first guy is Gary Wooten. He is our fourth guy right now. He is the guy I am most comfortable with. He runs the defense from the 'Mike' position. He calls the shots. He's done a very good job learning the position. Of course, he's got a great guy to learn from and follow. Jason Cabinda has had a strong camp. He's in a position where he could potentially play at 'Will' linebacker, as well as Troy Reeder. (We don't have) the same need at 'Mike' linebacker, but Troy Reeder has had a very nice camp, and he has put himself in a position where he could potentially play as a freshman this year. The depth, we've also developed Brandon Bell at both outside linebacker positions. He's had ample time at 'Sam' and 'Will'. He's a really knowledgeable guy who studies the game. He provides some depth, too, at the outside positions since he can play multiple spots. We have the same situation with Nyeem. He could easily move out and play the 'Sam' position if needed. Those positions mirror each other to a degree. As much 'Star' as we are playing and sub-packages, we are able to have more flexibility with those guys."

Q: When you went over the film from Saturday with the players, what did you see from the UCF game?
"When we looked at the tape Sunday and watched it as a unit, there were some really positive things. There were very, very few missed tackles. There were very few mental errors. For the most part, we were technique-sound. We did have a few things that we needed to clean up as a group. And then there were a few things individually. All three guys graded out a winner. I was very glad to see that. But each one of them had a few items that we need to get cleaned up and be better at this week. All in all, it was a good day's work. There were a lot of positives on the tape. We addressed those things. We talk about them. We want everyone to understand what guys did well. And then we address the liabilities and we talk about the things that weren't good enough that we've got to take a step forward with. And that goes for the whole unit. We want everyone to learn from each other's mistakes so that we can get the whole group advancing forward. It was a productive day for us in a lot of ways."

Q: Can you talk about some of the challenges Akron's offense presents to your defense?
"I'm going tell you. My father (Jim Pry) was the offensive coordinator when they won the MAC championship. Charlie Frye and Luke Getsy were the quarterbacks back in those days. It's a good program. They get good athletes. They've got a couple receivers who can really play. They've got a confident quarterback who can make all the throws. They've got an experienced tailback. Any time you have that type of offense that can move the football, if I'm sitting in their offices right now, they feel like they are turning the corner...They've got a lot of momentum. For them, they are looking at this as the perfect time to come down to Penn State and get a win. And really put a stamp on what they are doing there. I have tremendous respect for Coach Bowden and everything he has done. They have a really experienced staff with a lot of good coaches. And they have a very formidable offense. They pose a real threat."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Freshman Ali Frantti is Ready to Take on California

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10274760.jpegBy Samantha DelRosso, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Six years ago, a young Ali Frantti sent head coach Russ Rose an email, telling him that she wanted to be a part of the Penn State women's volleyball team.

Now, as a freshman in college, that dream has come true.

After graduating from high school early, Frantti arrived in Happy Valley last January. In just six months, she has found herself in the team's starting lineup.

How did the Spring Grove, Illinois, native earn that spot so early on in her collegiate career?

Head coach Russ Rose said he was first impressed with her ability to score. After graduating 60 percent of the team's points, it was crucial to find players to fill the void. Frantti was, and is, a key figure in that process.

"We needed individuals that were prepared to cut a lot of the slack offensively. She came in and her best skill was attacking," Rose said. "That's what I thought her main calling card was when she arrived."

Her ability to score points started seven years ago when she first started playing volleyball.

She began participating in local volleyball camps as a fifth-grader, after her mother encouraged her to try it out. Frantti fell in love with the sport and she began playing competitively in sixth grade.

From then on, Frantti watched Penn State play, watching them win multiple national titles, and knew this is where she wanted to play.

So when the time came to pick a college, the choice was easy.

"I thought it was a great place. Academically, and I just love the community. [I love] how every sports team is like one team and everyone supports each other," Frantti said. "It was a great fit and I'm so lucky to be here."

To her, being on the Penn State women's volleyball team is an honor.

"I couldn't be prouder to represent Penn State and their work ethic and what they stand for," Frantti said.

This weekend, Frantti will have her first taste of tough competition, when the team travels to California to play No. 2 Stanford and UCLA in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.

UCLA is 2-1, after falling to Loyola Marymount last weekend. Two seasons ago, Penn State lost to UCLA in the NCAA regionals, and the Bruins went on to win the national title.

Stanford beat two Top 20 teams on the road last weekend. Rose watched Stanford beat Nebraska last weekend and said the team played like a veteran team.

"Their 2012 recruiting class was the No. 1 class in the country. We've played against those kids the last couple of years and they keep getting better," Rose said.

Matching up against Stanford is hard to prepare for the entire team, but especially for the freshmen.

Frantti said the team is preparing by running plays in the gym and utilizing the scouting reports. Aside from that, Rose said playing this weekend at home was also a way to prepare the young players for the weekend ahead. 

Frantti, the other freshmen and the upperclassmen know how good Stanford is, but Rose said they scheduled this tournament for a reason - to play good teams.

"I think that the Pac-12 and the Big Ten are the best conferences in the country in college volleyball," Rose said. "It helps us to play good teams before we play great teams in our conference. Certainly UCLA and Stanford fit the bill in my mind."

Despite it being her first match on the road, Frantti is fired up to play Stanford.

"I can't wait to get there. They are going to be a great team and were expecting them to come full force on us. We're going to go in there and play Penn State Volleyball."

The No. 1 Nittany Lions take on Stanford at 9 p.m. ET on Friday and will face UCLA on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Special Feature: Legends of '94 - The Oral History

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kijana_blog.jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Twenty years have passed since the Nittany Lions put together one of the greatest seasons in school and Big Ten history. More than 45 members of the undefeated 1994 Big Ten title team will be back in town this weekend for a reunion. Many of the squad's stars, including All-Americans Kyle Brady, Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins and Jeff Hartings will be among the attendees who will be honored at halftime of Saturday's game.

To commemorate the unstoppable '94 team's return, Ryan Jones, editor of The Football Letter Blog, compiled a tremendous oral history from the figures involved with Penn State's last undefeated team. A portion from Part 1 of a five-part oral history is compiled below.

Please follow this link to The Football Letter Blog for the remaining parts to the special series on the 1994 team.

The Football Letter Blog - 1994 Team Oral History (Parts 1-5)

Unbeaten, Unstoppable, Uncrowned
An Oral History of the 1994 Penn State Football Team

By Ryan Jones, The Football Letter Blog Editor

Part 1:
We trace the '94 team back to its roots, following the recruiting classes of 1990 and '91 as they mature from talented prospects into proven leaders who will provide the foundation for greatness.


Chapter 1: Building the Foundation

In the winter of 1990, Joe Paterno's staff inked a 16-player recruiting class, led by stud tight end prospect Kyle Brady and featuring a trio of quarterbacks. One of them was Kerry Collins, whom one Philadelphia newspaper described as "the biggest and strongest of the bunch... has been mentioned as a possible tight end candidate."

PAUL "BUCKY" GREELEY: Growing up a Pennsylvania kid, the opportunity to even be recruited by Penn State, it's almost like that was a win. For family members, friends, people in my high school, when Penn State was recruiting me, that was the accomplishment.

KYLE BRADY: When we first got there in 1990, most of us redshirted. Our class was a small one--I think we only had 16 guys--but we had a couple of quality guys: Kerry, myself, Bucky Greeley, Brian Gelzheiser, Phil Yeboah-Kodie.

KERRY COLLINS: Certainly Kyle was a big-name recruit, and there were a couple of other guys. I don't know what the ranking was, but I got the feeling that everyone was excited about our class.

FRAN GANTER: We knew Kerry was going to be something special.

COLLINS: Initially, there were four or five of us--John Sacca, Danny White, Craig Fayak, who at the time was a quarterback--but I don't remember that scaring me too much. I felt like Penn State was the best place for me. I had an assurance that I was gonna be a quarterback, and I took them at their word. Even when I was there, I would kind of tease Billy Kenney, who recruited me, "Hey, you guys aren't going to move me."

GREELEY: I played against Kerry my senior year, and he was my quarterback at Big 33, and there was no doubt he was going to be the quarterback. He had the confidence, the raw talent, the leadership ability. I look at a lot of the stuff that was written back then... we never had those doubts.


Not every member of that class was a sure thing.

VINCENT STEWART: I didn't play football until tenth grade. I'm this 6-foot-4, 280-pound guy out of Long Island that nobody knows about. After a lot of pushing from my coaches, I ended up at Penn State camp going into 11th grade. Joe Sarra was in charge of the defensive tackles, and he was the guy who spotted me, inspired me, and ultimately fought for me to get my scholarship. From that day on, by hook or by crook, I was going to Penn State...

On my visit, I sat with Coach Paterno, and the first and only thing he talked about was school. I talked to a lot of other coaches, they talked about playing time and all that, but none of them really talked about school. I knew something was different when Coach Paterno looked me in the eye and said, "Just give me all you can. I don't care if you come here and don't play, you're going to graduate." I had four other recruiting trips scheduled, and I cancelled all of them.