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October 2014 Archives

 By Alexis Shelton, Student Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa--- Six years ago, Megan Gibson graduated as a student-athlete from Texas A&M. Today, she is the pitching coach for the softball team at Penn State.  Now, Gibson was inducted into the Texas A & M Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Gibson learned about her honor in a laughable way.

"I got a phone call from one of our alumni, who I believe is in the Hall of Fame already. She called me and left a message kind of in a panicking voice saying she needed to talk to me. It made me nervous. I called her back and she told me I was being inducted and I was just like, what? It was a comical situation, we laughed for quite a bit."

Becoming a successful coach wasn't easy for Gibson. There were a lot of challenges that she faced in her four years with the Aggies.

"There was so much that happened, said Gibson. "There were a lot of firsts. My freshman year we won the Big 12 Championship, which was the first time that ever happened. My sophomore year was a very difficult year, we overcame a lot and it was a lot of learning so that was our transitioning year. But, my junior year we made our first run at the World College World Series, and my senior year was just a great one."

Gibson has quite the history under her name, during her 2008 season, she was a National Player of the Week, and later that year went on to become the first Big 12 player to be named both Big 12 Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.

She also led her team to win the program's second Big 12 regular season championships as well as making it to the final series of the Women's College World Series.

Two years later, she met with current Penn State head coach Amanda Lehotak at the University of Texas-San Antonio as an assistant coach before the duo made the transition to Penn State in 2012.

And, Lehotak couldn't be happier to have her on board at Penn State.

"Megan brings a lot of strength to our team because honestly, she is just a wealth of knowledge," said Lehotak. "She was an All-American because she was one of the best hitters of our game." 

"First base, outfield, pitcher. She's one of the few athletes that can teach hitting, she can teach pitching, and she can teach defense," she said. She just brings that championship mentality, she knows what it takes and how hard it is to get there. She's very universal."

Gibson's decision to coach was one that changed her life.

"I stayed on for my fifth-year at A&M for a semester," said Gibson. I had started grad school. I was really unsure of what I wanted to do. My mom actually suggested to me that I should be a coach."

"While I was there, I figured I'd help out with the team in my free time and there was this one girl that they asked me to help out with this one pitch. I remember when she got her first hit she came into the bullpen and was so excited. That was truly an amazing feeling."

After that, she went to play in a Japanese league for four years before coming back. She went back to Tesas A&M for a short period of time as the pitching coach before meeting Lehotak.

"She was wise beyond her years," Lehotak said. "I remember after first talking to her on the phone. I was praying that she would come coach with me," she added.

When asked what it's like coaching with her, Lehotak said, "I think we've become family. We've become a good tandem because we're similar but different. We're similar because we understand the difference between business versus personal. We're very good at keeping those two separate."

Lehotak also commented on how the two balance each other out.

"I'm kind of out-going and quick to react," said Lehotak. "She's more analytical and likes to sit back and relax. We're a good balance, she can come in the next day and tell me when I was a little too much. I think we work well together, we have great respect for one another."

Gibson was officially inducted into the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame on October 31, 2014.



Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Bentley (10/31)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. This evening, the Nittany Lions finish their series against Bentley.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Bentley (10/31/14)

Beaver Stadium Pictorial: Maryland 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. Maryland BSP that will be sold during the longtime rivals first meeting as Big Ten foes.

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

Crime & Punishment Two Passions For Zwinak
BY: Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
Zach Zwinak has always been one to trust his gut. It's what led the Penn State running back to choose criminology as his major during his sophomore year. Although no one in his immediate family had ever worked on a police force, he couldn't help but feel it was right for him.

This past summer, Zwinak was given the opportunity to work in law enforcement, as he completed an internship with the Spring Township Police Department near State College.

As a student intern, Zwinak was required to do much more than simply sit in an office. A typical day for him usually included going on a ride-along with an officer and learning how to handle the different situations that could arise at any time.

Community Service Vital Aspect To Penn State Student-Athlete Experience
by: Greg Campbell, Penn State Athletic Communications
The complete Penn State student-athlete experience includes a multitude of areas. From excelling in competition, to succeeding in the classroom, to building lifelong friendships, that is what each of the more than 800 student-athletes strive to accomplish during their time on the University Park campus.

The nearly 90,000 residents of Happy Valley are the heartbeat of Penn State University and regularly attend sporting events on campus. From Beaver Stadium to McCoy Natatorium, Rec Hall to Bryce Jordan Center or Pegula Ice Arena, the inhabitants of Happy Valley are Penn State athletics' No. 1 supporters.

Likewise, the Penn State student-athletes are their top supporters and they make it a point to show this through community involvement and fundraising efforts throughout the year.

Men's Basketball Returns Six Lettermen With Multiple Starts
By: Tony Mancuso, Penn State Athletic Communications
In just under two weeks, the Penn State Nittany Lion basketball team will open the 2014-15 season with a 7 p.m. tipoff Friday, Nov. 14, against Morgan State in the Bryce Jordan Center.

For the players, coaches and staff, it cannot get here soon enough. This offseason has been filled with relentless dedication by all involved, growing stronger and faster with more focus and consistency.

Patrick Chambers enters his fourth season with a veteran roster for the first time in his career. There are six players who made multiple appearances in the starting lineup last season. Seventy percent of scoring is back and more than 80 percent of the team's rebounds.

The Penn State vs. Maryland BSP also features;
Expanded Game Notes
Unrivaled Moment: vs. Ohio State
Player Q&As w/ Ben Kline, Eugene Lewis & Trevor Williams
University Feature: At Penn State We Are -- Sustainable
2014 Penn State Football Team Photo
Upcoming Events: Penn State Athletics Sports Planner

By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Championship season is always the most exhilarating.

This weekend the Penn State cross country team travels to the University of Iowa to begin its post-season and face some familiar foes at the 2014 Big Ten Championship meet.

There's a lot of excitement surrounding the event as the Nittany Lions prepare to face a handful of ranked teams including the No. 1 Michigan State and No. 4 Michigan women and the No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan men.

While the teams will look to build off their previous meets and show improvement against their elite opponents, they're mostly excited about the intensity that comes with conference racing.

A pair of senior women consisting of Lauren Mills and Katie Rodden will travel to the Big Ten Championship for their last time but the days leading up to the race haven't lost their thrill.

"Championship time is always fun. [The] Big Ten [Championship] in general is always a good meet," said Rodden. "It's tradition that ten days out [from the event] we have themed days [at practice]. It's something silly to get us excited."

There were a few nerds and some barn animals running around the course at practice this week but the fun didn't distract the team from their goals.

"Same mindset going in," said Rodden. "Obviously [we're looking for] improvement and I know people were satisfied [last meet] but we know that we can do better. At the Big Ten meet you know all the colors and you can see exactly who you need to beat."

The freshmen women have stepped up to the plate this season showing consistency and determination. They are sure to display their best performance yet at their first conference championship outing.

"Particularly on the women's side Elizabeth [Chikotas] and Jillian [Hunsberger] have been making an impact and have been consistently in the top five this year. I'm excited to see what they can do at the Big Ten meet. It's very competitive but they're prepared," said head coach John Gondak.

"It's exciting to have them. Even though they're freshman they act older and more mature and I'm confident they are going to race well," said Rodden.

On the men's side, the pack is full of depth and experience, a change and advantage compared to previous years.

"[The] upperclassmen are leading the way and they're prepared and have a lot of experience. [They're] looking to make their mark," said Gondak.

Fifth-year senior Matt Fischer is returning to the Big Ten Championship as one of the top athletes after posting a third-place finish in 2013. He is accompanied by strong competitors like Brannon Kidder and Robby Creese.

"We as a team are no different than the other ones. We train the same and there's no need to have expectations lower than any other team," said Fischer. "We have some high goals. We're looking for one of those days where everyone has a great race and there's no better place to do that than at [the Big Ten Championship]."

The teams will rely strongly on their confidence to help them get through the weekend but they're determined to have a great time regardless of the outcomes.

"I'm fantasizing about dream outcomes for the team," said Fischer with a smile. "It's easy to be really engaged because it's a small [competitive] environment."

"It's the Big Ten meet, you're just looking forward to going out and watch everyone go head to head," said Gondak.

The Big Ten Championship will mark its 100th anniversary on Sunday morning at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa. The women are set to begin their 6k run at 10:45 a.m. CDT and the men will compete in an 8k run at 11:45 a.m. CDT.

Lions Ready to Take on the Big Ten Tournament After Defeating Maryland

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10486417.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After defeating Maryland to end the regular season, the Penn State women's soccer team is ready for the Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State scored in 25th minute on a shot from Frannie Crouse to claim a 1-0 lead, an edge the Lions would never relinquish in the regular season finale.

With significant postseason implications on the line for Maryland, Penn State shut down the Terrapins to end its regular season with 17-2 overall record.

"We knew Maryland was going to come out fighting since they needed the win," said senior Emily Hurd. "We were able to match their energy right away and I think we did a great job keeping the lead."

Having already clinched the 2014 regular season Big Ten title with its win over Iowa on Sunday, the team treated this game as preparation for the postseason.

"There is definitely a different mindset going into this game," said head coach Erica Walsh.
"If we didn't get it right it can turn into a slight letdown but I think the team did great job coming out and looking sharp for the game."

In their last guaranteed game on Jeffrey Field, the Nittany Lions already looked postseason ready on Thursday night.

"The biggest message today was that this game should be treated like the start of the tournament," said Walsh.
"We need to continue to grow and keep staying focused. We want them to view this not as the end but as the beginning of something new."

The players know how important the conference tournament is and are using last year's defeat in the semifinals as motivation to come back stronger than ever.

This season has shown the depth and talent of the team, proving the Lions' potential to carry their success into the postseason.

"I think we're continuing to grow and putting together great performances which will carry us all the way through the Big Ten tournament," Hurd said.

Hurd is no stranger to the tournament and understands the demands and strains that are put on the players during the postseason.

"The Big Ten Tournament is so different. It's a lot of games in a short amount of time," said Hurd.
"With such a demand on our bodies we need to not only mentally prepare but make sure we stay physically healthy also."

With such a diverse mix of players in significant roles on the roster, this tournament stands as both a last shot for the four seniors and the start of a new chapter in the freshman's careers.

'm very excited being a freshman and this being my first Big Ten Tournament. It's nice having the seniors to look up to," said freshman Maddie Elliston.

During the regular season, the freshmen have credited the leadership of the seniors for contributing to the team's success.

The four seniors have seen every high and low possible during their years at Penn State. Although they lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament last year, the senior players are motivated to make their last postseason a
memorable one.

"These five years have gone so fast. I'm extremely happy I chose this to be my home for the last few years. I still can't believe it's almost over." Hurd said.

The Big Ten Tournament begins on Wednesday in West Lafayette. Penn State will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

2014 Gameday Preview - Lions Set to Collide with Maryland

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GAME BLOG - Penn State vs. Maryland

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

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

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in 21 seasons, Penn State (4-3, 1-3) and Maryland (5-3, 2-2) will collide on the gridiron on Saturday when the Big Ten East Division foes meet at noon (ESPN2) in Beaver Stadium.

10483850.jpegThe regional foes have met 37 times prior to this week's matchup in Happy Valley. Maryland is the eight-most played opponent in Penn State's history. The Nittany Lions own a 35-1-1 mark in the all-time series against the Terrapins, with the lone setback coming in 1961.

On the heels of a superb second half against No. 13 Ohio State last week, the Nittany Lions enter the eighth game on the schedule with confidence. Penn State's defense kick-started a stretch of 24-unanswered points for the Lions in a 31-24 double-overtime setback to Ohio State last week. The Lions shut out the Buckeyes in the final two quarters of the game.

The Nittany Lions remain ranked among the top units in the country in three of the four major statistical categories. Penn State is No. 3 in rushing defense, No. 7 in total defense and No. 9 in scoring defense. After tallying 19 stops against Ohio State, senior linebacker Mike Hull is ranked sixth in the nation with 11.9 tackles per game.

Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg led a 77-yard scoring drive in the final three minutes of regulation to send last week's game into overtime. Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is leading the conference in passing with 265.9 passing yards per game. Coming off a Penn State record-breaking 14-reception effort against Ohio State, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton is the nation's top freshman receiver in receptions (57) and receptions per game (8.1).

Maryland fell to 5-3 on the season following a 52-7 loss at Wisconsin last week. The Terps are 2-2 in conference play during their first season as a member of the Big Ten. Maryland knocked off Indiana (37-15) and Iowa (38-31) en route to a 2-1 start to Big Ten play. The Terrapins are ranked ninth in the Big Ten in total offense (373.9 ypg) and 13th in total defense (458.4 ypg).

Saturday's game will feature the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) for the event's amazing fundraising efforts in the fight against pediatric cancer. The THON Executive Committee will present the theme for the 2015 Dance Marathon and the final total amount raised in the 2013-'14 academic year.

Additionally, the Maryland game will be the annual celebration of all Commonwealth campuses. Two students from each of Penn State's 24 campuses will proudly represent their campus by carrying its banner onto the field during halftime.

Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week eight matchup against Maryland.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10483794.jpeg1. Head coach James Franklin said it best earlier this week when he talked with Following the second-half efforts against Ohio State, Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lion offense take the next step against Maryland this week. Penn State found some momentum and success in the latter stages of Saturday's game with two critical scoring drives, which sent the contest into overtime. Freshman Saeed Blacknall hauled in the first touchdown reception of his Nittany Lion career on a 24-yard throw from Hackenberg. The offense also marched 77 yards on its final drive for a game-tying field goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation. Finding consistency in the trenches will be critical for the Lions moving forward, and Franklin is hopeful that senior captain Miles Dieffenbach could see some action for the first time on Saturday.

2. Simply put, the Nittany Lion defense turned in a dominant performance against Ohio State. Hull's stellar 19-tackle effort speaks for itself, but the Nittany Lion defensive line has played at an elite level during much of the 2014 season. The impact Penn State's D-Line has made on every snap doesn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet every week, but the group has been disruptive on a consistent basis. Ends Deion Barnes, C.J. Olaniyan, Carl Nassib and Brad Bars have all made a tremendous impact off the edge. Inside, Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson have been among the top interior tandems in the Big Ten. Zettel is leading the defense in tackles for loss (8.0) and tied for the team lead in interceptions (2), which includes his interception return for a touchdown against Ohio State.

3. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop challenges the defense to force more turnovers every time it steps on the field. Penn State's two turnovers against Ohio State played a paramount role in the team's ability to put itself in a position to win last week. The Lions enter the final five games of the season looking to extend the streak of forcing a turnover in five-straight games. The Penn State defense has forced 10 turnovers in the past five games.

What to Watch For - Maryland
10483787.jpeg1. Maryland senior quarterback C.J. Brown is a dynamic player for the Terps. The team's leader in rushing and passing yards, Brown is ranked second in school history in touchdowns responsible for (50). Brown is one of just 10 active players in the FBS to pass for 4,000 or more yards and rush for 1,000 yards. In 2014, Brown has thrown for 1,316 yards and rushed for 376 yards. He has accounted for 13 touchdowns this season (8 passing; 5 rushing). Brown's favorite target is junior Stefon Diggs, who has big-play ability every time he touches the ball. Diggs, who has at least one reception in 26-straight games, has made 46 catches for 601 yards and scored five touchdowns in 2014.

2. Maryland's defensive unit provides the look of a 3-4 scheme. Senior defensive end Andre Monroe is a name to watch on Saturday. Monroe is ranked third in the program's history with 21.0 sacks. He leads all active players with 32.5 TFL for his career. Maryland is tied with Michigan State in sacks during conference games this season (13). Cornerback William Likely has been a difference-maker in the secondary for the Terps in 2014. Likely has two interception returns for a touchdown this season, and he ranks fourth in the Big Ten in passes defended per game. As a unit, Maryland has 14 takeaways this season.

3. The return game has been a big piece of Maryland's success this fall. The Terps boast the Big Ten's top punt returner and kickoff returner in Likely and Diggs, respectively. Likely has one punt return for a score this season and is averaging 16.3 yards per touch. Diggs is averaging 25.2 yards per return each time he touches the ball on kickoffs.

The Final Word:
Dating back to 1917, Maryland is one of Penn State's oldest foes. Separated by just 198 miles, the Nittany Lions and Terrapins played 37 times from 1917 to 1993. Penn State and Maryland met during every season from 1960-'75 before a one-year break. The two teams then played one another during each season from 1984-'93 before the series took a break. Now, as members of the Big Ten East Division, Penn State and Maryland will meet on a yearly basis. The Nittany Lions are unbeaten in 21 games played against the Terps in Happy Valley. Penn State and Maryland will play at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in 2015. Kickoff is slated for 12:01 p.m. on Saturday with Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway and Paul Carcaterra on the ESPN2 broadcast.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Bentley (10/30)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. This evening, the Nittany Lions take on Bentley.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Bentley (10/30/14)
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Sixty-two days ago, head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss took the mic at fall sports media day. With senior captain Laura Gebhart at her side, she told audience members that her team's chemistry would prevail this season. She was right. The Nittany Lions have had a fantastic regular season, with one conference game remaining. Despite some tough losses, including an overtime loss to 2013 NCAA champion UConn, team chemistry and leadership has always prevailed.

New Year, New Turf, New Schedule

The Nittany Lions opened up the regular season with two exhibition games against Pacific and Delaware. With a pair of wins under its belt heading into the regular season, Penn State was able to work out the little things before starting the Big Ten schedule.

The Nittany Lions' home record is nearly perfect. With only one loss at home, coming in overtime against Michigan, Penn State has owned its new turf. Coach Morett-Curtiss said at the beginning of the season that the turf would be a smoother surface than the one before. Since Penn State is arguably one of the fastest teams in the Big Ten, a flatter surface allows for them to play quicker hockey. The Nittany Lions have been able to score in the first six minutes of play, at home, nine times this season. Aside from averaging three goals a game, the Nittany Lions have been able to draw a total of 130 corners this season, which speaks volumes to their offensive strategy inside the circle.

Maryland and Rutgers were new additions to the schedule this year. The Nittany Lions shut out Rutgers 3-0, but lost to Maryland 4-3.

Senior Leadership

During the game against Maryland, it was clear that senior leadership guides this team. The Nittany Lions were able to narrow the loss margin to just one goal with a strong second half effort from the senior class.

Offensively, the Nittany Lions have benefited from experience, along with the play-making of Jenna Chrismer, the finesse of Taylor Herold, the post play of Amanda Dinunzio and the speed of Natalie Buttinger and Casey Haegele.

Defensively, Penn State is consistent because of senior captain Katie Andrews and fellow senior Katie Breneman. Fifth-year senior keeper Kylie Licata has been solid in net this year.

Senior captain Laura Gebhart will be leaving behind big shoes to fill, as she controls the field from the center mid position. Her versatility on both offense and defense is unmatched by most players in the Big Ten and NCAA in general. Her poise on the field has helped guide the Nittany Lions to many victories this season.

Coming Full Circle

Needless to say Morett-Curtiss's predictions about her team were right. She predicted that Maryland and Rutgers would be tough additions to the schedule. She knew that her senior leadership would lift her team to many victories. She understood that this year had the potential to be a big year for the program.

With one conference game left on Friday against Northwestern, the Nittany Lions will prepare for the Big Ten Tournament and hopefully berth into the NCAA Tournament.

The sky is the limit for this team. 

Get to Know Diver and Aspiring Engineer, T.J. Schenkel

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8693605.jpegBy Meghan Miceli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "I feel proud that I'm representing Penn State in a different light than the majority of students," diver T.J. Schenkel explained.

During the 2013-'14 season, Schenkel was the top diver for the men, posting personal bests in both the 1 meter and 3 meter events.

In addition to spending hours at the pool each day, Schenkel is working towards a degree in energy engineering.

"It's pretty difficult, I have an extra 20 hours of things to do compared to most of my classmates," Schenkel said. "I pretty much have to get all my work done before 12:30 and practice."

When it comes to practicing, Schenkel has seen a change since his freshman year.  The turnover in coaching staff at the beginning of the 2013-'14 season brought a change in training.

"The training is definitely more intense," Schenkel explained. "It's not spending more time at the pool necessarily, but the time that is spent there practicing is more challenging- we went from three morning practices a week to six."

Schenkel especially has noticed a change in training this season. 

"The coaches have really hit their groove, and are pushing to take the program in the direction they saw fit from the beginning," Schenkel said. "It's different from last year, but it's definitely a positive."

Practices can consist of weight training, water training, or at times trampoline training to learn new dives.  

"Diving is all about staying consistent," Schenkel explained. "It's a lot drills and perfecting the basics.  The best way to do that is repetition- dives are built on the easy stuff."

Beginning at six, Schenkel has been diving for more than a decade.

"My mom wanted me to join the swim team," Schenkel said with a laugh. "But I said 'No, I'm joining the diving team.' We still to this day have no idea how I found out about diving but here I am."

Schenkel is the only senior diver on the men's team, and is looking forward to ending his final season on a high note.

"The toughest competition is definitely coming up," Schenkel said. "Michigan and UVa. are both great teams, I'm looking forward to that meet."

Schenkel is also looking ahead to Big Tens.  Last year, Schenkel finished 14th at the Big Ten Championships in the 3 meter and is looking to place again this year. 

"I'm really working towards scoring more points at Big Tens," Schenkel explained. "Last year I was the first diver to score in about five years, so I would really like to come back and place higher this year."

Although his collegiate career will come to a close in 2015, Schenkel plans to continue to dive.

"There's a big masters program," Schenkel said. "That kind of alleviates the grieving process of ending my career as a Nittany Lion. I'm definitely not ready to be finished with diving any time soon."

Catch Schenkel and the rest of the Nittany Lions on Friday as they take on the Villanova Wildcats in McCoy Natatorium at 3 p.m. 

Taylor and Travis Ready to Accept Larger Roles

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9777707.jpegBy Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There's been a changing of the guard for the Penn State men's basketball team.

Not just the guard position, where the departure of all-time assists leader Tim Frazier leaves a void, but also with the leadership of the team in general.

Sure, returning All-Big Ten guard and leading scorer D.J. Newbill is looked at as the leader of the program. But Newbill can't carry the Nittany Lions alone, and that's where Brandon Taylor and Ross Travis come in.

Taylor and Travis aren't unfamiliar names with Nittany Lions fans by any means, as both forwards are returning starters. This year however, Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers will need them to take the next step as both players and leaders.

"D.J. was a huge leader last year for us, and after meeting with coach, me and BT have to step up and assist him," Travis said. "Especially with a big younger class coming in. Our job is to help D.J. and step up and be more vocal leaders and really take charge there in practice.

"The voice doesn't always have to come from coach, it can come from us as well. Just being out there and being a vocal leader is one of the main things we're going to go out there and do."

It's clear that Chambers thinks highly of both players, as he has named them team captains along with Newbill and senior guard Kevin Montminy.

At media day, the pair looked comfortable talking about their new roles as they sat beside Newbill, a spot that last year was regularly reserved for Frazier.

While it is no surprise for Travis to be named a captain since he is a senior, it will be a slightly different adjustment for Taylor, who is still just a junior.

"For me, it's just learning from [Newbill and Travis] and trying to be the best leader I can be," Taylor said. "It's just learning from the older guys who have been here before, to help the younger guys, because I was a freshman not too long ago."

Being vocal and assertive will certainly be a big part of the duo's responsibility this season, but it will not be everything. The Nittany Lions will need both of them to produce on the court as well.

While both are forwards, they each bring a different skill set to the court. Travis is a banger that has used grit and determination along with every ounce of his 6-foot-7, 235 pound body to lead Penn State in rebounding the past two seasons with 7.2 boards per game over that stretch.

Taylor, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 235 pounds, averaged 4.9 rebounds last season but has the ability to score both in the paint and from outside, having registered 14 double-digit scoring games last season.

The key for them this year will be consistency, as they look to lessen Newbill's scoring burden now that Frazier, last year's second leading scorer, has graduated.

"During the offseason, I worked on a little bit off ball-handling because I can help now, I can dribble a little bit," Taylor said. "Then just working on my intermediate game and working on my post and becoming a better post player because that's something we need here and something we haven't had the last few years."

Consistent scoring down low is definitely something the Nittany Lions need and an aspect that Taylor (9.2 points per game last year) and Travis (8.4 points per game) will both try to work on throughout the season.

It is also a role that Chambers believes Taylor is especially suited for, especially after an offseason in which he trimmed down his physique in addition to working on his game.

The fourth-year coach compared the Tabernacle, New Jersey, native to Draymond Green, the former Michigan State star and current Golden State Warriors forward.

"I compare him to Draymond Green, who could really post up a lot of people, and Brandon worked on that early in the summer," Chambers said. "First part of the summer he chiseled down, he's right around 13 percent body fat where he was up in the 20s when he came in [as a freshman]. He worked on getting stronger and his post-up game, because we need him in the post to get us some easy baskets."

In addition to Taylor and Travis, the Nittany Lions will have plenty of help down low from 7-foot-1 junior center Jordan Dickerson, 6-foot-10 forward Julian Moore and 6-foot-9 junior forward Donovon Jack, who will see plenty of minutes in the frontcourt.

With four players who all started games last year and Moore fighting for starting spots, it isn't guaranteed that Taylor and Travis will start every game. Still, that doesn't change their roles on the team.

"How we handle the reps is just us taking the time and watching the younger guys and what spots they're in," Travis said. "The earlier we make corrections now the less we'll have to make them during the games."

More than half of the Nittany Lions (nine out of 14 players) are either juniors or seniors, and it's that experience that Chambers believes separates this Penn State squad from past teams. A big part of that experience is the duo of Taylor and Travis, and it's their development that could take the Nittany Lions to the next level this season.

"I think right now, I think they're enjoying developing as leaders," Chambers said. "We're spending a lot of time together after practice. We'll have meetings in my office, so far it's been once a week, and we're making really difficult decisions on how to handle life, on the court and in the locker room. It's going well so far." 

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

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10322937.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry M. Smith spoke with the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions host Maryland on Saturday at noon (ESPN2). Take a look at a Q&A with Smith.

Q: What are your memories of the Penn State-Maryland series? You played in a couple of those games when you were here as a player.
"Back a long time ago when I played (laughter), the games were always competitive. We've always had players on our roster from Maryland. So there is always a battle for recruiting ground. It was always a physical game. It was always a tough game to mentally prepare for because you knew the physical battle that was coming. We anticipate another tough battle again on Saturday. Both teams have to get back on track after tough weeks. And it is going to be a battle for each to get back on track."

Q: With Troy Apke set to be on the field for the first time on Saturday in the secondary, what have you seen from him in practice?
"Troy is an extremely athletic kid. He is very explosive. He is very fast. He has very good size. He's also a bright kid. He's going to bring added athleticism to us. He's working really hard in practice to get caught up on his special teams assignments and his secondary assignments. He just brings a wealth of athleticism to us."

Q: How have you guys had to change your play-calling, so to speak, in the secondary with Ryan Keiser out? Coach Franklin has said he was like the quarterback of the secondary.
"Keiser is the quarterback. He helped us stay in the right call. He is a terrific communicator. Now, with a freshman safety back there, Marcus (Allen) did a really good job back there this past week against Ohio State. He's communicating a lot better each day as we speak. He's getting more reps. There is a little more demand on his communications skills, and he is doing a terrific job. All of the other secondary guys - Adrian Amos, Jordan Lucas and Trevor Williams - they have to increase their communication as a whole. It was very loud in the game against Ohio State. We just have to do a better job as a whole, verbally and physically, communicating our signals."

Q: How would you sum up the year Jordan Lucas has put together so far?
"With Jordan, I think he is playing really good. He has been consistent all year. He hasn't given up many pass completions in his area. He's extremely physical. He knocked the ball out on a hit in the game against Ohio State. He brings a lot of leadership to our secondary. He's a guy that's been through it. He's a guy that when the lights come on, it doesn't matter to him. He can help the younger guys, like Marcus (Allen), to get through those moments. He's brought a wealth of experience to us. We want to try to get him to the point - he hasn't had an interception on the year, but he hasn't had a lot of opportunities, too, which a lot of times offenses go away from who they think is the best defensive back. So his opportunities are limited. I just told him that you have to be prepared for when the one or two come."

Q: You've worked with a number of units in your career, most recently wide receivers, what went into the move to working with corners, and how do you think it has gone?
"I knew for me to achieve my long-term goals, I needed to get some defensive experience. I didn't think it would come necessarily so quickly. But when the opportunity arose, I took advantage of it. And Coach Franklin had enough trust in me to handle the corners. I think so far this season we are playing really sound football. We have been really consistent in the secondary. And that's the most important trait right now."

Q: What have you seen from the Maryland passing game?
"In the passing game, they have a tremendously athletic (group) on the perimeter. Stefon Diggs is a very explosive athlete. He leads them with 46 catches. I think he has scored in the last four games. We need to keep him out of the end zone and keep his explosiveness away. Deon Long is a guy who can stretch the field. He is a good-sized athlete who has a lot of playing experience. And then they have another couple guys. Marcus Leak is a guy who can stretch the field. He's very fast. We've got to make sure we contain his speed. And then Jacquille Veii - he's kind of a do-everything guy. They try to get him some touches for him. We have to be able to contain their athletes on the perimeter when they run quick screens and bubbles. If we can contain them, obviously the No. 1 goal for the defense is to stop the run, but at the perimeter and in the secondary, we need to contain their athletes and not let them have explosive plays."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Coach Brandwene Interview

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Christi Vetter enjoys debate, but there is no debating her athletic versatility.

The 5-foot-11 freshman forward arrived at Penn State having been a four-sport athlete during her high school years at Lakeville North.

She skipped playing high school hockey during her senior year to pursue Nordic skiing. Vetter was a four-year letter winner in golf and a three-year letter winner in cross-country.

"In high school I was a four-sport athlete," said Vetter. "I played hockey obviously. I was in Nordic skiing my senior winter instead of playing for the high school [hockey] team. I was on the golf team, and I ran cross-country."

Vetter is an excellent golfer, which translates well into a hard slap shot on the ice. She holds her high school record for lowest score on the links.

"My lowest score was a 69.... I guess I hold the high school record for now," said Vetter.

The coolest sports story during Vetter's high school career came back in 2012-13 though when her team fell to Minnetonka in the longest game in Minnesota high school hockey tournament history. Current teammates Amy Petersen, Laura Bowman and Hannah Ehresmann beat Vetter and Lakeville North in a six overtime marathon.

Vetter still remembers the story.

"That was awful," said Vetter. "I was on the first line, so I was out every other shift. Once it got towards the second and third overtime it ended up being my line on the ice until we couldn't skate any more, and the second line was on the ice until they couldn't skate anymore.... It was really intense. I dislocated my thumb sometime during the game. I was removed from the ice. They wanted me to stop the game, so I went into the tunnel, had them pop it back in, taped it up, and I finished the game.... It was a nine period game, so six overtimes. It ended around 1:15 in the morning."

In fact, it was Petersen who scored the winning goal on a controversial call. Unfortunately for Vetter and her team, the goal could not be reviewed because those in charge of replay left the rink at 11 p.m.

Vetter's height, strength and hockey IQ make her a perfect fit in head coach Josh Brandwene's system.

The Lakeville, Minnesota, native was a member of the USA Hockey U18 National Team in 2012, but she says that her experiences with the squad are different than collegiate game.

"The U18 National Team it was completely competitive all the time," said Vetter. "You're friends, but you're not best friends. You're competing against them constantly. Here, we are all friends. We're all family. We get along so well, so it's a completely different environment."

Once Vetter stepped foot in Happy Valley, she knew Penn State was where she wanted to play collegiate hockey.

"I came to Penn State because it has a great academic reputation as long as a phenomenal athletic reputation," said Vetter. "And, when I came to visit I knew quite a few Minnesota girls, and they introduced me to some other girls on the team. I thought they were girls with great character, so I wanted to play with girls like that."

Hancock a Relentless Competitor

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10483102.jpegBy Samantha DelRosso, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The recipe for success can be modeled after Penn State women's volleyball senior Micha Hancock. The ingredients are simple - be competitive, be tough, work hard, be a leader and be humble.

Hancock is adorned with many awards during her decorated Penn State career. She was the 2013 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, was named AVCA First Team All-America for two consecutive years, was named a finalist for an ESPY, among many other accolades. All of the recognitions begin with Hancock's drive to be the best.

Be Competitive:
Hancock started playing volleyball when she was very young. Her mom, a volleyball player herself, brought Hancock into the gym with her before she could even walk.  When she was nine, she began playing competitive volleyball with her older sister.

The Oklahoma native grew up trying to keep up with her sister, who is three years older, whether it was on the court or off. This is where Hancock's competitive spirit originated.

"Even when we're running to the car, I want to get there first. I've always been pretty competitive," Hancock said. "I feel like it's in my blood."

Hancock's competitive nature grew with her and eventually became a part of her. And it helped her land a spot on Penn State's roster. In high school, Hancock was committed to play volleyball at another college. During spring break of her senior year of high school, she visited Penn State, talked to head coach Russ Rose, changed her commitment... and the rest was history.

"I liked the staff, I loved the campus, I loved the school, and I had heard great things about it, so I made the decision to come here," Hancock said.

Her teammates and coaches have appreciated her competitive nature as well. In fact, Rose's favorite part about Micha is how competitive she is.

"She's really competitive, she's got a great arm and she's physically competitive," Rose said.

Hancock and associate head coach Salima Rockwell have a close relationship and it shows during matches. Against No. 17 Ohio State on Tuesday night, Rockwell took Hancock aside and had a one-on-one conversation with her during a time out. As Rockwell spoke, Hancock nodded her head, seeming to be on the exact same page as Rockwell.

"Micha's awesome. She's so much fun to coach. She's someone that's confident. And she's a severe competitor," Rockwell said.

Playing on the court with a player like Hancock benefits the entire team. Teammate and friend Megan Courtney said she has formed a great relationship with Hancock over the past three years.

"She's like no other person I've ever played with. She's competitive, she's a great role model, she does what she does really well and she expects the best out of you," Courtney said. "She's a great person to play with because she's never too high or too low. She's always consistent."

Be Tough:
"Sssss... Boom!"

That's the sound of the crowd in Rec Hall while Hancock serves. The cheer, replicating the sound of a bomb, is because of her aggressive, explosive serve.

Her serve came from playing as both a hitter and a setter in her early years of volleyball. She uses the skills she learned from being an attacker in her serving. Hancock has 322 career aces, a program record.

Being an attacker gave Hancock the skills to become a successful hitter on the team, as well. Against Ohio State, Hancock had five kills on seven swings.

Hancock is both mentally and physically tough. She rallies the team after losing a point, dives for every ball and serves tough.

Freshman Haleigh Washington admires Hancock for how tough she is. Washington said she hopes to play like Hancock one day.

"[It] doesn't matter if we're down, [it] doesn't matter if were up, [it] doesn't matter what's happening, she's a really tough kid. She's a hard worker, she'll hit the ground, she'll dive, she'll roll around, she'll keep going, she'll get criticism," Washington said. "She's a tough kid that can handle a lot. It's really admirable and it's something that I want to develop as a player myself."

Work Hard:
Hancock's efforts against Ohio State did not go unnoticed. In addition to her five kills, the senior setter had four digs and a season-high seven blocks. She is working hard both physically and emotionally as a leader of the team, trying to rally the team and increase the level of play during the remainder of her senior season.

"The biggest thing were trying to focus on is coming out of the gate strong. It's nice to have three 3-0 wins in a row, you feel like you're getting tighter with the group," Hancock said. "We needed to have more energy [earlier in the season] and I think we've been showing that with our 3-0 wins."

Hancock has been a hard worker since she stepped on the court. She holds the Penn State record for career aces, she has been named Big Ten Setter of the Year, AVCA First-Team All America, Big Ten Player of the Week, Big Ten Freshman of the Year and much more.

Her hard work paid off in 2013 when the team won the NCAA National Championship. But surprisingly, that isn't her favorite memory as a Penn State women's volleyball player.

"[My favorite memory] was the two years leading up to the national championship because it created the fight we had that third year, my junior year, to win the championship," Hancock said. "And that's the most important thing, just being a team."

Be a Leader:
As a freshman playing in every match, Hancock was guided by seniors, who showed her the ropes of Penn State women's volleyball. Now, as a senior, it's her time to be a leader.

Her goal for her senior season is to continue as a successful leader of the team.

"[My goal is to] lead the best I can, get as much out of this team as we can," Hancock said. "I'm trying to work with the staff, work with the girls individually, watch film, know what I can be better at and ease the path to hopefully compete for a championship."

Hancock's leadership during matches is what sets her apart from other players. In every huddle, she is the one telling her teammate, 'good job', telling the team what to do next and encouraging the team after a lost point.

During timeouts, after Rose talks to the team, it's Hancock's turn, getting the players ready for the next series of points.

She's the first to high-five the player who got the kill, ace or block, and she's the first to lift a teammate's spirit after an error or lost point.

Washington said Hancock's leadership has been efficient and it has helped her adjust to playing college volleyball.

"She keeps us very focused, which is a good trait to have, especially as a leader. She focuses on the next point, focuses on staying calm, focuses on staying excited," Washington said. "She makes sure that we're paying attention, that we're ready for the next play and that we know what's going on. Especially as freshman, we haven't played the game very much, she keeps us locked in."

From a coaching standpoint, Rockwell also sees her success as a leader.

"She's a senior now, she's got that sense of urgency. She wants to win, she wants to be great," Rockwell said. "The girls feel that, they follow along with that. She's doing an excellent job leading this team."

Be Humble:
The match against Ohio State on Tuesday was an important match between two Big Ten teams. The Big Ten Network had a camera set up on the court during warm ups and most of the time, the camera was on Hancock.

As she stretched, jogged and talked to teammates, the camera was right there with her. But not once did she act differently, or even acknowledge that that camera was on her.

Courtney said that despite the attention that Hancock gets for her level of play, she always remains humble.

"She gets a lot of hype for how good she is, but if you actually have a chance to talk to her, and sit down with her and actually have a meaningful conversation with her, she is so down to earth," Courtney said.

What's Next:
As a senior, this season is Hancock's last time in a Penn State uniform. She said being a senior feels very different.

"I definitely feel the urgency of senior year and trying to lead these girls, the young ones especially, who have so much talent," Hancock said. "It's great to see them working hard, but also getting them mentally prepared for the years to come. It's really fun."

After graduating, Hancock hopes to play professionally.

"I love the game so much, and that's what I want to do," Hancock said.

The team and the Penn State volleyball community will miss Hancock when she graduates, but her legacy will live on.

"I'm really going to miss her, but I wish her the best of luck in what she does. And I know even then, if she plays professionally or for the national team, she's still going to be humble and great," Courtney said. "She's just an all-around great person, not just a great player."

Rodriguez Makes History with Costa Rica's National Team

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10483032.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After assisting the Costa Rican national team in qualifying for the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time ever, Raquel Rodriguez returned to Happy Valley this week with plenty of new experience.

Rodriguez, along with her Costa Rican teammates, made some history, and she was thrilled to be a part of it.

"I'm so grateful to part of the team that's making history. It's a huge deal for Costa Rica and I'm blessed to be a part of it," said Rodriguez.

By being the first Central American team to qualify, Rodriguez and her team are role models for future female athletes in their country.

Costa Rica clinched a spot in the World Cup field by beating Trinidad and Tobago on penalty kicks in a CONCACAF semifinal match on Friday night.

"The tournament is so unique that it's such a different experience from playing college soccer. I was really happy to be with my Costa Rican teammates again and being able to play for my country means so much," Rodriguez said.

Going from being a leader on Jeffrey Field to playing for Costa Rica, Rodriguez continues to be a rising star at the international level. She scored three goals for Costa Rica during the CONCACAF tournament run.

"We had a great chance to qualify so we played with a clear goal in mind," said Rodriguez. "The mentality we had was to win."

Having played for the national team before Penn State, Rodriguez was grateful to experience some international play again.

"Playing internationally is a really cool experience," said Rodriguez. "When facing the other countries you can see how each one has their own playing style."

Coming from Costa Rica to Penn State, Rodriguez is given the chance to inspire fellow international students on campus and be an example for fellow female athletes in Costa Rica.

She has previously mentioned how she wants to change the way her native country views female athletes and stand as a role model for future generations.

Not only does Rodriguez represent female athletes, she inspires younger women in Costa Rica to get a meaningful college degree, as well.

After college she has plans to return Costa Rica with her college degree and prove that anyone can excel as an athlete and earn a prestigious degree.

"It's a legacy that we are leaving behind and we hope that future generations continue to carry," said Rodriguez.

While Rodriguez was playing in CONCACAF, she found comfort in knowing her Penn State family was back at school cheering her on.

"It's awesome to be back," said Rodriguez. "It was so nice having everyone greet me with such excitement. I love my PSU family so having them shower me with this much love means a lot to me."

After celebrating Costa Rica's qualification, Rodriguez received the news that Penn State clinched the Big Ten title. 

Although she was unable to be celebrate with her teammates on Jeffrey Field, she couldn't be happier for the Lions' accomplishment.

"I'm so proud to be part of Penn State. To hear the news I was so happy and wish I could have been here," said Rodriguez.

With one regular season game left for the Lions, Rodriguez and the rest of the team are staying focused before they embark on the 2014 postseason.

Rodriguez is the type of player anyone can look up too. She is using her passion for soccer to help change history in Costa Rica and is continuing to represent the ideal student-athlete at Penn State.

"I'm really proud of what we accomplished for Costa Rica, but it's great to be back with Penn State," Rodriguez said.

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Maryland 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 meet Maryland on Saturday at noon (ESPN2).

By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This year's Penn State track and field throwers are coming off summer training stronger and more experience than before. This week caught up with the student-athletes and Coach Patrick Ebel for part two of the 2015 season previews.

Senior Darrell Hill returns this season as a captain for the Nittany Lions after spending the summer in California with the USA track and field team at the USATF Outdoor Championships where he posted a 10th-place finish in the shot put with his mark of 64 feet, 1.25 inches.  

"Making it to [the USA Championships] was a huge goal of mine and just to be able to be there in that wonderful facility in Sacramento and to be able to compete with...some of the best people in the world.. and finish high and make it to the finals just showed me that my time is coming and that with hard work I can make it back next year and be even better," said Hill.

Junior Michael Shuey threw a school record-breaking, gold medal-winning 249-5 javelin toss at the U-23 Championships in Kamloops, Canada and he spent time in California along with Hill and the USA National Team.

"I got to go to Canada and had an amazing experience at the Olympic Training Center, I got to hang out with Darrell Hill, and I finally hit 249 and it was awesome," said Shuey. "Everyone that was on the team was the top [competitor] in his or her event. [It was] an amazing experience."

Junior Rachel Fatherly spent the summer training and conditioning with her teammates. They're returning this year well built and determined to dominate the competition.

"We are all physically stronger than we were the weight room we are putting up higher numbers. The summer had a lot to do with it. We did strength and conditioning and we're all in a good mindset. We want to reach really high goals this year," said Fatherly.

The team's first meet, a Blue vs. White intrasquad competition, is set for Sat., Dec. 13th.

For more information on Penn State track and field visit or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.  

Skoff and the Lions Look to Continue Success Against Bentley

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There's no "I" in team, which is a concept goaltender Matthew Skoff is quick to recognize.

This season, Skoff has led his team to three victories, two draws and one loss. He has stopped 163 shots and allows an average of only 1.96 goals per game.

Even with his impressive play, the junior credits his two 2014-'15 Big Ten weekly honors, the second of which came following this past weekend's performance, to the entire team.

"I think it's indicative of how well the team's playing right now," Skoff said of his third star honor. "The team is playing really well. When individuals on a team have success it's more or less likely because the team is playing really well."

Through the first six games, the Lions have scored 25 goals and allowed only 12. The team is a cumulative plus-35, and 14 different Lions have found the back of the net.

Penn State is clicking.

"I think everyone believes in each other a lot more," explained the goalie. "Everyone came back basically. We are playing well, and I think the reason being is last year we really started picking up at the end of the year."

"Then this year, I think we're kind of rolling into the next season. Right now, we're taking it one game at a time, and it's worked so far. We just have to keep that attitude."

Skoff's team mentality was a driving force in his offseason preparations.

The junior took all the necessary steps to put himself in a position to succeed by both working with the team's strength coach throughout the summer months and by attending an NHL development camp with the San Jose Sharks.

"He obviously put in the work both physically and mentally to be able to play at a very high level out of the gates," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "We're very happy to see that. We're not at all surprised to see it because of how he ended up last year but very happy to see it."

Despite his efforts this summer, Skoff feels there is always room for improvement.

"Every summer I try to prepare the same way, no matter what," the goalie said. "We all had a good summer. A lot of us stayed back here and worked with each other, but I'm not going to say I'm playing outstanding. I can always get better and the same with the team."

Looking forward, Penn State (3-1-2) is ready to take on Bentley (3-2-0) this Thursday.

The game, which comes just four days after their last contest, gives the Lions a limited amount of preparation time. Nevertheless, the Blue and White are on a roll, and they want to keep things moving.

"I think the team's playing well, and I think when you're playing well it's important to get more and more games under your belt," Skoff said. "Hopefully, like I said earlier, we're just going to hopefully keep this rolling because the more and more games you play, the more and more you get comfortable with each other."

Bentley is fresh off an away sweep of Rensselaer, where the team scored a total of nine goals and held RPI to only two.

Even with Penn State's early offensive explosion, the team knows these games will be hard fought.

"I know they score a lot of goals," said Gadowsky. "They don't necessarily pepper the net, but they score a lot of goals. We're scoring quite a few ourselves. I think we're right around four, and they're at 3.8, something like that. They're just behind us. So they score a lot of goals and they just swept RPI at RPI, which is a tough place to play. I know they're playing very well right now."

Knowing Bentley's strengths will help the Lions in their final home series of the fall semester.

"They had some good teams the past couple of years, so we're not going to take them lightly," Skoff said of Bentley. "We're going to treat it like every other game. We're going to come in and do our best to put up a W."

PSU vs. Bentley jpg

2014 Opponent Previews - Maryland

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10480549.jpegMaryland | Beaver Stadium | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions meet the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday in the first meeting between the schools since 1993, and the first since Maryland joined the Big Ten.

Randy Edsall is in his fourth year leading the Terrapins with a mark of 18-27.  Edsall is 92-97 overall in his 16th year as a head coach.  Maryland went 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC in 2013.  They fell 31-20 against Marshall in the Military Bowl.  The Terrapins returned 52 lettermen and 17 starters.

The Terrapins dropped to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play on Saturday, losing 52-7 at Wisconsin.  The Maryland offense gained 175 yards, with 129 coming through the air.  Quarterback C.J. Brown completed 13-of-29 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Running back Wes Brown gained 22 yards on five carries. Deon Long caught six passes for 59 yards and Stefon Diggs hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass.

The Terrapins allowed 527 total yards, including 311 on the ground and five rushing touchdowns.  Safety Sean Davis recorded 17 tackles, including 14 solo, and broke up a pass. Cornerback Jeremiah Johnson made seven stops, six solo, and forced a fumble. Defensive end Andre Monroe added a 10-yard sack.

Maryland ranks fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 31.6 points per game. They also rank ninth in the Big Ten, gaining nearly 374 yards of total offense per contest. They average 137.5 yards rushing and 236 yards passing, ranking 11th and seventh in the conference, respectively.

Brown has completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,316 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.  He also leads the team with 376 yards rushing and five touchdowns.  Brown is seventh in the conference in total offense, averaging 211.5 yards per game.

Junior Brandon Ross and sophomore Wes Brown join C.J. Brown in the backfield.  Ross, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound junior, has 257 yards rushing and two touchdowns, gaining 4.4 yards per carry.  Ross also has 11 catches for 202 yards and two scores.  Wes Brown has recorded 231 yards and three touchdowns. Brown also has 115 yards on 11 receptions. Fullback Kenneth Goins has 41 rushing yards, 45 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

The Terrapins have a very strong receiving corps, led by junior Stefon Diggs. One of the fastest players in the country, Diggs leads the team with 601 yards and five touchdowns on 46 catches, averaging 13 yards per catch. Diggs has caught a pass in 26 straight games.  Senior Deon Long has caught 33 passes for 366 yards and a touchdown. Junior Marcus Leak has 253 yards and three touchdowns on 16 receptions. 

The Maryland offensive line includes two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. Three linemen have at least 21 career starts.

The Terrapins use a 4-3 style defense, but provide the look of a 3-4 scheme (standing defensive end). They allow 29.2 points and 458.4 total yards per game, ranking 11th and 13th in the Big Ten, respectively.  They rank 13th in the conference, giving up 212.4 yards rushing.  They are 11th in the league, giving up 246 yards passing.  They have forced 14 turnovers this season.

The defensive line is led by end Andre Monroe. The senior has 44 tackles, including eight for loss and 6.5 sacks and has forced a fumble.  Fellow end Keith Bowers has recorded 27 tackles, 14 solo, and 2.5 tackles for loss. Tackle Darius Kilgo has made 30 stops, 22 solo, six for loss and two sacks. Kilgo has also recovered three fumbles and blocked a kick. 

Cole Farrand, an inside linebacker, leads the unit with 67 tackles, including 35 solo, and four tackles for loss.  He has also broken up five passes.  Also on the inside is L.A. Goree, who has made 66 stops, 43 solo and two for loss. On the outside, Yannick Ngakoue has a team-leading 10.5 tackles for loss. Ngakoue also has 28 tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. 

Cornerback William Likely leads the Big Ten with four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.  He has 134 total return yards on those four picks.  Likely also has 51 tackles this year, nine passes defended, a sack and a forced fumble.  Fellow cornerback Jeremiah Johnson has three pass breakups and an interception.  Safety Sean Davis leads the team with 75 tackles, 52 solo. He has two tackles for loss and four pass breakups.  The other safety, Anthony Nixon, has 34 tackles, an interception and a blocked kick.

Kicker Brad Craddock, a Lou Groza Award candidate, has hit on all 12 attempts this year, including a 57-yarder against Ohio State. Craddock has made 18 straight attempts, dating back to last season.  Punter Nathan Renfro averages 41.1 yards per punt and has placed 15 inside the 20-yard-line. Diggs and Likely handle the return duties.  Diggs has averaged 25.2 yards per kick return.  Likely leads the Big Ten and ranks seventh nationally, averaging 16.3 yards per punt return.  Likely returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown against West Virginia.  

Penn State is 35-1-1 all-time against Maryland. The schools last met on Oct. 2, 1993, with Penn State winning 70-7.

What Randy Edsall is saying about Penn State:

"They have a tremendous history with their football program over the years. I think it's great to be able to be in the same conference with them, in a bordering state."

"[Hackenberg]'s big, he's strong, and he can make every throw that you want a quarterback to make. He's mobile and able to move around, so when an opportunity does present itself, he can hold the ball down and run."

"I think when you take a look at their defense, it starts with Mike Hull. That guy is all over the place. He is a tremendous football player. He makes a ton of tackles and is a leader for them... They are very strong up the middle and have very good athletes at the other positions."

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

A Balancing Act: The Tori Waldner Story

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10480482.jpegBy Gabrielle Richards, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After winning their third consecutive Big Ten title and posting a 24-8 record, the Lady Lions graduated four seniors, leaving them with only one returning starter for 2014-'15.

Enter Tori Waldner.

A senior forward, Waldner is taking over the helm of the Lady Lions' leadership this season, a role that fellow teammate Peyton Whitted believes she has always owned.

"Tori (Waldner) has always been someone we look up to," Whitted said. "I don't think that this year will be any different."

Over the past three seasons, Waldner has seen action in almost every game, starting every game last season. This Lady Lion basketball team is young, but head coach Coquese Washington is looking to Waldner to "balance" her role as a leader along with working on her game.

"She's doing a great job of being vocal without being too focused on other people and not focusing on herself," Washington said. "She's done a great job of leading my example, with effort and communication."

Leading By Example
Waldner's leadership precedes her career in the blue and white. The Milton, Georgia, native was chosen to the All-Region 6AAAAA honors team as a scholastic senior and junior, while earning the 2009 and 2010 Defensive Player of the Year Award. She led her team to a regional championship and berth into the state championship playoffs, making it to the elite eight.

"If I am the only starter coming back, I need four other people with me," Waldner said. "I am willing to do whatever it takes to get everyone ready for the season."

Waldner is a leader off the court, as well. Aside from her contributions in the classroom, she is involved outside of basketball, when time permits. This year she was voted to serve on the homecoming court, an accomplishment she said sparked a desire for her younger teammates to join other clubs and organizations.

"Coach is really into helping us and encouraging us to accomplish things outside of basketball," Waldner said. "She helps us become great women and people, which is important because all of this comes to an end at some point."

The Lady Lions made it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last year, a feat that Waldner contributed to during her efforts during the regular season and postseason. Her experience in tournament play will help leverage her leadership on the court. With the loss of Maggie Lucas, Ariel Edwards, Talia East and Dara Taylor, Waldner has big shoes to fill at the helm of Penn State's offensive and defensive schemes. Last season, she finished fifth on the team in scoring with 155 points (4.8 ppg), 179 rebounds (5.6 rpg) and 32 blocks. She is ranked 10th in program history with blocks per game.

"My experience, being a leader and being vocal is what I hope will help the team," Waldner said. "Coach says I know what I am doing on the court now, helping them and communicating what I am doing will help them adjust to the game."

It was obvious at media day on Monday that both Waldner and Coach Washington are confident in this team, despite how young the group is. With several new pieces on the roster, along with a strong sophomore class, the future looks bright for the Lady Lions.

At practice, Waldner has been lending a hand to helping out with the freshman. Her style of play is something all young players can learn from, as she has had three seasons to develop as a collegiate player.

"Everyone has something special to bring to the court," Waldner said. "When we scrimmage, they show up. They will do the same in the game." 

Lions Continues Streak with Sweep Over No. 17 Ohio State

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10276416.jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the heels of two weekend victories, the Nittany Lion women's volleyball team marched to an assertive three-set sweep (25-15, 25-22, 25-12) against No. 17 Ohio State on Tuesday evening inside Rec Hall.

"I thought it was a well-played match for us to block as well as we did and everything we did was good tonight," said head coach Russ Rose. "It was a nice thing to have happen at home. It's great to have a nice crowd and the band out on a Tuesday night."

The Nittany Lions came strong out of the gate by earning the first point and maintaining a big lead throughout the initial set. The Lions were on a three-point streak with a score of 18-10 when Ohio State called a time out. The Buckeyes notched a point out of the break, but Penn State pushed ahead and won the set 25-15 with a service ace from senior Nia Grant.

"I thought we came out and played a great first game," said coach Rose. "We hit .650. We didn't have any hitting errors and I think that kind of set the tempo for the match."

Though Penn State had a dominant first set, the team was unable to gain a lead on Ohio State for much of the second set. The Buckeyes had a 7-2 lead and never trailed until the Lions notched a 22-21 lead on an Ohio State service error. The Nittany Lions battled through the adversity in the second set en route to a 25-22 win and a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

"A lot of times, you're fighting yourself because we contributed to them getting a number of those early points, but when we were down 7-2, I wasn't too concerned other than how they got to seven," said coach Rose. "I thought we were going to score more than two points."

Penn State didn't want to fall behind Ohio State in the third set, so the Lions continued their drive from the previous set. They opened the set with a strong score of 6-2. Ohio State attempted to interrupt the streak, but the Nittany Lions continued their power and finished the third set 25-12 to complete the sweep.

"I think the biggest thing we're trying to focus on is coming out of the game strong and sustaining it," said senior Micha Hancock. "It's nice to have three 3-0 wins in a row. You feel like you're getting tighter with the group and we're getting to a more consistent level, so I really feel like we need to show more energy and I think we've been showing that with our 3-0 wins."

Hancock recorded 31 assists to earn a total of 5,010 all-time assists. She's the sixth player at Penn State to reach 5,000 or more career assists. Hancock also logged a season-high of seven blocks.

"I thought we had great performances tonight from all the hitters," said coach Rose. "We pass the ball well. I thought Micha did a nice job...Micha was good with distributing the ball tonight."

Senior Lacey Fuller also played a key role in the victory, finishing with five digs.

"[Lacey] played hard. Had a couple of good digs," said coach Rose.

With her performance, Fuller had a great time tonight.

"I felt fabulous," said Fuller. "It was amazing. The crowd was great. It was a really good game."

The team will continue to practice for their matchup with the Buckeyes once again on Friday evening, but this time, they have a better idea of what they will be up against.

"It's nice [to play a team] because it's one thing to watch film on a team, but getting to play them, you get more of a feel," said Fuller. "At least for defensive players, you know exactly where they hit the ball and hopefully going into Friday, I'll be more prepared since we just played them."

Even with a sweep, Coach Rose was pleased to earn a victory against a talented Ohio State team.

"They're ranked 17th in the country and they've beaten teams in the top 10 in the country. They're really good. They just didn't have their best outing tonight and we know that and we'll work hard [today] and Thursday and we'll have a tough match on Friday," said Rose.

Penn State will take on the Buckeyes again this Friday at 7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio. 

VIDEO: Maryland Week Player Q&As - Miles Dieffenbach & Trevor Williams

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with senior guard Miles Dieffenbach and junior cornerback Trevor Williams.

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While sophomore forwards Amy Petersen and Laura Bowman were growing up together and playing hockey in Minnetonka, Minn., junior forward Hannah Hoenshell was lacing up her skates in Plano, Texas.

Now, the trio synergize on the top line for the Nittany Lions.

With Petersen playing left wing, assistant captain Bowman positioned as center and Hoenshell on the right wing, opposing teams have struggled to prevent Penn State's heavy offensive attack.

This past weekend Penn State (3-3-2) split a two-game home series at Pegula Ice Arena against Princeton (1-1-0), winning Sunday night, 2-1, but falling late Monday afternoon, 4-1.

All three Penn State goals against the Tigers came from the top line of the Nittany Lions.

"That whole line continues to move their feet," said head coach Josh Brandwene. "When you move your feet and make good decisions with the puck good things happen."

Petersen netted two first period goals in the opening contest while Bowman scored the only goal in the second game.

"Overall we have really good chemistry as a line," said Hoenshell. "Obviously they've (Petersen and Bowman) played together since [they were little]. I just came in there, and they're really easy to play with. We see each other pretty well."

In Penn State's 2-1 victory, Petersen's first goal came on the power play when she buried the rebound from a Kelly Seward shot into the back of the net. Then it was a nifty Hoenshell pass to open Petersen in the slot to help her line mate notch goal number two.

With two more goals on Sunday, Petersen now leads the team with six goals in just eight games played.

"I think a lot of my success is because of my line mates," said Petersen. "They're getting me the puck in front of the net or taking good low shots and there are rebounds."

Bowman scored the first goal of the second period on Monday with a beautiful wrist shot assisted by Petersen. She nearly scored again when a wrist shot ricocheted off of the post and crossbar. Initially ruled no goal, the play was reviewed and confirmed.

"It was impossible from our bench to tell whether it went back bar in the net, post and out, or top bar to the post and out," said Brandwene.

For Bowman, being able to skate on the same line as Petersen at the collegiate level is a dream come true. The two grew up playing together from a young age all the way through high school.

"It's great. It's amazing, and I love playing with [Petersen]," said Bowman. "I've loved playing with her since day one. We have such great chemistry. We don't even have to talk basically on the ice, we just know where each other is, and we are always supporting each other."

Despite Hoenshell not playing with the two Minnesotans prior to her arrival at Penn State, Petersen says that the Texas native fits right in with herself and Bowman.

"Hannah's easy to play with," said Petersen. "She likes to move the puck a lot, which fits into how Laura and I play. Just communicating. We know each other is going to be out there, so it works well."

Bowman echoed the words of Petersen.

"Hannah Hoenshell is a great addition to our line," said Bowman. "She has blended into our line so well. She has the same hockey mind as we do...I personally don't think we've ever had a better line mate than Hannah."

Petersen, Bowman and Hoenshell have now accounted for seven of Penn State's 12 goals this season, and it does not seem like the trio will be slowing down any time soon.

Week Eight Press Conference Roundup - Maryland Week

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10478864.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - Oct. 28

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions cap off a two-game homestand on Saturday when they face off against Maryland for the first time since 1993.

Head coach James Franklin reviewed Saturday's clash with Ohio State and previewed the matchup against the Terrapins on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room.

Penn State scored 24-straight points on Saturday before dropping a narrow 31-24 double-overtime decision to No. 13 Ohio State. The Nittany Lion defense held the Buckeyes scoreless in the second half, largely thanks to an aggressive effort from the collective unit.

"Defense I thought we played really hard, 91 percent pursuit grade, which is really good," said Franklin. "I think that's one of the things we believe in, just the importance of running the ball, we had two takeaways, pick six."

With a strong performance down the stretch in regulation on both sides of the ball, Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lions play with the same energy, passion and execution again this week, and every remaining week of the season. Penn State has a great deal to build on from the second half against Ohio State.

"I talked to the team on Sunday after the game that I felt a difference on our - in our team in terms of their focus and in terms of their preparation and in terms of their enthusiasm and energy and I don't know if that was Ohio State, I don't know if that was the white‑out, I don't know what this was, prime time game, whatever it may be but I talked to them about we have to make sure that our approach and preparation and our attention to detail is consistent week in and week out," said Franklin. "It shouldn't be based on the opponent, it shouldn't be based on what time the game is. It shouldn't be based on outfits that people decide to wear to the game, shouldn't be based on anything of those things. It should be based on us wanting to go out and play at our highest level."

Shifting into Maryland week preparations, the Nittany Lions corrected the mistakes from the Ohio State game on Sunday before the team's off day on Monday. The squad resumed practice on Tuesday afternoon. Maryland's talent in the skill positions (offense and defense) is the focal point for the Nittany Lions this week as the group prepares for another tremendous crowd in Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

"Tremendous challenge for us, excited to be back at home," said Franklin. "Love to have the opportunity for the first time in the last four years to have back-to-back sellouts. 107K strong. We're excited about that. I cannot stress the impact that our fans had on our last game. Gave our defense a real home field advantage. Can't stress, again, how much would he appreciate their support."

Franklin is hopeful that the Nittany Lion offensive line will receive a boost on Saturday with senior guard Miles Dieffenbach on the brink of a return. Dieffenbach has returned to the practice field in recent weeks, and Franklin said his role could expand this week.

"Hopefully he will have a bigger role this week and that will allow us to play him in a game a little bit," said Franklin. "I think that would be the ideal situation. How much that is, I'm not sure, we'll see, but I think the biggest thing is we are never, ever going to put winning a game in front of what's in the best interest of our players and our student‑athletes, and we want to make sure he's prepared before we put him back on the field that's mentally, physically, emotionally, that's the whole package."

It was announced on Tuesday that senior linebacker Mike Hull has been named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (top defensive player). From day one, Franklin has been complimentary of Hull's efforts and how sets the tone for the Nittany Lion defense. He has been a huge factor in Penn State's outstanding defensive unit in 2014.

"Mike Hull is as good as I've ever been around, with coaches, fans, NFL scouts with selection committees for awards and things like that, we all get way too caught up in the eyeball test," said Franklin. "With the guy that walks through the door, he's 6-3, 250 pounds, just looks what you imagine in your mind and don't get me wrong, it's not like Mike is little, he's 6-feet, 235 pounds but how productive he is."

The Nittany Lions and Terps are slated for a noon kick on Saturday (ESPN2). The two teams have met 37 times in a series that dates back to 1917.

Press Conference Notes
- Coach Franklin Update on Ryan Keiser
"There is stuff being reported in the media that I don't think is completely accurate about Ryan Keiser.  Ryan did suffer a fracture in a rib in practice last Thursday. After undergoing operation for a small bowel injury sustained, overall he's improving. He's at Hershey Medical Center right now. There is no infection. I wanted to make sure that we're clear.  Ryan's family has our complete support. I've talked to his mother, talked to Ryan. Our trainers and doctors have been in constant contact or have been involved every step of the way, and I just want to clear that up because I know how the Penn State community supports one another. I wanted to make sure that everybody understands clearly what's going on."

- Franklin on the Maryland offense:
"(They are) averaging 31 points a game, eight starters, spread, no huddle team, they use tempo, big into the quarterback running game. They got a really fast and productive wide receiver unit.  That's one of the things I would say in general about Maryland their skilled positions are really good. C.J. Brown their sixth year senior at quarterback, 6-3, 218 pounds, I recruited C.J., know him extremely well, athletic guy who place extremely well and say able to make plays with his arm, as well. Brandon Ross, know him extremely well, so know him, Stefon Diggs seems like he's been playing there forever, I know Stefon and the family fairly well and he's doing nice things for them, continues to be one of the more explosive athletes in the country and the Deon Long who I've known for a very time, big-time playmaker for them as well.  Athletes across the board. "

- Franklin on the Maryland defense:
"Nine starters, we talked about, an experienced group.  I guess they technically call themselves a 4-3 defense, I would say they are a 3-4 defense, but their one defensive end stands up. They're able to play both from a three-down and four-down front, play a variety of coverages, pressure the quarterback well and as a defense Maryland has returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and that's William Likely who is a good player, he may not be very big, but he's an explosive player."

- Franklin on the Maryland special teams:

They're leading the Big Ten in the punt return average, third in kickoff return average, that's a lot to do with their scheme but that's a lot to do with their personnel, William Likely who we have talked about as the punt returner, he's seventh in the nation right now, got one return for a touchdown, that's going to be a challenge for us, Stefon Diggs is their kick return guy, first in the Big Ten in kickoff return yardage so we're going to have a tremendous challenge there and a guy that jumps out to me is Kenneth Goins, running back, "H" back type guy who is all over the field on special teams."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Growing up, Drew Klingenberg didn't have to go far to find someone to play soccer with. 

While his parents Dan and Kristen were former baseball and softball players, Klingenberg's older sister Meghan had taken up soccer at a young age, and she made sure her younger brother of five years followed suit.

"I completely attribute me playing soccer to her," Klingenberg said. "I remember going to her games all the time when I was young. It just came naturally and I was always surrounded by a soccer ball when I was young."

So far, the soccer path has worked out pretty well for both of the Klingenberg children. While Drew is a starting midfielder for the Penn State men's soccer team for the second straight season, Meghan is a former North Carolina star and a current defender for the U.S women's national team.

As Klingenberg's own career has progressed from the being a two-time all-state player to a starter at the Division I level, the Penn State junior has watcher his sister develop into one of the best in the country at her position.

"We use to joke because I used to be better than her when I was younger," Klingenberg said. "When she was around 14 or 15 she just took off and she's great now and a role model to me. I've personally seen her develop into a fantastic player."

On October 20, Meghan scored the first goal of her international career in the U.S team's 6-0 victory over Haiti in Washington D.C. in the final game of the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers. 

Though it's tough for the two to talk regularly with their busy schedules, Klingenberg managed to call his sister to congratulate her on the moment, and added some teasing for good measure.

"I texted her and I was like, 'did you learn that from me?'" Klingenberg said with a laugh. "No, I just said 'great job and you're playing great.' I try to talk to her as often as possible, unfortunately she's usually somewhere in the world so it's a little tough but I'll always pick up the phone for her."

Being competitive with each other is nothing new for either of them. Growing up in Gibsonia, Pa., their battles began as one-on-one games in the backyard and progressed to pick-up games with the players on Meghan's club team when they got older.

During those games, the two were never a package deal, as both preferred to play against each other rather than pair up on the same team.

Looking back, Klingenberg is glad the two always squared off, as it helped him improve as a player and actually made him closer to Meghan off the field.

"There's always been a competitive edge with her so it's been great," Klingenberg said. "She would make sure that she would beat me and I didn't realize that when I was young. I was like 'why is she always on the other team?' and as I got older I realized.

"We want to beat each other, and I tell this to everyone, it's a great dynamic. I love her and she's my sister but when we're training it's always who's going to out best the other."

Even though Meghan can be tough on him, Klingenberg said that she has always given him words of encouragement when necessary. 

When Drew was about to enroll at Penn State in the fall of 2012, Meghan was busy with the national team and unable to see him off to school. Remembering how scared she was in 2007 before starting her All-American career at North Carolina, she called her brother to give him a pep talk.

"I remember taking her to UNC and I remember her being so nervous and her shaking," Klingenberg said. "I was the same exact way. Right before I left for college, unfortunately she had her national team duties, she was like, 'Drew you're a great player and you need to have confidence and if there's one thing you need to do it's believe in yourself.' I've always kept that in the back of my head."

Since then, Klingenberg has established himself as one of the unsung heroes of the Nittany Lions. While he has scored just three times in his three-year career, including this past Sunday against Wisconsin, his all-around game has been integral to Penn State's consecutive Big Ten titles the past two seasons. 

The 5-foot-9 midfielder has also given his parents another reason to continue watching soccer. While neither of them had ever played the sport, Klingenberg cites them as another support system. 

"They were baseball players and it's taken them a while to get into the soccer thing," Klingenberg says. "My parents have always been a huge backbone for me. They're not the kind of parents to just pat me on the back. They're going to tell me if it wasn't my best game and they've made me better by being realistic and honest."

As for which child his parents would rather watch play, Klingenberg says they would never pick a favorite. At the same time, he couldn't be prouder of his sister's accomplishments. 

"We're best friends," Klingenberg says. "I've only done soccer my whole life and that completely goes back to Meghan."


Sights and Sounds from Lady Lions Media Day

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By Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Members of the media filled the Bryce Jordan Center Monday as the Lady Lions held their annual media day.

Coquese Washington met with the media prior to an open gym on the Bryce Jordan Center hardwood where players and coaches spoke about the upcoming season. The Lady Lions host IUP Sunday at 2 p.m. for an exhibition contest before the regular season begins Friday Nov. 14 against Towson.

Take a look through some news and notes from media day.

Young Players All Around
After losing four starters from one year ago, the Lady Lions are moving into a new season with a lot of youth. The roster is filled with players that have starting experience, some that are moving from role players to starters and some that are new to the Lady Lion roster. This brings a little uncertainty for Coquese Washington and her staff simply because players are still developing and progressing, unlike past years where there were veteran players at the helm.

However, even with youth and inexperience on the roster, the expectations haven't changed for Washington and her team.

"Our expectation is simple: we're going to get better every day, every week, every month of the season," Washington said. "We want to play our best basketball by the end of the season. Our expectations are to win. Those are our expectations and they don't change."

Washington said that she has talked to Penn State women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose and learned from his illustrious and successful career and used that as a guide for this season.

"How we do those things, what it looks like on the court may change depending on our personality from year to year, but the expectations certainly don't change," she said. "I've learned that from my Russ Ross. He tends to win championships like I eat popcorn, so I kind of listen when he talks."

Finally Playing
Two players that are a part of the youth movement for Penn State, Lindsey Spann and Sierra Moore, came in highly touted to the Lady Lions last season but had to miss 2013-'14 due to an injury and transfer rules, respectively. For Moore, being healthy but not being able to play was tough, but now she's solely focused on contributing in her redshirt sophomore season.

"I'm very excited," the Duke transfer said. "It's been a long time since I've been on the court [in a game situation] and I'm excited to play with this team. We're young and we're ready to go and we're fiery."

Moore was a McDonald's All-American guard coming out of high school. Fellow guard Spann was also highly recruited, but suffered an injury during summer practice in 2013 forcing her to miss her first season at Penn State. Healthy and ready to go, Spann is expected to fill in nicely at the guard position.

Both players have a unique bond together since they sat and watched from the bench side-by-side for an entire season. They were a visible force of energy from the sidelines and now get to bring it on the court.

"[Moore] is one of my best friends on and off the court," Spann said. "We have a really close bond and we love playing together. We both feed off the energy one another generate; it'll be exciting."

New Assistants Bring Added Energy
Itoro Coleman and Jocelyn Wyatt are new to the Lady Lion coaching staff this season. Coleman, former head coach at Clemson, was an assistant under Washington from 2008-'10 before taking the job at Clemson. Wyatt is in her first season in Happy Valley after previously coaching at Georgia State as an assistant.

Both coaches fit the Lady Lion bill being energetic and having a fun side to their coaching style. Washington said just three weeks into practice their impact is already being felt.

"Jocelyn [Wyatt] and Itoro [Coleman] are both having a really strong impact on our [program]," Washington said. "In practice, their energy level and attention to detail are certainly paying off. I think that's part of our growth. That's why we're seeing the team come together and get better over the past few weeks."

Coleman is helping specifically with the frontcourt players, who echoed Washington's sentiments and said that her knowledge has helped them grow and see the game better.

"As a group, she's helped us with rebounding and she's made us play smarter," center Tori Waldner said. "We're using our energy to get rebounds in specific ways. We're focusing on where the ball as it is coming off the rim. It's not the effort that she's worried about; it's more how we play the game intellectually."

The Lone Senior
Waldner is the only senior on the Lady Lion roster and the only player to be a part of the past three Big Ten tournament championships. She has been mentioned by all members of the team and staff as one of the team's biggest leaders this season and although it may be odd having just one senior on a roster, Waldner has embraced the role.

"It's pretty cool," Waldner said. "Being the leader is awesome, especially since a young group that is really enthusiastic about learning. I've been enjoying my experience with them and coach [Coquese Washington] has, too. We've been getting a lot better with experience in scrimmages and getting more playing time."

Washington said having a player like Waldner on the roster is critically important, especially with such a young team.

"She's doing a really good job of being vocal without being too focused on other people and not really focusing on herself," Washington said. "What I mean by that is she's sometimes out there with a freshman and three sophomores, so there's a lot of [messing] up that's going on.

If she spends so much time trying to make sure everybody else is doing what they're suppose to do, she would run the risk of not being able to make sure she's in a position to make plays."

Monday Notebook: Defense Looking to Build on Dominant in Second Half

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10476866.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite playing at a high level during the first six weeks of the season, the Penn State defense said that it could play a little better.

True to its word, the defense took its game to another level in the second half on Saturday against Ohio State. Simply put, the Nittany Lions were dominant in the second half of the primetime Penn State White Out against an offensive unit that came into the game among the top statistical groups in the country.

Ohio State entered the game averaging 46.5 points per game. The Nittany Lions held the Buckeye offense to 17 points through four quarters of regulation, including zero in the second half. Ohio State had only two combined scoreless quarters during the first six games before the Lions held the Buckeyes scoreless in back-to-back quarters.

Additionally, the Nittany Lions held Ohio State to 256 total yards through four quarters (277.8 yards below season average).

"I think, as the game went on, the fact that we were rotating our defensive line was helpful," head coach James Franklin said. "Like Bob [Shoop] usually does, he gets a feel of some adjustments that he's going to make. Slight adjustments, not really anything we're doing at halftime, just different calls. Mike Hull getting 19 tackles, that's helpful as well. The turnovers; that's something we talked about, trying to get some turnovers to get off the field, helping our defense."

Senior linebacker Mike Hull spearheaded the stout defensive effort on Saturday. Hull notched 19 tackles against the Buckeyes, the most by a Penn State player since the 2011 season. He is now averaging 11.9 tackles per game, which is ranked sixth in the nation and atop the Big Ten.

"I think he should be on every award list right now," Franklin said. "He deserves that. I've been doing this for 20 years. I've coached in a lot of different leagues, even the NFL. The guy is playing at a really, really high level week in and week out. He makes plays from sideline to sideline in the run game and in the pass game. You guys have heard me say this before, but I have a man crush on that guy. I love him. He's a big-time football player."

Collectively, the Nittany Lion defense is ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense (No. 3), total defense (No. 7) and scoring defense (No. 9).

Penn State will renew its series with Maryland on Saturday (noon on ESPN2) in a Big Ten East Division matchup.

Hamilton B1G Freshman of the Week
For the second time in 2014, DaeSean Hamilton has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his efforts against Ohio State on Saturday. Hamilton tallied 14 receptions against the Buckeyes, breaking the Penn State record for receptions in a game. Hamilton is the nation's top freshman receiver with 57 receptions and 8.1 receptions per game. He is ranked No. 8 overall in the nation in receptions per game and No. 1 in the Big Ten. Hamilton heads into the week just six yards shy of the Penn State freshman receiving record.

Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions remain 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 leading the Big Ten in passing yards per game at 265.9 yards per game and completions per game at 23.57. He ranks third in the Big Ten in passing yards at 1,861.

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is eighth nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (8.1). He ranks 16th in the nation and second in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 98.0.

LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the nation in solo tackles per game at 6.7. He is leading in the Big Ten and sixth nationally in total tackles at 11.9 per contest.

K Sam Ficken - Ficken is 10th in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 1.86.

Early Look at the Terps
Maryland enters the week with a 5-3 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Big Ten. The Terps suffered a 52-7 setback at Wisconsin on Saturday. In Big Ten play, Maryland has victories over Indiana (37-15) and Iowa (38-31).

Quarterback C.J. Brown is leading the Maryland offense in passing and rushing. Brown has thrown for 1,316 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He has rushed for 376 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Receiver Stefon Diggs is ranked third in the Big Ten in receptions per game at 5.8. Diggs has 46 total receptions for 601 yards and five touchdowns. Diggs is also the Big Ten's kick return leader (25.2 yards per return).  

Maryland is the Big Ten leader in punt returns and third in kickoff returns. Cornerback William Likely is averaging 16.3 yards per return (1 for TD).

Penn State and Maryland will meet for the 38th time on Saturday, but last played in 1993. Penn State is 35-1-1 overall against the Terps.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony


By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Before Sunday, Michael Gonzalez was a little used defender who had received only 32 minutes of playing time for the Penn State men's soccer team all season.

Now, he's the player who got the Nittany Lions' season back on track.

Thrust into the starting lineup against Wisconsin, the redshirt junior scored his first career goal on a 30-yard blast in double overtime to give Penn State a much needed 2-1 victory after three straight losses.

"It was a good feeling," Gonzalez said afterwards. "All game we were trying to switch the ball quickly across the field and it was the first time we really did that successfully. I took a big step and they were pretty compact in the back. I figured why not."

Gonzalez found out he was starting a few days earlier when center midfielder Owen Griffith was ruled out with an injury, forcing Mason Klerks to move to midfield and opening up a slot on the backline for the Berwyn, Pa. native.

When head coach Bob Warming made the decision, the first thing he told the defender was to not be afraid to shoot if given the chance.

The reasoning was simple. While Warming and all the Nittany Lions know the strongest part of Gonzalez's game is his shot, the Badgers obviously had no clue, having never faced him before.

"[In practice] we worked on him and I told him, 'Mikey I don't think you're in the scouting report so don't worry about that,'" Warming said with a chuckle. "He can kill a ball. He said to me, 'I get a chance like that to score and I don't, I'm going to be so angry.'"

Gonzalez didn't just score arguably the biggest goal of the Nittany Lions season so far. He also played the game's entire 105 minutes, quite a feat considering he played all of 131 minutes last season.

For someone who ended up as the star of the game in his first career start, the 5-foot-8, 165-pound defender was surprisingly calm and laidback afterwards.

"I don't care who scored. I mean, I'm happy it was me sure, but as long as we won the match that's all that really matters," Gonzalez said. "I've been working hard all year so I was ready. Whether it's your first career start or your 100th career start you get more comfortable as the game goes on."

As modest as he was, the redshirt junior didn't really need to talk about himself. Senior center back Eli Dennis was more than willingly to give him praise.

"He hits balls like that all the time," Dennis said. "As soon as he hit that big touch up, I was saying to myself, 'do it' and I'm so happy he did it."

The moment was certainly great for Gonzalez, but it really can't be overstated how important the win was for the team in general, especially since it came on senior day.

With three straight losses dampening their spirits after a terrific 10-0-1 start, the Lions were less than six minutes away from tying the Badgers before Gonzalez delivered to give his seven graduating teammates a day to remember.

"It's a close-knit group of guys and everyone's really supportive and positive," Gonzalez said. "I was happy to deliver for the team so it was a great feeling."

The stunning finish came after just over 64 minutes of scoreless soccer. While Drew Klingenberg got the Lions on the board early in the 17th minute, the Badgers answered five minutes before halftime with a Joe Naughton shot that deflected off a Penn State defender and trickled by Andrew Wolverton.

For Warming, the game and especially the ending felt particularly familiar.

Last year on senior day against Northwestern, the Lions also went into double overtime tied 1-1 before a Jordan Tyler goal in the 108th minute gave them a 2-1 victory.

"Kind of like Déjà vu," Warming said. "We've got a lot of soccer left, and actually another home game [against Akron on Nov. 5] which will be a big game NCAA seeding wise."

While Warming was happy for his seniors and the entire team in general for getting back in the win column, he was especially pleased for Gonzalez.

After all, it's not everyday that a player getting his first career start wins you a game with a rocket shot in double overtime.

"Those are the kinds of things, you know if Connor [Maloney] scored another goal, everyone would be like, "Oh good goal man, Connor scored again," Warming said. "When a guy who comes off the bench does it, it's whole different emotion for the entire team. Like man, this is great and there's hope for everybody."

VIDEO: #WGYMonday - Meet Chanen Raygoza

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's gymnastics team is just 11 weeks away from opening their 2015 campaign and each Monday we will introduce you to a member of the squad. The second in our #WGYMonday series introduces freshman Chanen Raygoza.

Lions Dominate in First Series Sweep at Pegula

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the clock wound down and the horn sounded Sunday afternoon, the Penn State men's ice hockey team jumped onto the ice in celebration.

The Lions had not only just emerged victoriously over Holy Cross, but they also earned their first series sweep at Pegula Ice Arena.

Friday night, the Lions (3-1-2) came away with a 3-1 win over the Crusaders (1-4-1). Following a day of rest, the Blue and White turned in an even more dominant performance in the second game, defeating Holy Cross, 7-1.

"Both of these, we came into the third in a tight game and ended up pulling away," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I thought that's a big step. Obviously, you don't get a grade for mental toughness on two games alone, but it certainly is a nice step to show the guys they can have confidence and they can do it."

Over the course of the weekend, the Lions saw goals from seven different student-athletes. Casey Bailey, Eric Scheid and Scott Conway accounted for six of the 10 goals scored.

"They don't write up how the goal is on the score sheet, so pretty much just getting your name on there is good, but I think having those pretty ones definitely gives you confidence," Bailey said following Sunday's game. "I think, for our line, that was a full line goal. It gives our line confidence. I mean, obviously to get that one off Conway's back is huge for him, and Loik's power play goal was probably a good step in the right direction."

Richard - No Goal

Even with an array of scoring, the Lions had a tough break Friday evening.

As the first period was coming to an end, Dylan Richard made a beautiful play, kept his focus on the net and beat the Crusaders' goalie, appearing to break up the scoreless game.

Moments later, the officials reviewed the call, disallowed the goal and sent Richard to the box for goaltender interference.

"That was a weird play, but I guess I got it around our blue line," explained Richard. "It was nice back pressure by Rick [DeRosa] and Scooter [Conway] there. I mean, I just chipped it by the D-man, made a slip passed him, opened the net and tucked it around the goalie.

"I didn't think I interfered with him enough to cause a penalty and disallow the goal, but I know that's a point of emphasis this year with the refs. It's a tough break, but we managed. I was just laughing because it's a tough break and you can't do much about it."

Gadowsky's thoughts on the disallowed goal were clear. The coach was very animated when discussing the play with the referees as he tried to understand why his team was suddenly on the penalty kill for what he believed to be a beautiful play.

"The explanation was that right now in the NCAA, a point of emphasis is goaltender interference," Gadowsky said. "The explanation was that Dylan Richard interfered with the goaltender. I don't agree with that at all, and I'm very anxious to see what the league says about it after they see the tape. To me, that was probably the prettiest goal we've scored all year."

Conway - First NCAA Goal

Quickly skating into the offensive zone during the third period of Sunday afternoon's game, Scott Conway had the puck on his stick and determination on his side.

The forward, who had already notched two assists, was hungry for his first collegiate goal.

He skated at the defender, pushing the puck left while moving right, and then took off toward the Holy Cross net. Conway placed the puck perfectly in the upper corner, giving Penn State a four-goal lead.

"I remember getting the pass from [Eric] Scheid as I tried to split the D there," explained Conway. "I didn't quite do it, so I just tried to beat the guy so I could just try to push it forward. Then he got confused, I think, and couldn't find the puck.

"I ended up on the puck side. The goalie slid over a little too far, so I brought it back to the other side and luckily it went in."

Mere minutes later, the freshman buried a second goal on the power play, sealing Holy Cross's fate and the series sweep.

In a game filled with impressive goal scoring by all, Conway's first NCAA goal did not disappoint.

"That was actually a big time goal," said Gadowsky. "He's got such quick hands and a real hunger to score. You saw it on that play. That was a big time goal."

Conway turned in a four-point performance in the series' second game, giving Penn State fans a glimpse of his skill level and hockey sense.

Friedman - First Goal Against an NCAA Team

Senior Jacob Friedman laced up his skates and took the ice Sunday for his first game of the season.

He was sure to make the most of his ice time.

Just over two minutes after celebrating Conway's tally, fans in Pegula Ice Arena once again rose to their feet to applaud another goal, Friedman's first against an NCAA Division I team.

"You can't find a better locker room guy, and I think there's not a guy on the team that doesn't love him," said Bailey of his teammate. "I think when you see a guy like that who is always working hard, he does everything the coach asks and he finally gets one in after all these years of trying. I think he's had all the opportunities, plays well, and I think it gets the guys excited for sure."

Friedman's last Nittany Lion goal came during the 2012-'13 season. Last year, he posted two assists.

Holding the puck Friedman scored with in his hands, Gadowsky could not say enough about the team's excitement for the senior.

"It's not often the bench goes nuts in a 5-1, 6-1 game, but the bench was so pumped for him," Gadowsky said. "He is just such a tremendous teammate and such a tremendous person. I guarantee every guy on the team was so excited for him, more than even when they score themselves.

"The whole team was just so pumped that he scored. He's such a great person. He's such a great teammate. That was awesome to see."

Two Weekend Wins Propel Lions to Big Ten Title

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10474446.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The seventh-ranked Nittany Lion women's soccer team added to its Big Ten legacy on Sunday when the Lions capped off a weekend sweep over Nebraska and Iowa to earn their 16th regular season title in the last 17 seasons.

Penn State knocked off Nebraska on Friday, 3-1, and then kept the momentum going with a 2-1 comeback victory over Iowa on the team's Senior Day Sunday afternoon to clinch the program's third outright conference title in the last four years.

"The team plays best at Jeffrey field. These players want to play here and that's what this weekend has been all about," said head coach Erica Walsh.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Nittany Lions improved to 16-2 overall and 11-1 in Big Ten matches after both wins this weekend.

With a young team of 11 freshmen and only four seniors leading the Lions, the weekend matches demonstrated what makes this group unique - valiant team efforts from both the underclassman and the veteran players.

During Friday's victory over the Cornhuskers, freshman Haleigh Echard scored her first goal for Penn State.

"Bringing Haleigh in was great because she keeps getting better and better. You can see a new confidence in her now when she plays," said coach Walsh.

Echard's goal helped the Lions secure a 3-1 win over the Huskers.

"The goal definitely meant a lot since it was my first goal. Being able to get the ball from our senior captain with an open net was just overwhelming with emotions," said Echard.

Being one of the new contributors on the team, Echard credited the seniors in helping make her first tally possible.

"I'm really excited for these younger players since they make such a difference," said senior Emily Hurd.

"That was Haleigh's first goal, and what a way to get it by doing it on Jeffrey Field against the team that knocked us out of Big Ten Championship last year," Hurd said.

Going off of the excitement of Friday night's win, the team stayed focused as they hosted Iowa in the second Big Ten match of the weekend on Sunday.

During the sixth minute, the Hawkeyes notched a goal off of a corner kick to get on the board. Using the early marker as motivation, Penn State was determined to bounce back.

Trailing Iowa, 1-0, in the early moments of the second half, senior Kori Chapic was not going to be denied. Chapic notched two goals in a span of 5:22 to lead the Nittany Lions to a Senior Day triumph while clinching the Big Ten title.

"It's so nice to play with these girls. This team is the closest team I've ever played with at Penn State and to win the title makes me feel extremely blessed," said Kori Chapic. "I want to leave a little pride with the No. 14. It's my senior year I want to make sure I give it my everything and continue to be a leader for the younger players."

Topping off a tremendous Senior Day, Chapic's efforts alongside Emily Ogle, Salina Williford's two assists apiece characterized a complete team effort to put icing on the cake of a comeback victory and another Big Ten title.

Going from freshman Echard's first career goal on Friday to senior Chapic's outstanding performance on Sunday, the weekend illustrated the depth and talent of the 2014 Big Ten champion Penn State women's soccer team.

"It epitomizes this year. This season we have had both freshman and senior heroes and the entire team lifts each other up. We have an extremely close team and to see them earn this title is incredible," said coach Walsh.

'Dig Pink' Match Highlights Weekend Sweep

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10474428.jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following two wins on the road against Purdue and Indiana, the Nittany Lions returned home to Rec Hall this weekend to welcome Big Ten conference opponents, Michigan and Michigan State. Penn State continued to build on momentum from the road matches to finish the weekend off with two victories.

Though most of Happy Valley was concerned about Saturday's White Out, the volleyball team focused on a different color. Penn State teamed up with Side-Out Foundation in Friday evening's match against Michigan to feature the annual "Dig Pink" match in support of breast cancer research.

Established in 2004, the Side-Out Foundation is a support and advocacy organization that unites volleyball players and coaches to have them work toward the common goal of furthering breast cancer awareness, education, and patient services.

Friday was the seventh consecutive year that Penn State has held the "Dig Pink" match, and they have raised nearly $6,000 for the Side-Out Foundation.

"I think it's important for all the players to get involved in different causes," said head coach Russ Rose. "I think it's something that gets a lot of people and it's great that we're part of a special evening." 

Freshman Haleigh Washington echoed her coach in support of breast cancer awareness.

"I think it was fun and I thought it was nice that [us and Michigan] were all united in a cause," said Washington. "Michigan had pink on their warmup [jerseys], too, and it was kind of interesting to see that even though we're two opponents playing against each other, we are still united in a cause, and there are still things that brings us together as a community. It was inspiring and it was energetic and it was fun."

The Nittany Lions swept Michigan in three sets (25-18, 25-16, 25-16) in front of the biggest home crowd the team has seen all season. The crowd also came out to support the cause for breast cancer awareness as it was impossible to look anywhere without seeing any pink. The atmosphere was filled pink pom-poms, rally towels, wrecking crew hats, and pink T-shirts.

"I thought [the energy] was ecstatic," said Washington. "I love having a big crowd. I think it's fun. I think it makes Rec Hall even more home...The support is awesome because you know that whether you're hitting the ball into the net or bouncing the ball at the 10-foot line, the [crowd's] got your back and they're ready to support you. It's awesome."

Teammate and fellow freshman Ali Frantti played in her first "Dig Pink" match alongside Washington and had a great time.

"It was a big crowd tonight and I think it was just fun," said Frantti.

Frantii and Washington were huge components in Friday's match as they each recorded double-digit kills. Frantti had 15 kills on .429 kitting and Washington had 10 kills on .421 hitting, while also logging four blocks.

"I love playing with Haleigh, especially," said Frantti. "She's passionate and I would be off without her."

Penn State took on Michigan State Saturday evening and came out with its 20th victory of the season with a sweep (26-24, 25-17, 25-21).

Senior Micha Hancock recorded 33 assists, five digs, four kills, and a match-high of four aces.

Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney led the team with 12 kills on .364 hitting and Frantti got 11 kills on .409 hitting.

There are 10 more matches in the conference season, but there is still much to be done.

"As Coach Paterno used to say, 'You're not as good as you think you are when you win or as bad as you think you are when you lose,'" said coach Rose.

Penn State will have a quick turnaround with Ohio State coming to Rec Hall on Tuesday for an 8 p.m.

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Holy Cross (10/26)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. This afternoon, the Nittany Lions close their series against Holy Cross.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Holy Cross (10/26/14)

VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame vs. Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin addresses the media following Saturday's 31-24 (2OT) setback to No. 13 Ohio State in Beaver Stadium.

VIDEO: Postgame Player Interviews - Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Several Nittany Lions address the media following Saturday's 31-24 (2OT) setback to No. 13 Ohio State in Beaver Stadium.

2014 Photo Blog - Penn State vs. Ohio State

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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 Penn State's primetime matchup against Ohio State.


2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Ohio State

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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 meet rival Ohio State under the lights in Beaver Stadium.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State vs. Ohio State

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. Holy Cross (10/24)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. Tonight, the Nittany Lions open their series with Holy Cross at Pegula Ice Arena.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. Holy Cross (10/24/14)

By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field preseason training is officially underway. This week caught up with the sprinters, hurdlers, and relay runners to get an inside look on this year's athletes, training plans, and goals. 

Senior Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.) is coming off a big year with the team after playing a key role in the women's 4x400-meter relay team that finished in first place at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. McGee made a big impact in the outdoor season as well by winning eight events, qualifying for the NCAA Championships, and being named First Team All-American.

"Last year was a big year for me and I just want to top that. I want to get better and better and I know that if I stay focused and dedicated, I'll do that," said McGee.

Junior Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) had an eventful summer as a part of the United States National Team in the 400-meter hurdles in Kamloops, Canada.

"When I went to was the best track experience of my life. I got to run in the USA [under] 23 team and I made life-long friends," said Seymour. "After training with [coach] Bungard he really told me that I had nothing to lose so I went for it."

On the men's side, the team is looking young, focused and powerful.

"I'm just looking to go out, compete and do my best out there," said freshman Xavier Smith (Douglasville, Pa.).

The team is led by two upperclassmen, senior Sancho Barrett (Amityville, N.Y.) and junior Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), who both qualified for an NCAA Championship event in 2013.

Coach Randy Bungard is in his third year with the program and he is thrilled to begin this season noting this year's goals are almost identical to those in the past - winning. 

"Our goals this year are kind of the same they've always been. As a team, we want to win the Big Ten Championship and go to the NCAA Championships and be a presence there," said Bungard.

While the team's first official event isn't until December 13th when they host an intrasquad Blue vs. White meet, the athletes are already hard at work and preparing for the competition. 

For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www. or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.  


2014 Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Host Buckeyes

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Game Blog: Penn State vs. Ohio State

Game Notes | Gameday Central | Ohio State Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday

Press Conference Roundup | Coach Pry Q&A | Player Q&A Video | White Out History

Penn State to Team with Best Man Tim Campaign

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2) return home on Saturday for a primetime Penn State White Out contest against Ohio State (5-1, 2-0). Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. with television coverage on ABC.

10462710.jpegPenn State and Ohio State first met in 1912 and have met annually since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993. The two schools will continue to meet on a yearly basis as members of the East Division. The Buckeyes own a 16-13 edge in the all-time series.

The Lions return to action following their second and final bye week of 2014. Penn State's defense headlined the first six games of the season by playing at a consistently high level. The Lions are ranked among the top units in the country in three of the four major statistical categories. Penn State is No. 1 in rushing defense (60.8 ypg), No. 6 in scoring defense (15.2 ppg) and No. 6 in total defense (283.3 ypg). Penn State is No. 1 in the Big Ten in all three of those categories.

Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is leading the conference in passing with 272.8 passing yards per game. Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton has opened his Nittany Lion career with a Big Ten best 7.2 receptions per game. Hamilton is averaging 93.3 yards per contest. The Lion freshman is just 131 yards shy of Deion Butler's freshman record of 691 yards (2005 season).

Ohio State improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten with a 56-17 win over Rutgers in Ohio Stadium last Saturday. The No. 12 Buckeyes rank second in the Big Ten and fourth nationally in scoring offense at 46.5 points per game and have topped the 50-point mark in four straight games entering this week's game. Ohio State also is second in the conference and ninth in the NCAA in total offense at 533.8 yards per game.

A team and fan favorite and one of the most iconic scenes in college football, the stage is set for the 2014 Penn State White Out. All fans are encouraged to sport white attire to ensure a Penn State White Out for the primetime clash. The official White Out T-shirt can be purchased at the Penn State Bookstore and the online store. A Penn State Football Letterman's Club tunnel will take place when the team takes the field. At the end of the third quarter, the Penn State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will present a check to the Uplifting Athletes Organization.

Additionally, Penn State and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced on Thursday that they will jointly honor Shane Conlan with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during Saturday's game. Among one of the all-time greats at "Linebacker U," Conlan starred from 1983-86. He will become the 23rd member of the Penn State football family to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Get primed for the 30th meeting between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week seven matchup against Ohio State.

PreviewGraphic_Ohio State.jpg
Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10354231.jpeg1. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and the Penn State defense look to make opponents one-dimensional on offense. In a way, the Nittany Lions strive to play complementary defense, using rushing defense to set up effective passing defense, blitzing opportunities and forcing turnovers. But that process begins with defending the run. Through six games, the Nittany Lions are No. 1 in the nation against the run (60.8 ypg). Opponents have tallied just 2.0 yards per rush on 182 attempts against the Lions this year. Penn State's stout play against the run has been a huge part of the unit's collective success. Penn State is ranked No. 6 in scoring defense (15.2 ppg) and total defense (283.3 ypg). Senior linebacker Mike Hull has been the catalyst on the defensive side of the ball. Hull is second in the Big Ten in tackles per game at 10.7.

2. Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg enters the second half of the season as the Big Ten's leader in passing yards per game. A healthy passing game begins with an effective ground game. With the second bye week in the books, Penn State will remain committed to a balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball. Hackenberg talked earlier this week about how a strong outing from Bill Belton, Zach Zwinak and Akeel Lynch can lead to opportunities down the field in the passing game. Wide receivers Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton head into the week averaging 16.0 and 13.0 yards per reception, respectively.

3. Head coach James Franklin has said it since spring practice that Sam Ficken has arguably been the most consistent player for the Nittany Lions. Ficken's senior season has gotten off to a strong start. Ranked sixth in the nation with 2.0 field goals per game, Ficken has connected on 12 of his 14 field goal attempts and all 13 of his extra point attempts. His two misses were both blocked at the line of scrimmage. Additionally, Ficken has 15 touchbacks on 31 kickoffs this season. 

What to Watch For - Ohio State
10462681.jpeg1. The Ohio State offense enters the week having scored 50 or more points in four-straight games. Efficiency is a big reason for the offensive output from the Buckeyes. Quarterback J.T. Barrett is the conference's leader in total offense (333.0) and passing efficiency (182.1). The redshirt freshman has thrown for 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 2014. Barrett has led Ohio State on a touchdown drive during its first possession in each of the last four games.

2. Ohio State's defensive line headlines the Buckeye defense. Tackle Michael Bennett and end Joey Bosa are the two names to watch for when Ohio State's defense is on the field. Bennett is a disruptive player in the middle of the defensive line. A member of the watch lists for the Bednarik, Outland, Nagurski and Lombardi Award, Bennett has 12.0 career sacks. Bosa enters the game as the Big Ten's leader in tackles for loss (1.50 per game) and fumbles forced (0.50).

3. Head coach Urban Meyer has always placed a big emphasis on special teams play. The Buckeyes enter the weekend rated No. 1 in the Big Ten in kickoff coverage. Ohio State is also ranked in the third of the Big Ten in punting, kickoff returns and punt returns. Dontre Wilson is the lead returner for Ohio State. Wilson is averaging 9.7 yards per punt return and 22.7 yards per kickoff return.

The Final Word:
Saturday evening will mark Penn State's third and final primetime game of the 2014 season. The Nittany Lions play host to their seventh all-stadium Penn State White Out. The history of Penn State White Outs stretches back to the 2004 season when the first student section white out took place when the Nittany Lions hosted No. 9 Purdue on Oct. 9. Beaver Stadium hosted student white outs in 2005 (Ohio State) and 2006 (Michigan) before the first all-stadium Penn State White Out took place on Sept. 8, 2007 (Notre Dame). Since 2007, the Lions hosted full stadium Penn State White Out games against Illinois (2008), Iowa (2009), Alabama (2011), Ohio State (2012) and Michigan (2013). Kickoff is slated for 8:14 on Saturday night with Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe on the ABC broadcast.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- It was a matter of inches that separated victory and defeat for the Penn State men's soccer team Wednesday night.

At home against West Virginia, the Nittany Lions had numerous close chances come up short, including two shots that hit the crossbar, in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss.

"That's what I told them at halftime," Penn State head coach Bob Warming said. "A couple off the crossbar ... the game could be a little different. About two inches was the differences on those balls."

Coming off of consecutive losses, Penn State started fast and looked to be back to the form that helped it win 10 of its first 11 games.

Like many of the Nittany Lions' first halves this season, they generated plenty of opportunities with eight shots, yet were unable to score.

Mikey Minutillo was the first Nittany Lion to hit the crossbar, just missing an empty net opportunity on a play in which his jersey was pulled at the 21:40 mark. Just over 10 minutes later, fellow forward Mark Wadid would also nail a ball off the top bar as the game remained scoreless going into halftime.

"It's always discouraging when you hit the post," sophomore forward Connor Maloney said. "It's an opportunity to get one in the net but we just have to bounce back now."

Maloney has been the spark Penn State has needed all season, and as Wednesday night's game moved into the second half, he delivered once again.

Just into the fourth minute of the period, the 5-foot-6 forward blasted a shot past Mountaineers goalie Lee Johnston from 18 yards out to put the Nittany Lions up 1-0.

"We had a lot of opportunites don't get me wrong," Maloney said. "Our attack was pretty good. I wouldn't say our best, but it was decent."

Although it seemed like the Nittany Lions were on their way to snapping their two-game losing streak, the Mountaineers clawed their way back.

In the 62nd minute, West Virginia senior Andy Bevin got past the Penn State backline and one-timed a long cross from Paul Ehrenworth to tie the score at 1-1.

Bevin would strike again eight minutes later. After being brought down in the box by Mike Robinson, the Mountaineer striker converted a penalty kick to give West Virginia a 2-1 lead it wouldn't give up.

Although the Lions would continue generating chances, including back-to-back shots by Wadid and Minutillo that were just blocked in the 86th minute, they were unable to get another ball in the net and fell for the third straight game.

"You can't point at one guy who's playing terrible, you've got to say collectively as a group we're not playing very well right now," Warming said. "We should be better than this and they know they are."

Despite the disappointment, the Nittany Lions' season is far from over. They are still 10-3-1 on the season and have three regular-season games remaining, including two against Big Ten opponents.

After such a fast start to the year, Warming admitted that the grind of the season has been tough on his players lately.

"We were a great team there for quite a while," Warming said. "There have been a lot of factors. Guys have been sick, guys have been heavy under a lot of stuff with school, we gotta find a way to get it back."

One person who knows what Penn State is going through is West Virginia coach Marlon LeBlanc.

LeBlanc, who played at Penn State from 1997 to 2000 before serving as an assistant coach from 2001-2005, watched his Mountaineers squad start 3-0 before dropping three of their next four.

"We've gone through it," LeBlanc, who's Mountaineers are now 7-6-1, said. "You've just got to stick to your beliefs and continue to fight through. Sometimes the best teams don't always win and the best team on the night wins. This game was an even game for a long time."

"I'm saying this as an alum, they keep their heads to the grindstone and they're going to be fine. We want them to win every game the rest of the way through."

With a strong group of leaders, both young and old, the Nittany Lions will strive to keep their heads up as they fight through this tough stretch.

"I believe in everybody on this team," junior midfielder Drew Klingenberg said. "I think going forward we need to get that confidence back where we all believe in each other because we are a great team. It might be a little low right now but as soon as we start believing in each other again it's going to turn around." 

VIDEO: Season Preview with Coquese Washington

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - sits down with head coach Coquese Washington to preview the 2014-'15 season.

Coach Brandwene Interview

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Having a lake in your backyard presents a multitude of activities to explore during childhood. Some grow up swimming. Others take the fishing route. But, for forward Caitlin Reilly, growing up in Chanhassen, Minn., means that she grew up skating on the frozen body of water.

The dazzling freshman, who scored her first collegiate goal last weekend against Union with her parents in attendance, was born into hockey.

Family Affair
"I started playing hockey when I was two years old or when I could stand," said Reilly. "I started to play just because my older brothers, sister and my dad played. So it ran in the family."

Her father, Mike, played collegiate hockey at Colorado College from 1976-78 and then at Minnesota from 1979-81. The Montreal Canadiens drafted him in 1977.

The five-foot-five freshman is the youngest of five. All of her older siblings have played Division I hockey.

"It's pretty cool having siblings that all played Division I collegiate hockey for Big Ten teams," said Reilly. "As the youngest I had a lot of pressure on me having to go D-I, but it's fun and I get to learn from them."

Reilly's oldest and only sister, Shannon, played hockey at Ohio State from 2006-10. Currently, her three older brothers--Mikey, Connor and Ryan--all play for Minnesota.

Being the youngest, you would think that friendly family competitions would ensue, but according to Reilly that has never really been the case unless on the frozen ponds.

"I wouldn't say as much with me, but definitely between my brothers," said Reilly. "But in Minnesota, when we get on the ponds, we have some competition out there."

Having four older siblings certainly has its occasional challenges, but Reilly attributes her growth as a hockey player and person to the guidance of her three brothers and sister.

"You have to go out there and give it your best effort," said Reilly. "They'd always come to my games back in high school and would tell me people are always watching, so you have to give your best effort so you show everyone the type of player you are. They've taught me a few things with my shot and certain things on the ice. Most importantly, go out there, have fun and always give it your best effort because they know how capable I am of playing well. That's the biggest thing they've taught me."

Growing up she tried other sports, but her love always returned to hockey.

"I also played lacrosse and soccer growing up, but I just fell in love with the game of hockey."

For Reilly's parents, Mike and Lisa, having all five children lace up their skates is a huge time commitment. Hockey schedules haven't always aligned between Reilly and her four siblings, but according to Reilly, the love and support from her parents has meant everything.

"It's definitely a lot of travel for my parents, especially the year when my sister was at Ohio State, my brothers were playing for Sioux Falls, another one of my brothers was playing at Shattuck-St. Mary's, and I was in high school, so they had to go watch four different teams," said Reilly. "But they've managed to come to an equal amount of all of our games. Now that my brothers are on the same team and my sister isn't playing as much, it's a lot easier for them. They split between my brothers and me."

Home Sweet [Happy Valley] Home

With Reilly being one of nine Nittany Lions hailing from Minnesota, the transition, like many of her other freshman counterparts, has been a smooth one.

In fact, Reilly has played in summer leagues with a number of the Minnesotans on the team.

"It's definitely been easier to transition," said Reilly. "Coming all the way from Minnesota but having all the other [Minnesota] girls here definitely made me feel included. As a freshman it's hard coming to a new place, but it's been fun! They all know the tradition of hockey in Minnesota, so everyone chirps us Minnesotans, but it's the best."

A Look into the Future

With the rewarding John Curley Center for Sports Journalism offered through the College of Communications, Reilly is ensuring that sports remains a part of her life after graduation.

"I love sports in general, especially hockey," said Reilly. "I'm hoping to one day be a reporter for the NHL. I just love the game; so being able to do that in my future would be awesome."

With all the Division I sports at Penn State, Reilly will have the opportunity to get real life experience in the sports broadcasting field while in Happy Valley.

The versatile freshman is coming off a weekend performance that led to her being honored as the College Hockey America Rookie of the week. You can see Reilly and the rest of the Nittany Lions face off against Princeton in a two-game series this Sunday (7 p.m.) and Monday (4 p.m.) at Pegula Ice Arena.

Penn State White Out History in Beaver Stadium

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Always a fan favorite, Beaver Stadium will play host to a full stadium Penn State White Out on Saturday under the lights when the Nittany Lions collide with Ohio State (8 p.m. on ABC).

A tradition stretching back to a student section white out in 2004, the Penn State White Outs have created an unrivaled atmosphere inside Beaver Stadium. Saturday will mark the seventh time the Nittany Lions will host a full stadium Penn State White Out. Take a look through a photo history of the student and full stadium white outs since the idea began in 2004.

Purdue - Oct. 9, 2004 (student section)
Ohio State - Oct. 8, 2005 (student section)
Michigan - Oct. 14, 2006 (student section)
Notre Dame - Sept. 8, 2007 (full stadium)
Illinois - Sept. 27, 2008 (full stadium)
Iowa - Sept. 26, 2009 (full stadium)
Michigan - Oct. 30, 2010 (student section)
Alabama - Sept. 10, 2011 (full stadium)
Ohio State - Oct. 27, 2012 (full stadium)
Michigan - Oct. 12, 2013 (full stadium)

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Goodwin and the Lions Look to Bounce Back at Pegula

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Pressure is nothing new for David Goodwin.

Ending last season second in scoring for the Nittany Lions, the sophomore knows expectations for this season are high, but he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I'm looked upon to put the puck in the net and to help other people put the puck in the net," the forward said. "I think there's always, at whatever level or whatever age I am, there's going to be pressure, but I like it. I like being one of the guys that's looked upon. Hopefully I can have another good year."

To prepare for his second year donning the Blue and White, the sophomore put forth the extra effort during the offseason, working on the little things that will help to further elevate his level of play.

With four points in four game this season, Goodwin has not disappointed.

"My conditioning was probably my biggest thing," said Goodwin of what he needed to improve. "Obviously with playing consistently, you need to be at your best shape you can, so that was a big point of emphasis for me and on my shot.

"I want to be able to score from further out. I feel like I'm pretty good around the net, making quick plays and banging home rebounds, but I want to be able to score from father out and hopefully get a few more."

The forward will look to add to his scoring this weekend, as the team returns home to take on Holy Cross.

Playing at Pegula Ice Arena brings excitement to the entire program, student-athletes and coaches alike, and it seems to add an extra spark to Goodwin's game. Of his 18 points last season, 11 were earned at home in front of Penn State fans.

This year is no different, as the sophomore has already racked up two goals and two assists while playing in Happy Valley.

"All those points have come from playing here at Pegula, so I love playing here," Goodwin said. "There's no secret. Last year, a good chunk of my points came from playing here in front of our fans.

"I just think trying to be consistent, whether it be at home or on the road, just trying to play consistently and just being a good linemate and trying to make plays out there is the key."

Friday, Sunday Holy Cross Series

As Goodwin and the Nittany Lions (1-1-2) prepare to take on Holy Cross (1-2-1), they know they have to account for an unusual schedule.

Instead of the typical Friday and Saturday evening games, the two teams will face off on Friday night and Sunday afternoon due to Penn State's home football game.

"We actually offered a Thursday, Friday scenario, and Holy Cross, under the reason of academics, wanted it to be a Friday, Sunday," explained head coach Guy Gadowsky. "They actually made the move."

While the Lions are looking to bounce back from their draw and loss in Alaska, the Crusaders are looking to build off last weekend's success. Holy Cross is fresh off its series with AIC, games in which the team went 1-0-1.

PSU_HolyCross_Graphic.jpg The added day of rest in this series may be a blessing in disguise for the Lions, who have recently been battling a string of injuries, the most serious of which include the laceration David Thompson sustained in Alaska and a back injury that will leave Jonathan Milley out indefinitely.

To succeed this weekend, the Lions will not only need to battle through these losses, but they will also need to stay confident, composed and mentally tough.

"There are certain things that we do that are our objectives that when it comes down to the most crucial times, we have to know 100 percent that those things are going to happen," Gadowsky said. "Right now, and I'm not going to go into the people that aren't there yet, but quite honestly that's not happening at the most crucial times.

"We're doing them for a longer period of time, but when it matters most we have to know 100 percent that those objectives are gong to be met. Right now, they're not, so it's not just a matter of winning. I think it's really coming up with a plan that in those crucial times X, Y and Z are absolutely going to happen."

Even with some of the team's mental blocks, Goodwin knows he and his teammates can overcome the issues with time. The Lions are hopeful they can begin taking the necessary steps this weekend.

"I think the confidence is there," said Goodwin. "It's just mental toughness, and those few little mistakes can creep up whenever. I just think it's something we're going to work on, and I'm sure we'll get better."

The Lions and the Crusaders will open their series 7 p.m. Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.

Ohio State Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Brent Pry

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10462247.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry spoke with the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions return to action on Saturday against Ohio State (8 p.m. on ABC). Take a look at a Q&A with Pry.

Q: What kind of challenges does the Ohio State offense present?
"I think first of all, they have more team speed on offense than anyone we have seen up to this point. I would compare their team speed to what you would see at Vanderbilt out of some of the better teams in that league (SEC). At wide receiver, there is not just one or two, there are multiple guys that can run and that are dangerous after the catch. At running back, they are really quality backs that can run. They have great balance. They have great vision, particularly No. 15. And of course the quarterback is a heck of an athlete in his own right. He can throw the ball around, particularly in their system. And then he's had numerous plays, particularly in the last four weeks, where he has made scramble opportunities and turned them into big gainers. And then where he has run the ball within the running scheme, he is dangerous that way. And then they have two tight ends that are very good blockers and have a lot of range. They can cover ground and stretch the field. There is not a weak component to the guys they can get the ball to."

Q: How much more difficult is it to prepare when you are playing offense with so many components to it, like you talked about?
"Sometimes you can isolate. When there are just one or two guys, you can bracket and hone in on one particular thing. These guys make you be very well rounded. You can't change your concentration. You have to be sound up front. You can't commit to the box too much or they will expose you on the perimeter. You can't be light in the box or they will run the football. Then the element of the quarterback running makes you guarded there. They do so much. They spread you out all over the field. They deliver the ball and get it around to all of their threats. Sometimes you can hone in on a guy or two, but these guys don't let you do that."

Q: Coach Franklin has talked about Nyeem Wartman. What is he doing well in your eyes right now?
"Probably, there are two qualities of his that impress me the most right now. No. 1, he's got a lot of maturity. For being a redshirt sophomore, he is a mature kid. He's got a great mentality. He's got a great understanding of the position; a very good understanding of the defensive scheme. And then the second quality I'm impressed with is that he's got great knee bend and agility. For a big guy who is weighing around 240, his lateral movement is right up there in the neighborhood of Mike Hull's. He's just a really good athlete. He's physical. To be honest, there have been numerous opportunities for us to end up in the wrong thing or make the wrong call, and Nyeem sees something and makes it right. He's really a good complement to Mike Hull in the box to get us lined up the way we want to get lined up."

Q: Following up on that, how much do you think Nyeem has benefitted from playing next to Mike Hull?
"There is no doubt. I think it is all of the guys, not just the linebackers but across the entire defense. He's one of those guys that practices the way you want a guy to practice. Nyeem certainly does that, as well. I think being a student of the game and mastering your position, I think he has learned that from Mike. I hope all of the guys are learning that you have to take to heart the techniques that are necessary for your spot, and then master those techniques. Nyeem is very vocal. He is a great communicator. He's got a lot of confidence. I thought up at Michigan, watching him play basically one-handed with that cast on, I was really impressed. He played physical. He made plays. He stuck his face in there."

Q: Can you talk about Brandon Bell and the progress he has made this year?
"I think Brandon, he is a guy - honestly, I was excited about Nyeem and Mike coming out of camp - Brandon, I still had some question marks. We ask a lot out of that field backer. There is a certain skillset we like to see, and Brandon is a little different. He's almost geared towards the position Nyeem plays a little bit more. Brandon has done a tremendous job growing into that position. He has given us everything to his abilities that we need out there. We have the good fortune and subbing and getting into a sub group when we feel like there needs to be a little more speed or athleticism out at that spot. We can put a safety in the game. Brandon has just done a very, very good job of being a solid player at the field backer position. I'd like to see more production from Brandon. I'd like to Brandon be a little more explosive in our blitz package. There are some things where we are working towards for the second half of the season where we can get a little more production out of Brandon."

Q: When you look at this weekend, what type of an impact does a Penn State White Out have in terms of recruiting?
"This is obviously a big recruiting weekend. Everybody as a prospect wants to come see Penn State-Ohio State, white out in a sold out stadium. That's obviously one of the great things about Penn State. When you walk into a high school and get into conversations with coaches and players that's one of the first things you talk about - Beaver Stadium and the white outs. A bunch of those guys that signed with us last February were at the Michigan game last year where it was a white out and Penn State victory in dramatic fashion. Those guys all talked about that during the recruiting process up to when we signed them. (Saying) that it was just a fantastic experience and that it was unrivaled - that there was no other gameday atmosphere that they had attended and made them as excited as Beaver Stadium did."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Kohne's Impact on the Team Goes Beyond the Game Statistics

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10461762.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - So far this season, Kindrah Kohne has been affecting the Penn State women's soccer team in a way that goes beyond statistics. 

While the New York native and senior has 234 minutes of playing time and four shots so far this season, Kohne's biggest asset to the team can't be found on the stat sheet. What makes Kohne an essential piece to the team is her ability to be the glue that keeps everyone together.

"One thing I want to leave behind for this team after graduation is the change in environment of turning the team into a family," said Kohne.

Part of what makes the 2014 team so successful is the chemistry between the players. Kohne is someone on the team that has been the driving force for this transformation from team to family.

"What makes Kindrah special is her team first attitude. She has played four years with us now and has done so with more class dignity than any college athlete I've ever seen before," said head coach Erica Walsh. "Without her we would of never been able to create the environment this team has."

As her final season winds down, Kohne has been reflecting on her time in Happy Valley and the kind of legacy she wants to leave behind.

"I want to leave this season with no stones unturned," said Kohne. "I make sure to give it my all for every game since I never know how many minutes I'll get during a game so I want to maximize my opportunities for this whole season since it is my last."

With such a young team in 2014, Kohne made sure back in August that the team's 11 freshmen had no problem transitioning into collegiate soccer.

"I wanted to make sure the freshmen felt welcomed and made a point to get to know each of them right from the get-go," she said. "I wanted them to know I'm always here to help if they need or want to talk about anything since the demands of the season and school can get crazy at times."

Her compassion and eagerness to help goes beyond making new players feel welcomed.

Fellow midfielder Kori Chapic, who is also one of Kohne's roommates, cited her as one of the most influential players on the team.

"A lot of people on the team know she's someone that can always help them with their problems and is always that shoulder to lean on if needed," said Chapic. "She just likes to make people smile."

Having four years of experience under her belt, Kohne has improved greatly as a player and brings her team first attitude on the field with her.

"On the field she always make sure to get the details right. In soccer, details are so important positioning wise and she always knows how to put herself in the best place," said Chapic. "She makes everyone else's job that much easier whenever she is in the game."

Although she may not be a fixture in the starting lineup, Kohne is the type of player the team can rely on in tight games.

"When the team is in a tight situation and you look down the bench and see Kindrah we know as coaches she'll get the job the team needs done. She's earned our trust as a player," said Walsh.

Earning the team's trust as a reliable player and a true friend, Kohne's impact on the team is something that goes beyond game statistics.

The family feel that the 2014 Penn State's women soccer team wouldn't be possible without a genuine player such as Kohne.

"She's had such a positive impact on the players, coaching staff, and this program. She's one that we'll remember for years to come," said Walsh.

Lions Looking to Build on Road Victories

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10394883 (1).jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team faced adversity two weeks ago as they fell to No. 15 Illinois in a 3-1 match, but the Lions roared back on the road last weekend to earn two-straight wins.

Now, Penn State is looking to carry that momentum into a pair of home matches.

Penn State headed to No. 14 Purdue last Friday evening and came out victorious in a tough five-set (26-24, 23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 15-9) battle. The Nittany Lions won the first set, but came up short in the next two sets. The team was able to regroup and collect themselves to regain momentum and win the following two sets and the match.

"We stayed confident in each other [when we were down a set] and trusted our ability in things we've done in practice and fighting hard for every point," said senior Dominique Gonzalez. "I think the belief that we have in each other and the confidence that we had that we could pull it out really helped us."

Penn State's momentum continued into the next night as the Nittany Lions swept Indiana (25-11, 25-19, 25-15) at University Gym.

"It was a huge team effort," said junior Aiyana Whitney. "The hunger proved ourselves that we can do great things and we can win matches, like those tight matches in hostile environments and that's something we really wanted, so we rallied as a team to better the team effort."

This weekend, the Nittany Lions hope to continue their drive from their two wins as they return to Rec Hall to take on Michigan at 7 p.m. on Friday evening and Michigan State at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.

"I think [winning] builds a little team morale," said Gonzalez. "We kind of needed those wins. It was a battle at Purdue, so that helped out a lot, but going into this weekend, they're two different teams that fight very hard and they're coming to Rec Hall, but that doesn't mean anything if we don't play the way we should play. They're two really tough teams. Michigan beat Nebraska, which is a great win, so they're strong teams with great setters and great offense and defense and it's going to be a tough matchup, but we're preparing the best way we can."

In preparation for this weekend's matchups, focus has been high on the practice court this week.

"We have been working a lot on our blocking," said Whitney. "We've been putting a lot of time and effort into trying to make that more of a strength rather than a weakness, so I think that's something we want to emphasize on this weekend knowing that these are great attacking teams and that's something we definitely need to step up if we want to be successful this weekend."

With a good week of practice and more confidence, the team is ready for this weekend.

"We're feeling a little better about where we are. I think we're pretty focused in practice, so I would love for [our confidence and momentum] to carry into the matches this weekend," said Whitney.

Though there is still a long season ahead, the players want to focus on taking each match one at a time.

"We're trying to be focused on every match as best we can and focused on playing every team as hard as we can, said Gonzalez. "We have to take one match at a time. We can't look past any match or look onto the tournament until we get through conference."

Whitney echoes her teammate and believes that the team has a lot to build on for the future.

"I think this team has great potential. I know that everyone thinks we're super young and that's true, but I think we can do great things. We're working hard right now, so down the road, we're playing to our fullest potential," said Whitney.

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Ohio State 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 return to action on Saturday (8 p.m. on ABC) against Ohio State.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Newbill Ready to Lead Nittany Lions

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9857407.jpegBy Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- While the position may be familiar, the circumstances have certainly changed for D.J. Newbill.

For the second time in three years, the senior finds himself as the starting point guard of the Nittany Lion basketball team, having played there for nearly the entire 2012-'13 season. This time around however, he's a bit more prepared for the challenge.

In 2012, Newbill was thrown into the fire when star point guard Tim Frazier went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon four games into the season, and was forced to play a position he was unfamiliar with.

Two years later, with a year of experience playing the point and an All-Big Ten nod as a shooting guard last year under his belt, the Philadelphia native is ready to resume ball-handling duties once more.

"I think I'm very comfortable," Newbill said. "Coming into the season, I didn't know if I was [playing point] so I prepared myself just in case.

"But I'm sure coach is going to play me some at the point. All offseason I worked on ball handling and things like that so I'm feeling pretty comfortable."

Although head coach Patrick Chambers currently has Newbill penciled in as the team's point guard, it is likely that the senior will play both on and off the ball throughout the season.

One of the best offensive players in the Big Ten, Newbill finished second in the conference in scoring average last season with 17.8 points per game and has led the Lions in scoring the past two seasons.

The key for the Newbill this year will be increasing his assist total now that Frazier, the program's all-time assist leader, has graduated. While he averaged just 1.7 dimes last season playing mainly as the shooting guard, he averaged a more robust 4.0 when playing the point as a sophomore.

"Whatever's going to make our team the most successful, whether it's him on the ball or him off the ball," Chambers said. "Because he's very efficient, and you can see his numbers from last year, and he does a great job of reading ball screens."

Not only will Penn State need Newbill to help replace Frazier's passing skills, it will also need him to fill the leadership void left by the departed guard.

A five-year player, Frazier not only was one of the greatest players in Penn State history, but also the voice of the team and the face of the program.

Now that he has gone, the Lions will look to Newbill to help fill those roles and also assist fellow captains senior forward Ross Travis, junior forward Brandon Taylor and senior guard Kevin Montminy grow as leaders themselves.

"For all of us, it's coming to practice everyday and raising the level of competition and trying to maximize guy's ability everyday in practice," Newbill said. "Ultimately, we're all leaders of the team so I think it's good when the guys see us stepping up and taking that role, especially for the younger guys."

For Newbill, leading by example is especially important, as the Nittany Lions have a host of new guards for him to mentor.

Currently, Penn State has true freshmen Shep Garner and Isaiah Washington and junior and Vincennes University transfer Devin Foster battling for playing time.

"I think Devin might be one of the best passers I've seen in a long time," Newbill said. "His decision making coming out of the pick and roll is one of the best I've seen coming through this program.

"Isaiah, I think he's going to be a great defender for us, he's long and athletic. And Shep is just going to be a tough nosed guard, coming in playing hard every possession and defending and rebounding."

The development of those players will be key to the success of the Nittany Lions, as it will give Chambers the flexibility to play Newbill at both guards spots.

Even if Newbill does stay at the point full-time, he will need someone to spell him for a breather once in a while. As much as Chambers relies on the skills of the 6-foot-4 guard, he knows it isn't in the best interest of the team to overuse him.

"When you rely on Tim [Frazier] like we did and now we're trying to fight that with D.J.," Chambers said. "He's such a constant and he's so reliable and very efficient that you want him out there for 40 minutes. I take him out of practice now because we have to learn to play without him on the floor.

"We're starting to earn the trust [with the backups] where I believe they'll come in and lift us up."

What Chambers likes the most about his team's guard situation is that he has plenty of options to choose from. Making that possible is Newbill, who has stated he doesn't mind what spot he plays as long as the team is winning.

"D.J. Newbill wants to do what's best for this team," Chambers said. "Whether that is the one or the two." 

2014 Opponent Previews - Ohio State

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10458955.jpegOhio State | Beaver Stadium | 8 p.m. | ABC

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions take on No. 12/13 Ohio State on Saturday in a primetime matchup.  Get to know the Buckeyes in this week's scouting report.

Urban Meyer, who is in his third year leading the Buckeyes, owns a 29-3 record at the school and a career mark of 133-26.  The scarlet and gray are coming off a 2013 campaign in which they went 12-2, including 8-0 in the Big Ten and played in the Orange Bowl.  The Buckeyes returned 38 letterman and 10 starters.

Ohio State improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten last weekend with a 56-17 victory against Rutgers.  The Buckeyes compiled 585 yards, including 324 on the ground.  Quarterback J.T. Barrett continued a strong year, completing 19-of-31 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns.  The redshirt freshman added 107 yards and two scores rushing.  Six different Buckeyes got at least four carries, with Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 69 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Curtis Samuel added 59 yards on four carries and Rod Smith scored on a 3-yard run.  Receiver Michael Thomas caught four passes for 55 yards, while fellow wideout Evan Spencer caught a touchdown pass.  Tight end Nick Vannett caught two touchdown passes, totaling 38 yards.

The Buckeye defense allowed 345 yards and forced three turnovers.  They also totaled nine tackles for loss and four sacks.  Cornerback Doran Grant and linebacker Joshua Perry tied for a team-leading seven tackles.  Grant added an interception.  Defensive end Joey Bosa made five stops, including two sacks.  Rashad Frazier and Damon Webb each forced a fumble, with Eli Apple returning a fumble four yards for a touchdown. 

Ohio State's offense ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 46.5 points per game and has scored at least 50 points in each of their last four games.  The Buckeyes lead the conference in total offense, averaging 533.8 yards per game.  They average 259.8 yards on the ground and 274 yards through the air, ranking fifth and third in the conference, respectively.

Replacing the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Braxton Miller, is not an easy task. But after Miller suffered a right shoulder injury during preseason practice, Barrett stepped up into the starting role and has not looked back.  Barrett leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency, passing touchdowns and total yards per game and ranks second in passing yards per game. The redshirt freshman has completed over 65 percent of his passes for 1,615 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions.  He has also added 383 yards and four touchdowns rushing.  In his last four games, Barrett has thrown 17 touchdown passes and only one interception, with at least four touchdowns in each game.

Elliott leads a host of options at running back with 531 yards and four touchdowns on 91 carries, good for an average of 5.8 yards per carry.  Elliott is also very involved in the passing game, with 14 catches for 137 yards.  Samuel, a 5-foot-11 freshman, averages seven yards per carry with a total of 251 yards and two scores. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound senior Smith has added four touchdowns and101 yards on 24 carries and also has a receiving touchdown.

In the passing game, nine different players are averaging at least one catch per game.  Thomas, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, leads the group with 21 catches for 377 yards and five touchdowns.  He averages 18 yards per reception. Six-foot-one senior Devin Smith averages nearly 30 yards per catch, with a total of 355 yards and five scores on 12 catches.  Senior Evan Spencer has added 73 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. H-Back Dontre Wilson, a speedy player at 5-foot-10, has caught 14 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, while fellow H-Back Jalin Marshall, 5-foot-11, has nine catches for 97 yards and two scores.  Vannett leads the tight ends with 10 receptions for 120 yards and three touchdowns.

The Buckeye offensive line includes a senior, two juniors, a redshirt sophomore and a redshirt freshman.

Defensively, Ohio State allows 20.2 points per game, ranking fourth in the Big Ten. They also rank fifth in the conference in total defense, giving up 319.5 yards per contest.  The Buckeyes allow only 181.7 yards passing, ranking 2nd in the conference, and 137.8 yards rushing, ranking sixth.  Ohio State has forced 14 turnovers, including 10 interceptions, and rank third in the conference with a plus-five turnover margin. Eight different Buckeyes have at least one interception.

The Buckeyes boast one of the top defensive lines in the nation, led by sophomore Joey Bosa.  The 6-foot-5, 278-pound Bosa has a rare blend of power and quickness, as shown by his nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks in 2014.  He leads the Big Ten, averaging 1.5 TFL per game, and has forced three fumbles.  Joining Bosa is 6-foot-2, 288-pound senior tackle Michael Bennett, who has three tackles for loss, a sack and has batted down two passes. Fellow tackle Adolphus Washington has recorded 14 stops, four for loss and a sack.

At the linebacker position, Perry leads the defense with 45 tackles, including 27 solo, and three for loss. He also has 0.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.  Senior Curtis Grant has 32 stops this year, with 13 solo, three for loss and a sack.  Freshman Darron Lee has recorded 27 tackles, including six for loss, two sacks and an interception.  Lee also returned a fumble 61 yards for a touchdown against Navy.

Senior Doran Grant leads the secondary. The cornerback has made 24 tackles this year (19 solo).  He also has two interceptions and four pass breakups.  On the other side of the field is freshman cornerback Eli Apple, who has two interceptions and three pass breakups.  Safeties Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell have recorded 35 and 33 tackles, respectively, and each has an interception.

Kicker Sean Nuernberger has connected on six of his nine attempts, including a long of 46 yards.  Kyle Clinton handles the kickoff duties, averaging 62 yards per kick with 16 touchbacks.  Punter Cameron Johnston averages 44.2 yards per punt and has placed eight inside the 20-yard-line.  Dontre Wilson is responsible for kick and punt returns.  He averages 22.2 yards per kick return.

What Urban Meyer is saying about Penn State:

"Number one rush defense in the country. They are very well coached up front. They have good personnel up front."

"Obviously we have a lot of respect for that big quarterback, Hackenberg. Tremendous player. Statistically came out of the chute high with a high completion percentage."

"We did go on the road once (this year), but obviously 110,000 is different than 50,000 some. We were there (in 2012). I remember Shelley and I were both like, that's one of the top five atmospheres we ever played in. We can expect that same type of reception."

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

Nittany Lions Take on Back-to-Back Travel Meets

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9423877.jpegBy Meghan Miceli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are making a quick turnaround from the Virginia Tech Challenge this past weekend as they look ahead to another road competition.

The women returned home victorious, toppling Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, Liberty and James Madison. The men fell to the Hokies, but defeated Old Dominion. This was the first away meet of the season, and it followed the season opening win for both the men and women against Georgia Tech.

Following the trip to Virginia Tech, the Nittany Lions are travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the Mountaineers in a Thursday evening match-up this week.

"We've got recruits coming this weekend, and it's our last weekend for recruiting for the season," explained head coach Tim Murphy. "We had to move the West Virginia meet up so we could get back, get some training in and be ready to host."

The Nittany Lions have a strong record against the Mountaineers. The women have been undefeated against West Virginia for the past decade, while the men have been victorious in their past three meetings with the Mountaineers.

The biggest challenge for Penn State will be adjusting from back to back travel meets in a short span of time.

"It's definitely going to be hard on our bodies," senior Carolyn Fittin said. "But we know how to race and I think we will be ready to go once we get there."

Fittin had a strong performance at the Virginia Tech Challenge, posting a win in 50-yard freestyle and contributing to first place finishes in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.

"I think we had some really great swims this past weekend," said Fittin. "But, we definitely have some things to work on as a team in order to keep getting better."

This is an important part of the season for the Nittany Lions in terms of training. Between building endurance in the pool and lifting, they are focusing on the bigger picture-- their mid season meet in December and championship meet in February. Each dual meet represents an opportunity to race and improve under tough training.

Looking towards Thursday in Morgantown, Fittin shared some goals for the women's team.

"Some of us are going to be swimming off events," Fittin said. "We really have to focus on ignoring how tired we may be from a long week of traveling and get into racing, regardless of whether or not we're swimming one of our main events."

Following their meet against West Virginia, Penn State will have a week before Villanova visits Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions will host the Wildcats on the 31 at 3 p.m. for a Halloween match-up in McCoy Natatorium.

By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Athletics and the Red Cross will team up once again to demonstrate their 'One Team' bond in a blood drive that will honor Penn State track and field jumps and multi-events coach Fritz Spence.

Spence has been a part of the Penn State family for eight years and carries a long record of success including having coached 15 All-American athletes, various NCAA qualifying athletes, and many, many winners.

However, Spence doesn't just coach victors - he is a part of them.

In February of 2008, Spence was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer that begins in the bone marrow and is known to spread very quickly.

After what seemed like endless treatments, long nights in the hospital, and a tough bone marrow transplant, Spence prevailed and now stands as a strong and proud cancer survivor.

The blood drive, which is sponsored by Penn State Track and Field, is run by volunteers and student-athletes who dedicate their time to make sure the event runs smoothly and successfully.

Senior Michael McClelland (Washington, Pa.) runs the event on the student-athlete side making sure there are volunteers available to work the event. He is also in charge of letting all Penn State Athletics teams know about the blood drive and he is a primary spokesperson for the drive informing all volunteers and donors of the importance of the event.

"Michael has done a really good job of organizing the event and getting the student-athletes to volunteer and come out, he is one of my key committee members. He's really very supportive," said Spence.

"I'd say people all across campus are motivated to make this event a success. I'm invested [in the event] and I think [everyone] can tell," said McClelland. "Coach Spence is not a super emotional guy but I can tell he's appreciative. I can tell this means a lot to him and he's really thankful for the work I'm doing and the entire team is doing to make sure this is successful."

McClelland says the goal for the blood drive is to get 50 volunteers to donate 35-36 units, which has proven to not be a problem. Last year, they had such a big turn out that they had to reject donors.

Spence is overwhelmed by the success of the event, which he hopes becomes a long-lasting tradition for the University.

The blood drive is also a very important part of Spence's life. He points out that this is his way of giving back to the community that was so supportive of him when he was in need and he hopes that every donor and volunteer understands the significance of events like these.

"It's important to give and to give back because you never know when it will be your turn or your family's turn to get blood," he said. "The statistics are one in seven [people] that will need blood in their lifetime. [You] will know someone, sometime in your lifetime that will need blood."

The blood drive will take place in Rooms E and F of the Bryce Jordan Center on Mon., Oct. 27th from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
There will be a double red donation opportunity.

To schedule an appointment visit and click on the blood drive tab or go to and use the sponsor code: psu.


VIDEO: Ohio State Week Player Q&A - Geno Lewis

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with wide receiver Geno Lewis to preview the Ohio State game.

Week Seven Press Conference Roundup - Ohio State Week

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cjf_OSU.jpgJames Franklin Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 21

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions play host to Ohio State on Saturday evening for a primetime kick against the Buckeyes (8 p.m. on ABC).

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

On the heels of a second bye, Franklin is pleased with how the team improved on the off week. With the season moving into its ninth week overall, Franklin said that practices are beginning to be scaled back. But the team took full advantage of the extra time during the bye.

"Obviously, really excited for this week's game and this opponent coming off a bye week, which we got a lot of stuff done," Franklin said. "We were able to rest our players, we were able to work on technique and fundamentals and some scheme things that need to improve. We were able to get on the road recruiting. We were able to scrimmage the young guys. We were able to get a lot of work done, so really productive bye week."

Moving to Ohio State prep, Franklin noted the Buckeyes as the most athletic team the Nittany Lions have played this season to date. Ohio State enters the week on a four-game winning streak, which includes Big Ten victories over Maryland and Rutgers.

"Ohio State and Coach Urban Meyer, you look at their program and their team doing a tremendous job, probably the fastest, most athletic team and also tremendous size, probably the best combination that we've seen so far this year," Franklin said.

Two names that stand out among the talented Buckeyes are quarterback J.T. Barrett and defensive end Joey Bosa. Barrett has thrown 17 touchdowns and has just one interception during the last four games. He has been responsible for at least four touchdowns during each of the last four contests. Bosa is leading the Big Ten in tackles for loss (1.50 per game) and fumbles forced (0.50 per game).

"You talk about a guy who is 6-5, 280 pounds and really has some quickness and is sudden," Franklin said. "He's able to play with quickness and he's able to play with power, and a lot of times you can find guys that are extremely strong and powerful and explosive at the point of attack but maybe don't have the quickness as a pass rusher. He's got a rare combination that he can beat you with speed and quickness but he can also beat you with power."

With Saturday being the annual Penn State White Out game, Coach Franklin said on Tuesday that he is excited to see the crowd inside Beaver Stadium, and he is looking for the fans to provide a boost to the team.

"Obviously we would love to have a huge, home field advantage, which I anticipate us having," Franklin said. "107,000 Penn State fans wearing white, screaming and going crazy, making it really difficult for them to communicate."

In the 30th meeting between Penn State and Ohio State, Franklin said balance on the offensive side of the ball would be key for the Nittany Lions.

"Obviously balance on offense, we've been talking about that all year long," Franklin said. "The games that we have had some balance and have been able to establish somewhat of a running game we've been able to do some nice things. That's something we're not going to shy away from.  We're still committed to doing that."

Press Conference Notes
- Franklin on the Ohio State offense:
"I think the coaching staff does a great job of tailoring their scheme to the players. They're No. 1 in the Big Ten right now in yards per game. They're averaging 46 points per game. Third down percentage, they're doing a great job at 49 percent, which is ninth in the nation. They run a spread offense, run a spread offense, have a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism, like us they're young on the offensive line coming into the season, one of those players most of their guys have been in the program for a long time with that scheme and with that system and have stepped in nicely for them."

- Franklin on the Ohio State defense:
"They're a 4‑3 defense, they're going to press you on the outside and challenge your receivers. They're typically a quarters team, what we call 'full press', creative in their third down package. They're excellent up front. I would say across the board they run extremely well, offense, defense, and special teams."

- Franklin on the Ohio State special teams:

Kerry Coombs, who I think does a really good job coaching their corners as well, they've done some really, really nice things, I know Urban is really involved on special teams as well, they're leading the Big Ten in kickoff coverage, you look at their special teams, they run extremely well, they're long and rangy, they do a good job of being physical in their return units and Dontre Wilson is a guy we're going to have to be aware of as a kick returner."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
With Sports Center Top 10 worthy goals and Big Ten coverage, this weekend not only proved that Penn State is at the top of their game, but that their nine seniors are integral to their success.

Prior to Sunday's game against the Hoosiers, nine Nittany Lions were honored at Senior Day. They have played in the NCAA quarterfinals twice and won two Big Ten regular season titles and two Big Ten tournaments.

After discussing her team's success this weekend, coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss reminisced on her time coaching this group of seniors.

"I can't believe four years have gone by with this group," said coach Morett-Curtiss. "They are a bunch of different characters and they embrace the team. They each bring so much to this program."

It was obvious in this weekend's victories that from the offense and the mid-field to the defense and the goal line, senior leadership is the driving force behind Penn State's success. Coach Morett-Curtiss described what each senior has brought to this program over the past four years.

"Amanda is diligent."
Amanda Dinunzio, a product of State College High School, has been a key contributor for the Nittany Lions on the forward line. Her "diligence" is obvious in her circle play. Dinunzio doesn't lift her stick off the ground while near the goal and is consistent in Penn State's offensive pressure. In this weekend's match-ups against Rutgers and Indiana, Dinunzio helped dish off passes inside the circle and the 25-yard line. One of those passes was to Jenna Chrismer, who found Taylor Herold seconds later, putting the Nittany Lions up on the board.

"Jenna has a great work ethic."
Jenna Chrismer is one of the most consistent players on Penn State's forward line. She never falters inside the circle and always does whatever she can to force a scoring opportunity. This past weekend, Chrismer contributed to two of the five goals scored for Penn State. Her work ethic is clear in her ability to pull the defense and make the goalie move. Chrismer's stick work is unparalleled inside the circle; it's almost as if she is thinking three steps ahead of the play.

"Nat brings enthusiasm."
Natalie Buttinger is never afraid to commit to a defensive attack from the forward line. The former track star uses her speed to aid the Nittany Lion defense and quickly switch gears into scoring mode. She might not always earn an assist or score, but Buttinger is solid in her passing game. She is able to trap the ball on her stick and accurately place wherever she wants to on the field, a skill the Nittany Lions benefit from inside the 25-yard line.

"Taylor is determined"
Taylor Herold is almost indescribable; she is the entire package. From her speed to her stick handling and her ability to work the ball in open space, Herold always delivers a stellar performance. Performance is often the only word to describe her contributions on the field because more often than not, her goals are unbelievable. In Friday's game against Rutgers, Herold's unassisted goal made ESPN Sports Center's Top 10. She carried the ball on her stick from the end line to the post of the net, where she reverse-shot the ball into the cage. If you blinked, you missed it. Goals like this aren't uncommon for the senior, as she is notorious for making jaw-dropping plays.

"Casey steps up."
Casey Haegele is an asset to the Nittany Lions inside the circle. She always finds a way to find a foot in the circle and force a corner. Her speed is a weapon on the forward line. Coach Morett-Curtiss says that Heagele is one of the most coachable players on the team. Much like in baseball, Haegele is the equivalent of a relief pitcher, offering a fresh set of legs for the Nittany Lions; she always helps Penn State close on a win.

 "Laura brings passion."
Laura Gebhart is one of the most seasoned members of the Penn State field hockey team. She has not only played in every game of her career, but has fostered her craft on the U.S. National Team, as well. Gebhart is the backbone of the Nittany Lions offensive and defensive strategy, as she is always in control from the center mid position. Gebhart is as versatile as they come and plays wherever her team needs her. When she isn't scoring from the top of the circle while laying flat on her stomach, Gebhart is in constant communication with her teammates on the field. Her passion for the game shines with every pass and every pre-game pep talk.

"Katie B. is confident."
Katie Breneman floats between the mid and defensive position for the Nittany Lions. One of her biggest contributions is her confidence, as she is never afraid to commit. Breneman is solid from the attack position of defense and takes risks with her block tackle. There are times when Breneman is almost parallel to the ground while trying to steal the ball from the opposing team; more often than not, she is successful.

"Katie A. is tenacious."
Katie Andrews has been solid for the Nittany Lions in the center back position. Her tenacity shined this weekend and against Bucknell last Tuesday when she assisted on the scoring drive. She always looks for an opportunity to spread the field, often calling for the back pass to help reposition the offense. When she sees an opportunity to take the ball up the field, she does. Andrews is solid for the Nittany Lions' defense inside the circle and a key contributor in this season's five shut outs.

"Kylie has a competitive spirit."
As a red shirt senior, her experience inside the cage has prepared her for pretty much anything. The most unique quality about Licata is her trust in her defense. She is a versatile goalie who can make the save from above the stroke mark. This season she has managed to earn five shut outs and only allowed one goal in this weekend's contests.

These nine seniors are leaving behind big shoes to fill, but their story is not finished yet. With their leadership, there is no question that Penn State will have a successful post-season as they currently have its 13-3 record on their side. The Nittany Lions three losses this season were incredibly close; two of them came from over-time play and the other was a one-goal deficit.

Penn State heads to Iowa this Saturday, before returning home the following week to take on Northwestern at home on Oct. 31.

"Everyone from the seniors to our coaching staff played a part in our wins this weekend," Andrews said. "It doesn't get much better than winning on senior day."


VIDEO: #WGYMonday - Meet Lauren Li

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's gymnastics team is just 12 weeks away from opening their 2015 campaign and each Monday we will introduce you to a member of the squad. Our #WGYMonday series will kick off with Lauren Li from Plano, Texas.

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In just their third year as an NCAA Division I women's hockey team, the Nittany Lions are off to their best start in program history. 

This past weekend, Penn State (2-2-2) traveled to Schenectady, New York, to faceoff against Union (1-4-1) in a two-game series. After defeating the Dutchwomen, 4-1, on Friday night, the Blue and White rallied to a 2-2 tie on Saturday afternoon.

Not only are the Nittany Lions off to their best start in program history, but they are also unbeaten in their last three contests, going 1-0-2.

"I'm certainly very pleased with the poise and perseverance to stick with the game plan," said head coach Josh Brandwene.

In Friday night's three-goal victory, freshman Caitlin Reilly scored her first career goal to give the Blue and White an early lead. Experience led the rest of the way for the Nittany Lions as juniors Shannon Yoxheimer and Amy Petersen as well as sophomore Sarah Nielsen each scored.

Saturday's matinee was no different, as Petersen scored to even the game at 1-1. Then, sophomore Kelly Seward scored three minutes into the third period to tie the game, 2-2.

"We have a great balance of experience and youth, and we made a lot of strides as a hockey team again this weekend," said Brandwene. "We have a lot to build on and still some things to get better at. Never satisfied.

Penn State went on the offensive against Union, outshooting the Dutchwomen in both games. The Nittany Lions outshot Union 36-21 in Friday's win and 37-22 in Saturday's tie.

According to Brandwene, puck control and communication led to such dominant play in the attacking zone.

"We did a good job all weekend of puck possession," said Brandwene. "Just great poise, great work ethic and puck possession and control. We really distributed it well. Good communication and lots to build on there."

The line of Laura Bowman, Amy Petersen and Hannah Hoenshell led the Nittany Lions offensively, scoring a pair of goals, recording five assists and taking 24 shots.

Petersen has been on fire, scoring three goals in as many games.

"I'm really pleased with Laura, Amy and Hannah's effort this weekend," said Brandwene. "They were really strong at both ends of the ice. They did all the little things. They generated some great scoring chances. If they keep working hard, great things are going to happen for them."

While Celine Whitlinger started in net Friday, Hannah Ehresmann got the nod on Saturday. Both continued their impressive play between the pipes. Whitlinger made 21 saves en route to her first win of the season, and Ehresmann swatted away 20 shots to preserve the tie.

"Great efforts from both Celine and Hannah on the weekend," said Brandwene. "Whenever we had breakdowns and little moments here and there, they both came up very big for us. I'm really pleased with the goaltending."

The Nittany Lions will look to continue their unbeaten streak when they return home to Pegula Ice Arena on Sunday to faceoff against Princeton at 7:00 p.m.

Nittany Lions Draw and Fall to Alaskan Teams in Brice Goal Rush

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions arrived in Fairbanks last Wednesday, after traveling 4,160 miles, ready to compete in the Brice Goal Rush tournament against Alaska Anchorage and Alaska for the first time in program history.

Friday night, Penn State (1-1-2) and Alaska Anchorage (3-0-1) reached a 3-3 tie following overtime, and after allowing two third-period goals in the final minutes of Saturday's game, the Lions were defeated, 4-3, by Alaska (4-0).

Although the team made the 4,160 mile journey back home with a tie and its first loss of the season in hand, head coach Guy Gadowsky is happy with the overall effort.

"For the most part, I thought we performed well," Gadowsky said. "We were ahead in the third both nights. In one we let them come back, and in the other game we lost. That's certainly a maturation process that we have to go through, but I'm very optimistic that we'll get it quickly because we had to go through that last year."

Moving forward, the Lions will need to dig deep and find ways to hold off the opposition in the final minutes of play, which is a not a new concept for the team.

"I thought we played pretty well until the last five, ten minutes of both games," said senior Max Gardiner. "We have to find a way to win those games. Come Big Ten play, we're going to be playing good teams every night. Those are the types of games we're going to be in. To be successful in the Big Ten, we're going to have to find a way to win those games."

While the results were not what the Lions were striving toward, the team once again found success on the power play. The Blue and White scored three goals with the man advantage throughout the course of the weekend, two against Alaska Anchorage and one against Alaska.

The team also received its first five-minute power play, which it took full advantage of.

"I think one of the goals is to always score on a five-minute major," Gadowsky said. "That's the first five-minute major power play that we've had. We've given up eight. When you get a five-minute power play, it certainly looks good.

"I think it's a little bit of a factor of we're focused more on it than we were last year because we're further in our process, and I think we're putting ourselves in better positions by just making better decision all around. We're on the power play instead of killing, which is very much opposite last year."

Gardiner, who had not recorded a point since November of last year, scored the Lion's goal on the five-minute penalty.

"It was a beautiful goal, and it's funny because he was playing extremely well, very well in his own end," Gadowsky said of Gardiner. "He made really good decisions, so to see him score a goal, and such a beauty, was really great."

Bailey and Scheid Return to Alaska

While this trip was the first to Alaska for the majority of the Lions, Casey Bailey, an Alaska native, and Eric Scheid, a former student-athlete at Alaska Anchorage, both made their returns to the state.

Even with the bit of added pressure, both forwards did their best to contribute.

"I actually thought they both played very well," Gadowsky said. "Casey scored, and Eric Scheid led our team in shots Friday night. I thought both of them played extremely well."

Against his former team, Scheid won eight of his nine faceoffs and tallied six shots. His lone goal of the weekend came the following night when the team took on the Nanooks.

Bailey, who had the opportunity to play in front of his family and friends, scored Friday night, which allowed him to settle in and focus on the games at hand.

"It was definitely a lot of fun," Bailey said of playing in his home state. "It was a little bit nerve wracking the first night, but I think after the first period or so I calmed down. I was excited to be able to see all my family and friends. They were pretty enthusiastic about being able to watch me play, so it was a good weekend."

Thompson Injury

Friday evening also marked a scary experience for the Lions, especially for defenseman David Thompson. With 3:32 left in the overtime period against Alaska Anchorage, Thompson required medical assistance for an abdominal laceration and was ultimately take off the ice on a stretcher.

Luckily, the defenseman's injury could have been much worse. Thompson was taken to the local hospital for stiches, but Gadowsky is confident he will be back on the ice shortly.

"Yeah, he's going to be great," said Gadowsky of Thompson. "He's going to be fine. They took really good care of him. It was scary at the start, and we took every precaution, but he's going to be back at 100 percent very soon."

Alaskan Adventures

When not at the rink, the team made the most of exploring Alaska and experiencing all Fairbanks had to offer.

The Lions took a trip to Eielson Air Force Base and were given a private tour by Penn State hockey alumnus Maj. Joe Bassett.

"I think every one of our student-athletes won't forget their Alaskan experience," Gadowsky said. "I think it opened their eyes a little bit. I think it was different.

"We had a chance to meet one of our hockey alumni that works as a fighter pilot at Eielson Air Force Base, which was a great experience. Overall, obviously we would have loved to have won, but the overall experience I think was excellent."

By M
att Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Andrew Wolverton has weathered plenty of rough storms during his four years as the goalie of the Penn State men's soccer team.

Just last season, he and the Nittany Lions lost their last two regular-season games and still rebounded to make it to the Sweet 16 a month later.

The senior goalie knows the team doesn't have to lower its goals this season just because it lost its second-straight game Saturday night to Michigan State, by a score of 2-0.

"There's a lot of things we can learn, and I think the biggest thing is taking those and working on the things that we aren't doing as well these last two games and getting back into it," Wolverton said. "This isn't the first stretch we've gone through in my four years where we haven't had a couple of good games in a row."

The Spartans entered the game with an 8-2-2 record, and early on, the two teams looked evenly matched, as neither squad was able to take control of the game in the first 20 minutes.

It was then that the Michigan State offense got going, as Jason Stacy blasted a shot off a corner kick from 20 yards out past Wolverton to make the score 1-0 at the 20:43 mark.

Five minutes later, Jay Chapman slipped past the Nittany Lions' backline and put a pass from Adam Montague in the back of the net to give Michigan State a 2-0-halftime lead.

"[Stacy] hit a nice shot and that was a little disappointing," head coach Bob Warming said. "We talked about it at halftime said that would be the last one of the year like that.

"The first 25 minutes of the game, they hardly touched the ball, we passed it so well. I thought it was as good as we've passed the ball all of year."

With the rain picking up in the second half, the Nittany Lions registered nine corner kicks and outshot the Spartans eight to zero yet couldn't get on the scoreboard with Michigan State keeping its defense packed in the back all half.

"Once you get behind a goal to Michigan State, that team is so well organized defensively, you can have a lot of possessions and pass a lot of balls between the centerline and 35 yards out," Warming said. "That's when things get tough." 

Having watched his team generate the number of corner kicks and shots that it did, Warming is pleased with the effort of his players. Moving forward, he wants them to work on improving the quality of their chances.

"When you take a long time to build the ball up, it allows them to get nine players behind the ball," Warming said. "And then things get tight when you've got a bunch of big bodies in there."

Warming knows the Nittany Lions can produce good shots, as they created plenty during a 10-0-1 start to the season that included four victories over Big Ten opponents.

If there is one thing that reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year believes after over 30 years in the business, it's that its one thing to stay positive when you're playing well, and another to keep the same attitude after a tough loss.

With four regular-season games remaining prior to the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, there is still plenty of time for the Nittany Lions to get back on track.

"Everybody goes through tough stretches in one way or another, in sports or in life and everything else," Warming said. "This is where your character gets tested, when things get tough. Things aren't right now and we don't want to make excuses."

After having a week in between its last two games, Penn State has a short turnaround with West Virginia coming to State College on Wednesday. The Nittany Lions will look to get back to the form that had them outscoring opponents 21-3 over their first 11 games.

"Really just stay focused and keep working hard," Wolverton said. "Just keep working and it'll all fall out how it should."


Monday Notebook: Lions Hosting Penn State White Out

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10453730.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Always a favorite of the fans and players, the Nittany Lions will host a Penn State White Out on Saturday when they welcome border rival Ohio State to Beaver Stadium for an 8 p.m. kick on ABC.

After practicing three times during the bye week, the team opened Ohio State week preparations on Sunday afternoon. The team's off day is Monday. Practice will resume on Tuesday as the Nittany Lions prepare for the seventh game on the 2014 schedule.

Beaver Stadium will be a sea of white on Saturday evening as all fans are encouraged to wear white under the lights. The history of the Penn State White Out in Beaver Stadium stretches back to the 2004 season. The first organized student white out took place during the Purdue game on Oct. 9. The first full stadium Penn State Whiteout was on Sept. 8, 2007 against Notre Dame.

Penn State and Ohio State have met during organized Penn State White Outs in 2005 (student white out) and 2012 (all stadium). Saturday's game will mark the seventh full stadium Penn State White Out in Beaver Stadium's history. The full list includes the following games: 2007 vs. Notre Dame, 2008 vs. Illinois, 2009 vs. Iowa, 2011 vs. Alabama, 2012 vs. Ohio State, 2013 vs. Michigan.

On the field, the Nittany Lions enter Saturday's game with a defense ranked among the top units in the country in three of the four major statistical categories. Penn State is No. 1 in rushing defense (60.8 ypg), No. 6 in scoring defense (15.2 ppg) and No. 6 in total defense (283.3 ypg). Penn State is No. 1 in the Big Ten in all three of those categories.

Saturday marks the 30th meeting between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. Ohio State holds a 16-13 edge in the all-time series between the two programs.

Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions remain 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 leading the Big Ten in passing yards per game at 272.8 yards per game. He ranks third in the Big Ten in passing yards at 1,637. He is second in the conference in completions per game at 22.33.

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is 14th nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (7.2). He ranks 21st in the nation and second in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 93.5.

WR Geno Lewis - Lewis ranks fifth in the Big Ten with 85.3 receiving yards per game and 5.3 receptions per game.

LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the nation in solo tackles per game at 6.7. He is second in the Big Ten and 17th nationally in total tackles at 10.7 per contest.

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

Early Look at the Buckeyes
The Buckeyes enter the week on a four-game winning streak after cruising past Rutgers at home on Saturday. Since dropping a 35-21 decision to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6, the Buckeyes have been red-hot on the offensive side of the ball. During the four-game winning streak, Ohio State has averaged 56.0 ppg.

The winning streak includes a 2-0 start in Big Ten play following a win at Maryland (52-24) and Saturday's triumph over the Scarlet Knights (56-17). The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in total offense at 533.8 yards per game. The unit is second in scoring at 46.5 points per game.

Freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett leads the conference in total offense (333.0 ypg) and pass efficiency (182.1). Barrett has thrown for 1,615 yards and 20 touchdowns. Additionally, he has rushed for 383 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns.

Defensively, Ohio State is ranked fifth in the Big Ten, allowing 319.5 yards per game. The Buckeyes are ranked second in the conference against the pass (181.7 ypg) and sixth against the run (137.8). Linebacker Joshua Perry leads the Ohio State defense in tackling with 45 stops on the season.

Saturday marks Ohio State's second true road game of 2014.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The intensity meter is about to spike as the Penn State cross country teams head to Indiana State University on Saturday to compete in the 2014 Pre-National Invitational.

Penn State will face its toughest competition to date with 83 teams competing, 40 women's and 43 men's.

"This [meet] is a much larger competition approximately 80 teams will be there this weekend," said head coach John Gondak. "We competed well this weekend but I think we can be even better."

They will look to greatly improve their outing from the women's 13th place and the men's 17th place finish in 2013. The team has two focuses in their game plan.

The Pack

Penn State is focused on running smart, emphasizing the importance of beginning to race strong and ahead of the competition as it sets the tone for the finish line.

"I hope that this weekend we can pack up and be further up into the pack. When you have 40 teams, it's an amoeba of people that move through the course and where you start is where you get stuck for a while," said Gondak.

The men's team is focused on improving from their previous race and staying packed together from as early as the first 800 meters. They plan on using their newfound depth as an advantage.

"We have a lot more experience. We run all the workouts together as a team. The front-runners are there but the four, five, and six guys are up there and running together, too," said sophomore Conner Quinn.

The women want to improve noting they hold the same mindset they always do; to win. 

"The mindset is to stay more as a pack. I just really want to the team to do well," said junior Tori Gerlach.

"We had a solid showing last [meet] but it needs to be our best this weekend."

The Course

The course at the LaVern Gibson Championship is much larger and more complex than the one at the Blue and White golf courses and it will be a big test for the Nittany Lions' fitness.

"Indiana State has a dedicated cross-country course that hosts the national championship meet and there's specific criteria that the course needs to be," said Gondak.

The straightaways and turns are measured to specific standards with straightaways and turns distanced farther or closer apart than the runners are used to.

"It should provide us a good opportunity to compete well this weekend," said Gondak.

"It's a very different course so I'm looking [forward to] seeing how other teams stack up against each other," said Gerlach.

This weekend will be the teams' only chance to check out the course before its possible return to Terre Haute in late November for the NCAA National Championships.

Looking Forward

Ahead for the Nittany Lions is a whirlwind of competition as the Big Ten Championships are next on the schedule. However, the team won't let the pressure get to them.

"We will be seeing a lot of Top Ten teams at Pre-[Nationals]. We will see a bunch of guys and teams that will be contending for the national title but we're a good team, [too]" said Quinn. "We are taking it one meet at a time."

The women and men will begin at 11:00 a.m. and 11:35 a.m., respectively. The women will run in a 6k Blue race and the men will compete in an 8k Blue race in hopes of earning NCAA qualifying points.

Hull Right at Home Making Plays at Middle Linebacker

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10442216.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When you think of Penn State Football's core value pertaining to unrivaled work ethic, you should visualize Mike Hull.

The senior captain knows one speed when he is working out, practicing and playing in games.

A fierce competitor, Hull is the benchmark for leaving everything on the field for the Nittany Lion defense. While his actions speak louder than words, Hull's production through the first six games of 2014 speaks loudest of all.

Simply put, the middle linebacker has been tremendous during the first half of the season for the Nittany Lions. Averaging 10.7 tackles per game, Hull has been instrumental on a Penn State defense that is ranked in the top 10 nationally and leads the Big Ten in three of the four major statistical categories.

"He's probably the most productive MIKE linebacker that we've been around," head coach James Franklin said. "He's quick; he's strong; he's smart; he's unbelievably passionate about this team. He goes to work like that every single day. He's been a pleasure to work with."

"Anybody that knows anything about college football should watch (him)," defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said. "(He) has played as good at middle linebacker as anyone in the country."

Hull moved to middle linebacker prior to this season after playing at one of the outside linebacker positions since he stepped on campus in 2010. He has embraced the move to the middle, and he feels right at home in a comfortable spot.

"Honestly, I've played middle linebacker my entire life," said Hull. "My dad taught me the right way since I was little on how to read linemen and how to read pullers, and things like that. I developed a knack for that in middle school. Moving back to the middle this year really lets me take advantage of those instincts I have learned over the years."

What separates Hull from most players on the field is his instinctual football IQ. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time to make a play. Hull thinks a big piece of his play-making ability comes from Coach Shoop's scheme that allows the defense to play with instincts instead of thinking too much on the field.

"Coach Shoop and Coach Pry do a great job with us at the walkthroughs every single day at practice," Hull said. "The other thing is communication. You need to do a great job communicating during every period at practice. Off the field, I make sure that I have all of my assignments down so that I don't have to think when I'm out there."

Hull's 10.7 tackles per game put him in elite company. Only four Penn State players have averaged 10.7 or more tackles for a complete season since 1970 (Greg Buttle 1975, '76; Andre Collins '89; Shawn Mayer 2002; Dan Connor '07). Granted, there are six more games to play, but thus far, the results speak for themselves.

"When you are out there just reacting to things and not thinking about playing, it makes it easier to make plays and work at full speed," Hull said.

Hull is the quarterback of the Nittany Lion defense. Shoop often says that Hull is knowledgeable enough to call a game from the field in an emergency situation.

"He has an understanding of the defense as well as any player I have ever coached," Shoop said. "He's very confident out there. He knows the gameplan inside and out, which enables him to play fast."

There is an open dialogue between Hull and the veteran defensive players with Shoop. They bounce ideas off one another to cater the defensive scheme to best fit the strengths of the players on the field.

"When we are able to talk with Coach Shoop on the same level and let him know what we like and what he likes, it makes the whole thing run a lot more smoothly out there," Hull said. "I really think he gives us the freedom to make calls that other defensive coordinators across the country don't."

The aggressive nature of the Nittany Lion defense fits Hull's style to a tee.

"I really like how we are an attacking defense and how we get down hill on every play," Hull said. "Coach Shoop gives us the freedom to change the calls a little bit depending on the formation. We have a little more freedom to be in a position to make plays."

A Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, native, Hull looked up to Paul Posluszny and Sean Lee growing up in Western Pennsylvania. All three hail from the Pittsburgh area, and Hull shares some of the fundamentally-sound traits and tenacity of Posluszny and Lee.

"I followed them closely and watched how they played the game with such intensity and passion. I just tried to emulate those guys growing up," Hull said.

Like the rest of the senior class, Hull has seen just about everything during his college career at Penn State. This season is special to No. 43, though. Hull wanted to leave his mark on the linebacker position and Penn State defense in 2014. Through six games, there is no doubt that Hull is a man on a mission.

"This is something I wanted to make sure happened for my senior year because Penn State is such a special place with a strong tradition of great defenses," Hull said. "At the mid-way point, we have a lot to work on, but I'm happy with the way the defense has performed so far."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Saturday can't come soon enough for the Penn State men's soccer team.

Not just because it's an opportunity to take on conference rival Michigan State. For the Nittany Lions, it also represents a chance at redemption.

The last time the Lions stepped on the field, they lost for the first time this season, an uncharacteristic 4-0 defeat on the road at Maryland.

Now, with another Big Ten opponent on deck, the Blue and White are anxious to prove they are the same team that opened the season with a 10-0-1 run.

"They say great teams never lose twice," senior captain and midfielder Owen Griffith said. "After a loss that bad, [this game] is going to be huge for our confidence and overall league standings and all that stuff."

After going 11 straight games without a defeat, the pressure on Penn State to avoid mistakes was enormous. Now that it is behind them, they can get back to concentrating on each game instead of worrying about finishing undefeated.

That doesn't mean that the Nittany Lions aren't taking the lessons they learned against Maryland seriously, they are just trying to keep the big picture of the season in perspective.

Entering the season, the team's goal was to win the Big Ten and win a national championship, and nothing about that has changed because of one loss.

"After the loss, we were all devastated and the bus ride home wasn't the best of the season," redshirt junior Kyle MacDonald said. "After reassessing all of our goals, which are the same as at the beginning of the season, we all realized that if we remain that strong unit that we were at the beginning that nothing can tear us apart.

"Getting a loss at this point of the season isn't the end of the world. It does take a little pressure off us and now we're just looking to go further and make another run."

During the team's training session on Wednesday, MacDonald and his teammates certainly didn't look like a group that was hung up on a loss.

With rainy conditions keeping them inside, the Lions looked loose and upbeat as they played racquetball in Rec Hall with assistant coaches Chad Duernberger and Michael Behonick.

Still, when asked about the rest of the season, Griffith was honest and said that staying focused is more important now than ever, as the team doesn't want to enter the postseason out of synch.

"Definitely there was pressure [being undefeated]," Griffith said. "But there's always going to be pressure when you're playing at the highest level of college soccer. We're right in the thick of the season and this is the part of the year we play all the good schools.

"Every team no matter what is going to be a battle. It's not like you get one hard team and then you get a break the next game. We're going to have to come out and prove we're much better than we were [against Maryland]."

Not only is Saturday's contest going to be back at Jeffrey Field, it will also be the main show in town with the football team on a bye week and other teams including women's volleyball and women's soccer on the road.

The Lions know there will be plenty of fans in attendance, and they are eager to give them a good game.

"One of the best, if not the best fan section in the country," MacDonald said. "They give us support more than they can even imagine. Just the whole atmosphere of Jeffrey Field under the lights with the support of the community, we look forward to that every time."

Taking a Look at the Spartans

A year after making it to the Elite Eight, Michigan State is once again one of the top team's in both the Big Ten and the country.

Entering Saturday, the Spartans are ranked 16th in the nation and have an 8-2-2 record with a 2-1-1 mark in conference play.

The team's three leading scorers from last year, Tim Kreutz, Adam Montague and Jay Chapman have all returned, though the team has gotten it's biggest spark from new addition Jason Stacy.

A junior transfer from Michigan, Stacy was forced to sit out last season but has been very productive in his first year in green and white, leading the team in goals (three), assists (six) and points (12).

Also returning is goalkeeper Zach Bennett, who has started every game for Michigan State the past two seasons and has only allowed five goals in 12 games this year.

Head coach Damon Rensing, a former player and 10-year assistant with the Spartans, is in the middle of his sixth year at the helm of Michigan State. During that time, he has led them to four NCAA Tournament appearances.

"They're another team that's doing really well in the Big Ten," Griffith said. "They have some dangerous guys and besides Maryland, probably the best team that we'll play in the Big Ten. It'll be a good match." 

The Quiet Leader: How Church's Production Speaks Louder Than Words

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9249253.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- One aspect to any winning soccer team is a powerful defense. The defense is the backbone of the team and for the Penn State women's soccer team this is no exception.

So far this season, the Nittany Lions have proved they have one of the Big Ten's sturdiest backlines by allowing just 10 goals in 15 games. Through it all, Whitney Church has been leading the way.

A senior center back, Church is taking every opportunity to make sure her last year with Penn State is one to remember.

"As my last season with this team I try and take it game by game. I still am giving it my all but am making sure I enjoy my last year," said Church.

One of the team's most experienced players, Church has established herself as one of the leaders of the Nittany Lions' defense.

In her decorated college career, Church was named to the All-Big Ten freshman team in 2011, as well as being Big Ten Defender of the Year and All-Big Ten first team in 2012 and All-Big Ten second team in 2013.

As a mentor, Church is known as the "quiet leader" on the team because she leads by example and represents everything a defensive player should be.

"She's the leader, the voice, and the organizer of the team. She is your reliable center back that every team needs," said head coach Erica Walsh.

"To me she's the best center back in the country," Walsh added.

One of the squad's veterans, Church has racked up the most playing time on the team this season by playing a total of 1,307 minutes out of a possible 1,350.

"When I go out on the field I want to know I gave it my all. I want to walk away from the game knowing I did everything I could to help my team," said Church.

With her career winding down, Church wants to be someone the younger players on the team can look up to.

"I try to always be an example for my team," Church said. "I go about my business and hope I inspire others to play their best."

As a defensive player, her role on the team is less about scoring and more about being able to read plays and command and retain possession of the ball.

"Her biggest strength is the way she reads the game so well," said Walsh. "She can read the game better than any opponent. She's the steady force on the team's defense the other girls can always rely on."

One of the most dependable players on the field, Church allows her teammates to play aggressive as they know their defense is ready for any situation.

"She never ceases to amaze me," said senior midfielder Kori Chapic. "Her dedication to the game and skill level are what make her such an asset to the team. Having a player as dependable as Whitney allows us to play with more confidence.

"In soccer, being in the right position is critical. It's the difference of being two steps to the right or to the left that can change the entire game and Whit always seems to be in the perfect place at the right time."

Church may be in the middle of her final season, but that doesn't mean she still isn't trying to improve her game and leave a lasting mark on the program.

Part of her role as the "quiet leader" means Church's dedication to the game speaks louder than any words could.

"I try and lead by example and want to be a symbol of someone who is always trying their best. I work hard not only for myself but for their team as well," said Church.

Nittany Lions Volunteer with LifeLink PSU Students

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photo (8).jpgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Approximately 25 members of the Nittany Lion football team spent some time with students from LifeLink PSU at the Lasch Football Building on Thursday afternoon.

In the October spirit, the Nittany Lions and LifeLink special education students carved and painted pumpkins on the patio of the Lasch Building. The group of 12 LifeLink students toured the football facility with members of the staff before heading on the patio to carve pumpkins with the Nittany Lions.

Founded during the 2002-'03 academic year, LifeLink serves special education students to help them in academic programs and gain independence. LifeLink partners with Penn State students to help the individuals in the State College Area School District Department of Special Education. The LifeLink students are between the ages of 18 and 21 years old.

The group of football student-athletes and LifeLink students had a blast on Thursday. As always, in the spirit of Penn State Football's core values, the group engaged in a competition to see whose pumpkin turned out the best. The pumpkins will be used during Fall Harvest Festival at Shaver's Creek in Petersburg, Pennsylvania.

The bye week gives the team an opportunity to interact with members of the community and engage in activities with groups like LifeLink. In addition to working with the United Way earlier this month, the Nittany Lions spent time with Bellefonte pee-wee football teams on Monday. A group of Nittany Lions will also participate at the Centre County Down Syndrome Society's Buddy Walk on Saturday.

On the field, the Nittany Lions will return to practice on Sunday in preparation to the Oct. 25 matchup against Ohio State (8 p.m. on ABC).

photo (9).jpg

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Head Coach Josh Brandwene Interview

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the most notable perks that come along with Penn State hockey is the beautiful, state-of-the-art Pegula Ice Arena. Whereas most players and coaches point to the locker room, fitness area or ice as the best elements of the two-year-old rink, freshman goaltender Hannah Ehresmann enjoys the simple amenities.

"My favorite part [of Pegula Ice Arena] is the chocolate milks we have in the fridge," said Ehresmann.

But, that's not the only thing she loves about Penn State.

"My favorite part about Penn State other than Pegula is all the pride that Penn State has, especially at football games," said Ehresmann. "They're really fun."

Ehresmann plans to extend that pride seen in the student section at Beaver Stadium across Curtin Road to Pegula Ice Arena.

Just four games into the season, the freshman is well on her way. In two starts, she's posted a 1-0-1 record with 1.44 goals against average (3 goals allowed, 74 saves) and a .961 save percentage.

"I think the biggest things are just her focus, her process, and her level of compete, and the work that she does with Courtney, our goalie coach, which allows her to get better every day and that's a really great thing to see," said head coach Josh Brandwene.

Usually the transition from high school to the collegiate level is a challenging endeavor. However, Ehresmann, who hails from Minnetonka, Minn., has joined a couple of familiar faces at Penn State.

In fact, Ehresmann attended the same high school and played with current teammates Amy Petersen and Laura Bowman. The familiarity with Petersen and Bowman has supported the freshman as she gets acclimated to a new territory.

"It's been amazing [having Petersen and Bowman as teammates]," said Ehresmann. "I know their styles of play, so it's easy to know what they are going to do, which is really helpful.... The team has helped out a lot, too. They're very supportive and they just help show us the ropes as freshmen."

Even with the help of her teammates, adjusting to college play is not a free skate on a Friday night.

"The pace is much quicker and the shots are a lot harder and more consistent," said Ehresmann. 
"In high school some people would have hard shots, but in college everyone has hard and quick shots."

Although the season is young, Ehresmann is most pleased with her performance this past Sunday at home against then No. 8 Quinnipiac. The freshman was a stonewall in net, stopping 45 shots to preserve a 1-1 tie.

"I'm most proud of sticking with the game against Quinnipiac," said Ehresmann. "I was really tired going into the third period...and with ten minutes left I lost feeling in my legs. I just stuck with it and it ended up being the best for our team." 

The person who recruited Ehresmann to Happy Valley could not be more thrilled with the effort that his freshman goaltender has displayed between the pipes this early in the season, especially versus Quinnipiac.

"I'm proud of her compete level," said Brandwene. "There was a lot of traffic in front of our net, and you can just see the intensity, the commitment to her technique, fighting through screens, and really doing a great job throughout the whole game. She just continues to focus on her process and get better every single day. The effort is always there and I love what I see from her right now." 

With junior goaltender Celine Whitlinger splitting time with Ehresmann, the first year net minder is using Whitlinger's experience to her advantage. According to Brandwene, their willingness to help and challenge one another is integral to the growth of the program. 

"They're sort of referred to affectionately as the 'sisterhood' here in the program, and they are just great teammates, great supporters of each other, and they work really hard. It's a really great thing for our program."

Luckily for Ehresmann, the Berkey Creamery is in walking distance of Pegula Ice Arena. Meaning that chocolate milk is never far away, just in case Pegula ever runs out.

Alaska Trip Marks Homecoming for Bailey

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Casey Bailey has recorded his fair share of program firsts since arriving at Penn State. The forward scored the Nittany Lion's first goal at the NCAA level in 2012, played in the first game at Pegula Ice Arena in 2013 and just recorded the team's first shootout goal this past weekend.

While Bailey seems to have a knack for carving his way into the Penn State hockey history books, he will be one of the few Nittany Lions to not experience the trip to Alaska as a first this weekend because for Bailey, traveling to Alaska means heading home.

"I actually found out freshman year," said the Alaska-native regarding the team's trip. "I was talking to Billy [Downey], who does a lot of our scheduling, and I knew they were looking forward to getting into one of those Alaska tournaments.

"I was pushing for the Anchorage one because I'd much rather play in my hometown rather than a neighboring city, but I think I was honestly excited. I told my parents about it when it was further down the road, but now that it's here it's definitely really exciting."

Living in Anchorage, Bailey grew up religiously watching college hockey, paying particular attention to the Alaskan teams. Now, the forward has the opportunity to see both Alaska Anchorage and Alaska in action again, this time as the competition.

"I know they're both pretty good teams," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I know for UAF, they've got a really good team right now. They just beat Wisconsin. This is a year for them that they feel really positive about.

"Their captain, he had the opportunity to sign last year and didn't. He's an excellent defensemen. I mean they've got a very good team. We're going to play in a great hockey environment. Time difference is a factor, but it'll be a great experience."

No stranger to the four-hour time difference, Bailey has been helping his team prepare for the trip, giving them tips based off his travel experiences. Following Saturday's win over UConn, the forward addressed the Lions explaining the importance of proper rest leading up to the extensive journey.

The team then left State College Tuesday afternoon following practice and bused to Newark before hopping on a plane to Seattle early Wednesday morning. The Blue-and-White concluded their trip with one final flight from Seattle to Fairbanks.

"I was kind of just focusing on making sure that we be professionals about it," Bailey explained of his presentation to the team. "We don't need to look for an excuse to play bad over the weekend, so I don't want them to be using the long flight, the long travel as an excuse. I think we'll be fine. I honestly think it's not a huge deal. I think we're getting there in plenty of time to be ready for it. I just think as long as we have the right mindset we'll be good."

Despite the travel, both Bailey and Gadowsky know this Alaskan experience will be extremely positive for Penn State.

Gadowsky is also expecting an incredible playing environment.

"It is a fun experience because the people there have been great, just so great," Gadowsky explained of Fairbanks. "The community there is just awesome, and in that way I think it's very similar to what we have at Penn State. The community has really rallied behind the team, and that I find really, really fun. We have a lot of great friends there so it'll be nice to see a lot of people."

Although the visiting team, Penn State will be well represented in Fairbanks as Bailey's family and friends will be in attendance, watching him play live in Alaska for the first time in six or seven years. The junior is anticipating upwards of 50 people making the trek from Anchorage.

"Fortunately, my parents get to make the trip to Penn State quite often, more than you'd expect, but a lot of close family friends and relatives are actually getting the opportunity to come watch me play," said Bailey. "They rarely ever get the opportunity, so it's definitely exciting. I have some friends coming, family friends, all kinds of different people coming to watch. It's definitely going to be a big stage for me personally, but I think we're all looking forward to it."

The Nittany Lions take on Alaska Anchorage Friday night at 9:07 p.m. ET, when Bailey will try to knock out whatever other program firsts he can in front of his closest friends and family.

Alaska Trip Marks Homecoming for Bailey

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Casey Bailey has recorded his fair share of program firsts since arriving at Penn State. The forward scored the Nittany Lion's first goal at the NCAA level in 2012, played in the first game at Pegula Ice Arena in 2013 and just recorded the team's first shootout goal this past weekend.

While Bailey seems to have a knack for carving his way into the Penn State hockey history books, he will be one of the few Nittany Lions to not experience the trip to Alaska as a first this weekend because for Bailey, traveling to Alaska means heading home.

"I actually found out freshman year," said the Alaska-native regarding the team's trip. "I was talking to Billy [Downey], who does a lot of our scheduling, and I knew they were looking forward to getting into one of those Alaska tournaments.

"I was pushing for the Anchorage one because I'd much rather play in my hometown rather than a neighboring city, but I think I was honestly excited. I told my parents about it when it was further down the road, but now that it's here it's definitely really exciting."

Living in Anchorage, Bailey grew up religiously watching college hockey, paying particular attention to the Alaskan teams. Now, the forward has the opportunity to see both Alaska Anchorage and Alaska in action again, this time as the competition.

"I know they're both pretty good teams," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I know for UAF, they've got a really good team right now. They just beat Wisconsin. This is a year for them that they feel really positive about.

"Their captain, he had the opportunity to sign last year and didn't. He's an excellent defensemen. I mean they've got a very good team. We're going to play in a great hockey environment. Time difference is a factor, but it'll be a great experience."

No stranger to the four-hour time difference, Bailey has been helping his team prepare for the trip, giving them tips based off his travel experiences. Following Saturday's win over UConn, the forward addressed the Lions explaining the importance of proper rest leading up to the extensive journey.

The team then left State College Tuesday afternoon following practice and bused to Newark before hopping on a plane to Seattle early Wednesday morning. The Blue-and-White concluded their trip with one final flight from Seattle to Fairbanks.

"I was kind of just focusing on making sure that we be professionals about it," Bailey explained of his presentation to the team. "We don't need to look for an excuse to play bad over the weekend, so I don't want them to be using the long flight, the long travel as an excuse. I think we'll be fine. I honestly think it's not a huge deal. I think we're getting there in plenty of time to be ready for it. I just think as long as we have the right mindset we'll be good."

Despite the travel, both Bailey and Gadowsky know this Alaskan experience will be extremely positive for Penn State.

Gadowsky is also expecting an incredible playing environment.

"It is a fun experience because the people there have been great, just so great," Gadowsky explained of Fairbanks. "The community there is just awesome, and in that way I think it's very similar to what we have at Penn State. The community has really rallied behind the team, and that I find really, really fun. We have a lot of great friends there so it'll be nice to see a lot of people."

Although the visiting team, Penn State will be well represented in Fairbanks as Bailey's family and friends will be in attendance, watching him play live in Alaska for the first time in six or seven years. The junior is anticipating upwards of 50 people making the trek from Anchorage.

"Fortunately, my parents get to make the trip to Penn State quite often, more than you'd expect, but a lot of close family friends and relatives are actually getting the opportunity to come watch me play," said Bailey. "They rarely ever get the opportunity, so it's definitely exciting. I have some friends coming, family friends, all kinds of different people coming to watch. It's definitely going to be a big stage for me personally, but I think we're all looking forward to it."

The Nittany Lions take on Alaska Anchorage Friday night at 9:07 p.m. ET, when Bailey will try to knock out whatever other program firsts he can in front of his closest friends and family.

Bye Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Bob Shoop

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10439363.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State defensive coordinator and safeties coach Bob Shoop spoke with the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions return to action on Oct. 25 against Ohio State. Take a look at a Q&A with Shoop during the bye week.

Q: How would you rate the way the defense has played during the first half of the season?
"I think we've played pretty well. Obviously, we are 4-2. In four weeks, we have done enough to win the game. In two weeks, we haven't done enough to win the game. At the midpoint to say you are No. 1 in the Big Ten in total defense, run defense and scoring defense and have some statistics that are in the top 10 in the country are very, very positive. I think the players are playing with confidence. I think they believe in one another. They are buying in. I tweeted about this and said this week; Mike Hull is the straw that stirs the drink. Anybody that knows anything about college football should watch (him). That guy has played as good at middle linebacker as anyone in the country. I think the front seven is legit - (Anthony) Zettel, Deion Barnes, AJ (Austin Johnson), C.J. (Olaniyan) and the crew. Mike Hull has been outstanding at middle linebacker. We've played well in the secondary for the most part. We've got to minimize some of the big plays and get off the field on third down sometimes, but we've played pretty good."

Q: What do you think makes this defense so good against the run?
"Stopping the run is team defense. There is no doubt about that. We are very committed in the defenses that we call on first down and second down that are designed to stop the run. The three things we talk about most in our room are - stopping the run, eliminating big plays and taking the ball away. Why are we stopping the run? Because we have players who are committed to that. We've got guys who understand the defensive concepts. They are maintaining their gap integrity. The front seven is a group of guys who tackle well. I think we are really solid up front."

Q: You talked about how well Mike Hull has played. Is it almost as if the play comes to him sometimes?
"The good ones, it looks like that (laughter). I think I've said this since I've been on the job. Rather than recruit players to fit a scheme, we've tried to tailor our scheme to fit players. You guys have commented on Jordan Lucas and Adrian Amos playing different positions. With Mike, it's kind of been the same way. We showed a highlight of the Michigan game. On Sunday, I show them the good, the bad and the ugly of the Michigan game. Each week, I could show 10 clips of Mike Hull making plays...He has an understanding of the defense as well as any player I have ever coached. He's very confident out there. He has great confidence. He knows the gameplan inside and out, which enables him to play fast. So, maybe he doesn't pass the dimensions test or the eye test, but all that guy does is make plays. He's played as well as any linebacker in the Big Ten. And I don't mean to disparage any other linebacker in the Big Ten. He's played as well as well as any linebacker could possibly play within the framework of our scheme through the first six games."

Q: Can you talk about the things Anthony Zettel has been able to do for you guys so far?
"Anthony has probably played better than I anticipated he would. Not that I didn't have high expectations for him. I've said this all along; on our defensive line we are really very static. We rely on athleticism and movement. He went from a guy in the rotation at D-end to a guy that has been exceptional at three technique. He has been explosive. He's been dynamic in there. He's got great what we call 'get off', getting off on the football. He's created problems. We've moved him around a little bit...Clearly in the first half of the year, his breakout game was probably the Rutgers game. That's when I think people in the Big Ten and in college football got introduced to Anthony Zettel. For us to continue to play at the level we are playing at, he is going to need to have a great second half of the year. He's going to need to play exceptionally well against Ohio State and the rest of the way."

Q: How much of an impact do you think the consistent pressure up front, whether it be the run defense or pass pressure has helped out the secondary this year?
"It's helped a lot. Every Sunday, we have goals and then we have a quality control sheet. You guys know I'm one of those guys who looks at analytics. Some people say stats are for losers. I don't necessarily agree with that. Stats tell a story. As long as you use the numbers correctly, you can solve problems. We've been really good on first and second down. Even in the Northwestern game when we didn't play real well at times or in the Michigan game, we've been really good on first and second down consistently. That's because of the guys up front and the pressures...Where we've needed to improve and play a little bit better is on third down. We've played good on third down, but in every game where you play really good teams and the margin for error is minimal, you need to play great on third down. We've done a good job in the secondary. Our best defends on third down is when we have brought pressure."

Q: It seems like you have been able to make good adjustments to what teams are doing during games. Can you take us through that process?
"There are couple things in play there...I think we have a very mature group. If you watch us practice. If you watch us communicate with one another on the field, on the practice field and in the meeting room, I think our guys are really mature. They catch up to the speed of the game really quickly. After the first series or two of the game, they understand how teams are trying to attack us. They make personal adjustments. I think then, between myself, Brent Pry, Sean Spencer and Terry Smith; Brent, Sean and I have been together so long that we have an idea of how teams are going to attack us. I think we've done a pretty good job. We've been on point with a lot of our gameplans, but we've done a great job making in-game adjustments. Whether it be at Rutgers, shutting them out in the second half. Whether it be against Northwestern after the first couple series of the game. Or against Michigan after the first drive of the game. It's our guys catching up to the speed of the game, our players trusting us as coaches and believing in what we are telling them, us as coaches identifying how teams are trying to attack us and having the ability to communicate to the assistant coaches on the sideline to the players. We've done a good job communicating in that respect. And I think our GAs have done a great job. The debrief we get from those guys has been really on point. It has helped us be accurate in our in-game adjustments.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Lions Looking To Bounce Back

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10439589.jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - All sports teams hope to be the very best that they can be throughout every season. Teams strive to string together victories en route to playing their best at the end of a season.

But inevitably, groups face adversity.

It's how a group responds to the adversity that often shapes a team's character. The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team returns to action this weekend looking to get back on track following a setback to No. 15 Illinois.

"Some weeks you may feel confident going in and you'd like to think you're going to win your matches at home, but we didn't take care of the ball in the match with Illinois and you move on," said head coach Russ Rose. "You don't look back. You can't worry. I'm a big believer in 'One lost can't beat you twice.'  You identify to the people this is what we need to get better at...and you try and get better."

Prior to last weekend, Penn State had lost only two matches. After both losses, the team came back stronger than ever with straight-set wins against their next opponent.

"When you lose, you go back to the film and look at what I could have done differently, so I think it does give you a little fire to come back and bounce back," said senior Micha Hancock. "But I think we need to be better at creating that fire ourselves, instead of having to get a lost and having to get ourselves, we can motivate each other."

The team hopes to relay back this weekend as they take on No. 14 Purdue (16-2, 6-0) on Friday evening and Indiana (12-6, 3-3) on Saturday evening.

"Our emphasis [this week] is to try and get two wins. I mean, we're scouting the teams, we're going to mix up some shots, we're going to see what we're looking at, and I think it's also just trying to make less errors," said Hancock. "We're a young team now and we're not trying to out block and out dig a team and still lose. It's just hard work in the gym, communicating what we can get better at."

Junior Megan Courtney also believes that they have a few things to work on for this weekend.

"[We need to work on] just being better teammates. I think Coach talked about it a lot that we're great players, but we haven't really been able to come together as a team very often, so focusing on the team aspect instead of trying to do it individually," said Courtney. "[It's also] just little things at practice. Trying to finish drills that don't necessary mean much in practice because it carries over to games. It was clear against Illinois that we didn't finish up the first game like we should of, which could have swung the momentum for the game, but we just need to be able to start fast and end fast and be able to close, so that's what we've been working on."

In addition, Courtney has been a leader in helping the underclassmen to bounce back.

"I just keep telling them that you're here to make mistakes, you're a freshman, I'll take the blame for anything, or I'll help you out as best as I can... you need to just worry about you and I'll try to do what I need to do to help you get better and help you be confident because that's what we need from them; we need confidence from them," said Courtney. "We need them to take big swings and if they keep doing that, then we're in pretty good shape."

Coach Rose understands the situation and still has high expectations for the team.

"It's been a tough situation when the expectations are as high as they are and the preseason, we're ranked No. 1 in the country based on winning last year's national championship," said Rose. "I think it's a real task for some people to not believe the press clippings, but what they do when the other teams are really good. That's the part of the equation. The Big Ten is an incredibly tough conference and everybody is beating everybody. Purdue is the only team hasn't suffered a loss yet this season."

The Nittany Lions will continue their season this weekend, but there is still a long way to go.

"We have seven more weeks of Big Ten play, so that's a lot of matches," said coach Rose.

By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- For the past four seasons, there hasn't been a game that senior captain Laura Gebhart didn't played in. She is known as the "opportunity creator" and contributes to both offense and defense for the Nittany Lions. Tuesday's game shined a light on Gebhart's skill that she has crafted 
here at Penn State as well as playing for the U.S. National Team.

Coming off of a tough loss on the road to new Big Ten foe Maryland, the Nittany Lions made sure to use this non-conference game against Bucknell to work on the "little things" that contributed to their 4-3 loss. The biggest issue for the Nittany Lions during their matchup against the Terrapins was their shot turnover; Penn State was awarded 12 corners and took 19 shots, but were only able to find the net three times.

"The game was a little frantic," Gebhart said. "We are going to work hard to refocus for these next few games."

Gebhart's Hat Trick Performance

When the game clock started counting down in Tuesday night's contest, the rain began falling as well. Typically, stick control and stability are two techniques that falter in these playing conditions, but not for Gebhart. Gebhart was in complete control from the sound of the first whistle. After a few touch-and-go passes, Jenna Chrismer received the ball and took off down the field; Natalie Buttinger and Gebhart trailed behind her. Chrismer found Buttinger on the endline of the Bison circle, who quickly fired off a pass to Gebhart at the top. Gebhart drove the ball into the back of the net just three minutes into the contest.

Gebhart found the back of the net six minutes later when she intercepted a Bison pass from inside the circle. Her stick handling contributed to a flawless attack as she pulled the Bucknell goalie out to the stroke mark, firing off a shot into the opposite corner, lifting the score to 2-0.

"It was a great night for Laura [Gebhart]," coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss said. "She is just so dangerous around the cage. She put herself in an attacking position tonight, which was very helpful to the team."

The senior sealed the deal on her first career hat trick when she double-teamed the goalie with fellow captain Katie Andrews. Andrews dodged the Bison defense before tipping the ball to Gebhart who directed the pass over the goalie's pads.

"Its great to see someone who plays defense attack the cage," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "When you can get numbers into their circle, it puts a lot of pressure on them. It was a great combination between two captains."

A Corner-less First Half

Penn State is known for their speed of play and their ability to force corner play. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, they were unable to draw a corner in the first half. However, they also didn't give up a corner in the first half, which speaks to the hard work put in by both team's defenses. Penn State keeper Kylie Licata saved six shots in the contest, five of which coming in the second half.

In the second half, the corner tally evened out, as both teams were awarded two. While the Bison fell short on their pair of scoring opportunities, the Nittany Lions were able to convert one. Taylor Herold scored off her infamous drive from the top of the circle, lifting the final score to 4-1.

"I felt like we weren't aggressive enough on our press," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "When we are aggressive on the press we are able to force corners and create counter attacks. We weren't really diligent about drawing the corner [tonight]."

All Roads Lead To The Big Ten

The Nittany Lions have four games left in their regular season schedule and all four are conference games. Penn State will take on Rutgers and Indiana this Friday and Sunday before traveling to Iowa on Oct. 25. Their last game of the regular season schedule will be against Northwestern, who is undefeated in the Big Ten.

"Its crazy to think that this was my last non-conference game," Gebhart said. "We are ready to continue to put in the work for our Big Ten schedule ahead." 

VIDEO: James Franklin Practice Update - Bye Week II

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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 return to action on Oct. 25 against Ohio State (8 p.m. on ABC).

Sights and Sounds from 2014 Men's Basketball Media Day

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VIDEO: Media Day Player Press Conference 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion basketball team welcomed members of the media to the Bryce Jordan Center on the Tuesday afternoon for the team's annual media day festivities.

Head coach Patrick Chambers kicked off the events with a season-preview press conference before a packed room inside the BJC. The Nittany Lions are one week into official practice, and the season begins in one month on Nov. 14 against Morgan State (7 p.m.).

Take a look through some news and notes from media day.

Newbill and the Floor Generals
10434816.jpegTwo seasons ago, D.J. Newbill was put in an unfamiliar position. Following a season-ending injury to Tim Frazier, Newbill was forced into the role of playing at point guard for the first time in his life. A natural shooting guard, Newbill spent the 2012-'13 season learning the ropes of an unnatural position. The trial by fire helped expand the Philadelphia native's game into an All-Big Ten season one year ago (17.8 ppg., 4.9 rbg.). Now, as a senior, Newbill is ready to do whatever is necessary to help the team to win.

"It doesn't matter which position I play, I just want to do what is best for the team," Newbill said.

For now, Coach Chambers believes Newbill is best suited as the team's primary point guard. The starting five is far from being set in stone, but the senior is the team's top candidate to play at the No. 1 spot. Newbill focused on the growth of his entire game over the summer, but emphasized ball handling. While he is a natural scorer with the ball in his hands, Newbill is the team's top leader and will direct the offense with great poise and command.

"I'm very comfortable at the point," said Newbill. "Coming in to this season, I didn't know if I would be at the point or not so I prepared for it just in case. But I'm sure Coach is going to play me some at the point all season. All offseason I worked on ball handling and things like that, so I think I'm feeling pretty comfortable."

Behind the veteran, two newcomers are competing for minutes as the primary backup at the point guard spot. Chambers said that he has been impressed with both junior Devin Foster and freshman Shep Garner in their efforts at the point guard spot. Chambers said both players have a high basketball IQ.

Open Competition at the No. 2 Spot
The Nittany Lions have a host of options for the off guard spot in the starting lineup. Chambers highlighted the competition between senior John Johnson and sophomore Geno Thorpe. Johnson averaged 6.7 points per game last season and has the ability to not only stretch the floor with his range, he can get to the basket and score in traffic. Thorpe took full advantage of the extra practices and game reps during the postseason last spring. A gifted athlete with tenacious attitude on defense, Thorpe will look to expand on the offensive end of the floor in 2014-'15. Chambers also mentioned 6-foot-6 redshirt freshman Payton Banks as a guy who could see some time at the No. 2 spot depending on how big the Nittany Lions wanted to play. Banks stretches the floor as a threat to score from the perimeter.

"Those guys are getting after it," Chambers said. "I really am pleased with the direction of practice and the competition in practice. The guys understand what's at stake here, minutes, starting spot. Those three guys are really getting after it and we'll see how it unfolds these next three weeks."

Veteran Leaders
While Newbill is the team's undisputed floor captain, the Nittany Lions have a terrific complement of leadership from the upperclassmen on the team. Chambers announced that Newbill, Ross Travis, Brandon Taylor and Kevin Montminy are the team's captains for the 2014-'15 season. Additionally, the team will have a leadership council group made up of the four captains and senior forward Alan Wisniewski. The collective roster has grown and matured under Chambers. He is relying more on the team for leadership than ever before. The early results at practice? Chambers said the veteran players are holding the team accountable for its work ethic and attention to detail on the floor. The team has five seniors and four juniors on the roster.

"D.J. was a huge leader last year for us. Meeting with Coach, Brandon [Taylor] and I had to step up and assist him to give him help with the big younger class coming in," Travis said. "Our job is to help D.J. and step up and be more vocal leaders. We really take charge out there in practice. The voice doesn't have to come from Coach; it can come from us as well. Being out there and being a vocal leader is the most important things and we're going to go out there and do it."

Taking the Next Step
While Chambers does not have a defined win total or set of goals for the team, he believes the talent within this group is more than capable of taking the next step. From the veteran leadership and deep pool of game experience, the Nittany Lions believe this is the year for the program to play at a higher level.

"We're headed in the right direction," Chambers said. "I feel like, as a program, we're a little bit older now. We have some seniors and juniors, which is exciting. We have a good mixture of veterans and youth. I think we have a great understand of our approach in practice, our approach in games, our approach in anything that we do. That takes a long time to put together. Is it really where I want it to be? No, there's still so much growth to go, but it's getting there."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Bye Week Notebook: Coach Franklin Update on the Off Week

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10434098.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - Oct. 14

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are idle this week for the second of two bye weeks during the 2014 season.

With the season at the midway point, head coach James Franklin and the coaching staff are focused on utilizing this week as an opportunity to improve on the practice field and in the film room before attention shifts to the Oct. 25 primetime matchup against Ohio State. Franklin updated the media on team's progress during the weekly Big Ten Teleconference on Tuesday.

"We are excited that we have a bye this week," Franklin said. "At practice, we are looking forward to getting some things corrected and giving some guys time off in terms of the banging and the running. We will look at refining some things and take a look at some of the things we need to be focused on more. It's coming at a good time for us."

Franklin said on Tuesday that field position in the second half of the Michigan game really stood out on film. Complementary football is essential for the Nittany Lions to be successful. That includes all three phases of the game functioning at a high level. Strong play on defense and on special teams contribute to good field position for the offense.

"We've got to play faster. We aren't playing as fast as we need to be playing right now," Franklin said. "I think that's really in all three phases. I think special teams and offense is probably what everybody is focused on. But I think in all three phases we can play faster and play more aggressive. Running the football consistently and protecting the quarterback are probably our biggest challenges right now."

The bye week has come at a good time for the team to focus on correcting some of the mistakes that have hindered the Lions during the first six weeks. Nonetheless, four wins in the first six games of the season is a positive step for the direction Franklin and the staff are leading the program in.

"We are 4-2 right now. There are a lot of teams across the country that would love to be 4-2," said Franklin. "We knew there were going to be some challenges and some issues coming into this season. But I couldn't be more positive and more excited about being at Penn State...We are excited about the opportunity to play a talented Ohio State team next week. We are as positive and optimistic (now) as we were going into the season."

Penn State returned to practice on Tuesday following the team's off day.

Defense Ranks Among Nation's Best
The Penn State defense has played superb football during the first half of the season. The Nittany Lions are ranked in the nation's top five in five different statistical categories, including three major categories. Allowing just 60.8 yards per game on the ground, Penn State is second in the nation and atop the Big Ten in rushing defense. At 15.2 points allowed per game, Penn State is fifth in scoring defense (No. 1 in the B1G). The Nittany Lions have allowed 283.3 yards per game, which ranks fifth in the nation in total defense (No. 1 in the B1G). Additionally, Penn State is second in the nation in first downs defense (85 allowed on the season) and No. 4 in red zone defense (63.2 percent). Penn State opponents have averaged 2.0 yards per rush this season.

With 64 tackles on the season, senior linebacker Mike Hull has been the catalyst for the Nittany Lion defense. Hull leads the Big Ten in tackles per game with 10.7. Additionally, Hull is 11th in the nation and ranks atop the Big Ten with 6.7 solo hits per game.

Jesse James Added to Mackey List
The Mackey Award is handed out to the nation's top tight end. Junior Jesse James was added to the Mid-season Watch List for the John Mackey Award on Monday. James is third on the team in receptions 18 this season. He has 203 yards (11.3 avg.) and two touchdowns. The Mackey Award semifinalists will be announced in late November.

Ohio State Under the Lights Up Next
The Nittany Lions will begin a string of six-straight weeks of football when Ohio State comes to Beaver Stadium for an 8 p.m. kick on Oct. 25. The Nittany Lions and Buckeyes will battle under the lights for the third-straight year. Six of the last 10 meetings between the two teams have been held under the lights. The Penn State White Out will air nationally on ABC. Penn State and Ohio State have met annually since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten. As members of the East Division, the teams will continue to meet annually.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Playing against some of the top programs in the country is nothing new for the Penn State women's hockey team. Such was the case this past weekend as the Nittany Lions (1-2-1) faced off against No. 8 Quinnipiac (2-0-1).

Despite dropping a competitive contest on Saturday night, the Blue and White rallied Sunday afternoon behind Hannah Ehresmann's 45 saves and Amy Petersen's game-tying goal to draw, 1-1.

"I'm really proud of this group for a total team effort as it relates to consistency and response," head coach Josh Brandwene said. "We had a great response when we faced adversity, and I saw a lot of growth for this hockey team that continues to evolve and get better every day."

Whereas Brandwene said his team played only 19 minutes of complete hockey in Saturday night's loss, the head coach refined his statement after Sunday's tie.

"It was a war out there against a good hockey club for 65 minutes," said Brandwene. "We made adjustments. Quinnipiac made adjustments. That's what high level hockey is all about, and I'm proud of them for the 65 minutes."

The two-game series against the Bobcats allowed the Blue and White to put their talented goaltenders on display for the passionate home crowd.

While junior Celine Whitlinger posted 31 saves in Saturday night's loss, freshman Hannah Ehresmann stopped 45 shots to preserve the tie.

"They work. They learn. They support each other. They have a great goaltending coach that works with them," said Brandwene. "I'm incredibly proud of their effort. I cannot say enough about Hannah Ehresmann's performance in goal. She was steady, poised, excellent job."

For freshman Ehresmann, being able to watch Whitlinger in net the game prior helped her perform at her highest level during Sunday's matinee.

"I definitely look up to Celine [Whitlinger], and I try to compete as well as she does," said Ehresmann. "We can both get better from watching each other, and I'm sure she feels the same way."

Offensively it was the line of Amy Petersen, Hannah Hoenshell and Laura Bowman that impressed. Together, the line combined for the lone goal of the weekend. Communication and synergy were key in the line's success, but all it took was a simple shot to the net to lead the Nittany Lions to a tie on Sunday.

"Remi [Martin] missed wide from the point, and I played the puck in the corner," said Petersen. "I saw Laura [Bowman] on the high slot, and I was actually trying to get a rebound out front for her by shooting off of the goalie's pads, and it just bounced of the side of her pad and dropped in."

Communication has been an area of focus for Brandwene and his squad, and Sunday afternoon was the height of such play thus far this season, especially among Petersen's line.

"They had themselves a heck of a hockey game," said Brandwene. "Really good spacing, really moving their feet well, playing well at both ends of the ice, they generated some good offense throughout, and they talked in the locker room about putting pucks on net from everywhere. And, when you put pucks on net, good things happen, so that's an outstanding performance by their line, and a great opportunistic goal by Amy [Petersen]."

A big reason why the line of Petersen, Hoenshell and Bowman performed at such a high level Sunday is because Petersen and Bowman have played together since the young age of five.

"It's definitely special," said Petersen. "It's not something many people can say they've done. We've been playing together since we were five. We've been on the same team every winter and every summer ever since. It's a lot of fun to play with her now in college."

Even more importantly, the talented line focuses on just having fun.

"Our line likes to have a lot of fun out there," said Petersen. "We try to stay loose and just work together. When we actually get one to go in, it's a lot of fun."

Next up for the Nittany Lions is a road trip against the Union Dutchwomen on Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18.

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md.- Bob Warming has seen it happen before.

In a college-coaching career that spans back to 1976, the head coach of the Nittany Lions knows all too well the pressure that comes with being undefeated.

"I coached a team a few years back [at Creighton in 2008] that was [unbeaten for 15 games]," Warming said. "The pressure that started to build up on them was unbelievable because in our sport, people drop games."

The Penn State men's soccer games has dealt with that same pressure all season, having opened the season with a 10-0-1 run that earned them a No. 3 national ranking entering Sunday's contest against Maryland.

The dam finally broke against the Terrapins as the Lions met their first setback of the season.

Afterwards, Warming said he hoped the Lions would be able to use the loss as a way to relax after having a bull's eye on their backs the entire season.

"When the match was over today, I basically said, 'look, everybody has something today that they would have liked to have done differently,'" Warming said. "But for me, as crazy as it sounds, I'm relieved we dropped one.

"'['I said] now lets get on another run, lets start another run now, and learn from this game.'"

Mael Corboz's goal marked the first time all season the Nittany Lions trailed; an astounding feat considering it was their 13th game.

Considering Penn State entered the season ranked fourth in the Big Ten, its current 10-1-1 record and 4-1 mark in conference play is still nothing to scoff at.

With five more regular season games, including three against conference opponents, the Nittany Lions need to put this loss behind them as they strive to regain the form that helped them allow just three goals all season entering Sunday.

"There wasn't one [specific] thing today," Warming said. "But the one thing that comes out of today is we got a loss behind us. We're still a great team, we're still a family, we're still a bunch of fun-loving guys. We're disappointed now but we're gonna move on and get on another run."

Warming is also well aware that his team could run into Maryland down the road in the Big Ten tournament.

Last year's national runner-up, the Terrapins got off to a surprising 4-5-2 start this season, and looked like a team desperate for a win against the Nittany Lions.

"Maryland's good, man," Warming said. "They needed this game badly today. Here's the deal. It wasn't like our guys quit running, it wasn't like our guys quit working, it wasn't like our guys gave up. Those are qualities you can control.

"Some days, your touch is bad. Some days you aren't as bright in your thinking as you'd like to be and that was our day today."

Another disappointment for Warming was that he wasn't able to give a victory to the group of Penn State students that made the over three-hour trip for the game.

For the first time in school history, Penn State offered a bus service to fans interested in traveling for a road game. In total, 35 people took part to give the Lions some home-field atmosphere on the road.

Before departing back to State College, Warming and the team posed for a group picture with their supporters. Even on a day that featured a disappointing loss, it was a great moment for a program enjoying a standout season.

"Awesome, awesome, I love those kids," Warming said. "They stuck around here and supported us. I can't say enough about them. The biggest win out of today wasn't Maryland 4-0, it was that we have established a group of students that are with us win, lose or tie, and that's a real supporter. That's not a fan, it's a supporter."



Meet Nittany Lion Local, Anna Farnsworth

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By Meghan Miceli, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "I've never lived anywhere else," sophomore Anna Farnsworth explained.

10431763.jpegThe State College native is studying health policy and administration on the University Park campus and comes from a family of Nittany Lions.

"My parents went here, my bothers went here, and it's such a great school," Farnsworth said.

Although Farnsworth grew up minutes from the University, she explained that Penn State and State College have a symbiotic relationship.

"I mean it has that small town feel," Farnsworth said. "But at the same time, you have all the students from the university and people on game weekends."

While State College at times is considered the third largest city in Pennsylvania on football game weekends, Farnsworth explained that while Penn State plays a local role, State College has its own culture away from the university. 

"I remember growing up when people would move here and the first thing they would notice is how big sports are in State College," said Farnsworth.  "Even playing soccer at young age, the theme around here is to pick a sport and 'get good.'"  

But it wasn't until high school that Farnsworth began swimming year-round.

"I played soccer and basketball through elementary and middle school, but in eight grade I tore my ACL. I couldn't get surgery at that point so swimming was how I stayed active," said Farnsworth.

Farnsworth found quickly that it was something she loved.

"I always knew I wanted to play a sport in college, and with swimming everything just came together," Farnsworth said.

Specializing in backstroke, Farnsworth has contributed to the Nittany Lions' success since she arrived as a freshman.  Last year she posted personal bests at the Big Ten Championships in the 100 and 200 backstroke.

One of the perks of being a few miles from home means always having a cheering section at home meets and spending time with family on the weekends.

"I'm spoiled a little when it comes to my mom bringing me groceries," Farnsworth said with a laugh. "I do try to go home and catch up with them.  But at the same time, I feel like I need to foster my independence."

Although she's spent her life in State College, being a student at Penn State is a different experience entirely. 

"I think people take for granted 'townies'," Farnsworth said.  "People think we know all the loopholes with college.  Really, this is a whole new setting for me. I just have the convenience of being five minutes away." 

Catch Farnsworth and the rest of the Nittany Lions in their next home meet on Oct. 31 as they take on Villanova in McCoy Natatorium at 5 p.m. 

Nittany Lions Freeze Huskies in Series Finale, 7-1

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10428492.jpegBy Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - From the drop of the puck to the final sound of the horn, Penn State (1-0-1) played a complete 60 minutes of sound, physical hockey en route to a commanding 7-1 victory over UConn (1-0-1) Saturday afternoon at Pegula Ice Arena.

The Blue and White third line of David Goodwin, Taylor Holstrom and Casey Bailey combined for four goals and five assists, Jonathan Milley maintained his physicality and goaltender Matthew Skoff made 28 saves to lead the charge for the Nittany Lions.

"I would like to think that what you saw tonight is going to be a lot more indicative of what you see the rest of the year," said head coach Guy Gadowsky.

Thanks in large part to the stellar play of Skoff and the penalty killing units in front of him, the Nittany Lions warded off a five-on-three penalty kill in the first 10 minutes of play to alter momentum in their favor.

"I think that [penalty kill] changed the game for us," said Bailey who tallied a goal and two assists. "Getting that right off the start...with big blocks from a lot of players and Skoff stood on his head there in the first ten minutes. A different outcome for that first ten minutes could've changed the game for sure."

The smart and patient play of the Penn State penalty killing units during the two-man disadvantage kept UConn off of the scoreboard, but it was the performance of Skoff that Gadowsky believes made all the difference.

"The kill was the key," said Gadowsky. "If you're going to have a good penalty kill though, your goaltender has to be your best killer, and he certainly was. It's tough though to kill a five-on-three and a five-minute major. It's tiring and it's tough. I think the guys deserve a ton of credit for that. Skoffer definitely led the way."

Despite committing six penalties of their own, the Nittany Lions registered a shorthanded goal via a blistering top shelf wrist shot from Taylor Holstrom and a power play goal from Jonathan Milley as part of a five-goal second period.

"It's a backbreaker for the other team, especially when they have that many power play opportunities and can't put one in, and then we go down and get a shorty," said Holstrom who finished with two goals and an assist. "It feels good."

According to Gadowsky, the play of Holstrom during Friday night's tie prompted his big Saturday afternoon on the stat sheet.

"There is such a thing as the hockey gods," said Gadowsky. "And with Taylor Holstrom, he really was the best forward [Friday] night all around. His commitment to back checking yesterday was great.... Often when you have someone who is that committed to the team goals with things that don't show up on the score sheet, often they get rewarded. So it was great to see him and his line have a tremendous game tonight."

Similar words can be said for Milley, whose physical play on both sides of the puck energized Penn State's play in both contests against UConn.

"It's something that we've been waiting for," said Gadowsky on Milley's execution on the ice. "He has a history of being a dominant player.... This is the most healthy he's been in four or five years. Along with our trainer Justin Rogers and our strength coach Cam Davidson, the three of them worked extremely hard this summer. The difference in him physically is huge. He dropped his body fat tremendously. He really improved in his cardio and his mobility, and you can definitely see a difference out there, and we'd like to see a lot more of it."

Next up, the Nittany Lions travel to Fairbanks, Alaska, for the Brice Goal Rush for a game against Alaska Anchorage on Oct. 17 and a contest versus Alaska Nanooks on Oct. 18.

Lions Come Up Short Against Illinois

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10431045.jpegBy Samantha DelRosso, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERISTY PARK, Pa.-- The stage was set for a great first start at home for freshman Haleigh Washington: a Big Ten matchup in Rec Hall, an energetic crowd and an excited band. But the Nittany Lions fell to the Illinois in four sets.

Despite the outcome, Washington's first start in Rec Hall was an exciting experience for the young middle blocker. Leading up to the match, she kept her composure while trying to shake her nerves. But as soon as it was game time, she knew it was time to go out there and "do her thing."

"I was trying to do the best that I could and bring whatever I could to this team," Washington said. "Everybody has a job and I was just trying to do mine."

In the first set, the Nittany Lions had a 19-8 lead over Illinois. After multiple scoring streaks, the Fighting Illini fought back to make the score 23-17. With five unanswered points and a four-point scoring streak at the end of the set, the Illini took the first frame, 26-24.

"We scored a lot of points [in the first game], we blocked better. We had some areas where I thought we were going to do some things and surprisingly enough, [Illinois] battled a little better than we did," head coach Russ Rose said. "In the beginning of the year, I had Illinois as the team to win the conference."

In the second set, the Nittany Lions beat the Illini 25-16. Illinois came back to take sets three and four, 25-23 and 25-22 respectively.

Penn State had momentum in end of the final frame that kept the Nittany Lions within two points at 24-22, but the Illini finished off the match with a block.

"We had fire at the end of the game. Then there's that little hope and it's just crushed and that's the worst feeling; when you're so close and you're thinking that it's good and it ends up being too little too late," Washington said. "It's disappointment and a chance to work harder at practice. We don't really linger. We're ready to come back and work harder."

Although the Nittany Lions fell to the 15th-ranked Illini, Rose noted that Washington played especially well for her first start in Rec Hall.

"Her energy is always good. She is a confident, young person. She hit really well [and] took some good swings," Rose said. "Considering it was a big match with a lot of people and a lot of importance, she really represented herself well."

Washington had a career-high 14 kills on a .538 hitting percentage. She had seven blocks, but said she needs to improve her blocking.

[My blocking has] got to be a better game. In a conference like the Big Ten, blocking is a really big, important aspect of your game. I'm trying to improve on that," Washington said.

Throughout the entire match, Washington's energy was very positive, even when the team was down.

"I had to go in and play my game. I was trying to take care of what I could take care of and control what I could control," Washington said.

Washington and the Nittany Lions travel to Indiana next to face Purdue on Friday at 8 p.m. 

Lions Come Up Short Against Rutgers Despite Late Surge

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10428378.jpegBy Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a tale of two halves for the Penn State women's soccer team on Saturday against Rutgers.

Taking on No. 20 team in the nation at home, the Nittany Lions got off to a slow start against a hungry Scarlet Nights squad and went into halftime down 1-0. From that point on, however, they looked like a different team.

"I didn't necessarily need to [say anything at halftime]," head coach Erica Walsh said. "They knew that they didn't perform. The details were better in the second half. I'm pretty proud of this team in the last 30 minutes, and that's the kind of team I want to coach."

After being out-shot seven to two in the first half and giving up a goal to Madison Tiernan at the 28:36 mark, the Nittany Lions turned the tide of the game in the final 45 minutes, out-shooting Rutgers eight to three, yet ultimately being unable to score and falling for just the second time this season, by a score of 1-0.

In the final 10 minutes, with the Scarlet Knights keeping all 11 players back on the defense, the Lions generated numerous opportunites but were unable to get a ball past goalie Casey Murphy.

"At the end I felt like we, I don't know if the word is deserved, but I felt like we were going to get one," Walsh said. "I liked the morale at that point. I thought we were pushing hard enough to get a win."

First, reserve freshman midfielder Haleigh Echard crossed a nice ball into the box that junior Mallory Peterson just missed getting into the net.

Minutes later, Katy Keen ripped a shot that forced Murphy to make a terrific diving save. Then, with just 2:43 remaining, Frannie Crouse headed a ball off the foot of Megan Schafer that went just wide of the net.

Although the setback marks the Lions' first Big Ten loss this season, it came against a talented opponent.

With the win, Rutgers improved to 10-1-1 on the season and registered its ninth shutout. In total, the Scarlet Knights have given up just four goals in 12 games this season.

"That's a very good Rutgers team, I mean a really good Rutgers team, and there were times when they were playing around us," Walsh said. "We played as if we had a bulls eye on our back today and our details weren't good enough."

Walsh has been at the helm of Penn State for eight years now. She knows that the grind of a season can take its toll on players and that it is next to impossible to win every game.

Still, Walsh believes that there is much the Lions can learn from Saturday's loss. Their success over the past few seasons has established them as one of the premiere programs in the country, and as a result, opponents will always be motivated to beat them.

"These games against Penn State are massive games for these teams and we're going to get everybody's best game," Walsh said. "We need to learn it this way and we are a young team."

With a unique blend of young talent and veteran experience, evidenced by Saturday's starting lineup that featured six returning starters and five freshmen, the Nittany Lions are built for success in both the present and the future.

The focus for Penn State now will be bringing a consistent effort for 90 minutes over its remaining five regular season games, all against Big Ten rivals. Walsh knows her team can do that, having seen them play that way for nearly the entire season.

"As long as we grow from this experience we're going to be better in the end," Walsh said. "The biggest thing is just the leadership and the belief going forward." 

VIDEO: James Franklin Postgame at Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Head coach James Franklin addresses the media following Saturday's game at Michigan.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Postgame Player Remarks vs. Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Several Nittany Lions addresses the media following Saturday's game at Michigan.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Photo Blog - Penn State at Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Welcome to's coverage of the 2014 football season. Check back often for an inside look at the Penn State's primetime trip to Michigan.


2014 Game Blog - Penn State at Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all 12 games on the schedule. Following a bye week, the Nittany Lions travel to Michigan Stadium for a primetime battle with the Wolverines.

Live Blog 2014 Game Blog - Penn State at Michigan

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Lions Rally Late to Tie UConn in Season Opener

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With just under a minute left in the third period of the season opener, the Nittany Lions found themselves trailing UConn, 2-1, in front of the 6,017 fans in attendance at Pegula Ice Arena.

Goalie Matthew Skoff quickly skated off the ice, an extra attacker taking his place, and Penn State made one final push to even the score. As the clock wound down to 48 seconds, the Lions accomplished their mission. David Goodwin found the back of the Huskies' net, forcing an overtime battle.

"I was just kind of there, just kind of whacking and grinding there in front," Goodwin explained. "Honestly, I saw the Roar Zone put their hands up before anything. I saw that and then I put my hands up, and I scored. It was a good sequence of events, but I think [Casey] Bailey shot it and hit [Dylan] Richard's chest. Then [Taylor] Holstrom took it to the net."

Although the game ultimately ended in a 2-2 tie following overtime and an exhibition shootout, head coach Guy Gadowsky had a number of positives to take away from the matchup.

Surprisingly, he also had another list of program "firsts" to add to the Penn State hockey history books.

"Positives would be we scored a shootout goal, which we hadn't in the past," said Gadowsky. "We scored a penalty shot goal, which we hadn't in the past. We came back and scored with 43 seconds, whatever it was, to come back and tie a game. Those are all positives."

The penalty shot, taken by Tommy Olczyk, and the shootout goal, scored by Bailey, both were defining moments for not only the game, but also for the program.

Last season, Penn State's lone penalty shot opportunity was also awarded to Olczyk in a game against Boston College. While he was unable to beat the goalie in that situation, he made his efforts count during the second period Friday night and tallied Penn State's first penalty shot goal.

"I'm definitely not known for my goal scoring, but it's nice to get one there in the way that it happened," said Olczyk. "I'd been in that situation before. The one against BC I was a lot more nervous, so this one I didn't really have any nerves. I just went for it."

Another first, Bailey's shootout goal, ended Penn State's 0-9 shootout attempt streak.

Gadowsky credits much of the team's late-game success to Penn State's student section, which remained lively and active throughout the game, making its presence known.

"You know what, boy the student body was awesome tonight," said Gadowsky following the game. "I actually think they had a lot to do with us tying it up late, which was nice to see. I thought we played really well in the first and didn't have the same jump in the second, but in the end, I mean came back in the third when we were down, pulled the goalie. I think, as I said, the student body deserves a lot of credit for that. They helped a ton."

The Nittany Lions and Huskies will conclude their two-game series Saturday at 3 p.m. at Pegula Ice Arena.

Men's Hockey Blog - PSU vs. UConn (10/10)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of Penn State men's hockey. Today, the Nittany Lions open their season at home against UConn.

Live Blog Penn State Men's Hockey Blog - vs. UConn (10/10/14)

By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Four coaches from four distinct parts of the world made their way to Happy Valley this week to work with the Penn State track and field coaching staff and student-athletes as part of the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP).

ICECP, which begins at the University of Delaware and works through the Unites States Olympic Committee, is a five-week intensive coaches' education program that gives candidates from around the world an opportunity to attend lectures and presentations in the United States for the benefit of their education and career.

Head coach John Gondak and company hosted Letitia Vriesde (Suriname), Andris Eikens (Latvia), Faris Abdulla (Maldives), and Nigatli Worku (Ethiopia) for the entire week sharing with them the track and field facilities, workout routines, coaching strategies, and introducing them to Penn State student-athletes.

Unlike any of their past trainings, the coaches were able to do hands-on work, which they eagerly described as their favorite experience thus far.

 "What I see at Penn State I don't think I will be able to see ever again," said Abdulla, a kids' coordinator for an athletics association. "It is so complex and everything I see here is so wonderful and I hope one day that we will get to this level. Our experience here is different because we finally got hands on experience. This is more practical and technical."

At their future stops, the coaches will be attending lectures and presentations so they were opportunistic in their time here.

"Here we have shared with coaches their practical knowledge and that's very different from attending lectures and doing projects," said Worku, a track and field coach at the national and junior levels. "I have attended a lot of training courses and this is by far the best one."

In their respective home countries, all of the coaches explained the lack of organization between academics and athletics commending the way Penn State intertwines the two. They explained that the structured system the University implements is by far the best method to success they have seen.

"The first thing I noticed at Penn State is that they have a very good system for athletes," said Abdulla.  Their scholarships and the coaching system...they have a systematic way of developing athletes. It is so hard to convince people and parents [back home] that sport is a way of life."

The coaches are pleased to see that Penn State develops athletes to represent themselves and also, their respective schools making athletics and academics a source of pride, which is very different from their normality.

"You are not competing for your university and it's not part of a system," said Vriesde, a coach at the Atlantic Club of the Future. "You go to school and, then, if you like to run, you go and join a club."

They were also blown away by the facilities available to the program. It became apparent to them why the student-athletes are so ambitious and motivated.

"The facilities available for the athletes make me think that there is no reason not to make it to the world class [level]. It's very impressive because back home we basically don't have any facilities, said Vriesde. "We run on grass. It's good to see everything that is done for sport achievement."

"I'm very pleased to see how highly motivated all the athletes are to compete here," said Eikens, a decathlon coach for his country's national team. "There are very, very good facilities and options."

The Nittany Lions impressed them and even though they say it will be decades before they see any change in their countries, they hope to one day work with athletes, parents, and schools as one to shed light on the importance of unity between academics and athletics.

The coaches have three more weeks left in the program and will travel to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado upon their departure from State College.


2014 Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Travel to Michigan

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GAME BLOG: Michigan

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

Press Conference Roundup | Coach Hand Q&A | Player Q&A Video

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following a bye week, Penn State (4-1, 1-1) returns to action under the lights against Michigan (2-4, 0-2) on Saturday. Kick is slated for 7 p.m. with television coverage on ESPN2.

10418083.jpegThe Lions have posted four-straight on-field victories against the Wolverines, including a thrilling 43-40 four overtime win last season in Happy Valley. Michigan holds a 10-7 edge in the all-time series between the two schools, which both rank in the top 12 of all-time winning percentage in NCAA history.

Through five games, the Penn State defense has been tremendous. The Nittany Lions rank among the top-25 nationally in six defensive categories, including the top 10 in rushing, scoring and total defense. Additionally, Penn State is leading the Big Ten in scoring defense at 14.6 points per game. The unit has allowed 300 yards of total offense in just one game this season.

Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is ranked second in the conference with 295.4 passing yards, 22.6 completions and 302.2 yards of total offense per game. The wide receiver duo of DaeSean Hamilton and Geno Lews is only the only set of teammates to rank among the top-25 nationally in receiving yards per game at 100.4 and 99.0, respectively.

Michigan enters Saturday's game looking to snap a three-game losing streak. The Wolverines suffered a narrow 26-24 setback to Rutgers last week. The Wolverines average 354.0 yards per game and remain the Big Ten's only offensive unit to convert all 15 of its red zone chances into points (12 TDs and 3 FGs). Michigan leads the Big Ten and is second nationally in fewest penalties per game at 3.33.

Saturday's game will feature two of the nation's premier college football programs. In addition to ranking among the top 12 in winning percentage, Penn State and Michigan are two of the winningest programs in NCAA history. The two teams are also among the most ranked programs in AP poll history, with the duo combining for 1,378 weeks in the national rankings.

Get primed for the 18th meeting between the Nittany Lions and Wolverines. Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week six matchup against Michigan.

Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
10418072.jpeg1. Since joining the Big Ten in 1993, the Nittany Lions are 15-11 in games contested after a bye week. The Lions took full advantage of maximizing last week's practice days. In addition resting the bodies of the primary contributors, head coach James Franklin and the coaching staff stressed film review and corrections as a mode of self-scouting the Nittany Lions as the season nears the mid-way point. Penn State lifted weights and practiced three times before taking a few days off at the latter stages of the week. The Lions returned to practice on Sunday refreshed and focused on the practice week at hand.

2. A big point of emphasis for the Nittany Lions leading up to the sixth game on the schedule is consistency. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg talked to the media earlier this week about the importance of each player on both sides of the ball doing his job on each play. From the pre-snap reads to the play itself, the Nittany Lions are seeking more consistency from each member of the depth chart. With consistency across the starting lineup comes a higher level of execution, which is what the Lions are focused on this week at Michigan.

3. Senior linebacker Mike Hull has been among the most productive defensive players in the Big Ten thus far in 2014. Leading the conference in tackling at 10.6 hits per game, Hull has been a disciplined and effective player throughout Penn State's first five games. The Pittsburgh native has a nose for the football and is a fundamentally sound player when it comes to tackling and putting himself in the proper position to make tackles. The quarterback of the defense, Hull has made 53 tackles in 2014, including 32 solo hits.

What to Watch For - Michigan
10418131.jpeg1. Without the services of starting running back Derrick Green (collarbone), quarterback Devin Gardner and sophomore running back De'Veon Smith become the focal points of the Michigan running game. Gardner is a dynamic player with good size (6-4, 216) and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands. Gardner has completed 63 percent of his passes in 2014, to go along with 131 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

2. The Michigan defense has been stout during the first six games of 2014. The Wolverines are ranked 19th in the nation in total defense, allowing 315.5 yards per game. That figure includes 100.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks 12th in the nation. Michigan has allowed just three rushing touchdowns this season and is holding its opponents to 2.93 yards per rush. Linebackers Joe Bolden and Jake Ryan lead the Wolverine defense with 48 and 46 tackles, respectively.

3. Junior Dennis Norfleet is ranked second in Michigan history in kickoff return yards at 1,977. He is one of just three players in Michigan history with more than 2,000 total return yards. Norfleet is averaging 23.6 yards per return on kickoffs this season. Norfleet also handles the punt return duties for Michigan.

The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions will play their second of three primetime games on Saturday in Michigan. Following the game, Penn State will have played in two road night games for the first time since 2008 (Wisconsin and Ohio State). The 2014 season marks the seventh time since 2000 that the Lions will play multiple night games in the season. It is the 15th-straight season that Penn State has played in at least one night game. Penn State owns a 40-26 on-field record in night games. That includes a 20-10 mark in road games under the lights. This week is just the third night game in Michigan Stadium history, but the first Big Ten night game. This game marks the fourth night game between Penn State and Michigan since 2000. Kick is slated for 7:02 p.m. on ESPN2.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Practice Update with Coach Brandwene

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "I think I strapped my skates on when I was three," said freshman defenseman Bella Sutton.

The versatile Nittany Lion newcomer who hails from Shoreview, Minn., was introduced to hockey at an extremely young age. However, in Minnesota terms, three years old is ordinary. In that state, hockey is not just a game. It's a lifestyle.

"Coming from Minnesota, it's not that you're expected to play hockey, but it's definitely a huge part," said Sutton. "There is a lot of pride that goes into hockey from Minnesota. So growing up in that area definitely translated to my love of the game."

Sutton arrives at Penn State as one of eight freshmen to join the progressive women's hockey program. Including herself into the mix, half of the newcomers are from Minnesota. To make Happy Valley even more welcoming for Sutton, five other teammates are native of the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

"We definitely take a lot of flack being the Minnesota clan on the team," said Sutton. "But, it's nice to have those girls here just because they know home. It makes being here a lot easier." 

The five-foot-six defenseman, who previously played varsity hockey at Mounds View High School, chose the Blue and White for the same reasons many other student-athletes do. Sutton was attracted to the unique balance placed on academics and athletics. 

Sutton is studying biology with the hope of attending medical school after graduation. 

Medicine is something that has always interested me," said Sutton. "I always say I don't want to end up in a cubicle. I want to be doing something and learning something all the time in different situations; learning about myself and other people. I'm not sure what exactly I want to do with medicine, but I know I want to help people."

So far classes have gone well for Sutton, but she says that her Minnesota accent has provided a form of entertainment for her classmates. 

"Usually, the unique thing I say in class is that I am from Minnesota," said Sutton. "So, they know right off the bat that is where my accent is coming from. I definitely get made fun of for saying bag and bagel and what not."

Although a defenseman, Sutton has no problem joining the offensive rush. In her first game as a Nittany Lion, Sutton netted two unassisted goals and an assist the 5-2 win over Western in an exhibition contest two weeks ago. 

From a young age, I always wanted to be a part of offense," said Sutton. "They tried me at forward a couple times. I like defense way better, but I definitely like the scoring aspect of hockey. I love joining the rush."

Offensive defensemen are a rare breed, but when asked if she likes to compare her game to Pittsburgh Penguin defenseman, Kris Letang, she agreed. However, she feels her game mirrors other NHL players, too.

"Brent Burns who played on the Wild for a little bit," said Sutton. "He's playing [for the San Jose Sharks], but he's definitely a hometown guy that I look up to, and [Ryan] Suter as well now that he's come to Minnesota. I'm a hometown girl, so I love watching the Wild while focusing on my play and idolizing them."

The offensive-minded defenseman comes to Penn State with quite a resume. She participated in the USA Hockey U16 and U18 National Developmental Camps, earning spots on the All-Star team. Such experiences have helped ease the transition from high school to collegiate play.

"Definitely going to the camps widened my experiences by seeing other girls from all over, and not just playing with the Minnesota girls definitely helped my transition," said Sutton. "You learn about different teams out there and how they play. It made me appreciate Minnesota that much more for having the opportunity to play for my high school. But, playing with great athletes in the summer really helped me."

Minus a couple of food cravings that she cannot get at Penn State, the move from Shoreview to University Park as been smooth sailing thus far. 

"I really miss my mom's cooking," said Sutton.

Food cravings aside, expect to hear the name Bella Sutton in the next four years.

By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- From the Pac 12 and the ACC to the American League and the Big Ten, the Buttinger family has made the roster on 4 District I teams. Natalie Buttinger, one of seven siblings, is heading into her final stretch in her senior season with the Penn State field hockey team.

"We are all over, doing what we love," Buttinger said. "It's always great to call my sister at Duke and ask her how her field hockey team is. We talk game strategy all the time."

Buttinger, a native of Ontario, Canada, didn't pick up a field hockey stick until her freshman year of high school. An avid runner and ice hockey player, Buttinger never thought she could use her speed to her advantage in another sport. However, her older sister, who plays for the Candian National Women's Indoor Field Hockey Team, told her to try-out for the field hockey team.

After securing a spot on the varsity team, Buttinger's speed set her apart from others. Her varsity coach convinced her to try out for Team Ontario, a club team based out of Canada.

"I made Team Ontario simply out of luck," Buttinger said. "I had no skill, but I had my speed. I worked really hard with my coaches to built a skill set that matched my speed."

Hard Work Pays Off

Buttinger was a member of multiple championship field hockey programs including her four-time district championship high school team. She was named to the All-Star team all four years.

In her senior year alone, the captain netted 53 points (includes assists/goals). Buttinger's senior team was the first in school history to take home the Central Western Ontario Secondary School Association Championship, after posting a 17-2 record including 16 shutouts.

"We are a big ice hockey and running family so getting into field hockey was all luck," Buttinger said.

Coming to the States...and the Big Ten

"In Ontario, we don't play on astro turf," Buttinger said. "We play on more of a grass surface. "The hardest transition for me from playing in Canada to playing in America was how fast the game is."

Buttinger started her Penn State career in 2010, but due to a knee injury, she was forced to redshirt the following season.

"It was hard from playing non stop to not being able to pick up a stick," Buttinger said. "One of my proudest was coming back from that injury."

Since returning, Buttinger's play has only gotten better. After appearing in a combined 20 games in her sophomore and junior seasons, she has solidified her spot on the Nittany Lion roster. While her name is often attached to assists or goals, Buttinger is a huge contributor on both offense and defense. She is always around the ball, setting up scoring drives and serving as an option for the defensive pass.

"I think my biggest contribution or my purpose on the team is passing," Buttinger said. "I never measure a game based off my goals or assists, its all about the wins and losses for me."

Looking ahead...

The Nittany Lions head to College Park, Md. Friday to take on Big Ten newcomer Maryland.

"It's going to be a great game," Buttinger said. "We are ready to welcome Maryland to the Big Ten."

Fans can watch Buttinger and her fellow Nittany Lions on the Big Ten Network at 3:30 p.m. this Friday. 

By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Owen Griffith can't recall the first time he attended a Penn State sporting event.

It's not because he has a bad memory. He was just a little too young to remember.

"Oh gosh, probably before I was a year old I was up at something," Griffith said. "My mom and dad were always bringing me up to football games, soccer games, women's basketball, you name it."

Griffith, a senior midfielder on the Penn State men's soccer team, has been a Nittany Lions fan since birth. His parents, Sam and Amy, are both graduates and raised their son to bleed blue and white.

Today, Griffith is the captain of the No. 3 ranked team in the nation. While that may sound like a pretty sweet situation for any college soccer player, it means a bit more to him.

Growing up 45 minutes outside of State College in Lewisburg, Pa., Griffith only had one major aspiration growing up and only one school where he wanted to pursue it.

"My teachers would laugh when I was little because I would say I wanted to be a pro soccer player, and they would laugh and say, 'that's way out of reach,'" Griffith said. "But I've playing since I was little and I'm just following my dream.

"Playing at Penn State is an absolute honor and I'm thankful everyday to realize my dream. When I finally committed here, my mom was so happy because it's just a tradition for my family."

As a junior at Lewisburg Area High School, Griffith knew he wanted to play for Penn State but didn't feel like the interest would ever be mutual. That all changed the next year when Bob Warming was hired as head coach of the Nittany Lions.

During a senior season in which he was named first team All-State, Griffith began to be recruited by Warming. Although he was also drawing interest from a number of Big Ten schools, the lifelong Nittany Lions fan made his intentions clear to the coach.

"As soon as I started talking to him, I told him, 'coach, if you'll have me there's not another choice in my mind,'" Griffith said. "Sometimes that's a risky thing to tell college coaches in the recruiting process because it could maybe give them the upper hand. With coach Warming, he's such a trustworthy guy that he just had my best interest in mind."

Even if Warming didn't have a spot on the roster for him, Griffith says he still might have picked Penn State anyway.

"I was definitely thinking about [coming to Penn State just as a student]," Griffith said. "When I was in the recruiting process I had a couple of other schools in mind. But Penn State was always in the back of my head like, 'even if I don't play soccer in college...there's still Penn State and I would love to go there.'"

Luckily for both parties, things worked out and Griffith has been a mainstay for the Nittany Lions ever since.

Although he entered 2014 with two All-Big Ten second team appearances already on his resume, the senior has in many ways saved his best performance for his last season.

As the team's defensive center midfielder, Griffith doesn't get on the stat sheet much with just one goal and one assist in Penn State's first 11 games. He has however, been the leader of a defense that posted nine shutouts and allowed just three goals in that same time frame.

While Griffith has been invaluable to a Penn State squad that is 10-0-1 a year after reaching the Sweet 16, he rarely talks about himself. Instead, he credits his development as a player to his coach.

"[Coach Warming] is the most knowledgeable soccer coach and he's taught me so many things," Griffith said. "I've always been an athletic and fit guy but there were a lot of aspects of my game I could improve and he's just made me a better soccer player."

Despite the midfielder's talent on the field, the first that comes to mind when you ask his coaches about him is his leadership. And for good reason.

Two years ago, Warming approached Griffith with a proposition. He wanted the 19-year old sophomore to be one of the team's captains, a role he has held ever since.

"He's a culture changer," Warming says. "He is one of those guys that has improved every aspect of his game. He's been a great citizen off the field, he's been great in the classroom, he's been a real teammate. For me, if there's a reason why were doing so well it's because of him and the seniors."

What exactly makes Griffith such a terrific leader? According to his teammates, it's the way he leads by example.

This Wednesday, Griffith and a number of other seniors were given the day off. Instead of relaxing, the third-year captain had a better idea.

"We went for a 10-mile hike yesterday, just on a whim," senior defender Eli Dennis said. "He's really active and always go-go-go. He's game to do whatever you want to do."

Though his time as a Nittany Lion will soon be coming to an end, Griffith has no plans to walk away from soccer entirely.

A kinesiology major, Griffith hopes to join the coaching ranks after he decides to hang up his cleats, though he doesn't know when that will be.

"I'd like to play after school, and depending on how long that lasts I'd like to go to grad school for exercise science," Griffith said. "I think that would make me a marketable soccer coach. A former soccer player with a masters level knowledge of how the body works in terms of the game I think would make me a very marketable coach."

Until that day, Griffith will keep living out the dream of a kid who went from sitting in the Jeffrey Field bleachers to starring on the field.

"To be part of the sports community at Penn State that people are so fired up about," Griffith said. "It's amazing." 

Nittany Lions Set to Open 2014-'15 Season

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By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team is set to open its season at 7 p.m. Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena against the University of Connecticut. The Huskies currently hold a 2-0 series advantage over the Lions, which is a statistic Penn State hopes to even up with this weekend's home series.

Limited Practice Time

The Lions had their first official practice of the season Saturday morning, allowing very little time to prepare for the Oct. 10 season opener. Regardless, the team worked hard during both this first week with the coaches, as well as during captain's practices over the course of the past month.

Prior to the start of official practice, the Penn State coaching staff was limited to just eight hours a week on the ice with the team, meaning much of the practice planning landed on the shoulders of captains Patrick Koudys, Nate Jensen and David Glen.

"We had 30 minutes four times a week, so the captains were responsible," explained head coach Guy Gadowsky. "They'd warm up the team, and I don't know what they did. That was up to them. We'd come on and run what we went over the meeting before. Then we'd get off the ice, and it was up to them again."

Despite the time restraints, Gadowsky made the most of the time he had with his team, touching on all aspects of the game as quickly as possible. This approach has changed now that timing is no longer an issue.

This week, Gadowsky chose to focus on parts of the game the team has struggled with in the past. Addressing those specific issues will help the Lions become a better, harder team to play against.

While the team may not feel as prepared as they would like for this opening series, one thing is certain. Penn State is much further ahead than they were October of last year.

"I think part of that is just that there's a lot less newness to what we're doing," Gadowsky said. "We've been in the building. We didn't have to move in the building. There's not a lot of fanfare in terms of this is the first ever game in Pegula, so I think our focus is a lot more in the present, which is a good thing.

"Last year, was tremendously fun. We're very grateful to go through that experience, but I think it's probably easier to stay in the present this year. That's one factor. The other factor is we have a lot of returning players that are already familiar with what we do, so we're trying to get the three new guys acclimated, but as a whole, we're in a much better place."

The number of returning student-athletes is something Jensen also believes will greatly benefit the Lions. The team chemistry is already present, and everyone is ready to pick up where they left off.

"It feels like the end of last year," the defenseman said. "We have pretty much the whole team back. We have a couple new guys that are just getting used to the system. They're stepping in right away, but it pretty much feels like we're coming in from last year."

Taking on UConn

The Lions and the Huskies met for the first time during the 2012-'13 season, Penn State's first as a Division I hockey program. Although the Lions were swept during the series, it is clear that they are now a much more mature, experienced team.

Nevertheless, Gadowsky still believes the major focus needs to be on his team, as opposed to scouting the Huskies, in order to properly prepare.

"We still have so much of us that we're not going to waste any time," explained the head coach. "We were even asked if we want tape. We do not. We are focusing on us solely."

Even with the main focus on Penn State, Gadowsky knows this UConn team will be much different than the one he and the Lions faced merely two years ago.

The Huskies are set to begin their second season under head coach Mike Cavanaugh and their first season in Hockey East.

"I think he'll do a tremendous job there in his second year," Gadowsky said of Cavanaugh. "You're going to start to maybe see a little more of his personal identity. By only graduating four and bringing in nine, it sort of looks like to me that they're probably moving in a new direction."

Loik, Glen, Brooks

Preparing for Friday, the Penn State coaching staff has decided lines for the 7 p.m. puck drop; however, only one of these lines is completely set in stone.

Forwards Curtis Loik, Glen and Kenny Brooks have played on a line many times before, and Gadowsky is confident they will be successful again this season.

"That line sort of automatically seemed to have synergy from day one," explained Gadowsky. "We always toy with moving them apart and getting other things going, but they somehow seem to gravitate together."

Gadowsky expects this line in particular to be "incredibly difficult to play against" and is ready to see what they can do against the Huskies this weekend.

Return to Pegula

With the season's start comes taking the ice at Pegula Ice Arena once again and competing in front of the student section, which the team and coaches cannot wait to do again.

"This is the best rink in college hockey," said Jensen. "These guys are just awesome and so loud and just so energetic. I can't wait to step on the ice."

Student season tickets sold out within just minutes this year, meaning the students are ready to pack into the Roar Zone, to cheer loudly for their team, but most importantly, to watch Penn State hockey again.

"Every time the game ends, it's so much fun with the student section that we just can't wait to play again," said Gadowsky. "It's finally here."

Whitney Fuels Lions to Sweep Past No. 24 Northwestern

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10417629.jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Redshirt junior Aiyana Whitney went into this week's practice knowing that she needed to improve on blocking and transition balls. Whitney displayed that she achieved what she had strived for by leading Penn State's offense with 12 kills on .500 hitting as well as a match-high of seven blocks in Wednesday's sweep (25-20, 25-17, 25-17) against No. 24 Northwestern.

The Nittany Lions have now won their last 23 consecutive matchups against the Wildcats, which gives Penn State a 47-8 lead in the series.

"She was the leading scorer in the match and I appreciate her effort tonight," said head coach Russ Rose. "I thought she played well and it's nice when somebody gets a chance to get recognized."

Aiyana was particularly dominant in the third set, which provided Penn State with the momentum that it needed to finish off the match. She recorded three points for the Nittany Lions by making three kills in a row after the Wildcats received senior Micha Hancock's serves. Hancock tallied 30 assists, seven digs, three blocks, and a match-high of four aces.

Junior Megan Courtney also logged double-digit kills with 10 kills on .400 hitting. She also had eight digs and two blocks. Senior Nia Grant followed close behind with seven kills and senior Dominique Gonzalez held the team together with 10 digs.

Though Penn State came out with a win, Whitney believes that there is still much more to improve on.

"[Our energy coming out of the gate] wasn't our best, that's for sure. I think all-around it kind of lacked emotion and that's a huge part of the game," said Whitney. "I mean, energy-wise, if we don't pick that up, then the game could easily go the other way. Personally, my blocking was what I really wanted to focus on and I think it's something that I've been struggling with in the middle position. It's new to me and it's something I've been trying to work on."

Coach Rose also recognized that the team has a lot to work on before Saturday's match against No. 15 Illinois.

"I think our blocking is an area that needs to be better and just court awareness. There were some plays out there that players had no idea what was going on. Just because you win, doesn't mean you know what's going on," said Rose. "I didn't think anybody came ready to play. Practice has been like that for a few days. You watched our match last week on TV, that's what it looked like, so just no emotion, no real leadership out there - it was pretty disappointing. It would be fine if it was a recreational team and we were deciding where we were going to go afterwards for a snack, but that's not how I look at the last five decades that I've been coaching at Penn State."

Penn State will be welcoming No. 15 Illinois to Rec Hall at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Fighting Illini forced a fifth set at Ohio State Wednesday evening after falling into a 2-1 deficit, but fell short to the Buckeyes to drop to 11-5 in the season and 3-2 in the Big Ten.

"We saw Illinois at the beginning of the year and since then, they've played much better, so I mean, Illinois is strong in all positions," said coach Rose. "They've got veteran players at the pins and they're going to be pretty fired up after losing a five-game match [last] night at Ohio State. You know, life on the road in the Big Ten is very, very tough and we need to make it tougher than it was today. The girls need to work a lot harder. We'll go hard [today] at practice. I want to find out who wants to play."

Coach Rose wants to see the team continue to grow.

"The expectations are high here. The players who are recruited, the expectations are high and that's the way it should be," said Rose. "So if you look at results, I don't think that's the best way to look at things. I think performance makes the difference."

Whitney hopes to build on the success for this weekend's match.

"We got to be ready to play," said Whitney.

Michigan Week Q&A - Assistant Coach Herb Hand

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10417665.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State running game coordinator and offensive line coach Herb Hand spoke with the media on Thursday.  The Nittany Lions travel to Michigan on Saturday Take a look at a Q&A with Hand during the bye week.

Q: What do you think the bye week did for the offensive line and how much progress have you seen from the group since the start of camp?
"When you watch guys on a daily basis, sometimes it is good to go back and turn on the film from the first day of practice and see the progress the guys have made, not only individually, but collectively. Even going back to the beginning of the season. What we were able to do during the bye week as coaches was a lot of self-scout. We took time to get into what we were able to accomplish during the first five games. And then look at what we needed to get better at...We were able to do that during the bye week. And then go back in from a practice standpoint and really hone in on, again, those fundamentals and techniques that each guy has to execute for us to be successful collectively as a unit, which is obviously going to help us an offense and help us be the best team we can. During that open, those opportunities for self scout were very valuable for us."

Q: How would you assess the play and development of the offensive line?
"We're not there yet, obviously. We've gotten a lot better. Sometimes it's hard to see, but we have gotten better. We don't temper our expectations and our standards. We have a standard that we want to play at as a unit because we know the standards that are here at Penn State. We are working hard to achieve those. We are being very demanding to the guys to be attention to detail players. Is there a process that goes along with it? Yes. At this point in the season, there are no more rookies. Guys have played in games. There are no more rookies. No one cares about that stuff, to be honest with you. I've told the guys from the get go that nobody cares we had to replace four guys. Nobody cares that we have inexperience or some of the guys were playing defense (last year). No one cares if you are banged up or bruised up. What they want to see is results. That's what we are striving for and that's what we are working hard for. I can tell you this that the work ethic of this group is tremendous. But hard work doesn't guarantee you success. There are a lot of other factors that go into it. But without hard work, you have no shot. These guys work. When is that going to come to fruition for us? Hopefully sooner rather than later, but it is a process and the guys are working extremely hard to paly up to standards they have set for themselves."

Q: What have you seen from the communication across the group?
"We always talk in terms of wanting our guys to play with one set of eyes. When you think about it, from tackle to tackle, you have five guys in there. Statistically, that is almost half of the offense from a numbers standpoint. We want all five of those guys to play with one set of eyes and what we call one heartbeat, as well, so that we are all on the same page. We have got to be able to talk across the board, echo calls, make sure everybody is on the same page. Even if we are wrong, if we are all wrong together, we have a chance to be right. But if the right side and the left side are not working in coordination together, we have no shot. It starts with our center. Angelo (Mangiro) has done a great job with identifying fronts and the communication progression on every single play...There is a process that goes along with communication (across the line). And each week that has improved. We hope that we will continue to improve that as we go through the season. And we hope that it will be a big part of the improvement that people see on Saturday."

Q: How have some of the younger guys behind your starters progressed as the season has gone on?
"Those guys are doing good. We have several freshmen who are in our two deep and travel squad. James (Franklin) has kind of talked to you guys about green lighting, yellow lighting and red lighting younger guys. We have a few freshmen who are yellow lighted guys right now that are taking reps in practice and developing. They are getting closer to being guys that we could use if we needed to. We don't necessarily want to use those guys unless we have to. The other guys,