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October 2016 Archives

Men's Ice Hockey Weekly Check-In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey is set to continue its 10-game homestand after completing the opening weekend of the stretch with a series sweep against Canisius. Nittany Lion head coach Guy Gadowsky and James Robinson and Denis Smirnov all joined GoPSUSports.com for a weekly check in to recap the weekend and look ahead to the upcoming Niagara series. 

Check out updates from the video sessions below. 
Guy Gadowsky Robinson and Smirnov

Monday Notebook: Chunk Plays Set Lions Up For Success

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DSC_9295.JPGBy Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week nine has arrived and the Nittany Lions are set to return to Beaver Stadium for another primetime outing under the lights.

Having won each of the last four games, Penn State also enters the week with the second-longest winning streak in the Big Ten Conference.

"We keep growing and and maturing, finding ways to win," Franklin said Saturday following the 62-24 win on the road at Purdue.  

Franklin also noted postgame the growth and maturity among the streaking Nittany Lions has been particularly present within the recent string of four consecutive victories. Beginning with a 29-26 overtime win against Minnesota, the Nittany Lions rolled past Maryland, 38-14, and upset the then-No. 2 team in the country Ohio State, 24-21, before earning the 62-24 win on the road against the Boilermakers.

"These are all different types of wins and I think that's what you have to do to develop into a good football team and a good football program," Franklin said. "You have to learn how to win all different ways."

Up to No. 20 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, Penn State also enters Saturday's matchup looking to defend its unblemished 5-0 record at home in Beaver Stadium this season. The Hawkeyes head to Happy Valley with wins in each of their last nine consecutive road games, including three in 2016.

Chunk Plays Paying Off
Key chunk plays have been a high point for the Nittany Lions all season long, as Penn State has logged at least 10 plays of 20 yard or more in four games this year, including three of its last four games. The Nittany Lions registered a season-high 12 long yardage plays against Purdue, highlighted by the 81-yard Barkley rushing touchdown. 

Barkley has run for at least 20 yards on 14 occasions this season, which ranks second nationally, according to cfbstats.com. He posted five of his 14 long yardage plays against Purdue, grabbing a pair of passes for 21-plus yards and running for at least 20 yards three more times.  

Quarterback Trace McSorley has tossed a total of 34 long yardage plays on the year, entering the week ranked second in the conference and sixth nationally, averaging 14.78 passing yards per completion.

Penn State saw six different players catch at least one long yardage play in the win against Purdue, with McSorley accounting for five of the six and back up quarterback Tommy Stevens recording his first with a 26-yard pass to Irvin Charles.

Cfbstats.com has Penn State's 51 combined long yardage plays (passing, rushing) as 11th nationally and second among Big Ten teams. 

All Kinds of Awards for Barkley
After totaling 277 all-purpose yards, including a career-high 207 yards on the ground, the awards have started piling up for Saquon Barkley this week.

Setting a sophomore single game record with 277 all-purpose yards, Barkley logged his second 200-yard rushing performance to become the first Nittany Lion to rush for 200 yards in a game twice in a season since Larry Johnson in 2002. 

In addition to collecting his second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award of the season, he was also selected as one of 18 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award, presented by the Maxwell Football Club to the National Player of the Year. He is one of five underclassmen (4 sophomores, 1 freshman) to be selected as semifinalists.

Barkley enters the week ranked first in the Big Ten and 16th nationally with 10 rushing touchdowns on the year, while his 11 total touchdowns on the year is atop the conference standings and 16th nationally. 

Quick Look at Iowa
Penn State and Iowa are set to meet for the first time since 2012 and the first time in Beaver Stadium since the Hawkeyes visited in 2011. 

Fresh off of a bye week, Iowa is led by head coach Kirk Ferentz, who has guided the Hawkeyes to a 5-3 record in 2016 including a 3-2 mark in Big Ten play.

On the defensive side of things, cornerback Desmond King was recently named a semifinalist for the 2016 Bednarik Award, in addition to finalist selections for the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award. The 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner has logged 41 tackles on the year and leads the team with six pass break-ups, having highlighted the year with a 41-yard interception at Purdue. The Hawkeyes are also led by 2016 Butkus Award semifinalist Josey Jewell, leading team and ranked second in the Big Ten with 77 tackles to date.

Penn State owns a slim advantage in the all-time series against the Hawkeyes, leading 13-12 all-time with wins in each of the last two meetings.

Seats for Servicemembers
Penn State will host its fifth annual "Seats for Servicemembers" game against the Hawkeyes. The yearly program honors all active and retired service members for their sacrifice and dedication with a ticket free of charge and a complementary pregame tailgate. A total of 7,500 tickets were available for service members and their families due to generous Penn State supporters.

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By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After seven months of hard-work in the weight room and scores of hours of practice against each other, the Lady Lions finally had a chance to once again step out onto the hardwood and test their skills against another team, while also giving fans a taste of what's to come.

 

Penn State took down the Bloomsburg Huskies 85-41 Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center in the one-and-only exhibition for the Lions before the start of the regular season. In the victory, they were able to get valuable playing time against opposing players and showcase what they have been working on since last year.

 

Throughout the offseason, the Lady Lions have spoken about the team's newfound speed and preached its importance moving forward. The up-tempo style was executed often and early on in contest as Penn State started off the game going full-throttle.

 

The first five baskets of the game from the field by the Lions all came off of quick transitions from the team turning hard-pressing defense into an aggressive offensive attack. Those five scores were tallied in just 27 combined seconds, going from one end of the floor to the other, averaging just 5.4 seconds per possession.

 

The team's speed was shown in flashes throughout the game, ultimately fueling the Penn State offense to 22 fast break points, but coach Coquese Washington said after the game that the team has some work to do to get up to the optimal speed.

 

"I didn't think we played as fast as I'd like," Washington said. "I think we played faster than we have in the past, but I think in terms of looking at our ability to push the basketball, I think we can [play faster]."

 

During the game's early stages, the Penn State defense had their way with the Huskies. In the first four minutes of play, Penn State forced four steals and held Bloomsburg scoreless. A Ciara Forde layup with 5:58 remaining in the first gave the visitors their first points on the board, but Bloomsburg struggled to find much rhythm on the offensive end, ending the game shooting just 30 percent. 

One of the newest members of the Lady Lions, Jaida Travascio-Green, got to make her first appearance in the Blue and White, and she could not have gotten off to a better start. A few minutes into the second quarter, the freshman took her first shot as a Penn Stater and drilled a three-pointer. Then at the quarter's halfway mark, she hit another from behind the arc, this time stepping back and shooting it with a defender right in her face. Immediately after on the ensuing Bloomsburg possession, Travascio-Green added a steal to her stat sheet as she snatched an off-target inside pass and helped lead the offense the other way.

 

She finished the day with nine points after going 3-5 from deep while also contributing on the defensive end with a block and two steals.


"I'm excited by the way all of our underclassmen have been playing," Peyton Whitted said on the play of the squad's younger players. "If you saw Jaida playing, you didn't see that she's a freshman, she's not playing like one. They're doing a great job"

While the guard had herself a solid first time playing against college competition, the stars of the day came from the veterans in sophomore guard Teniya Page and senior forward Peyton Whitted.

The former put up a superb team-high 19 points on 57 percent shooting along with nine assists to fill up the box score, meanwhile the latter scored one point less but at an efficient 75 percent clip while also garnering eight total rebounds.

 

Whitted had an especially strong start to the second half by registering the first four baskets for the Lions in the first three minutes of the third quarter. She was a menace inside the paint and was the catalyst that allowed Penn State to outscore Bloomsburg in the paint 50-16.

 

Many positives came from the victory, but coach Washington knows there is no glory in being complacent and also saw many areas of the game; like pace, communication and offensive execution; that can be improved on in the coming weeks before the regular season's inception.

 

"There were a lot of positives and a lot of things that the kids can take away from [this game]," Washington said. "As coaches we often say you learn a lot from a loss, but I think there are a lot of things that we can learn positively in terms of areas of growth out of a win. We'll watch the film and point out some areas we can continue to get better at and we'll go from there."

 

The season sits now 12 days away for the Lady Lions as they open the year on the road at Drexel. That game takes place Friday, November 11 at 7 p.m.

 

Purdue: Moments and Takeaways From the Win

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a tale of two halves for Penn State football, as the Nittany Lions lit up the scoreboard in the second half to rebound from a closely contested opening frame at Ross-Ade Stadium.

With a BYOJ (bring your own juice) mentality, the Nittany Lions flipped a 17-17 halftime tally into its highest scoring outing in a Big Ten game since 2005 with a 45-point second half to secure the win.

Sparked by linebacker Brandon Smith's third quarter interception on third-and-3 for the Boilermakers that led to Chris Godwin's second touchdown catch of the day, Penn State took down Purdue, 62-24, for its fourth consecutive win. 

Take a look at a few key takeaways from the Purdue victory. 

Winning the Turnover Battle
Along with an advantage in explosive plays, Penn State head coach James Franklin has noted week after week, that eliminating turnovers would put the Nittany Lions in position for long term success.

DSC_9739.JPGPrior to the Purdue win, Penn State had played just one turnover-free game, which resulted in a 29-26 win against Minnesota in overtime.


Penn State also entered Saturday's matchup having converted 20 points off of just nine opponent turnovers on the year. The Nittany Lions scored 28 points off of four Purdue turnovers, all in the second half.
 

"When they were doing such a good job controlling the ball, the turnovers were huge," Franklin said.

The Nittany Lions converted with touchdowns on all four Boilermaker turnovers as Godwin and running backs Saquon Barkley, Mark Allen and Andre Robinson all scored on the ensuing drives.

Running Back U?
For the first time since 2007, four different Nittany Lion running backs scored a touchdown with Barkley, Allen, Robinson and true freshman Miles Sanders logging touchdowns in the win over Purdue. They are the first four to do so since Rodney Kinlaw (1 rushing), Evan Royster (1 rushing), Austin Scott (2 rushing), Dan Lawlor (1 rushing) and Matt Hahn (1 receiving) all scored in a 59-0 win against Florida International, Sept. 1, 2007.

Barkley led the group with a career outing, combining for 277 all purpose yards, including personal-best 207 rushing yards. Registering the most rushing yards since Larry Johnson had 289 against Michigan State in 2002, Barkley dazzled through the Boilermaker defense for a career-long 81-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Check out Barkley's 81-yard rushing touchdown that sent Penn State surging ahead 48-24 early in the fourth quarter.

Six Scoring Drives in Less Than Two Minutes

Penn State put together six scoring drives all spanning less than two minutes in the win against the Boilermakers for the first time since doing so in a 61-7 win against Michigan State in 2002.

Penn State moved the ball 82 yards in just five plays in 1:59 in the second quarter to tie the score 14 in the first of the Nittany Lions' six scoring drives taking fewer than two minutes. Quarterback Trace McSorley found Barkley for a 21-yard completion before targeting the ever-consistent Godwin, crossing for the 38-yard touchdown pass.

The remaining five scoring drives in less than two minutes all came in the second half, with Godwin's 1-yard touchdown catch helped out by Smith's interception and Robinson's 4-yard touchdown run helped out by Jordan Smith's fumble recovery on Purdue's muffed punt midway through the third quarter.

Penn State's shortest scoring drive of the day, came by way of Barkley's fourth-quarter 81-yard touchdown run, which took just 13 seconds. Among the Nittany Lions' scoring drives executed in less than two minutes, Barkley made one play for at least 17 yards in five of the six.

Franklin also noted postgame that offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead fully anticipated that Barkley would go the distance for the 81-yard score.

"Before that drive started, Joe goes, 'coach after this 81-yard touchdown do you want to go for two or kick the extra point' and everyone kind of looked at him like he was crazy and then there goes Saquon jump over three people and score a touchdown," Franklin said.

True story.

Bowl Eligibility
With the sixth win of the season, the Nittany Lions are now bowl eligible. Penn State has appeared in 46 bowl games in program history, which is tied for the ninth-highest total among FBS program at the start of the season. 

Penn State head coach James Franklin has guided his teams to a bowl appearance in each of his six seasons as a head coach, including three at Vanderbilt and three at Penn State. Franklin is one of 12 active FBS coaches to accomplish the feat and one of eight coaches to do so while at an FBS program. 

Listen in as Franklin addresses the team after the win, sharing the news.

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State suffered an early exit from the Big Ten tournament at the hands of Rutgers on Sunday afternoon on a soggy Jeffrey Field.

 

The Nittany Lions are the defending tournament champions and won a share of the Big Ten regular season title in 2016.  Despite the successful regular season, the No. 2 seed fell 2-0 to the No. 7 seed Scarlet Knights Sunday afternoon.

 

"Credit to Rutgers today," head coach Erica Dambach said. "Obviously, that's a team we're familiar with. They came out with more fire than we did, and I think they set the tone early in the game. They imposed themselves on us and we were never really able to find a foothold in this game today."

 

Penn State outshot Rutgers 13-7 and 7-4 in shots on goal. The Lions only managed two shots in a rainy first half, which is tied for their lowest number of shots in any half this year.

 

Both Nickolette Driesse and Megan Schafer hit the crossbar in the game. Another promising chance occurred in the 58th minute when a string of clever passes ended with a Marissa Sheva one-on-one with Rutgers goalkeeper Alana Jimenez, but Jimenez was able to save Sheva's close-range effort.

 

"I think certainly we created enough opportunities to put one in the back of the net, but overall I just think that we were too reactive to what was going on on the field today," said Dambach.

 

Defensively, goalie Amanda Dennis had two saves in the match for the Nittany Lions.  

 

Although it wasn't the planned result, this isn't a time to sulk for Penn State. It's imperative that Dambach and her troops stay focused on the upcoming NCAA tournament commencing on Friday November 11, which they plan to do.

 

Penn State ran the table to win its first NCAA championship in team history last season after winning the Big Ten tournament. This year will be a little different coming off a loss in the quarterfinals, but the goal remains the same.

 

The Lions will rely heavily on Driesse going forward as the only senior in the starting lineup. In her first three collegiate seasons Driesse reached the national championship each year, twice with Florida State and once with Penn State.

 

Driesse has two national championships to her name, but she isn't satisfied. She will be the leader on and off the field when Penn State begins tournament play in less than two weeks.

 

"I think that [the team] believes in Nikki Driesse," Dambach said. "They believe in her leadership, and obviously she's gonna want to go as far as she can with it being her senior year. I think it's important to jump on the ship with her right now."

Special Teams, Veteran Leadership Essential to Success

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - During No. 19 Penn State's (5-1-1) dominating weekend sweep of Canisius (2-5-1), the Nittany Lions had plenty of opportunities to give their special teams units practice. 

Head coach Guy Gadowsky has said that he wants to curb his team's tendency to take penalties and focus on power play opportunities. During Friday and Saturday's contests, the Nittany Lions had those chances.

In the first game of the weekend, the Nittany Lions had numerous power play opportunities in the first period alone. Canisius racked up five penalties in the first stanza, which resulted in several chances for Penn State. The Lions' three different power play units took care of business, with two Nittany Lion goals scored on the man-advantage during the first period.  

Freshman forward Brandon Biro and sophomore defenseman Vince Pedrie found the back of the net for the Nittany Lions on the power play. Biro's first period power-play goal was his first goal and third point of his collegiate career. Penn State defeated Canisius, 4-1 Friday.

"Vince Pedrie's power-play goal at the end of the period was huge," Gadowsky said. "We were getting a lot of shots but we didn't get a lot for it. I thought that was a really good goal." 

Gadowsky also credited his team's ability to kill a five-minute major penalty in the third period as a strong point for his team.  

On Saturday night, the story of the power play was a little different. While Penn State had nine power play opportunities, they only converted on one, which came in the third period.

Gadowsky pointed out that the strong performances of the night came from two veterans, senior forward and captain David Goodwin, along with sophomore defenseman Kevin Kerr.

Goodwin contributed two assists Saturday night on goals scored by freshman forward Denis Smirnov and sophomore forward Chase Berger. Astute observers will also note that Goodwin initiated a coach's challenge on a potential game-tying goal by Canisius in the third period. 

Goodwin was at the blue line when Canisius crossed into Penn State's zone and alerted senior forward Dylan Richard that the Golden Griffins were offsides. Gadowsky's challenge that followed confirmed what Goodwin saw and the goal was disallowed.

Kerr contributed one goal, which was the Nittany Lion's first of the game. Gadowsky praised Kerr's consistency and decision-making in the postgame press conference. Kerr's sound fundamentals often overshadow his playmaking ability, which Gadowsky said opponents might sometimes overlook.

"I love watching him, which is probably bad because I get caught watching him instead of focusing on what I'm supposed to do," Gadowsky said. "You just can't take your eyes of off him."

VIDEO: Postgame Players - Purdue

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lions Brandon Smith, Trace McSorley, Jason Cabinda, Brian Gaia, Saquon Barkley and Connor McGovern recap the No. 24 Penn State 62-24 win on the road at Purdue.

Check out the postgame update sessions. 

VIDEO: Postgame James Franklin - Purdue

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 24 Penn State head coach James Franklin meets with members of the media following the 62-24 win on the road at Purdue.

Check out the full press conference following the victory. 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey is back at home continuing its10-game homestand with its second consecutive outing against Canisius Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena. 

Welcome back to our live blog coverage for the entire 2016-17 Penn State men's hockey season. Follow along for exclusive updates and content. 

Live Blog Men's Hockey Live Blog - Penn State vs. Canisius (10/29/2016)
 

Birosik Leads Penn State on Senior Night

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With a packed crowd and pictures of the four seniors at the top of the stands, Penn State senior Brooke Birosik had the senior night every athlete dreams of having.

"I kept saying in my mind that I didn't want to regret anything, just leave it out on the field," Birosik said. "I was really nervous because I wanted to have a really good last game on our home field."

More than five minutes into the first half, Birosik found the back of the cage and gave the Nittany Lions a quick 1-0 lead.

"I was just thinking get it low and get it on cage," Birosik said. "I definitely felt relief that I got one final goal at home. It's always exciting to score on a corner because we work so hard on them and we practice them a lot, so it feels like it pays off when you score on a corner."

Near the end of the first half, Moira Putsch added her 14th goal of the season to give the Nittany Lions (14-2, 6-2 Big Ten) a 2-0 lead at the half.

At the beginning of the second half, fate had one more magical moment in store for Birosik's last game on Penn State's turf.

Birosik had the ball in the circle and only the goalkeeper in front of her. Her goal was to keep it low and find the back of the cage, just like the first goal. And she did just that. Birosik registered her second goal of the game and 11th of the season to give the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead. Birosik also finished her final regular season at Penn State with seven assists and 29 points.

 "It was great," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "She just plays hard all the time. I was happy to see her get some goals because she hasn't the last couple games, so it's nice to get her back on the scoring track."

Indiana (8-10, 3-5 Big Ten) came back in the second half to make the score 3-2, but a solid Nittany Lions lineup led by its four seniors held on to the win. 

"We talked about the seniors and how they each have their own personality and what they bring to this team," Morett-Curtiss said. "Emily [Ehret] brings composure, Kirsten [Gochnauer] brings a lot of determination, Carly [Celkos] brings a lot of steadiness and Brooke just brings a lot of physical aggressiveness to the team and I think that sets the tone for us."

With the wind chill dropping into the low 40's, fans were bundled in layers and blankets to keep warm during the game. The weather was no issue for Birosik, who refused to wear a long sleeve shirt under her tank-top style uniform.   

"I was hot during that game," Birosik said. "Warmup was a little cold, but after that it was hot. I just don't like the compression of the undershirts. I just like playing in the tank top."

"Well, I am freezing," Putsch said. "I am not sure what [Birosik] is talking about."

The win against Indiana concludes Penn State's 2016 regular season. With the Big Ten Tournament now in sight for the Nittany Lions, the team just wants to win for its seniors.

"Before the game, in the locker room, Char [Morett-Curtiss] had a speech about how the seniors this year took what happened last year and just raised the level," Putsch said. "It's a different team. We owe all of it to the seniors. 

The Nittany Lions will begin the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday on the road in College Park at Maryland. 

2016 Gameday Live - No. 24 Penn State at Purdue

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to our live, interactive coverage of the Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions are on the road this week for the first time all month, taking on Purdue in a noon kickoff at Ross-Ade Stadium. 

Follow along for live updates and exclusive coverage. 


Live Blog No. 24 Penn State at Purdue
 

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions will hit the court this weekend for the first time this season in an exhibition game against Bloomsburg. They return to the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday for a 2 p.m. tip. 

After finishing last year with a 12-19 record, the Lady Lions are looking to improve upon on that, and head coach Coquese Washington is looking at the freshman to make an immediate impact. 

"I've been really impressed with our freshman so far. They picked up things really, really quickly," Washington said. "They've acclimated themselves very quickly and when I look at the two of them, including [transfer] De'Janae Boykin who hasn't played college basketball and [redshirt sophomore] Amari Carter who really hasn't either, I think our young guards will be a big impact on the floor." 

It's those same freshmen that have surprised Washington since practice started. Since their arrival on campus, they've worked to be as prepared as possible for their collegiate debut.

"Our freshman have really surprised me in the way that they have almost seamlessly fit into what we're doing and the way that they play off of the returning members and the kids who know what they're doing," Washington said. "They've done that so well that it's given us a little bit more depth at this point of the season, which I'm happy to see." 

With a successful offseason under their belt, Washington is ready to see the work put in at those practices translate over into on court success this weekend. 

"The exhibition game gives us a chance to see that in a game environment and live action, it gives us a chance to kind of start to look at substitution patterns and things of that nature, those are the things were looking at and what lineups go well together in a game atmosphere," Washington said. 

Senior Peyton Whitted is also looking for the team to show off its new speed after spending a good chunk of the offseason focusing on it.

"I've definitely seen a different pace on our team. We brought in a lot of guards this year so we're definitely up and down a lot more than we were last year," Whitted said. "Our post guards are running down quicker than we have in the past few years. And we're just scoring a lot of points and that's what's awesome about how fast we've been playing."

Preparation for an exhibition game is no different from a regular season game, but with tape available only from last season, it can be tricky. 

"We want to try to be as prepared as possible. The tough thing about an exhibition game is you don't have as much film to scout so you're going off of what they did last year, so there's always going to be some surprises," Washington said. "But that's actually a good thing because it prepares us for later in the season when teams have time to prepare and they put in new things, so from that standpoint, it's a great opportunity for us [practice how to] make the adjustments during the game as we go along."

Washington has yet to settle on a staring five for the season, but she has an idea of who she's going to start on Sunday.  But this exhibition game could change that lineup heading into the start of the season in a few weeks. 

"It's still a little early, I kind of have an idea, but we'll probably go with the kids who have played a lot of minutes for us," Washington said. "But this exhibition game will give us a chance to solidify things as we move to the start of the season."

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey has returned from the road, set to open a 10-game homestand beginning with a two-game series against Canisius beginning Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in Pegula Ice Arena. 

Welcome back to our live blog coverage for the entire 2016-17 Penn State men's hockey season. Follow along for exclusive updates and content. 


Live Blog No. 19 Penn State vs. Canisius
 

2016 Gameday - No. 24 Penn State Travels to Purdue

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Gameday Central | Gameday Blog Game Notes | Press Conference Roundup | Wednesday Practice Update | Coach Pry Q&A | Big Ten Coaches Teleconference - Terry Smith | Monday Notebook | Nittany Lions in the NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in more than a month, Penn State football will hit the road, traveling to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers Saturday.

The Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-1 East) and the Boilermakers (3-4, 1-3 West) are set to meet for the first time since 2013 as Penn State makes its first trip to Ross-Ade Stadium since 2012 for a noon kickoff on ABC/ESPN2. Network TV coverage map available HERE. 

Penn State highlighted the final outing of a three-game homestand with a historic 24-21 victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State. Junior cornerback Grant Haley capped off a 17-point fourth-quarter comeback with a 60-yard touchdown return off a blocked Ohio State field goal attempt by junior safety Marcus Allen to secure the upset. 

The accolades piled up for the Nittany Lions following the win, as Haley and Allen split Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors, while linebacker Brandon Bell earned the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week nod. Leading the team with 18 tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss, Bell also picked up Bednarik Award Player of the Week honors. Haley also earned the Big Ten Rose Bowl Player of the Week award, while Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin was selected as the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week.

Among all the weekly individual awards, Penn State's victory also vaulted the Nittany Lions into the Associated Press poll.

Now on a three-game winning streak, it's a business-as-usual approach as Penn State has put Ohio State in the past, quickly turning the focus toward preparing for the trip to Purdue, which presents a much different atmosphere than the friendly surroundings at Beaver Stadium.

"We know what kind of situation we're going into," senior center Brian Gaia said earlier this week. "It doesn't matter where we're at, whether it's home or away we're going to try to bring our own energy so that way we don't have to rely on something else." Gaia said.

Led by interim head coach Gerad Parker, the Boilermakers are coming off of an inspired outing at then-No. 8 Nebraska last week. Purdue led the Cornhuskers at the half, 14-10, before falling short in a 27-14 decision. The Boilermakers' lone conference win this year came on the road at Illinois, as Purdue rallied to top the Illini, 34-31 in overtime. Penn State is up 13-3 in the all-time series against Purdue, with wins in each of the last seven games dating back to 2005.

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What to Watch For - Penn State
-  Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley has settled into his role within the new offense, combining his effective passing with his developing ability to become another dimension in the Nittany Lion run game. Despite just eight completions against Ohio State, McSorley engineered key scoring drives for the Nittany Lions, tossing four receptions for at least 20 yards, including the a 20-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin at the end of the first half.

"With each game and each rep, he continues to gain confidence," Franklin said earlier this week. "I've been pleased with him but he's been pretty much steady Eddie. He hasn't changed. His approach has been really good. His practice habits have been really good. His questions have been really good. His leadership has been really good." 

-  Penn State's defensive line shined in the Nittany Lion victory against the Buckeyes, but this week there will be an added emphasis on the secondary unit as cornerbacks coach Terry Smith noted Purdue's athletic receivers present a challenge on the perimeter. With Haley and Allen coming off of stellar performances against the Buckeyes, Penn State's secondary group also features another experienced veteran in Malik Golden, who has registered at least six tackles in the last five games he has played in.

-  Entering an entirely different environment on the road this week, Franklin has stressed throughout the week that there's an added importance surrounding Penn State's ability to continue its intensity on the road this week, especially as it pertains to helping the Nittany Lions get out to a strong start early in the game.

"Our two losses this year so far have been on the road," running back Saquon Barkley said. "We try to create our our juice because we don't have that energy from Beaver Stadium." 

What to Watch For - Purdue
- Purdue's passing offense is atop the Big Ten standings this week, led by redshirt sophomore quarterback David Blough. Averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game, Blough's thrown for at least 300 yards in each of the last two outings, completing 25-of-43 passes for 309 yards last week at Nebraska. His 2,065 passing yards on the year are also ranked first in the Big Ten and 18th nationally in the FBS rankings.

- The Boilermakers are averaging 306 yards per game in their passing attack this year, which is tops in the Big Ten and ranks 16th nationally in the FBS standings. Wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey is leading the team with five touchdown catches on the year, averaging 70.1 yards per game, which ranks seventh in the league. Yancey highlighted the most recent outing on the road in Nebraska, grabbing an 88-yard touchdown pass from Blough, marking the longest completion in the Big Ten this year.

- Matching up against its second consecutive ranked opponent, Boilermaker head coach Gerad Parker will lead Purdue on to the field at home in Ross-Ade Stadium for the first time at the helm of the program. Franklin noted that with the change in Parker stepping in as interim head coach, the Boilermakers have reacted well and could be poised to present a challenge to the Nittany Lions in unfamiliar territory.

"Their team responded to [Parker] really well last week," Franklin said. "New coach, new style. Nebraska is ranked in the Top 10, on the road and they were winning at halftime against them, so it's going to be challenge. There's no doubt about it and our guys are going to have to be ready."

The Final Word -
The Nittany Lions have played each of their last three games at home in Beaver Stadium putting together a winning streak that features victories against Minnesota (29-26-OT), Maryland (38-14) and of course, Ohio State (24-21). Heading out on the road to Purdue, Penn State will now play three of its final five games of the season on the road. Maintaining momentum and intensity will be key, along with the ability to create and sustain energy in a somewhat new environment, with trips to Indiana and Rutgers for the first time since 2014 quickly approaching. 

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By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are putting a little fun into this week's practice with the Big Ten Cross Country Championships right around the corner.

 

Around championship season every year, the Penn State women's cross team always participates in what they call 'Spirit Week.'

 

This fun-filled week is always the week before the Big Ten Championships and includes daily themes that the girls dress to before their usual practice starts.

 

"Spirit week is something you look forward to every year around this time just because it takes the edge off getting too in the zone too soon, so it's fun to just see people dress up and let that side out of them because usually practice can get pretty serious," said senior captain, Julie Kocjancic.

 

"I think it kind of gets us motivated in a lighthearted way," said assistant coach Angela Reckart. "Obviously, we've been really focused all season. We want to have as much energy and team comradery as possible going into it (Big Tens). It's a great way to emulate the team culture and where we are mentality moving into Big Tens."

 

On Monday, it was nerd day, where some of the girls dressed wearing big glasses, pigtails and even suspenders. Tuesday was animal print day, where they dressed as animal they wanted. Wednesday was 'Little Tens', which is an intersquad meet they run at the Blue-White courses. Thursday was costume day- a very appropriate theme with Halloween coming up.  

 

"I like that it settles the nerves, even yesterday we had a workout but we're all going into like 'oh, but today's this type of spirit day'," said junior, Greta Lindsley. "It relaxes us because I know get really in my mind and in my head before meets, so it definitely puts it in perspective that it's still something fun. It's just running- it's important but it's still just running, and you're with your girls that you love and work hard with every day."

 

Freshman Kathryn Munks of Chester, N.Y. is experiencing Spirit Week and the Big Ten Championships for the first time.

 

"I think Spirit Week is really fun. It was great to have that comradery with the team, but also kind of chill out before this big meet, so I think it all ties together. I'm excited," said Munks.

 

Even though this week had a lot fun and entertainment, the girls know what the ultimate end goal is.

 

"We are most definitely ready. This is what we've been working for all year long, starting back since we won it last year, our goal is to always come back at reclaim the title," said Reckart. "We've been really focused all season long. It's a business trip for us, at the same time, I think everyone is in a good spot, and we have a lot of fun. Yes, we work hard but we have a lot of balance. I think we're all just really excited to go in and compete."

 

"I think our team looks solid. I'm having so much fun, which is the important part. We're also working hard together and we're all aiming for one goal, so I think that if we can all come together on the same day, it can be something magical," added Greta Lindsley.

 

For senior captain Kocjancic, this Big Ten Championship is a special one.

 

"Going into my last Big Ten Cross Country Championship, this is the best feeling I've had going into a championship season yet," she said.  "It's my last one, but I'm so excited about where our team is at and how strong we are and that a lot of us have experienced what it takes to win Big Ten Championship, so mentality we are prepared and just know how to race. I'm really confident in all our abilities, so it's going to be awesome."

 

The Nittany Lions will use this spirit and excitement to defend their Big Ten Cross Country Champion title this Sunday, Oct. 30th in Minneapolis, MN.  

Brent Pry Q&A - Purdue

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry took time to talk with members of the media Thursday afternoon. 

Check out updates from the Q&A session below.

Could you reflect on the season and how its been so far with everything you've went through with the defense and just where things are for you heading into Purdue?
Pry: Obviously there has been a lot of adversity. The plan was to have some veteran linebackers and a veteran back end to help bring the young front along. We got thrown a curve ball early with the injuries to [Brandon] Bell and Jason [Cabinda] and then [Nyeem] Wartman-White. So some guys had to grow up fast and it put a little more onus on the front. Week-by-week, I think they've improved. Coach [Sean] Spencer has done a great job just getting those guys experience, rolling them and playing a lot of guys. We've seen the maturity increase each week and I think that's been an important part to get us to this point. I also think that the adversity we faced and the way the kids handled it became a positive. That thing had a chance to slip sideways with a couple of tough losses where you didn't play well and you have your new guys playing.  The guys really set their jaw, persevered, worked hard and kept seeking results. Ultimately it gave us the chance to get better each week.

How does having Brandon [Bell] and Jason [Cabinda] back help you from a play-calling standpoint and how much flexibility does it allow you?
Pry: Against Ohio State, we were able to do some things that we hadn't done previously. Many offenses now, including Ohio State, are check with me, where they are getting a call on the sideline after the coaches in the box take a look at the defense. Against Minnesota, against Maryland, we kind of rode out what we had. We checked a few times against Maryland, we didn't check at all against Minnesota. So when somebody would ID a pressure or ID a defense, we had to kind of ride it out and with those experienced guys in there, particularly the two of them together, you feel like you can change a call and make an adjustment out there on the field that's going to get communicated and get executed. That was really big for us and obviously just the leadership and the confidence that the rest of the kids have in those two guys, I think it's uplifting to everybody.  

If someone told you before the Ohio State game that Bell and Cabinda would have played the entire duration, what would you have said and what makes those two so effective as players?
Pry: I'll say this, I think the plan was - I felt a little bit better about Cabinda playing a fair amount of snaps, but I wasn't sure if Bell would be able to. That's something you evaluate and you have to do a good job of evaluating that early on guys who are coming back from injuries and how much they should play.

To be honest, we were able to kind of control some of those reps and Manny Bowen slid over to Will [linebacker], but I wouldn't have thought they would have played that number of snaps. In a big game like that, those are your big dogs and they want to be out there. That's kind of the type of guys they are. Again, those two guys are so mature and so smart - they are great students of the game, they get it. As the play is turning over and the ball is snapped, they have great recognition of what's going on. That comes from experience, those guys have played a lot of football and they're students of the game. 

It's kind of two-fold, it allows them to see things quickly and react quickly. I think that they both have good skill sets, each of them are strong in certain traits that allow them to physically be what you need to beat a team like Ohio State. They both tackled very well, particularly Brandon in the game, on some very good athletes.  They both play with a lot of confidence and a big chip on their shoulder and they played very hard. They are definitely two guys who I would consider to be well rounded linebackers.   

It looks like things did go a little sideways in the second half of the Michigan game. How did you get everybody to reset and not let that game beat you two or three times?
Pry: I think to me, the expectations are the same, it doesn't matter who is out there. You can say that or you can live that and we live that. Particularly in my room where the injuries were mounting up. Jan Johnson didn't feel any less accountable than Jason Cabinda. Brandon Smith didn't feel any less accountable than Nyeem Wartman-White. Those guys felt like everybody was counting on them and it was their responsibility to prepare each week. We had a third team Mike [linebacker] against Michigan who gets thrown out on a targeting call and then his back up, Jan Johnson, the fourth team guy comes in and plays pretty good and gets injured in the second quarter. At that point, it becomes, ok you're going to play somebody at a spot and he hasn't played at all fall and hasn't practiced there and that's where it gets dicey because you're just not familiar with what's going to happen to him at that spot. The preparation is not the same. We had a similar situation against Minnesota at the end of the game. Brandon Smith and Jake Cooper go down with injuries, those were your two Mike's in the game and then Manny Bowen, who has never played a snap of Mike in his life, has to line up at the end of regulation and in overtime and play Mike linebacker. You can help them with some calls that are a little easier. Manny got a quick lesson in three calls at Mike linebacker on the sideline and went out there and did pretty well. I think the guys have to adapt and adjust, but it does come to a certain point where you think, alright now we have to really dumb it down because we have some guys who are playing out of position and haven't had any practice at it.

When you look back at the season to date, what to you, as the leader of the defense are you proudest of so far?
Pry: I think fighting through adversity. There was a lot on these guys. You come out of Pitt and you rebound and play pretty good against Temple and you feel better about things. You know you have your hands full going on the road at Michigan and you have a couple of injuries that hurt you. You have a couple of busts early in the game, you have a missed sack opportunity, you have a sudden change. Things kind of mounted up and we cut through all of that and come back after the game and say, look, this is where we're at with this thing. We can be this type of defense and we can be very good and here's why. Here's the positives that we did against Temple, here's the positives we had against Kent State, here's the positive things we did against Michigan and Pitt. Here's why we didn't play things so well against Michigan and Pitt, here's the things that happened. It's not about who is out there, it's about us and what we did as coaches or players where we can be better. Let's learn from that and put it away and let's be better for it. I think that's what we were able to do to be quite honest.

We went into the Minnesota game against a very good team that was very challenging offensively and we didn't play great, but we played well enough in spots and took away the things we felt we needed to take away and it gave us a chance to win. We grew from there. Maryland presented some new challenges and some differences and I think the guys have gained confidence in their own ability and their own play. They have found their identity. It's been fun watching their growth.

I think the adversity that those guys had to work through - I've been too many times, too many places where the adversity has you and it's going the other direction. I think the staff did a tremendous job from Coach Franklin on down and from the defense on down, just hammering away.  Even the injured guys, just watching those guys be involved with the guys who had to step up. It's such an inspiration. Those guys never turned it down a notch - Cabinda and Bell and Nyeem, when [Evan] Schwan was hurt and Malik [Golden] was out, they really stepped up their game when they had to be on the sideline having to help those guys get prepared and giving them confidence. 

Two season ending injuries in back-to-back years, how has Nyeem Wartman-White handled this past month and is a return for him possible?
Pry: I'm never going to say never. I don't know the answer to that totally. I'd say it looks doubtful, Nyeem's looking to the future. His attitude has been outstanding. I don't know if I could handle it the same way. He comes in with a big smile and he's coaching these guys up and he's an inspiration to everybody. He is refreshing that way and it makes everybody smack themselves and say hey, look how fortunate I am, this guy has this great attitude and he is on his second ACL, what do I have to complain about? Nyeem has a bright future, whether it's in football or coaching or something outside of athletics. He is an outstanding young man and we're going to be with him every step of the way.

James Franklin this week has been told praise for you and what you've been able to do leading the defense through the adversity. What is your relationship like with him in terms of your history together?
Pry: Let me tell you, when we give up too many points or too many plays, I don't know that we're buddies because he's ripping my tail. There is mutual respect and I think he has never waned. He has had the utmost confidence. We're very like minded so when something's not right, generally we're on the same page with it. We recognize and ID things from the same vantage point. We're pretty like-minded and it's been good that way. I certainly trust him and he trusts me. He is the leader and we go the way he goes, I believe. We couldn't have worked through the adversity we did - that starts at the top and that's kind of how we've built this program and one of the reasons why I love working with him. We're going to approach things the right way with these kids with the game, our preparation, our off season, and I believe in how we do things and I think we both stick to that when tough times happen.

Yesterday, James Franklin said one of the things he likes about you is that you're very demanding but in a very positive way. What are the sources of that in your history and how important has that been since you've been working through the adversity?
Pry: I do think there is a way and if you know my background, my father has been a coach for 40-some years. When you grow up around it, you see what guys respond to. What they respond to in a positive way and in a negative way. Your comments, when you're the leader, really have a lot of influence on these young men and I think you have to be careful how you present things and you have to be careful how you approach it.

I think that's the key to this. We're trying to teach young guys to kind of ultimately be their best, to reach their potential, whether its playing in that individual game or over the course of their career here. I think there's constructive criticism, there is a way for them to understand that this isn't going to get it done or this isn't how we want to do it.

You teach them through it, you coach them through it and you make sure they see the positives on the other end of things and on the other side of it. Then most importantly, it goes back to our program philosophy. You can't coach guys hard and you can't work through those situations if you don't have a lot of trust and respect, if there's not a mutual relationship that has a lot of trust, care and concern. I think these players, they know that about me, and they know that about our staff. We're not in this just to win football games, we're in this to help them achieve and reach their ultimate goals as a student and as a player.

I think when you go through these things it's just the bigger picture and you stay grounded to that and grounded to what's right and we have that. That's the foundation of our program. We went through tough times at Vanderbilt and could prosper through and I think we have a good plan for those kinds of things. I think years of watching my father do things and learning his mistakes and his accomplishments and talking with him. I have two brothers who played ball and you're just around it all the time and you see what's effective and what's not. Ultimately, when you care about somebody you want to be careful because you don't want to hurt them. You want them to hear your criticism in a way that they're going to want to take it and want to do something good with it.

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Eight games are in the books, but the season is really just starting for the Penn State women's hockey team, as they begin CHA conference play this weekend. The Nittany Lions finished 3rd in the conference regular season standings last year, and made it to the CHA final four before bowing out in the semifinals. They are looking to improve on that in 2016-17. 

"[Conference play] really brings everything down to earth and makes things more serious," defenseman Kelsey Crow said. "This is the bulk of our season and what rides and what we need to do to get to the playoffs. It's go time."

"We're ready to get conference play started and show everyone what we've got," forward Laura Bowman said.

There's also a sense of familiarity this time of year as every team has experience against each other and knows the tendencies of one another. 

"There's definitely kind of a rivalry that's built up between almost every team in the CHA," Bowman said. "There's a little bit more excitement, a little more on the line for each game." 

"It's an exciting time of year," head coach Josh Brandwene said. "It really comes down to effort and execution. We all know each other so well as conference foes. There's always that little bit of cat-and-mouse that goes on and when you play the same teams four times a year or more when you get into playoffs, it's all part of the fun."

The start of the CHA season presents a first glance at some of the new faces on other teams as well. 

"Usually teams like to run similar systems that they did the year before," Crow said. "But other times they get whole new players and you kind of have to prepare for maybe that really good freshman that all of a sudden can do something really well."

Despite not winning as many games as they would have liked in the non-conference portion, the team has plenty of optimism moving forward and now knows where adjustments need to be made.

"We're trying to work on getting more traffic to the front," Crow said. "We're working on good puck movement at the point and then just getting it to the net and crowding on those rebounds."

"We're focusing on their power play and making sure we have our penalty kill down," Bowman said. "We're making sure we have our special teams down because it's been a big factor in our season so far." 

Several Nittany Lions have already found their groove in the first few weeks of the season. Bowman leads the team with eight goals, and Amy Petersen is second with four. 

Petersen took home CHA Player of the Week against Union while Brooke Madsen wrapped up Rookie of the Week in the same series. 

Goalie Daniela Paniccia matched Madsen's award last weekend against UConn, tallying her first career shutout in a 0-0 tie. 

"Her work ethic is fabulous," Brandwene said. "She is so coachable. As great a player and as great a student as she is, she's an even better person. She's a pleasure to work with."

The relationship between goaltenders is always a critical aspect of team chemistry, Paniccia and Hannah Ehresmann being no exception.

"They have a tremendous relationship in terms of pushing each other and supporting each other," Brandwene said. "That's what a team atmosphere is all about."

That team atmosphere will be on full in the coming weeks as a pair of games at RIT open up a four game stretch to start the CHA season. Start times are Thursday and Friday at 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively.

 

Close-Knit Seniors Prep for Graduation

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As most freshmen are thrown out of their comfort zone and forced to find friends at the beginning of their college careers, Emilee Ehret, Carly Celkos, Kirsten Gochnauer and Brooke Birosik were already with their closest friends. 

"As soon as you're on campus as a freshman you have friends," Gochnauer said. "Our class is from different areas and backgrounds but we all cliqued. We all lived in McElwain together and our dorms were right beside each other. Brooke and Emilee were together and Carly and I lived together." 

Each of the four seniors have different backgrounds and personalities. One common factor between them though, was they each fell in love with Penn State's campus the minute they arrived. For Ehret, she loved it so much that she committed before telling her mom.

"My mom and I were both speechless after the visit," Ehret said. "I was so eager and excited to commit. I know she wanted to wait to see what other places I could go to, especially because I was looking at playing with my sister at Penn. I was also just about to receive my SAT scores, but I just knew that I wanted it. I went upstairs and called Char [Morett-Curtiss] and committed. I came downstairs and told her and she yelled, "Oh my gosh you are kidding me!' She was really excited and it turned out to be so funny." 

Ehret has been one of the most consistent and steady players for head coach Morett-Curtiss this season. Despite her love for field hockey, Ehret has decided not to pursue sports after graduation as she was just accepted into the Teach for America program.

"Teach for America is where individuals are selected to become teachers in low-income communities," Ehret said. "I will be teaching elementary school. Each individual commits to teach for two years and are hired by the partner public schools across the country. During these two years, they are called 'Corps Members.' I will be getting a Master's Degree at the same time too, also set up by Teach for America." 

With her post graduation plans already lined up, Ehret is able to thoroughly enjoy her senior season and reminisce on some of her favorite memories.

"One of my favorite memories is when I got a weird injury freshman year that caused me to not really be able to sit," Ehret said. "I was sitting beside Brooke and she slept for an eight-hour bus drive on the floor for me because I was in so much pain and needed more space. It was so painful, but looking back on it, it was one of the funniest memories from my time here." 

Like Ehret, Birosik has also begun planning for her future after field hockey. She is currently studying the commercial side of recreation and park tourism management. She is trying to decide if she wants to stay in sports by going into sports management or branch out of her comfort zone and do event planning for hotels or different venues.

Birosik has been an integral part of the Penn State offense in her four years in Happy Valley. This season she has registered nine goals, seven assists and 25 points. With all of her success, Birosik could not imagine her life without Penn State field hockey.

"My teammates are my best friends, I don't know who else I would talk to," Birosik said. "If I have any issues, the first people I tell are my teammates and coaches. Sometimes we do team bonding events. We do this game where we put random things on a piece of paper and act them out like charades. It gets the freshmen out of their shell and it's one of my favorite things every year to see everyone's personality. Maybe we can all plan trips each year and meet at a certain destination to come back together."

This year, Birosik lives in an apartment with Celkos and Gochnauer. Birosik and Celkos enjoy cooking and getting their nails done together.

Celkos also devotes a lot of time to Life Link. Life Link is a program that Penn State offers to serve special education students, engage them in academic programs and help them gain independence. Celkos has tutored these students through an online course and also assisted with a cooking class last spring. She is studying rehabilitation and human services and plans to be an occupational therapist. 

In her senior season, Celkos has registered one goal, three assists and five points. Celkos said that it took a few months during her freshman year for her, Ehret, Birosik and Gochnauer to get close, but once each of them had their break-through moments, they could not be closer.

"I was roommates with Kirsten freshman year," Celkos said. "We didn't get close until this one away trip. We were both really home sick and overwhelmed from school. We both started hysterically crying and then we became really close. That was our moment."

Gochnauer's favorite moments with her teammates were always at a bonfire at the beginning of the school year. It was a time for the team to get together outside of field hockey, talk about their summers and get the freshmen involved with the team.

Gochnauer has recorded two goals, six assists and ten points so far this season. As graduation approaches, Gochnauer prepares for a life in the medical field.

"I am involved in the Global Medical Brigades," Gochnauer said. "I am on the executive board. I order medications for medical clinics in Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras. We typically spend 5,000 dollars per trip. I went to Nicaragua last spring and was in charge of 29 students. I was in charge of all the planning, travel plans and where we would be working. Once we were in the country, I organized medical clinics each day, made sure everyone knew their role and taught different vital signs for everyone to take."

Gochnauer's love for the medical field came from her mother's work as a nurse for 25 years and the fact that she is prone to injury.

"As a kid I was in and out of the hospital with broken bones and so many other injuries," Gochnauer said. "At Northwestern I had to get three stitches because a field hockey stick hit me in the mouth and chipped my tooth. I didn't know it was chipped until I took my mouth guard out and saw half of the tooth laying in it." 

With so many different interests and personalities, it establishes a superior class of senior leaders. 

"This group of seniors is very special in that they play a very important role on the field," head coach Morett-Curtiss said. "They were all players as freshman and really had to learn the system. And now as a senior class, I think they bring a lot of security to their teammates. They are confident in their own ways. The team sees them not as being one senior leader, but four senior leaders. That shared leadership really helps balance out our team and helps our team be as close-knit as they are." 

Although the four seniors are very different in their own ways, the one thing they all agree on is that they will be back for every alumni game and homecoming. 

Birosik, Celkos, Gochnauer and Ehret can thank field hockey and McElwain Hall for their life-long friendship.

Broerman Finding Success Back on the Court

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By Anita Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Redshirt junior Laura Broerman missed the 2015 season due to an injury. Nevertheless, head coach Russ Ross provided her an alternate way to participate with the team, moving her from the volleyball court to press row to do the team's radio color commentary for every match, home and away, on GoPSUsports.com.

"It's weird because going into the commentary, I was not excited about it at all," Broerman said. "I was kind of moping a little bit from being hurt and not being on the court, but as the season went on, it got a lot more fun."

Now in her senior season, Broerman is finally back where she feels best - on the volleyball court.

"Coming off an injury like that, especially your third one, when the doctor tells you, 'Hey, if this happens again, you're done. Your athletic career is over,' it shocks you and makes you really appreciate every single hour of practice you put in every week. I try not to make many off-plays because you never know when it could be over. It could be over next week if something bad were to happen, so I'm not taking anything for granted."

Though Broerman didn't physically play last season, her volleyball IQ and mental skills improved throughout all the matches. The radio broadcast provided a fresh experience for her to see the game in a new perspective. 

"I was able to see things that I would have never saw [on the court] before," Broerman said. "It's so nice to be on the bench now and when I see those things, I can communicate to people on the court during a timeout, or when I'm on the court, I can communicate to our left front or our center and just kind of see the game from a completely different angle."

The 5-foot-2 defensive specialist has been using this season to make up for what she wasn't able to perform on the court while she was injured. Already, she has been helping the team make key plays this season, especially in recent matches.

Last week against Ohio State and Michigan, Broerman recorded five digs in both outings.

"She really appreciates her role on the team and once you get it taken away from being able to play, you really get to find how much you love the sport and I can see that this year," senior Carley Muller said. "Laura is striving to be the best person she can be for our team and by doing radio last year, she picked up a lot more information about the game and even this year, I can see that she reads much better than she ever has before."

Broerman is one of the nine defensive specialists on the team, but she has a specific focus in strong serving. She has recorded five service aces this season, with a season-high three against Rutgers. 

"She's always confident in her serves," Muller said. "When she comes in, she's not afraid to make a play and she's not afraid to run into people or do something crazy, and that's definitely what we need coming off the bench."

Being a defensive specialist is a difficult position because you always have to be on your toes and ready for the ball. It's even harder when there are numerous talented players competing for limited spots, but Broerman doesn't let that mess with her focus.

"It means a lot [to get called in]," Broerman said. "Whenever you go in, it's a little confidence boost because you know coach Rose has the faith in you to go in there and do well because coach doesn't put people in just to put people in - he puts people in to make a difference, to go out there and make a play that maybe someone wouldn't have made before, so he's not handing out charity. When he puts you in, he wants you to do well."

For all four years, playing alongside Broerman is Muller, a senior defensive specialist, as well as Broerman's best friend. They created a strong connection after being freshmen-year roommates. 

"She's grown on and off the court [since last season]," Muller said. "She's one of the most focused and funniest people I know. She's one of my best friends and it's really nice to be around her and be able to see her find herself through college." 

It may seem strange to be best friends with someone you have to compete against, but it's motivational for both Broerman and Muller. 

"You would think that because there are so many of us competing for these very limited sports, we'd all hate each other, but all my best friends are in the same position as me, and I love them to death," Broerman said. "It's a two-way street and we're honestly out there for the team. We're the backrow kids and I just love being together."

Despite surgeries and injuries, playing Penn State volleyball was a dream she always wanted.

"I was a late recruit in, so it was a really hard decision because I could have gone somewhere and made an impact right away, or I could go to Penn State and be the absolute best that I could be, and that's what I wanted," Broerman said. "I didn't necessarily care if I was going to be on the court or going to be in the libero jersey - I wanted to take my skills to the absolute next level. I wanted to show my parents that all the money in club volleyball, high school volleyball and everything else was worth something. I wanted to prove it to myself and to everyone that had doubted me."

Broerman has shown that it's possible to bounce back from an injury, even during senior year. As the Nittany Lions continue their season, she hopes to continue to serve a tough ball, improve every match and be completely confident in everything she does. But Penn State volleyball is something she will remember for the rest of her life, the highs and the lows. 

"It means a lot to be on the team," Broerman said. "Never in a million years would I have thought I would be wearing a jersey with Penn State on the back. It still gives me the chills. I look around Rec Hall during the National Anthem, and I get the chills and a little sad, but it's awesome."

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Meister.

 

Translation: champion. That is how German-born Laura Freigang can describe herself and her Penn State teammates following their game Wednesday night at Jeffrey Field.

 

Freigang, a freshman from Oppenheim, Germany, led the charge for the Nittany Lions in route to their 2-0 victory over Ohio State on Wednesday. The win ensured Penn State its 18th regular season Big Ten title in the last 19 years.  The Nittany Lions will share the trophy with Minnesota and Northwestern.  

 

Freigang got the Lions on the board in the 51st minute by heading home a curling ball from Haleigh Echard for her second goal of the season. Her two goals came in the first and last regular season games of the year, and both came in the 51st minute.

 

"I was so happy when I scored the goal because last week against [Michigan State] we had a very frustrating game, and there was a similar situation where I hit the ball way over the goal," Freigang said. "I kind of saw it coming and I was like I need to score this one because it was 0-0. I felt it coming. Everybody felt it coming, the first goal."

 

Head coach Erica Dambach noted Tuesday how the experienced players needed to step up in this match for Penn State to walk away with the win. Instead, the freshman made the most crucial play of the game and possibly the entire season.

 

"That is Laura Freigang through and through, coming up in a moment like she started the season against West Virginia," Dambach said. "She's just as dangerous as they come in NCAA soccer, and she proved it tonight."

 

Freigang has mostly come off the bench this season, starting just two games all year, but she's been aggressive when her number is called.

 

She has played 769 minutes this season and scored her two goals on 29 shots. She said following the win that she wished she could've done more offensively in her first year, but that the season isn't over yet.

 

Although she hasn't filled the stat sheet as much as she hoped, Freigang came through for Penn State when it mattered most on the biggest stage.

 

"It's always great when the work you put in comes out in such a game," Freigang said. "Props to Haleigh. The cross was great, I just had to finish."

 

In the 73rd minute Charlotte Williams added the insurance goal off a pass from Megan Schafer to make it 2-0. It was her fourth goal of the season.

 

The back line held a potent Ohio State offense to 10 shots and only one on goal. The defense didn't allow the Buckeye forwards anywhere near goalkeeper Amanda Dennis.

 

The title marks Dambach's ninth conference championship in her 10 years at Penn State. One might think she'd be used to it by now, but Dambach said this one is extra special.

 

"That was the first time in 10 years that I shed tears after a Big Ten championship, and that's just out of pure pride for what they did all season long," Dambach said. "We had our ups and downs but they came out here tonight with a set of belief. I'm just incredibly proud of this group."

 

Senior midfielder Nickolette Driesse is no stranger to championships either. She's been to the national title in all three of her collegiate seasons, the first two with Florida State and last year with Penn State.

 

Driesse, who is the only senior and a true leader in the lineup, was also emotional after the win.

 

"I don't think I could be happier, especially because we haven't really been playing to our potential and tonight it really clicked," Driesse said. "We saw how good we could be and we all believed in each other and that's why we got the result we did."

 

On a night filled with jubilation, tears of joy, and trophy-lifting, Penn State did what some thought it couldn't. Despite their ups and downs, nothing could stop the Nittany Lions from achieving their season-long goal.

VIDEO: Practice Update - Purdue

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State running back Saquon Barkley met with members of the media following practice Wednesday at the Lasch Football facility to preview Purdue week. The Nittany Lions hit the road to travel to West Lafayette, Indiana for a Saturday matchup. 

Check out updates from the Q&A session below.

Saquon Barkley

VIDEO: Purdue Week Player Q&A

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State linebackers Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell sit down to recap last week's Ohio State victory, while also looking ahead toward the upcoming road trip to Purdue Saturday. 

Check out the Q&A video sessions below.

Jason Cabinda

Brandon Bell

Freshman Feature: Gobetz & Company Stay on Track

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a huge weekend at Notre Dame with Penn State coming out victorious on Saturday, the Nittany Lions went back to work Monday afternoon at Pegula Ice Arena. 

There was a lot of enthusiasm over the win, but for the Nittany Lions it's time to focus on the next game at hand. 

"I think we enjoyed it for a few days," freshman defenseman James Gobetz said. "Obviously it was a big weekend for us and a big weekend for Penn State, but when we got back to the rink for practice it was all business." 

Gobetz, a native of St. James, New York, is no stranger to hard work. He spent three seasons at Salisbury School between 2012 and 2015, where during the same time the Crimson Knights won three New England Prep School Championships. 

Gobetz said his time at Salisbury really changed him and made him more mature, but also taught him valuable lessons about hockey that still apply today. 

"The mental aspect of the game," Gobetz said. "Your mental preparation on and off the ice, they go hand in hand. Your on ice performance is going to be affected by how you get ready for the game." 

He explained that learning how to balance the demands of hockey while at Salisbury prepared him to be a student-athlete in college, especially after spending the 2015-16 season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL.

"Some of us didn't go to school when we were there so we had a lot of free time to hang out," Gobetz said. "Being around the guys all the time, it's really like a brotherhood, and I'm thankful for that experience." 

The transition from Salisbury to the UHSL was a unique one, and Gobetz had to adjust to the quicker speed of play in the USHL.

"Once I got a little experience in the first two weeks I got used to it," Gobetz said.

Gobetz appeared in 52 games for Des Moines, where he had five goals and five assists. 

Now at Penn State, Gobetz has learned a lot in just the few months he's been in Hockey Valley. 

Playing with fellow freshman Kris Myllari on defense has allowed Gobetz to develop alongside another classmate, which had helped both players.

"I think we move the puck pretty well together," Gobetz said.  "We try to play solid defense on our end and try to get the puck up to the forwards and let them do what they do."

Gobetz also noted that head coach Guy Gadowsky keeps the team focused on performing it's best, but he also creates an environment conducive to success off the ice. 

"[Gadowsky has] taught us a lot about being where you're at and loving what you do," Gobetz said. "You have to love being with the guys and working hard and enjoying every minute."

Wednesday Round Up - Purdue

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Transcript: James Franklin Transcript: Players VIDEO: One-on-One with Jason Cabinda & Brandon Bell VIDEO: Saquon Barkley Post-Practice Update

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 24 Penn State football hits the road for the first time all month, traveling to Purdue for noon matchup in West Lafayette, Indiana Saturday.

The Nittany Lions (5-2, 3-1 East) enter the week on a three-game winning streak on the heels of a comeback victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State last week.

"It's going to be a good challenge," Franklin said. "It's going to be a different environment than the one we played in last week and that's what we are preparing for all week long."

Penn State has not played a game outside Beaver Stadium since meeting then-No. 4/5 Michigan, Sept. 24, 2016, as the trip to Purdue opens a series of three of the next four games in a true road game setting.

As he does every week, Franklin took a few moments to highlight the historic Ohio State victory, thanking the fans for filling Beaver Stadium and making a difference, before turning the focus toward the upcoming trip to Purdue.

Franklin noted that the return of Nittany Lion linebackers Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda from injury made tremendous difference to only in terms of their combined 31 tackles, but in their leadership as well.

"There's a lot of confidence with those guys on the field because we're able to lean on their experience," Franklin said. 

While Penn State knocked off its first top-2 team since winning at then-No. 1 Notre Dame in 1990, the Nittany Lions were quick to get back to work, making corrections, learning from the tape and focusing in on the Boilermakers. 

"I think that's something that gets lost in big wins," Cabinda said.  "Mistakes were made and there were a lot made during that game and we got better off that film. We put the Purdue film on and we're on to Purdue and our goal is just to be 1-0 this week."

On The Quote Board -
- Quarterback Trace McSorley's mother provides snacks for the offensive line every week.

"At our snack every Friday before the hotel, whether we're on the road or at home she finds some local establishment like bakery or something in town and she brings something different each week for those guys and there's always a little note in there," Franklin said. 

- Brandon Bell and DaeSean Hamilton both addressed the team in the hotel prior to Saturday's game, something a little unfamiliar to Bell.

"I've always had things that I wanted to express to the team, things like that," Bell said. "This year I am kind of in more of a leadership role; I felt more comfortable doing it. I expressed that to them and making sure our minds are right before the game and continue to do that in practice and on Saturdays." 

- Franklin said he has been most impressed with the way defensive coordinator Brent Pry has persevered in the wake of challenging situations throughout his tenure, specifically noting the recent injuries to the Nittany Lion linebacker unit.

"I've been a lot of place where that has happened and there has been a 'woe is me' by the coach and if you do that, the players take on that identity and he hasn't been like that. It's been next man up and what a great opportunity we have to go out and do something really special," Franklin said.

- Following the win on Saturday, Jason Cabinda located his mother in the front of the stands and went over to give her a hug.

"I had been out for a month and you can be down because you're not playing and stuff like that and then being able to finally be back on the field and being that she saw me through it all and that injury and that process of sitting out, it was just so great to have that kind of experience."

- Coach Franklin reflects on punter Blake Gillikin, with specific regard to the high snap on a punt attempt that he chased own to recover for a safety against Ohio State.

"We believe in recruiting athletes who happen to kick and that's what he is. He's been in competitive environments his entire life. You know, you could make a decision there to either fall on the ball and scoop it up or kick it out the back of the end zone, and I thought he showed great poise and athleticism to go get that ball."

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One win and the Big Ten title is theirs.

 

That's the case for the Nittany Lions Wednesday night as they face off against Ohio State in the regular season finale at Jeffrey Field. A win will ensure at least a share of the Big Ten regular season championship.

 

As it stands now, Penn State is tied at the top of the conference standings with Minnesota and Northwestern at 21 points each.

 

All three teams finish the season Wednesday night. Minnesota faces Maryland and Northwestern will be home in Evanston, Ill. to battle Illinois.

 

If all three teams take care of business, they will share the Big Ten regular season title. Penn State needs a win Wednesday and either a tie or loss by both the Gophers and Wildcats for sole possession of the championship and home field advantage throughout the Big Ten tournament.

 

The Lions secured home field advantage last season and ran the table in the conference tournament. It's called an advantage for a reason, and Penn State knows how important it is in the postseason.

 

"Not having to travel is huge," junior forward Megan Schafer said. "It just puts a lot on your body and everything. Being able to sleep in your own bed, it's just a very big advantage."

 

It all starts Wednesday, where Penn State will be on its own stomping grounds in the first legitimate do-or-die game of the year.

 

"We get to be on our home field, and we just get another shot," Schafer said. "We kind of talk about the beginning before conference play is its own little season, and then the Big Ten is another season, so to finish out the season, we just want to finish out on a high note. To be able to do it at home, got a lot of excitement for it."

 

"Going into this season, our first main goal was to win the Big Ten, and to get a chance to do that at home is really exciting and I think we'll be ready," redshirt junior defender Brittany Basinger said.

 

The forecast calls for low-forties temperature and possible winds, which for most would be a daunting setting. For the Lions, it's just another fall night.

 

"It's awesome soccer weather," head coach Erica Dambach said. "This is fall for us. This is what we love to play in, and this is Jeffrey Field."

 

The combination of the freezing setting and a rousing home crowd will be key factors in Wednesday night's match and every match moving forward.

 

As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes possess a dangerous and aggressive offensive unit that can strike at any moment. Ohio State ranks second in the Big Ten in goals (32) and points (92) this year.

 

Lindsay Agnew leads the charge up top with 27 points, which is tied for the Big Ten lead, on 10 goals and seven assists. She will be the focus of the Lions' defensive game plan.

 

Dambach stressed Tuesday at practice that Penn State needs to be able to thwart off seven and eight attackers and be able to counter quickly. She acknowledged Ohio State's personality players must be shut down, and that starts with Agnew.

 

For the home team, the players who have been in these situations before will be called upon to seize the moment.

 

Last year it was Raquel Rodriguez. This year it has largely been Frannie Crouse, but Dambach believes this is Schafer's time to get hot. Schafer has a five goals this season after netting 13 last year. This may just be the time she breaks out of her offensive slump, and what a time it would be to do so.

 

"Now that we've gotten to this point, we've got to see our big players step up now," Dambach said. "We've got to see Megan Schafer put one in the back of the net, and this is what big moments are all about."

 

Schafer herself is ready for that big moment. Nervousness is not a factor, for she's been here before and performed admirably. She's ready to go.

"I think when we have that pressure, I think we come out better and more prepared just because everything's on that line," Schafer said. "So it's all in our hands and it's our control. I'm just really excited to finish out the Big Ten season tomorrow night and start on the postseason."

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In the final regular season home match of the season, Penn State men's soccer sent its seniors out in with a 1-0 non-conference victory over Wright State Tuesday night at Jeffrey Field.

Malik Cameron, Evan Finney, Riley Grant, Mason Klerks, Connor Maloney and Robby Sagel were honored after the match with their individual framed jerseys and action photos from their Nittany Lion careers. Penn State head coach Bob Warming applauded this senior class as a group of mature young men that represented Penn State on and off the field tremendously

"I'm going to miss everything about them (the seniors)," said Warming. "I've been coaching for five decades and I can tell you this generation of students is the best to be around out of any of them. They are so wired to what's going on in the world. We go on the road and we can talk about anything. They are global human beings. What I'm going to miss about them are the relationships."

As for the match itself, the lone goal of the match came in the eighth minute when the Nittany Lions (8-6-2) were on the attack against Wright State (9-5-2). Speedy Dayonn Harris sprinted down the sideline. He stopped then passed it off to Connor Maloney at the top of the box, then Maloney passed to a streaking Pierre Reedy charging at the top of the box. Reedy dribbled for a few seconds, hesitated to shoot instantly because of defender traffic in the box, but then sent a world-class left-footed shot into the left side of the net from 19 yards out to register his first career goal as a Nittany Lion.

"It felt good," said Reedy. "It was a long time coming so to finally get it, it was a good break for me."

On a night that celebrated the careers of seniors, Reedy, a freshman stood out. Fittingly enough, Maloney, a team captain and phenomenal player in Penn State history was credited with the assist. Maloney to Reedy was the passing of the torch in a sense.

"Look at the youth on this team; there's a lot to be hopeful for," said Warming. "There's a big, bright future for the team going ahead."

Reedy's goal put Penn State up 1-0 and the score didn't change the rest of the match. The Kutztown, Pa. native showed flashes of quickness down the wing all season but had no goals or assists to show for it.

"He's worked so hard all year long," said Warming. "He couldn't get an assist. He couldn't buy one then he gets two the last game in front of half of his high school then tonight to get a spectacular goal for first collegiate goal."

After Reedy's game-winning goal, Penn State continued offensive pressure throughout the first half with a few more scoring chances among their 12 shots. Most notably Sam Bollinger took a shot that hit the crossbar in the 43rd minute.

Coming out of halftime, the Nittany Lions sat back in defensive mode and the Raiders played most the last 45 minutes in Penn State's defensive end. The Raiders didn't have great chances to score but had a bunch of plays in the box in the latter stages of the match the Penn State held off. The game featured 26 shots in all, only three of them were on goal including Reedy's goal.

Warming preaches that the most common score line of college soccer games is 1-0 and Penn State found itself on the winning side of that score. Reedy's goal was enough as Penn State's senior goalkeeper Finney and the defense led by seniors held strong to post the team's fifth shutout of the season.

The Nittany Lions will look to continue to play their best soccer down the stretch as they travel to Northwestern Sunday for a 1:00 p.m. to conclude their Big Ten regular season. Depending on the result and the results of the other games, Penn State could host a Big Ten Tournament game at Jeffrey Field.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

History of Blocked Kicks For Touchdowns at Penn State

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9519170.jpegBy Lou Prato, noted Penn State football historian and former director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - If anyone should know the last time Penn State scored a touchdown on a blocked punt or field goal, it should be someone like me who has written a few books and many articles about the history of the Nittany Lions football team, right?

Based on my near octogenarian memory and much research, which continues to this day, I'm not sure Penn State returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown had ever been done until Grant Haley did it last Saturday night late in the fourth quarter to upset No. 2 Ohio State. No Penn State player has ever done it inside Beaver Stadium, which opened in 1960.

You don't have to go too far back to find the last time Penn State blocked a punt for a touchdown, which also came against Ohio State. In the 2012 Penn State White Out clash in Beaver Stadium, Mike Hull blocked a Buckeye punt that fellow linebacker Michael Yancich recovered in the end zone for the score.

For the last 20 years, I have been researching Penn State football, studiously reading about every game. I have been at many of those games since my first one in 1955, either as a member of the media or simply a fan. I remember seeing only one other blocked kick run in for a touchdown and it was by Penn State's opponent, UCLA, in 1967 at Beaver Stadium. From my research, I found just one other game where a blocked kick resulted in an immediate touchdown, and that also was by an opponent, Penn, in 1908. 

There was a blocked kick by Penn State in 1906 that should have been a touchdown but wasn't because the player who recovered it ran the wrong way, in what is one of the more bizarre moments in college football history. Also, in 1974, Penn State had a field goal attempt blocked by West Virginia, but amazingly scored on the play.

I covered the 1967 UCLA game for Pittsburgh's Channel 11 television station. UCLA was No. 3 in the nation, led by quarterback Gary Beban, who would go on that season to win the Heisman and Maxwell trophies. Coach Joe Paterno was in his second year as head coach, and despite a surprising 17-8 win over favored Miami in the Orange Bowl the week before UCLA's visit, Paterno was still feeling the heat from his 5-5 finish in 1966 and a season opening 23-22 loss at Navy.

With six minutes left in the third quarter, and Penn State holding a surprising 7-3 lead over the Bruins, star running back Bobby Campbell went back to punt with the Lions at their own 25-yard line. UCLA's Vic Lepisto blocked the punt and it bounced into the end zone where tackle Hal Griffiths recovered. The game went down to the last minute with Penn State scoring and trying an onside kick that failed and UCLA escaped with a 17-15 victory. 

The narrow setback to UCLA would be the last loss for Penn State until 1970 as the Nittany Lions went on to set a team record that still stands of 31consecutive games without a defeat. 

The blocked kick in 1908 against the Quakers cost Penn State the game. It was on Oct. 10 in Philadelphia, with 7,000 fans watching at legendary Franklin Field and once again Penn State was surprising the heavily favored opponent. With the game still scoreless and about five minutes left, freshman Vic Ballou dropped back to punt from inside the Penn State 10-yard line. Penn's Fred Gaston recovered the blocked kick for the touchdown and Penn stopped a last minute Penn State drive near its 20-yard line to win, 6-0. Penn didn't lose a game that season, winning 11 and tying one. Meanwhile Penn State would finish 5-5 and in the next four years would become one of the best teams in the country, with the undefeated in 1911 and 1912 teams now recognized by some historians as national champions.

What happened on Oct. 20, 1906 against Yale in New Haven was almost unbelievable. Although both teams were undefeated, Penn State was again a big underdog. The rain started before the opening kickoff and with just five minutes into the game, Penn scored on a 39-yard run off a fumbled Penn State punt return to take a 6-0 lead.  A short time later, Penn State's veteran center-linebacker William "Mother" Dunn broke through and blocked a Yale punt at its 40-yard line. Sophomore guard Cy Cyphers scooped up the ball as it bounced into the air and ran towards the goal line. All at once he was in the clear and goal line was getting closer. Then he looked back and saw his teammates waving their arms and screaming something at him. Suddenly, he realized he was running the wrong way!

Cyphers turned and started going back but it was too late. He was smothered by several Yale tacklers at about the Penn State 20-yard line. Yale took advantage of Cyphers faux pas and kicked a field goal (worth four points then) and that would end the scoring for the day. Yale's 10 points would be the only ones scored on Penn State that season and the team finished with an 8-1-1 record, best in Penn State football's short 20-year history to that point. Yale wound up undefeated and unscored upon but tied in nine games and is considered at least the co-national champions of the season.

However, it was the Penn game that made Dunn Penn State's original first-team All-American. Walter Camp, the former Yale coach and patriarch of college football, was there, but he was more than a spectator. Since 1889 (and for years after) Camp had selected the bonafide All-American team. After the season, Camp chose Dunn as his center, writing in Collier's Magazine, "...it was he who led his team to such a remarkable record, a good deal of it depending on Dunn himself."  Of course, Dunn became a Penn State legend while "Wrong-way Cyphers" disappeared into Penn State history. 

In the Nittany Lions' 1974 game at West Virginia, the Mountaineers blocked John Reihner's field goal attempt from the 17-yard-line in the third quarter. West Virginia's John Eastwood tried to pick up the ball, but it bounced into the end zone, where Eastwood again tried to corral it. Penn State's Ron Coder pounced on the loose ball for the bizarre touchdown en route to a 21-12 Nittany Lion win on October 26, 1974.

In one play against Ohio State, Grant Haley has become a Penn State luminary and a unique one in school history. Now the question is, will fans remember Marcus Allen, who blocked that Buckeye kick? 

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Six Penn State men's soccer seniors will take to the pitch for their home finale at Jeffrey Field Tuesday night.

Penn State faces Wright State as the Nittany Lions look to notch their eighth home victory of the season and conclude yet another successful home slate of games. For the seniors, this game means extra given the sentimental nature of Senior Night. Senior Night honors all the hard work on and off the field, the memories, and the progression throughout their own individual collegiate careers.

"It's great to recognize that we appreciate their efforts," said Penn State head coach Bob Warming.

The six seniors on the team came from very different walks of life, and different locations throughout the country. Seniors Connor Maloney, Mason Klerks and Evan Finney call themselves "The Big Three," since they're the three remaining from their original recruiting class. Seniors Robby Sagel, Riley Grant and Malik Cameron joined the Nittany Lions differently, as transfers.

They've all come together to gel as a giant family and see each other as brothers, according to Finney. Most importantly the senior class is made up of young men who have grown athletically, academically and socially during time at Penn State.

Warming calls the group of seniors a great representative of Penn State on the field, off the field, and in the classroom. On the field, they've taken their soccer skills and fitness levels to new heights with a high work ethic and with the support of outstanding coaches and athletic trainers within the program.

"Each one of the seniors has brought something tremendous to the program in their own way," said Warming. "They've taken advantage of everything Penn State has to offer."

Team captain Maloney has taken advantage of everything Penn State has to offer and more. Maloney is a special talent evolved his game from being a right back as a freshman to an attacking forward as a senior. He has scored seven goals and added four assists in his final season wearing the blue and white. The Harrisburg, Pa. native has been a vital player for Penn State, scoring 26 goals and adding 16 assists for a total of 68 points in his career. Maloney is a two-time All-Big Ten First Team honoree and 2014 Big Ten Player of the Year.

"He's improved his passing, shooting, dribbling and fitness remarkably," said Warming.

Since Maloney came on campus in the summer of the freshman year, he's been building upon his social skills which has led to him being named team captain. He credits former player (now assistant coach) Owen Griffith and former player Mikey Minutillo for showing him what makes it takes to be a standout leader.

"I've taken more responsibility as a leader on and off the field," said Maloney.

The second member of "The Big Three," Finney has been strong in goal throughout his career for "Goalkeeper U." The San Francisco, Calif. native earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice in his senior season and has posted three shutouts, with two of those have come after bouncing back from an injury.

He looks to build upon his favorite memories with a postseason run this season. He remembers vividly in 2013 when the Nittany Lions beat Northwestern in double overtime for the Big Ten regular season championship then later in the year upset UC Santa Barbara in front of a huge crowd at Santa Barbara in the NCAA Tournament to send the Nittany Lions to the Sweet 16. With another semester remaining, Finney is excited to treasure even more moments.

"I have another semester left and I'm going to take full advantage of it," Finney said. "I love Penn State."

Sagel, a transfer defender and Las Vegas, Nev. native has played in 31 matches with 30 starts on the backline for the Blue and White. His two career goals came in crucial moments against then-No. 10 Indiana in 2015 and then-No. 19 Michigan State this year. Sagel has been a pillar for the defense which has posted 10 shutouts in his two years at Penn State.

He faces offensive challenges from forwards on the field but he's also been challenged in the classroom. He said it's better prepared him for the future. As for Senior Night, he said he's going to be emotional but it's not going to distract from the game at stake.

"It's sad to think about," said Sagel. "I think those feelings will come in the moment. Instead of it being the end for the seniors, I think it's the start of a run."

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

Big Ten Coaches Teleconference - Terry Smith

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant head coach and cornerbacks coach Terry M. Smith joined the Big Ten Head Coaches Teleconference in place of Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin this afternoon.

Smith took questions from members of the media, recapping Penn State's victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State last weekend, while also looking ahead to the trip to Purdue Saturday.

Check out updates from the Q&A session below.

Being ranked for the first time in five seasons, is there any change in terms of your game week strategy?
Smith: No, we're going to approach it as business as usual. We work under the belief that the next game is the most important game, no matter who your opponent is. I think there is just a little bit more excitement. Our kids, have bought into the process the entire year and after a game like this past weekend, the process becomes - I don't want to say easier, but the buy in is even greater. Our kids are excited for this week.  For us personally, we haven't won a game on the road so it will be a good test for us to get our first road victory.

What are your impressions of Purdue's David Blough, as he has led the Big Ten in passing yards at 306 per game?
Smith: He can throw the ball, he has some very good receivers on the perimeter, some guys who are fast and athletic, who create challenges for us out on the perimeter. When you watch him play the last few weeks, I think he has thrown for over 300 yards the last two games. He is very accurate, he throws a good ball - a catchable ball, and you can see him directing the offense. He got off to a pretty good start after the first play last week, but after that they got it together. We have our work cut out for us and we're going to figure out how to slow him down and keep the pass game to a minimum.

How critical has Marcus Allen been over the last few weeks with his ability as you have waited to get healthy at linebacker?Smith: He has been huge.  A few weeks ago he had 22 tackles in the ball game and then obviously blocking the kick and making a lot of tackles this past weekend. He is doing what we would expect of him. We knew he was a special player for us a few years ago when he started midway through his freshman season. He has taken on a leadership role on our team and he is doing a lot of leading by example and producing pretty good results for us.

How much more versatile can this defense be moving forward, considering a guy like Koa Farmer has kind of gotten involved while waiting for [Brandon] Bell and Jason [Cabinda] to get back?
Smith: The one good thing is that we've built some depth through the injury situation, so we have some guys who have good, viable playing experience, that can come off the bench and keep guys fresh. The guys who have come off the bench are probably a little bit more athletic, just not as much playing experience. It gives us some options and it gives us the ability to change our scheme slightly, depending on who our opponent is.  The last few weeks we've started to jell a little bit. Each week we're playing a little bit better and better.

With the return of Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda, how crucial were they in the win Saturday and how much of a boost do they give the defense moving forward?
Smith: They give us a tremendous boost, when you talk about two veteran players who have played a lot of football for Penn State. Their leadership, most importantly, they are getting guys lined up and making sure there's the right calls, the right checks. Then for the two of them to go out there and have 31 tackles, we've missed that. We've missed their direction and their leadership. We just want to try to make sure those guys stay healthy and stay active and try to continue to lead us in a good direction.

On Jordan Smith, what does his experience mean to the team and your secondary group and what are your thoughts on his play down the stretch against Ohio State?
Smith: Jordan has played a huge role for us, coming off the bench in certain roles. He has made tremendous plays for us the last few weeks, including the pass breakup on the last series of our defense. His veteran savviness, he's a great leader in the cornerback room. All the other corners look to him. He is kind of that wise, older spokesman. He has been around the block, he doesn't get too high and doesn't get too low. He understands what his role on our football team is and when he's asked to contribute, he is contributing greatly for us. He has had some good success for us here in the last few weeks and we hope for that to continue here in the last few weeks.

Coming off of a big win that coincided with 75 prospects in attendance, how do you think that showcased Penn State?
Smith: The greatest thing is that we defended our home turf. We always want to win games at home. It was a pretty electric atmosphere. We hope that we impacted one or two recruits for the future, but all we can do is try to take care of business on the football field. We're just worried about one more game and that's Purdue this week. We're trying to keep our focus right on those guys because if we turn around and lay an egg against Purdue, then what good is that victory last weekend?

How many times since Saturday have you watched Grant Haley's touchdown off of the blocked field goal and how have to seen him develop as a corner this year?
Smith: I watched it probably two times through film study, just when I'm grading the film. Once the game is over and we review the film, it's time to move on. Purdue is our next test so that's for the fans to continue to watch and to continue to Tweet and those things. Our mission and purpose right now is 100 percent Purdue.

Obviously the play on Saturday was a huge play for Penn State football this year and maybe one of the biggest plays in the history of Penn State football. He [Haley] has developed into a great corner, he competes at a high level and he covered exceptionally well against arguably some of the best receivers in the nation and he has done that all year. He competes at a high level. He is a smart kid. He is fundamentally sound and he makes very few mistakes. He is just developing into a great leader, player and person for us here at Penn State.

Nittany Lions Ready for 10-Game Homestand

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's hockey team (3-1-1) won't have to set foot on a plane or bus en route to an away game until January 2017, thanks to the remaining five series' of the fall semester taking place at Pegula Ice Arena.

Road games provide bonding opportunities for the team, allowing student-athletes to get to know one another away from the familiar environment of State College. Such road contests, especially early on in a season, test the team's mental toughness.

"You deal with different beds, different rinks, different locker rooms, different itineraries," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "I like doing that early because you sort of get trained in the fact that you can't worry about what you can't control."

Gadowsky then noted that the upcoming stretch of home games keeps his players focused when in Hockey Valley.

Penn State will open a stretch of more than 30 days at home in Happy Valley, beginning with Canisius Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29. After spending the entire month of November at home in the friendly confines of Pegula Ice Arena, the Nittany Lions will close out the homestand with the first two Big Ten games of the season, welcoming Michigan Thursday, Dec. 1 and Friday, Dec. 2. The conference opener against the Wolverines Thursday evening will broadcast live on ESPNU.

As a contrast to numerous road series', the comforts of home at Pegula are nice: familiar facilities, familiar faces, and a home ice advantage that stems from the backing of the best student section in the country.

The Roar Zone, recently named by ESPN's John Buccigross as one of the top student sections in the country, consistently makes Pegula's atmosphere one of the most feared by visiting team goaltenders. At the same time, it provides an overwhelming sense of welcome for the Nittany Lions. The backing of a home crowd, with the volume overwhelming opponents unfamiliar to such intensity, makes Pegula a dangerous place for visiting teams.

"There's no better place to play," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "We love it, the guys love it, they're looking forward to it, so are the coaches, it's a great thing." 

A familiar game day routine is also important for the Nittany Lions. Since they aren't faced with unfamiliar venues, the pregame activities of sewer ball and stick taping can go uninterrupted. 

With 10 home contests between now and winter break, the Nittany Lions are eager to use the time at home to their advantage.

Haleigh Washington - Excellence in Efficiency

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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUSports.com Student Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Across the more than two seasons Haleigh Washington has been on the Penn State women's volleyball team, she has been one of the most efficient middles in the country. At a position that demands efficiency, Washington excels at making the most of the opportunities given. Her stats, a career .453 hitting percentage and multiple national accolades speak for themselves, but Washington's play is so much more than just the numbers.

Washington's freshman year was filled with success. She was a unanimous first team All-Big Ten selection. She garnered Big Ten Freshman of the Year recognition and along with that, she was a vital part of Penn State's national championship season. As a sophomore, Washington finished third in the nation in hitting percentage, was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection and also an AVCA First Team All-American. This season, the third of Washington's incredible career, she is once again in line for numerous accolades and paces the Nittany Lions with a .463 hitting percentage, which is third best in the nation. Her stats speak for themselves, but Washington's play is still so much more than just the numbers.

Washington is regarded as a fan favorite on the team. She often receives the loudest cheers during home matches and can be found giving high fives to the entirety of the Rec Hall pep band after matches. For the amount of attention and praise Washington receives, her ability to stay humble and her passion to continuously improve are possibly the most impressive attributes about her. If you ask Washington, she has been good, but she can be so much better. 

"I think I got a little bit lucky my freshman season," Washington said. "I just went out there and played volleyball and didn't really 'think the game.' My last season and this one also, I feel like I've been able to "think the game" much better and know when to hit what shots. But even with that there are some things that I still want to improve on.

Washington credits her ability to "think the game" to much of the success she has had on the court. In both hitting percentage and blocking, Washington is among the nation's elite. However, if you ask the Penn State middle blocker, she doesn't necessarily consider herself one of the most physically dominant players.

"I think there a good amount of middles who are more athletic and who hit harder than me," Washington said. "I've really learned to take what the block is giving me and use that to my advantage. I don't hit the ball nearly as hard as someone like Simone [Lee] so I have to get kills a different way.

Though Washington may not see herself as a top middle in the nation, nearly everyone else, including Penn State associate head coach Salima Rockwell, see Washington as one of the best at her position.

"I think what makes Haleigh so good is not just how smart she is but also her energy," Rockwell said. "You see it on the court when she takes a big swing and you see it in the huddle and even when she comes in for something like film, she always has a great energy about her."

Washington's energy has translated to great success on the court as she is one of the most efficient players in the nation. She also has transformed herself into one of the premier defenders at the net. Coming into college, Washington said her blocking was a big part of her game she wanted to improve on.

"She admittedly was not great at blocking coming in to college," Rockwell said. "But she has improved so much. She moves better laterally. I think she reads the game much better now as well and she gets up and over the net quicker too. That's definitely something she has really improved on." 

The transition to college and into one of the nations best middle blockers has been challenging for Washington. However, this season she is facing what she says might be one of the biggest challenges yet, becoming one of the vocal leaders on court leaders. 

"With this year's team, it's not just me playing volleyball," Washington said. "It's me having responsibilities and being a leader and making sure that I'm always doing my job to help the team."

Rockwell also acknowledged the transition for Washington and says that she has done a tremendous job stepping in to the newer role.

"She's trying to figure out how to manage the team and what to say when," Rockwell said. "She's great at saying the right thing and she's getting even better at that when she has to speak off the cuff. She has been a tremendous leader for us this season."

Penn State Alumnus Climbing Minor League Ranks

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Major League Baseball draft is unlike any other in the realm of sports.

 

Roger Goodell calls the names of more than 250 lucky football prospects throughout seven rounds. The NBA draft features just two rounds and 60 total players. There's effectively no margin for error.

 

For the MLB, it's wildly different. Thousands of players every year get the call they've been dreaming of since they could barely fit a glove on their tiny hands.

 

One of those players is Penn State alumnus Johnny Walter, who got that call in 2012. The Kansas City Royals were on the line.

 

Walter was drafted in the 29th round and decided to forgo his senior season in Happy Valley to fulfill his lifelong dream. It was a moment he'll cherish forever, but he knows his journey is only beginning.

 

The minor league system can be a cruel process, knocking you down right when you thought you had a shot to surpass the next hurdle. The multitude of levels and constant traveling can be as taxing on someone as a regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job.

 

It takes years to climb from one level to the next. Just ask Walter.

 

He has played for various teams in four different levels of minor league ball and was released twice in his four years in the system. But he kept fighting.

 

Walter was picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals a full year after being released from the Cincinnati Reds in 2015 and has finally found a home, he says.

 

Walter reached Double-A for the Springfield Cardinals this past summer. He bounced around from Single-A to Double-A and back, but he's currently still with Springfield.

 

"I learned basically my first outing in Double A that they just don't miss fastballs," Walter said. "They're a lot more discipline hitters. It's the biggest jump I've experienced so far from high A to double A."

 

For Walter, the nonstop jumping around from team to team and city to city isn't all that bad. He has relished the opportunity to play in historic places like Lexington, Kentucky for the Royals and Springfield, Missouri for the Cardinals.

 

Throughout his minor league career, Walter has posted a 13-14 record to the tune of a 3.86 ERA. He has struck out 166 batters in 200.2 innings on the hill.

 

Although Walter has made strides to climb the ranks in the minors, he's still working toward achieving his goals off the field. Walter is currently back on campus working toward finishing his degree in supply chain with a minor in MIS.

 

Walter is in the midst of his final semester. It has taken some time because the baseball season eats up a chunk of the school schedule, but Walter is determined to finish what he started six years ago.

 

"I definitely just value my education and I think that's something my parents instilled in me when I was younger, so just to work hard and finish what you start anyway."

 

Failure is not something anyone wants to have in their mind when working toward their dreams, but the harsh reality of the minor leagues puts players in the position to take into account life after baseball.

 

Walter doesn't know when that'll come, but when it does he'll be prepared to lift himself back up and conquer the world from a different perspective.

 

"I definitely know I need a backup plan because even if I'm in the big leagues next year and have a 10-year career, that's just 10 years of your life," Walter said. "And that's a very long career, too, so it's always good to have a backup plan."

 

Walter has been working out with the Penn State team while in town. He can be found in the weight room or studying, sometimes right in the locker room.

 

Head coach Rob Cooper arrived in State College a year after Walter departed for the minors, so he was never able to coach him. Cooper has only been accustomed to Walter through his workouts at Medlar Field and his presence in the locker room in the offseason, but that presence is extremely valued by him and the team.

 

"He does a really good job of talking to [the current players] about what pro ball is like and he's a very determined guy," Cooper said. "I wish I would've gotten to coach him."

 

Cooper has never seen Walter in game action, but simply watching him throw a few bullpens has Cooper optimistic about Walter's future.

 

"He has got a chance," Cooper said. "He has just got to keep going out there when he gets his opportunities and getting it done. If he does that he's got a chance to continue to play."    

VIDEO: Men's Ice Hockey Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky took time to recap last weekend's trip to Notre Dame, while also previewing the next few weeks at home. Nittany Lions Trevor Hamilton, Andrew Sturtz and Dylan Richard also took time to review the week and look ahead. 

Check out the updates from each session below. 

Guy Gadowsky

Hamilton, Sturtz, Richard

Monday Notebook: Quick Look at Penn State Comeback History

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Penn State's victory Saturday has certainly earned its place among historic wins in program history. Rallying back from behind by 14 points, the Nittany Lions completed their largest fourth-quarter comeback since at least 1967, taking down then-No. 2 Ohio State.

On the way to a No. 24 ranking in the Associated Press Poll, Penn State earned its positioning in the Top 25 poll for the first time since week 15 of the 2011 season.

Penn State upended Ohio State's Urban Meyer for the first time in the month of October throughout his entire tenure with the Buckeyes.
 

On the year, Penn State has now come back from double figure deficits in two of its last three games, outscoring the Golden Gophers 20-10 in the second half to force overtime before clinching the win.

 

The 14-point comeback is the largest in a Big Ten game and at home since the Nittany Lions rebounded from a three-touchdown deficit against Northwestern November 6, 2010 at home in Beaver Stadium.

 

Further back a little bit, Penn State rallied back from a 37-17 third-quarter deficit to defeat Michigan State, 38-37, on the road in East Lansing Nov. 27, 1993. The Nittany Lions scored three touchdowns in a span of five minutes to engineer the close victory. Penn State scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, sacking Spartan quarterback Jim Miller three times in the final frame.

 

Against The Undefeated
Holding Ohio State scoreless in two quarters for the first time since the Michigan State game last year, Penn State put an end to Ohio State's perfect 6-0 record at the time of kickoff. Penn State has halted unbeaten opponents in each of the last three games, beating Minnesota and Maryland before the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions have played seven teams on the year that entered the matchup without a loss on the season.

 

Tackles For Loss
Penn State notched a season-high 11.0 tackles for loss in the win against Ohio State, marking the most for the Nittany Lions since taking down Maryland last year (11.0). The Nittany Lions have totaled at least 9.0 tackles for loss in all but one game this season, with double figure TFLs in each of the last two games. Last week, it was Garrett Sickels, who led the team with 3.5 tackles for a loss of 15 yards. Entering the week, Penn State is ranked fourth in the FBS 
standings and second in the conference with 9.0 tackles for loss per game on the year.

 

A Quick Look at Purdue
Guided by interim head coach Gerad Parker, the Boilermakers are 3-4 on the year and 1-3 in Big Ten play.  Parker will lead Purdue on to the field at Ross-Ade for the first time as head coach of the squad, since being elevated to the position Oct. 16, 2016. The Boilermakers have lost their last two consecutive conference outings, most recently falling to then-No. 8 Nebraska on the road in Lincoln. Purdue led the Cornhuskers at the half, 14-10, before Nebraska rallied back with 17 unanswered points in the second half to claim the win.

 

Penn State holds a 13-3 advantage in the all-time series against the Boilermakers, having won each of the last seven games dating back to 2005. The Nittany Lions will also make their first trip to West Lafayette since claiming a 34-9 win on the road in 2012.    

Freshmen Making an Impact on the Road

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - It was a power play goal that put Penn State (3-1-1) on the board in the first period Friday night at No.3/4 Notre Dame (3-2-1-). Freshman forward Nikita Pavlychev secured the puck off a deflection from sophomore forward Chase Berger and found the back of the net, giving the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead.

It was an outstanding play by the 6-foot-7 freshman, who has said before he wants to be known for something other than his size and physicality.

During Friday night's matchup, fellow freshman forward Denis Smirnov continued to put in the hard work and got the assist on two Dylan Richard goals in the second period.

The Nittany Lions tied the game with the Fighting Irish, 3-3. 

"We didn't have our best game Friday but we certainly came away from it knowing that we can play with Notre Dame," head coach Guy Gadowsky said.  "That gave us a lot of confidence, including all of our freshmen."

Saturday's game saw further progress by the freshmen class, who took what they saw during Friday's contest and applied it to the second showdown of the weekend.

Following a goal from forward James Robinson, freshman forward Nate Sucese gave the Nittany Lions the 2-1 lead, scoring at the beginning of the third period. Despite the Irish tying the game, the Nittany Lions were confident heading into overtime. 

A goal from sophomore forward Andrew Sturtz, assisted by two freshmen, secured Penn State's 3-2 overtime win. Forward Denis Smirnov and goaltender Peyton Jones were credited with the assists.

Jones, in addition to his assist, had an outstanding weekend between the pipes. The Langhorne, Pennsylvania native made 30 saves Friday, including several clutch saves during overtime. Again facing down a relentless Notre Dame offense on Saturday, Jones made 26 saves.

"[Peyton Jones] played extremely calm, that was a huge save [in overtime]," Gadowsky said following Friday's game. "If you watch him nothing bothers him and I think that is a tremendous quality in a goalie."

The Nittany Lions have grown significantly as a team in just the three road contests so far this season. Now Penn State comes home for five home series before seeing a road matchup again in January.

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By Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight once said that "Good basketball always starts with good defense." This holds true today in the realm of collegiate women's basketball when five of the nation's top 10 ranked teams also ranked in the top 20 of field-goal percentage defense last season and another two teams ranked inside the top 50.

 

If teams want to beat the best, they need to have players who can lock down opposing attackers in order to force turnovers and give their offense more opportunities to get points on the board. As the Penn State Lady Lions aspire to get their program to the next level, they bring aboard a freshman in Siyeh Frazier who looks to provide a spark on the defensive side of the ball.

 

Frazier hails from the motor city of Detroit, Mich. where she attended Renaissance High School. In her four years with the Renaissance, Frazier was a four-year letter winner and put up big numbers on the court. In her high school career, she tallied over 1,200 points, 300 steals and 200 assists, all the while maintaining a 3.2 GPA. As a captain, Frazier embodied her leadership role and made sure she was vocal in her efforts to help make the team better through both direction and support.

 

She capped it all off with an incredibly impressive senior season that saw her average 20.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game. Her incredible play in her final season of high school made her a well-deserving finalist for the title of Michigan Miss Basketball as well as a First Team All-State selection in both her junior and senior years.

 

ESPN ranked her as the No. 22 prospect at her respective position of guard in the 2016 recruiting class. The sports media outlet evaluated her from her participation in the 2015 Nike Midwest Showdown and touted her as an "athletic off-guard with quick 1st-step attack" who also is "physical" on the drive and on defense.

 

It was almost a full year ago when Frazier announced her commitment to Penn State amongst her peers at her high school. Amongst her many reasons for deciding to make the trip all the way to Happy Valley, the guard said the coaches were a big reason why she decided to wear the Blue and White.

 

"One thing that made me really want to come here was the coaching staff. They're amazing, especially coach [Coquese Washington], she cares more about us than actually playing."

 

Coach Washington was struck by Frazier's level of overall athletic ability coming out of high school and saw her as a player who could make a lasting impact for the Lady Lions. She announced at media day that she expects an immediate impact from both Frazier and fellow freshman Jaida Travascio-Green. Frazier says that coach expects her to play hard, play good defense and do her best all the time.

 

"Siyeh Frazier is an incredible athlete, she's a defensive dynamo," Washington said on what made her want to bring Frazier into the program. "She really gets after it on the defensive end of the floor and is able to get to the basket and be explosive in that respect."

 

The freshman now is in the process of taking her talents and transitioning them into the college game. The next level can sometimes be demanding for new players since it demands a lot more from the student-athletes than at the high school level where athleticism is often enough for athletic players to get by.

 

Frazier says her transition, while challenging, has been rather smooth. Not only has she had a solid level of support from her teammates and coaching staff, but for the first time over the summer, the program was able to hold full-length practices. Coach Washington says she believes the practices were able to help the freshmen like Frazier out the most as a way to ease into this next level.

 

"They got to kind of get thrown into the fire in terms of understanding how much information it is on the college level," Washington said. "How many plays we have, thinking about all the defenses, all the out-of-bounds plays; so being able for them to be able to have that experience in the summer just made it easier for them to transition to the college game."

 

Being able to comfortably adapt to her new environment has given the freshman the ability to focus on what she does best, and that's leaving it all out on the floor.


When asked what she expects to contribute to the team this season, her response was, "
Bringing energy, playing hard and doing anything they need me to do."

Last year in an interview with MLive.com, the then-senior said she finds her game to also be very "versatile" and even "clutch."

 

"I'm able to adjust very well, play through a lot of adversities and do things when it's needed," Frazier said.

 

Next Friday will mark the official start to the season for Frazier and the Penn State, where she will look to pick up where she left off at Renaissance by leaving an impression out on the hardwood, all the while beginning a new chapter in her young career as one of the newest members of the Lady Lions.

Moments & Takeaways From the Ohio State Victory

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9518826.jpegBy Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football's thrilling 24-21 win against No. 2 Ohio State in front of the Penn State White Out crowd of more than 107,000 was nothing short of spectacular Saturday night. 

A quick scan of the stat sheet doesn't reflect all the usual numbers and figures of a historic performance though, as the Nittany Lions gritted out their first win against a Top 2 team at home since toppling No. 2 Nebraska, 27-23, in 1982. 

Inside of the stat sheet, here's a look at the five impact moments and the collection of Nittany Lions who helped engineer the comeback win against the Buckeyes.

Key Chunk Plays
As Head Coach James Franklin mentions nearly every week, maintaining an advantage in explosive plays is key to success in any game. Penn State posted 10 plays of 20 or more yards against Ohio State, limiting the Buckeyes to six in the victory, including just two in the first half. 

Penn State ended the first half with a critical scoring drive to arrive within 12-7 moving the ball 74 yards on seven plays in just over a minute. Trace McSorley found Chris Godwin on third-and-8 for 19 yards before connecting with DaeSean Hamilton with less than 30 seconds to play in the half to position Penn State on the 20-yard line. McSorley then hit Godwin again, this time for 20-yards in the end zone and his third touchdown catch of the season. 

Sparking the fourth quarter comeback, Penn State moved the ball 90 yards in less than 1:30 on five plays, highlighted by Barkley's 37-yard dash before Saeed Blacknall's 35-yard grab put McSorley in position for the 2-yard touchdown rush. 

Perhaps no chunk play was bigger than Grant Haley's 60-yard touchdown return off of the Ohio State blocked field goal attempt though, as he scooped the ball and hauled into the end zone for the winning touchdown. 

"Knowing Grant, I was assuming he wasn't going to get caught," McSorley said. "The kicker was getting on him. I told him if you would have gotten caught by the kicker I would have never let you live that down."

More from Haley, who returned Penn State's first touchdown off a blocked field goal since at least 1960, below.

Allen's Blocked Field Goal 

Penn State blocked its first field goal since the quadruple overtime victory against then-No. 18 Michigan in 2013, as Marcus Allen leapt into the air to block Tyler Durbin's 47-yard kick attempt late in the fourth quarter.

Allen said postgame that his first career blocked field goal attempt came on the second try, as he jumped high and over in the first quarter before receiving an adjustment from special teams coordinator Charles Huff.

"I said 'where am I supposed to be to block the kick,' and he said, 'if they are on the right hash, they are going to try to kick it onto the defense's left guard because it's on the uprising,'" Allen said. "I went with the adjustment Coach Huff gave me and I blocked it." 


Brown Blocks First Career Punt
True freshman linebacker Cam Brown blocked his first career punt to mark the first blocked punt for a Nittany Lion since Von Walker did so against Michigan last year. A six-foot-five linebacker, Brown reached his hand high to swat the Ohio State punt attempt as Troy Apke swooped in for the recovery. Penn State's field goal on the next drive lifted the Nittany Lions within four, 21-17 with less than 10 minutes to play. 

"Coach Huff told me to go get a punt earlier and block it and I was so close so I thought I had to go again, but he called off the block the second time and my instinct told me to go," Brown said. 

Hear more from Brown below. 
Cabinda and Bell Return to Lead Linebacker U
Returning to the lineup after missing the last few games due to injury, linebackers Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell both made major statements in their return Saturday. 

Bell led the team with a career-high 18 tackles, while Cabinda finished second on the team with 13. The disruptive duo combined for 3.0 tackles for loss with one sack each. Bell sacked Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett once in the first quarter, while Cabinda brought Barrett down for a loss of 13 yards in a critical third-and-10 situation on Ohio State's final drive of the game. 

Hear more from Cabinda following his first game back.

Dangerous Defensive Line

Nittany Lion defensive ends Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan were key components in Penn State's ability to control the line of scrimmage. Schwan combined with Sickels for a 9-yard sack in the third quarter before pairing up with defensive tackle Kevin Givens to follow Cabinda with Penn State's second consecutive sack in the final Buckeye scoring attempt, clinching the victory. 

In total, the Penn State defensive line combined for 7.0 of the Nittany Lions' 11.0 tackles for loss, which is the most the Buckeyes have surrendered since giving up 11.0 against Alabama on Jan. 1, 2015. The defensive line also accounted for 4.0 of Penn State's 6.0 sacks, led by an all-around career high effort from Sickels (9 tackles, 2.50 sacks and 3.5 TFL), who entered in the second half. Entering the game, the Buckeyes had yielded just five sacks on the season. The Nittany Lions had five sacks in the second half alone and six total.

VIDEO: Postgame Players - Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Nittany Lions Trace McSorley, Chris Godwin, Saquon Barkley, Brandon Bell, Jason Cabinda and Grant Haley recap the stunning Nittany Lion 24-21 victory against No. 2 Ohio State at home in Beaver Stadium. 

VIDEO: Postgame James Franklin - Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin recaps the thrilling Nittany Lion 24-21 victory against No. 2 Ohio State at home in Beaver Stadium. 
   

Beaver Stadium Extra - Penn State vs. Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Go behind the scenes with Penn State Athletics on football gameday for exclusive interviews and a closer look at team arrival, Nittany Lion honorary captains, special recognitions and more. 


Team Arrival in a Penn State White Out Crowd

Penn State football pulled up just after 5:30 p.m. greeted by a Penn State White Out crowd and Nittanyville campers before heading into Beaver Stadium. Follow the Nittany Lions as they make their way into the stadium. 


360-Degree Fireworks Debut at Beaver Stadium!
 
For the first time in program history, fireworks illuminated the sky above Beaver Stadium in a full 360-degree display for Penn State White Out fans in the stands.

Honorary Captain: Penn State Football Alumnus Michael Robinson
 Current NFL Network broadcaster and founder of the Excel to Excellence Foundation, Nittany Lion standout Michael Robinson is this evening's honorary captain. The 2005 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year guided the Nittany Lions to the 2005 Big Ten Championship and an overtime win in the 2006 Orange Bowl.
An eight-year NFL veteran, Robinson played for the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. A 2011 Pro Bowl selection, he helped Seattle to a Super Bowl championship in 2014.

Honda Sports Award Recognition with Raquel "Rocky" Rodriguez 
Former Penn State women's soccer national champion Raquel "Rocky" Rodriguez returned to Happy Valley to receive recognition for being selected as a finalist for the 2015-16 Collegiate Athlete of the Year Award. Rodriguez was one of three finalists selected by a voting of nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools for consideration for the Honda Cup, presented by the Board of Directors of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) program.
Rodriguez earned numerous awards during her final campaign in 2015-16, capping off her career with the 2015 MAC Hermann Trophy, presented to the top collegiate soccer student-athlete nationally.

Undefeated 1986 National Championship Penn State Football Team Returns
Penn State's undefeated 1986 national championship team returned to Beaver Stadium for a special recognition. The 1986 season was capped by Penn State's dramatic 14-10 victory over No. 1 Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

Hear from former Nittany Lion running back DJ. Dozier on what it means to be back in Happy Valley.

The 1986 team produced many Penn State household names, including team captains Shane Conlan, John Shaffer, Bob White and Steve Smith. The squad also produced four All-Americans, as linebacker Conlan, tackle Chris Conlin, Dozier and defensive tackle Tim Johnson all were honored. Conlan, who made two interceptions in the title win over Miami, was a two-time first-team All-American.

2016 Gameday Live - Penn State vs. Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to our live, interactive coverage of the Penn State football season. The Nittany Lions are set to host second-ranked Ohio State under the lights in a Penn State White Out at Beaver Stadium! Follow along with us for live in-game updates and exclusive content.
Live Blog Penn State vs. No. 2 Ohio State
 

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State found itself in yet another double overtime match last night, and Friday night they were able to earn a victory, 3-2, over Rutgers on THON Night.

Penn State junior Aymar Sigue scored the game-winner late in the second overtime, which marked his second overtime game-winner of the season. In the last few games, Sigue and the rest of the forwards have had countless opportunities to score. Late in the second overtime, head coach Bob Warming told Sigue to go in and score; he did just that. Sigue helped the Nittany Lions bounce back from a late second half equalizing goal from Rutgers on a wet, dreary, windy night at Jeffrey Field.

"It just shows our persistence as a team," said Sigue. "Even though we could have done better defensively at the end of the second half, we still pulled through. As a team, we pulled together and said we're not going to lose at home. We were determined to keep our undefeated streak at home."

The Nittany Lions (7-6-2, 4-3-0 Big Ten) look to be playing their best soccer of the season, especially when they play on their home turf. Penn State holds a 7-2-1 record at Jeffrey Field. Penn State hasn't suffered a home setback since Sept. 27 against Temple.

Aside from playing well, Penn State has played three-straight double overtime games and eight games needing overtime. At this point of the season, the Nittany Lions are playing with even more determination in order to overcome exhaustion and injury.

"We are exhausted but we're a proud team," said Warming. "We kept battling tonight. I'm pleased to see how proud they are and determined they were for this one not to get away."

Team captain Connor Maloney repeated the same line as his coach.

"We're absolutely exhausted," said Maloney. "Yesterday, actually coach got us a couple massages. We were feeling good. We weren't going to feel absolutely 100 percent but we did all we could do to recover from the game a couple days ago. We did that well and played another double overtime game and got the win. This team is rolling right now. We're very happy but we're very exhausted."

Maloney was assisted off the field early in the second half with an ankle injury from a rough Rutgers slide tackle but his grit allowed him to get back on the field and ultimately score an important goal in the game.

"I didn't want to stay on the bench," said Maloney. "I hate watching from the sideline when I'm injured. I went back out there, gave it all I got and luckily I got a goal."

Maloney is a leader for Penn State and it rubs off on the rest of the team, especially freshman forward Frankie De La Camara. De La Camara feeds off of Maloney's ultra-competitive personality during training. He's caught up to speed of college soccer as he's been getting more playing time.

De La Camara, a prolific goal scorer from Florida, found the back of the net for his first career collegiate goal. Freshman Pierre Reedy dribbled into the middle of the box, passed it over to an open De La Camara on the left side of the box who took a shot from 18 yards out into the middle of the net.

"I'm finally getting a lot of minutes late in the season," said De La Camara. "It was big for the team that I scored. It was a great run by Pierre and I did the rest."

"Honestly, we have seen him score," said Warming. "This is no exaggeration; we have seen him score 100 of those in training, that same shot."

Despite long, physically taxing games, the Nittany Lions are getting contributions from players young and veteran. The common element of all is the will to win.

"The pride and determination to represent Penn State, to be the team that wins the tough, close game, that's those guys," said Warming.  "There's no coaching in that. That's them making the decision to do it and they're doing it."

Penn State looks keep up its winning ways and to get some much needed recovery before its Senior Night home regular season finale against Wright State on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State continues to churn out successful players who flourish in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).

 

Last season, 11 Penn State alumni suited up for seven different NWSL teams. Only North Carolina (15) and Florida State (14) had more representatives across the league.

 

Although collegiate soccer is the peak of most women's athletic careers, for some it's just a stepping stone. For those 11 former Nittany Lions, their experiences at Penn State readied them for their toughest challenge, the step up to the professional level.

 

Yes, technically they are former Nittany Lions. The transition from student to alumnus is a strange one for sure. But, even though every player must leave Penn State at some point, Penn State will never leave them.

 

Blue and White still courses the veins of all 11 women. It's evident in the way they still communicate, the way they support each other, and the ties they still have staked forever on Jeffrey Field.

 

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They are representing Penn State in the professional game and instilling the values they picked up in State College all over the country.

 

Most recently, Raquel (Rocky) Rodriguez and Britt Eckerstrom have entered the NWSL and carried the Penn State torch to Sky Blue FC and the Western New York Flash, respectively. They were both drafted earlier this year and have already made their mark one season in.

 

Their old head coach Erica Dambach watched the two Penn State legends all summer on YouTube as much as she could. Dambach still communicates with both women and was even at the draft for their big moment.

 

"One of the most amazing feelings as a coach is to watch that all play out, especially all the way through from the recruiting process to being at the draft and knowing that when they started with Penn State eight years prior that that was their goals and their dreams," Dambach said. "To know that we were just a small part of helping those dreams is the most gratifying thing that you can imagine."

 

Rodriguez was chosen second overall in January's draft by Sky Blue FC and wasted no time asserting herself in the league. She was voted Rookie of the Year after an impressive first season, becoming the first Sky Blue FC player to win the award.

 

"It means a lot because it's such a huge honor," Rodriguez said. "There's so many rookies that are competing for that and so many of them, if not all, are amazing soccer players. It motivates me to keep training harder, and it tells me that hard work pays off."

 

Rodriguez said she never expected to win the award and that it was a humbling accomplishment she will always cherish.

 

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"She's a winner. She makes other people better; better players, better people. They broke the mold with that one. She's the best and that smile is so infectious it just makes every day better," Dambach said on her former star. 

 

Rodriguez and her infectious smile started in 17 games, scored one goal on 22 shots and added one assist in her inaugural season.

 

For the last three weeks Rodriguez has been back in her home country of Costa Rica for some postseason vacation time. She has also been practicing with the Costa Rica national team as well.

 

Rodriguez will be returning to State College this weekend to begin her internship with Penn State Athletics on Monday. Dambach said she won't hesitate to use Rodriguez as a volunteer assistant coach while she's around.

 

Eckerstrom, who was drafted 26th overall by the Western New York Flash, played in three games in her first season. She posted the lowest goals allowed average of the three goalkeepers on the Flash in 2016.

 

After bringing Penn State its first National Championship, Eckerstrom clearly wasn't finished winning titles. Eckerstrom and the Flash won the NWSL Championship game, 3-2, against the Washington Spirit earlier this month.

 

Eckerstrom said her favorite part of her first season was being able to see old friends like Rodriguez, Whitney Church on the Spirit and Mallory Weber on the Portland Thorns.

 

"Obviously you're always busy in the middle of the season, but we're always talking to each other, giving each other a little congrats or a hard time for something," she said.  "I watch all the games so I'm always pumped to see them doing well."

 

Now in a backup role, Eckerstrom has learned how important it is to be a good teammate on the bench. Her supporting cast at Penn State was always there for her, so she is making it her mission to pay it forward and do the same for her teammates this year.

 

"When the camera panned to the bench and you see Britt Eckerstrom she's at the edge of her seat screaming her head off right there with her team," Dambach said. "All of the things that her teammates did for her while she was here that she never took for granted."

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Rodriguez and Eckerstrom have both followed the Penn State team closely all season, just as the team has followed their success. There's constantly a back-and-forth between former and current players that sets the Penn State culture apart from others like it.

 

Both had words of advice for the team as it's getting closer to beginning its road to repeat.

 

"Just be bold," said Rodriguez. "In a team sport, you just got to trust your teammates, and as long as everyone does their part, as long as everyone is bold and not afraid of anything, they can win. Just go for it."

 

"Don't let any outside voices set some sort of expectation for the team," said Eckerstrom. "I think your belief in everything should come from the team, and as far as you guys want to take it is as far as you guys can go."

 

Just as much as Rodriguez and Eckerstrom keep up with the team, the same goes both ways.

 

Charlotte Williams, who grew up in New York rooting for the Flash, went to Eckerstrom's first start as a pro to support her old teammate.

 

"The connections you make throughout the years, it never leaves," Williams said. "Once you're a part of this family you're a part of it forever. Even though they left, they're always going to be a part of the Penn State family."



Gameday Central | Gameday Blog | Game Notes Press Conference Roundup Wednesday Practice Updates Coach Limegrover Q&A Monday Notebook Nittany Lions in the NFL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Gameday has nearly arrived as Penn State remains home for its third consecutive outing, hosting No. 2 Ohio State under the lights at Beaver Stadium Saturday. 

Back from a restful bye week, the Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-1) are recharged and ready for a Penn State White Out, squaring off against the Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0) in a Big Ten East matchup set to broadcast live on ABC at 8 p.m.


Entering the week with wins in all four home outings this season, the Nittany Lions outlasted Minnesota, 29-26 in overtime, before downing Maryland, 38-14, both at home prior to the bye week.

Surrounded by a crowd decked out in white attire, the fan-favorite Penn State White Out will also return for another year, set to create its historically unrivaled environment, as per tradition.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early to take advantage of concession discounts and other college football games on the stadium video boards. All gates (except Gate C) open at 6 p.m. with Gate C opening at 6:30 p.m.

In his fifth season at the helm of the Ohio State program, head coach Urban Meyer has guided the Buckeyes to a 6-0 mark on the year, including a perfect 3-0 record in Big Ten play. Ohio State is fresh off a 30-23 comeback win in overtime at then-No. 8 Wisconsin last week in its first of four consecutive night games.

Entering Saturday's matchup averaging 49.3 points per game, Ohio State is also limiting its opponents 12.8 points per game, having surrendered just one rushing touchdown to date, coming against the Badgers last week.

The Buckeyes head to Happy Valley having won each of their last 20 road games, a school record that stands as the longest stretch nationally.

In a series that dates back to 1912, Ohio State holds an 18-13 lead in the all-time series. In the last meeting in Happy Valley, Penn State used a second-half rally to force overtime, before falling short in double overtime, 31-24.

"This is a tremendous challenge that we're facing all together and we're going to need the stadium to be the most difficult environment in the history of college football come Saturday night," Franklin said.

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What to Watch For - Penn State
1. Running back Saquon Barkley powered the Penn State rushing attack against Maryland, rushing for 202 of the Nittany Lions' 372 yards on the ground on a career-high 31 carries. Entering the week ranked fourth in Big Ten standings with 97.0 yards per carry, his nine touchdowns on the year is tops in the conference and 14th nationally. Last year, Barkley rushed for 194 yards on the road in Columbus in his first appearance against then-No. 1 Ohio State.

2. Meyer tabbed Penn State's deep group of wide receivers as by far one of the best groups his Buckeyes will face within the last two years. Each week a new Nittany Lion emerges from the talented group as 21 of Penn State's 49 long yardage plays have been through the air, with four resulting in a touchdown.

"We believe this is as good of a group of receivers that we've faced not just this year, but in a while," Meyer said earlier this week. 

3. Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley has also continued to develop as a threat not only in the air, but also on the ground as he ran for a career-high 81 rushing yards on 18 attempts against Maryland, which came on the heels of totaling 73 yards on the ground against Minnesota.

"We need Trace to continue to be a factor in the run game with scrambles, with design runs, with all those things," Franklin said earlier this week. "That needs to be a part of what we do and who we are from here on out."

What to Watch For - Ohio State
1. Ohio State is led by veteran quarterback J.T. Barrett, who recently became the Buckeyes' career leader in touchdown passes with 61. Barrett also presents a dual threat as a key component in Ohio State's run game. While leading the conference with a 159.3 passing efficiency, he is also averaging 72.3 rushing yards per game with a team-high six rushing touchdowns on the year.

"He can beat you with his experience and he can beat you with his accuracy and decision making and he can beat with you his legs," Franklin said. "Week-in and week-out and he's shown that he's able to do that and has been a problem for people for the last three years."

2. Boosted by Barrett, Ohio State's total ground game is tops in the conference as its rushing offense is averaging 300.5 yards per game, which ranks fourth nationally. Running back Mike Weber is averaging 102 yards on the ground per game, which is second in the Big Ten, while half back Curtis Samuel's 7.35 yards per carry is slotted second. Samuel also presents a threat in the Ohio State passing game as well, averaging a team-high 67.2 yards per game, with three touchdowns on the year. 

3. The Buckeyes are both talented and athletic as a defensive unit, having allowed just six touchdowns on the year, which is the fewest among FBS programs nationally. In the Wisconsin win, four defensive ends registered a sack against the Badgers, totaling a season-high mark. Safety Malik Hooker also leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the FBS standings with four interceptions on the season. Ohio State is also tops nationally in red zone defense (.625). 

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By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Junior twin cross country and track & field runners, Tim and John (Jack) McGowan, have been by each other's sides through it all.

 

The McGowan twins are from Northport, N.Y., and started their running careers around middle school after feeling slightly defeated trying out for other sports.

 

"I started running at 12 or 13. I only really cared about playing sports and music at the time," said Tim. "I walked into my lacrosse coach's office and he told me that I was "too small" to be on the team. I kept going out for other teams, but I was always the skinny guy."

 

When other sports didn't work out of the twins, they start running casually, and eventually found their place on the track team.

 

"My mom started encouraging me to run around the block to keep me occupied and out of trouble. My best friend told me to go for the track team, and by high school I just felt like I belonged," Tim added.

 

Tim ran all throughout high school and ended up being a 3,200-meter run state champion, a Long Island mile record holder, nine-time indoor county record holder, and five-time all-state. Nationally, he got third in the two-mile run at the 2014 New Balance Outdoor Nationals and was a six-time All-American.

 

John was a nine-time letter-winner in track and cross country, all-state and a three-time All-American. He finished 11th at the 2013 Nike Cross Country Championships and was a member of the 4xmile relay that broke the national record in 2014.

 

The twin brothers both ended up starting their collegiate running careers at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, but Tim quickly felt like he didn't belong there.

 

"There were some really nice people there, but pretty soon it was clear that it wasn't for me. I wanted a serious environment with teammates that will push me," said Tim. "Things aren't always what you think they will be and pretty soon I was training alone or just with Jack."

 

The first year running at Roger Williams was a huge wake up call for Tim and made him question his future in the sport.

 

"I felt pretty lost and disconnected from the sport. It wasn't an easy year, but I learned a lot about myself outside of running and it keeps me really grateful for everything the program has to offer here (at Penn State) and the teammates I have on both sides."

 

After running for a year at Roger Williams University, both Tim and Jack transferred to run for the Penn State cross country and track & field teams.

 

"Having Jack on the team feels normal to me. I was pretty scared to transfer, but having him here made it feel like less of a drastic move. Our friends, family and hometown on Long Island were so good to us in high school that it makes me feel like were both representing New York and bringing that pride with us wherever we go," said Tim.

 

Although competition would seem to be a natural thing between twins, they don't see each other as anything more than just another member on the team. 

 

"Jack and I have a good training thing going but at practice I don't think of him as much different than any of the other guys on the team," said Tim. "While he may be my brother and look kind of similar to me, we're a pretty close team and looking at him in a workout feels the same to me as looking at anyone else on the team. We're all going in the same direction and for the same goal." 

 

Tim is now one of the men's 2016 cross country captains and the top-finisher on the team. Jack is top-five runner for the team, and finished third on the team at the team's last meet (the Penn State National Open).

 

The McGowan twins and the rest of the Nittany Lions will be in action next at the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis, MN, on Sunday, Oct. 30th.

 

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Senior defenseman Kelly Seward has long been a centerpiece of the Penn State program, playing in at least 35 games in every season she's had so far in Happy Valley. She has come a long way in her development since arriving on campus in 2013, but one thing that has remained constant is her commitment to the program.

"I wouldn't have rather been at any other school," Seward said. "It's been a great experience just being able to play with all the girls I've played with, play in these awesome facilities under  (head coach) Josh [Brandwene]. I'm really going to miss it."

As someone who prides herself in academic performance, Seward has been on the All-CHA academic team in all three seasons as well as being named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar each of the last two years.

"She has contributed so much in so many ways over her four years," Brandwene said. "It started from day one when she was a freshman. As great a hockey player and student as she is, she's even that much a better person. To me, that's what makes a great Penn Stater and she is a great Penn Stater." 

Junior Bella Sutton has been Seward's partner on defense for three years and says her off-ice time around Seward has produced many fun experiences.

"Probably a lot of things [come to mind]," Sutton said. "Kelly and I have been lucky enough to play D together and I feel like we just make the D-side of the bench a lot of fun. We like to sing songs together, keeping it fun on the bench."

"There was one time the song 'Bang Bang' by Jessie J was popular," Seward said. "We just like looked at each other and we just said 'bang.' But we just started singing at the same time. It was really weird. It was like telepathy or something."

"Before every game, when we go out for the first period, we always give a little fist bump, do a secret handshake, so that's something," she added.

On the ice, Brandwene has been eager to heap praise on Seward, lauding her improvement throughout her time at Penn State.

"Her play has gotten better and better every single year," Brandwene said. "She's been that much more well-rounded, that much more dominant and she is off to such a good start, and she is going to go on to do great things this year."

Seward has certainly been a leader this season, especially for the younger defensemen making the transition to college athletics.

"As the senior member of the D-corps, someone who is committed to her craft on both sides of the puck, being involved offensively and taking care of her defensive responsibilities, she's a great role model for the whole D-corps," Brandwene said. 

"The freshmen have done really great this year and we have eight of them," Seward said. "Just by looking at how we've been doing as a team, it definitely reflects how they're doing. I'm really excited."

 With the majority of her season left, Seward is beginning to reminisce about her time as a Nittany Lion, but she also keeps her eyes on her personal goals and goals for the team.

"I really want to, every practice, every period, every shift just not take for granted that this could be my last year playing hockey," Seward said. "Just love every moment of it. And I would like to get a CHA championship out of it."

Winning a CHA championship has been a goal from the first day of practice for this Penn State team as conference play is less than two weeks away.

Aside from a championship, Seward can see a diploma in her future as well. She is on pace to graduate in the spring with a degree in geography.

Seward will not be the first hockey player in her family to graduate from college, as her brother, David, laced up for Nazareth College before receiving his certificate.

Seward's squad hits the road this weekend for a series at UConn before traveling to RIT next week to open CHA play.

Matt Limegrover Q&A - Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football and No. 2 Ohio State are set for a Big Ten East matchup Saturday at 8 p.m. in Beaver Stadium.

Nittany Lion offensive line coach Matt Limegrover spent time with the media Thursday ahead of the Penn State White Out. Check out updates from the Q&A below.
 

Can you talk about where the offensive line has made the most progress in the last few weeks?

Limegrover: "I think probably the biggest thing is that we were able to solidify a group of five guys. I think one of the biggest things with any offensive line is the chemistry and the cohesion and I think getting Connor McGovern settled in at right guard, obviously Brian Gaia at center, Ryan Bates has started every game at left guard and our two tackles. Unfortunately, Andrew Nelson getting hurt kind of disrupted that continuity. The communication was getting better, the understanding. There's so much that goes into as as far as getting a feel for how the other guys around you play the game and I felt like we were really getting into a good place with that." 

How do you make the decision between Brendan Mahon at right tackle or left tackle going into the week and what does that mean for the other guys who are competing to spell Andrew's [Nelson] position?

Limegrover: "The biggest thing is and I guess the nice luxury that I have is having a guy like Paris Palmer who has started in some games and started some big football games at Penn State. He feels really comfortable at left tackle. When Andrew [Nelson] went down Brendan Mahon didn't skip a beat and looked at me and said, hey I can move over, no problem. With Brendan playing the different positions, I love the kid because he loves the game of football and he understands it and he gets it. That transition was a lot smoother than one would expect, just because of Brendan's willingness to both play the position and the fact that he had played right tackle in the past and being able to get a guy who has a decent amount of experience in Paris Palmer in at left tackle."

Can you talk about the development of Will Fries and how far he has come since he has arrived?

Limegrover: "There is that chance. I think what's happening with Will is that he did a really good job of preparing himself and not just as far as weightlifting and conditioning, as a lot of guys do before getting here. He worked quite a bit after his senior year leading up to coming here with a gentleman who specializes in working with offensive and defensive linemen. I think that helped his transition quite a bit because Will was a guy who was going against college guys who would come back in the summer. I think that helped his initial development so that it wasn't as big of a shock to his system. Even with that being said, there's still a difference speed-wise and what your knowledge base needs to be. I think early on that kind of caught Will a little bit, but he has been able to get back and in practice, we've been able to give him some quality reps to help that process along. I feel a lot more comfortable with him than I was week one and there's still a long way to go but I think just him coming to work everyday, putting his time in and being an attentive student - he listens to every word the older guys have said, who have been through it and I think that's huge for him."

We've talked a lot over the last few years about training flexibility up front and the need to cross train some of these linemen. What's your philosophy on that and how do you balance the need to have a guy at one spot and then having him move around?

Limegrover: "I think it's kind of a two-part answer from the standpoint that I am also a believer in having flexibility. The very first thing I told the offensive linemen when I first met with them is that the best five are going to play. If that means that a guy who is playing guard is the next best on the team, then you have to find a way to make that work. There is an element of cross training, but I also believe that you can do it. 

Guys need to concentrate on a position and my thought is that what ends up happening is that you find that group of guys who are going to be your starters and eventually you can settle in on that. Then what you try and do is you try and find, if you have five more guys who are the very best at the position that they are playing, then you feel pretty good. Usually the way it happens in any program is that you may have two or three additional guys. You're lucky if you have seven guys or eight guys you feel really good about and those are the guys who you would like to start cross training and that's what you try and do to help build that quality depth so if somebody goes down you have the next man up mentality. I'm not against the idea of cross training but I think again, you don't want to do that at the expense of letting a guy get really comfortable and really feel good and be accomplished at the position you have him slotted at."

What have you seen on film from Ohio State as far as specifics on their front seven? Losing their starting defensive tackle for the season, is interior defense an area you think is a weakness?

Limegrover: "In all honestly, when you're the No. 2 team in the country, weakness is a relative term. I think they can trot out a lot of good football players. One of the biggest things is that if they lose a guy and the next one comes in, you just say, okay, I don't even know that they have lost a step.  They do a good job putting their personnel in spots. to succeed. They are a team where if you get into third-and-long, they are going to take some back up defensive ends who are really good pass rushers and they are going to move them inside and create a lot of movement and disruption in there on third downs. They've got some big space eaters there in first and second time. It kind of gives you a look at what pro teams are trying to do when they can mold their lineup in terms of getting their guys on the field that really fit the situation. If you're a team that is going to run the ball first and second down, you have those build dudes on the inside you have your defensive ends who can play the run and then all of the sudden you get to third down and you have four defensive ends in there trying to pin their ears back and get to the quarterback. So from a front standpoint, I think that's the way you like having it and I think that provides a tremendous challenge for us."

"I don't know if there is a better linebacker in the country, from my opinion, than RaeKwon McMillan. I don't want to say I have had the pleasure, it has been kind of my personal nightmare, but this will be the third time I have seen Ohio State and watched them play. RaeKwon McMillan is one of those guys who really makes them go on defense and he was last year as well and even the year before. He is just a guy who goes and it all builds around him. It's a formidable challenge and I think they are just as good in everything they do and they do it differently but I think they are every bit as good as Michigan from a front seven standpoint."

Taking it back a few weeks here, with the Minnesota win where players were saying they wanted to win that game for you, what was that like for you?

Limegrover: "It was really a highlight for me, just personally, career-wise. As that game was going on, I had a chance to share my story with the team. So the guys had some perspective of where I was coming from and it wasn't anything bad, but it was just a matter of, I wanted to let them know, what had happened and how appreciative and grateful I feel about being at Penn State. A lot of the guys, I think it struck a cord with them and it was really an amazing thing and you're in that game and initially things weren't going as we had hoped, but there was that constant, steady climb. Guys were coming up to me and not even the offensive linemen, but it was secondary guys, it was wide receivers, saying hey coach, we're going to get this one for you, we're going to get this one. It really made me feel good. It was like, okay, this is something that's pretty special. Then obviously to win the game the way that we did, the guys gave me the game ball afterward. It was one of those things as far as a personal highlight for me, but in tern I felt great for the guys. I really loved to see the group of guys that we have fight back and fight through some adversity and continue to move forward and that's the message that I gave them. I thanked them and then I also told them how proud I was to be part of this staff and watching them never give up and continuing to fight. It was a pretty special day all the way around.

With Andrew Nelson going out like that, what is the emotional response from the o-line or the people who had to step in and take his place?

"You know what's interesting, I think that a lot of things that happen throughout a football game, when you take a step back and look at it from a detached standpoint, there is an emotional response to it. I'll be honest with you, in the middle of the game when that happened, there wasn't a single woe-is-me, there wasn't anyone looking around going oh darn or whatever you want to say. It was here's the mission - Brendan [Mahon], you go to right tackle, Paris, we talk about next man up and to their credit, those guys stayed in the game and continued to fight. Was it emotional after the game, Andrew Nelson, he's one of those guys who could have easily been one of our offensive captains if it wasn't for Brian [Gaia]. He is that type of guy and that type of mentor to the younger guys, that kind of solid voice in the offensive line room. So it hit the guys pretty hard after, but in the moment they just stayed right on point and continued to fire away and then after we sort of got through the grieving process as a group and then I don't want to say fortunately, that's a bad way to put it, but we had the off week so we worked through that as we started to get into Ohio State that reality had sunk in. Then as tough as that reality was, we realized we had to move forward and I think that off week was probably good mentality for the guys in my room." 

Morett-Curtiss' Legacy Leads to Hall of Fame Induction

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Feature Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss has had a love for competition since she was a 2-year-old playing board games or having snowball fights against her siblings. As she got older, she played every sport her older brothers played.

Morett-Curtiss competed in basketball, ice hockey and swimming. She also played against her siblings in backyard games and street hockey. In seventh grade, she wanted to find a sport to play during the fall season since that was her only off season.

"My high school had a junior high tryout for field hockey," Morett-Curtiss said. "I had a tryout that day and I remember coming home and I had my hockey stick. I had never seen a hockey stick before. I remember running through the door saying, 'I want to play field hockey! I want to play field hockey!' My dad asked what field hockey was and I told him I didn't really know, but this is the stick you use to play it."

As Morett-Curtiss balanced all of the sports she played, she began to stand out in field hockey and lacrosse. When Morett-Curtiss graduated high school, she decided to come to Penn State to play for both programs. She became the first of six siblings to attend a four-year college.

At Penn State, Morett-Curtiss quickly became a field hockey standout. She was the program's only three-time first team All-American, scored 50 goals in four years and was the captain of the undefeated 1978 team. Whether she was on or off the field, Morett-Curtiss said it was impossible to have a bad day at Penn State.

"I think what I loved about my experience was that my best friends from Penn State are still my best friends today," Morett-Curtiss said. "They all played different sports. Kids are always amazed how we were always so social without having phones to figure out where everybody was meeting. We had a training table after practice every season with the football players, the soccer players and the lacrosse teams. We always had those conversations planning what was going on that weekend and always found time to have some fun."

Morett-Curtiss also became the first Nittany Lion to record five goals in a single game against Bucknell.

"Being a forward I think what helped my field hockey was street hockey," Morett-Curtiss said. "Because it was a lot of three on three or four on four you had a lot of touches with your stick. Always trying to put the ball in the net was something I grew up playing street hockey. That helped me find the goal in college."

After graduating college in 1979, Morett-Curtiss competed with the U.S.A Field Hockey team in hopes to compete at the 1980 Olympics. With a boycott of the Olympic Games, Morett-Curtiss was forced to wait until 1984 before she could officially compete in the games in Los Angeles, California.

"I was really fortunate that I was young enough to be able to stay in the program," Morett-Curtiss said. "Knowing that the games were going to take place in Los Angeles was something we could really focus on in training. To have the opportunity to have my parents and family come to Los Angeles to show that support was something that really meant a lot to me."

Morett-Curtiss and the U.S.A Field Hockey team earned bronze at the 1984 Olympic Games. After competing in the Olympics, Morett-Curtiss turned to coaching.

In 1984, Morett-Curtiss was named head field hockey and lacrosse coach at Boston College. After her previous coach Gillian Rattray retired from Penn State, Morett-Curtiss did not hesitate to apply for the job at her alma mater.

"It was a dream come true for me," Morett-Curtiss said. "To be able to recruit kids to Penn State University that come with the same values and commitment to academics and athletics that I once did is something that is natural to me being a Penn State coach."

Current Associate Head Coach Lisa Love was a member of the field hockey team in Morett-Curtiss' first two years on the job.

"She came in with this high energy and high intensity passion for the sport," Love said. "We were all intimidated by her at first. She really cared about the sport and had a passion for the game that was contagious. She made us better people, which made us better players. I remember we always left practice feeling like we accomplished more than we ever could."

Since the time Morett-Curtiss began her coaching career, field hockey has become a much quicker game.

"There were rules like turning your back and being offside which really slowed the game down when I played," Morett-Curtiss said. "You couldn't lift your stick above your hip, which was really bad. I was taking a golf class my senior year so I was just used to taking my club back and then I would go to practice and I would take my stick back and that was a foul. But, the biggest change is AstroTurf. It has really sped up the game."

In her 29th season as head coach at Penn State, Morett-Curtiss has a 440-170-8 record and in just the last seven years, she has led the Nittany Lions to three Big Ten regular season titles, two Big Ten Tournament championships and six NCAA Tournament appearances. 

With all of her success as both a player and coach, Morett-Curtiss will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame Saturday.

"I take a lot of pride in being a Pennsylvanian and growing up in Delaware County," Morett-Curtiss said. "The program from Delaware County nominated me for this. I am humbled and honored. There are so many people that I know inducted in there. I am just excited that my sister is coming up from Florida and [Love] and Stuart [Smith] will be there to support me along with my husband, Doug. That's what will make it special for me." 

Although Morett-Curtiss is not competing against her siblings in backyard games anymore, field hockey has given her that family-feeling for over 30 years. 

"I just love what I do," Morett-Curtiss said. "I am fortunate that I have [Love] and Stuart around me that makes this atmosphere, just like the Olympic team did for me in 1984, like a family atmosphere. You influence each other, trust each other and enjoy each other's company. I think that's what I love most about field hockey. It's really given me that family feel in my life."

Detering, Gorrell Shine on 'Dig Pink' Night

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By Anita Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 9 Penn State defeated No. 19 Ohio State in straight sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-17) Wednesday evening in an atmosphere that isn't typically seen in Rec Hall.

Pink shakers and pink t-shirts covered the stands. The wRECking crew and Pep Band sported pink hard hats. The Nittany Lions warmed-up in light pink jerseys and wore black and pink socks as well as pink bows in their hair throughout the match. Head coach Russ Rose pinned a pink ribbon to his polo shirt. Ohio State even wore pink-colored jerseys. 

In total, Penn State's annual 'Dig Pink' match raised more than $4,000 for the Side-Out Foundation for breast cancer awareness. 

"It was a really good match," redshirt freshman middle Tori Gorrell said. "Many us came out really excited to show just how excited we were for this game. The Dig Pink match is a huge thing and it's really important that we show that we care. It was nice to get a good win on an important night."

At the start of the first set, it was a back-and-forth matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes, but with the help of the crowd's energy, junior setter Abby Detering crushed a kill over the net that pushed Penn State to a 6-3 run.

Detering finished the night with a team-high 34 assists and tied for first on the team with eight digs. She also recorded three kills on .429 hitting.

"I thought we did a real nice job from the end line," Rose said. "I thought our serve-pass game was very good and it enabled Abby [Detering] to set the ball well. Haleigh [Washington] and Tori [Gorrell] had great nights offensively, but it starts with the serve-pass game."

It was the duo of Detering and Gorrell who steered the offense in the second set when Penn State and Ohio State were tied, 10-10, as Detering set Gorrell, who hammered a kill to give the Nittany Lions the edge. Gorrell connected with Detering on the next point, too, before putting away another kill to give the Nittany Lions a three-point cushion.

"I thought we were good on some tight sets to the net that we made," Rose said. "We made some nice plays. Tori had a couple of blocks and blocked well tonight. She had the setter a couple of times and that was really important for us since the setter is a very important player." 

Gorrell notched a team-high six blocks, including three solo stuffs, in addition to five kills on .500 hitting. Freshman libero Kendall White also tied for first on the team with eight digs.

Offensively, junior Simone Lee led the team with 12 kills, while junior Haleigh Washington ended the night second on the team with 10 kills on season-high-tying .769 hitting percentage.

The Nittany Lions are on a 15-match winning streak and are undefeated in Big Ten play, and they're hoping to remain that way as they approach a trip to No. 22 Michigan Saturday.

"We need to keep on working on our connection and the serve-pass game is so huge," Detering said. "We did really well with that tonight, so we have to keep that up, especially for Michigan - just going in there and being aggressive."

Penn State will have a quick turnaround as they travel to Ann Arbor Saturday for a 7 p.m. matchup.

VIDEO: Practice Updates - Ohio State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Ohio State week is well underway at practice for the Nittany Lions, as they prepare to host the Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium Saturday under the lights in the annual Penn State White Out.
Head coach James Franklin and quarterback Trace McSorley took time after practice Wednesday to meet with members of the media for updates on the weekly practice prep. 

Check out the video Q&A sessions below. 

James Franklin Trace McSorley

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By Anna Pitingolo, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the start of a new season approaching, the Lady Lions have many familiar faces coming back for the 2016-17 season. Among those faces are new ones, too, with two freshmen added to the roster.

However, there is one more face in the crowd that fans may not recognize, but she's been on campus getting ready for her blue and white debut since January. 

De'Janae Boykin arrived in Happy Valley at the beginning of 2016 when she transferred from Connecticut. She didn't play during her freshman year due to an injury, but since transferring to Penn State she's been able to get back to 100 percent.

Having transferred in the middle of the season, Boykin has been able to integrate herself into the team fabric over the last year. She's been able to workout with the team and get acclimated to the program.

"I just think being here since January has brought me closer to the girls," Boykin said. "I know last year the team was kind of different and being a part of this year's team is very new and very different.I'm excited to fully be a part of the team this year." 

When Boykin, from Springdale, Md., was looking for potential landing spots once she decided to transfer, it was Penn State's head coach Coquese Washington who caught her eye.

"Coach Washington and the entire coaching staff really sold this place to me," Boykin said. "And Penn State is actually closer to home for me, it's only three hours away and it's family oriented. So with all that, I knew I wanted to play here."

Boykin boasts an impressive resume thus far in her career. She was a McDonald's High School All-American in 2015 and has won three international gold medals with USA Basketball since 2013, including one at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Boykin also was a participant in the inaugural Jordan Brand Classic. 

Having missed last season, Boykin is eager to get on the court with her new team. But while she can practice with no restrictions, Boykin won't be able to see any playing time until the spring semester. 

"I'm excited to play with this group of girls," Boykin said. "I'm excited for myself because [last year] was my second year out [due to injury], so I finally get to play this year. I'm just looking forward to being on the court again."

Boykin and the Lady Lions will continue practicing the next week, before Boykin's teammates will take on Bloomsburg in an exhibition game at the Bryce Jordan Center October 30th, and then officially open the regular season at Drexel on Friday, November 11th.

Family Guides Gaia Through Penn State Experience

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By Arielle Sargent, Penn State Strategic Communications

Originally from a small town on the water positioned midway between the south side of Baltimore and Annapolis, Pasadena, Maryland native Brian Gaia grew up setting crabbing trotlines as a summer job with his friends.

When not on the water boating with his family, Gaia and his father Tim, could often be found in the garage working on cars - customizing vehicles to be exact. Recalling days when Brian was up to his elbows covered in grease, the garage was place where Tim Gaia and his son were more like best friends rather than father and son.

That's until Penn State came along, because when Brian Gaia received an offer from Penn State, it didn't take long for him to make up his mind.

For Gaia though, it's not how his Penn State experience begins or even where it's at today that makes it special. Rather, it's about the journey and those who were with him along the way.

A two-time team captain at the Gilman School, a private all boys school in Baltimore, Gaia helped guide his high school team to three Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association Class A titles.

Gaia was the first freshman on the football team to start at Gilman in nearly 65 years, while also closing out his high school career with three all-state selections.

"We had a lot of talent on our team," Gaia said. "We had like 10 Division one kids on our team my senior year. It was great to be surrounded by a lot of talent." 

With talent abound, his performances on the football field started to attract the eyes of collegiate head coaches. 

Gaia was not one for the recruiting process though, as the Gilman School was located more than an hour away from his home in Pasadena. The long commute started early in the morning and usually wrapped up late in the evening after football practice, leaving little time for extras.

"I didn't get home until 9:30 or 10 every night and coaches wanted to talk but I still had three hours of homework to do and then I had to wake up again at five in the morning," Gaia said.

Although the Gilman School expectations and requirements were high, Gaia proved that he was just as good on the field as he was in the classroom.

"There were times where I would get up and look down the hall and Brian's bedroom door was closed at 1:30 or two in the morning and I would pop my head in thinking he went to bed and left the light on, but oh no, he was at his desk working," Tim Gaia said.

It wasn't long before former Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson delivered his best pitch to Brian.

"When he was at Penn State, he pulled me in and showed me what I could do and how good I could be. He really sold the Penn State dream," Gaia said.

Inspired by a dream that combines a tradition of excellence in both athletics and academics, Brian Gaia committed to Penn State early in his junior year on an evening his father remembers well.

"He sat down and said, 'I made my decision,' Tim said. "He said, 'I'm going to Penn State. Penn State has always been my decision' and he didn't want to continue thinking about it."

Prior to Brian's freshman season in 2012, Bill O'Brien was named Penn State Football's head coach. Despite the unexpected coaching change, Gaia did not change his commitment and neither did Penn State.

In 2012, Gaia spent a year on the scout team, taking a redshirt year before playing in all 12 games at defensive tackle and on special teams in 2013. He made five tackles in a non-conference outing against Eastern Michigan and saw significant time in the thrilling quadruple-overtime game against Michigan, making one tackle. Gaia also excelled in the classroom, earning Academic All-Big Ten honors during the year. 

Just as he was settling into his role on the defensive line, Penn State announced that O'Brien had accepted a head coaching position with the Houston Texans. The Nittany Lions later named James Franklin the program's 16th head coach in January 2014. 

Once again, Gaia did not change his commitment as he remained steadfast in his decision to continue pursuing the Penn State dream.

There were still more changes though, as Gaia received a call from Franklin just outside the Maryland state line while he was on his way home during break shortly before spring practice.

"I thought I did something wrong, but I couldn't think of anything I did wrong so I picked up the phone and I said hello and Coach Franklin asked me what I thought about moving to offense."

With a team first mentality, Gaia agreed to the move without hesitation. Willing to help the team in any way he possibly could. A response that came as no surprise to his father.

Unsure if he was officially moved to offense or set to remain on defense, Gaia returned to campus for spring football and sat down in the defensive line area.

"Coach looked at me and said, 'what are you doing over there, you're on offense' and from there, that's how I figured it out," Gaia said. 

Switching from defensive tackle to right guard was no easy task though, as Gaia remembers the first few memories of the transition being absolutely terrible.

"I thought I knew what I was doing, but I just had no clue," Gaia said.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Gaia took it in stride earning the Red Worrell Award presented to the offense's most improved player following spring practice in 2014. He started all 12 games at right guard during the 2014 season, finding success helping protect quarterback Christian Hackenberg and blocking for running backs in Bill Belton, Akeel Lynch and Zach Zwinak. He also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors for the second consecutive season.

More changes were ahead for Gaia though, as the 2016 spring football season brought another challenge as he moved once again, but this time from right guard to center.

It's widely regarded that one of the most important relationships a quarterback can have on the field is with his center, a relationship that Gaia and Nittany Lions signal caller Trace McSorley have fully embraced.

At six feet-three inches and 295 pounds, Gaia worked tirelessly throughout the summer, preseason and into the 2016 campaign, growing into the added responsibility of the position.

"The hardest part is learning how to snap and block at the same time and I'm still learning about that through every game," Gaia said.

Committed to working as hard as possible to get the job done, Gaia has not been alone in journey, relying on the steady relationship with his father throughout the entire process.

"Brian had every opportunity to walk away from it, but it shows the kind of man that he is, he stuck with it and he didn't give up," Tim said.  

Speaking daily on the phone, conversations between Tim and Brian are sometimes about football, but often mostly about life, with even a little bit of talk about cars.

"When Brian was going through all the changes, I just told him, 'Brian you're going to be as good as you're going to be and that's on you.' I don't want you to be a superstar, I just want you to be as good as you can be." 

Now a leader on the field as one of three team captains, Brian has taken command of the offensive line, teaching and guiding the younger members of the line, in the spirit of the same tradition he experienced coming through the program.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing though as Gaia and the Nittany Lions endured their first Big Ten setback on the road against nationally ranked Michigan in the early part of the conference schedule.

After the game, Brian sent a text message to his father. One Tim said he'll never forget.  

It read, "Dad I'm not a superstar, but today I did the very best I could do for my team."

Freshman Feature: Gober a Determined Forward

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When he walked into the Bloomington Thunder locker room for the first time in 2014, freshman forward Blake Gober expected to see a familiar number on the back of his jersey. Growing up wearing the No. 19, Gober was thrown a curve ball when the Thunder assigned him No. 23. 

Gober was playing on the inaugural Thunder team during the 2014-15 season, which was an opportunity he had worked relentlessly for.

"I was never drafted into the USHL and I went to a bunch of camps and never made a team," Gober said.

Gober played during the 2013-14 season for the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Hockey League, before the opportunity arose to try out for the newest USHL team. 

The 5-foot-8 forward played more than 100 games for the Thunder throughout the two seasons he spent in Bloomington, Illinois. The Thunder named him an assistant captain during his second campaign. While in Bloomington, Gober found the found the back of the net 22 times and provided 25 assists, making his way on to the score sheet in more than 40 percent of the Thunder's games.

Gober also brings a physical aspect to the ice, having recorded 191 penalty minutes in the USHL.

Since USHL teams initially overlooked him, Gober committed himself to improving on the ice and being an adaptive member of whichever team he is on. He explained that he becomes whatever kind of player the team needs at the time, which is a characteristic that he credits to his success.

"I've changed the way I play over time," Gober said. "I do what is needed for the team."

As part of his evolving style, Gober has looked up to many professional hockey players over the years, taking aspects of their game and molding them to his own. Two of his favorite players are Steve Yzerman and Mike Modano, both known for their consistency and leadership. 

As a child, Gober admired Yzerman, the Detroit Red Wings captain and three-time Stanley Cup Champion, which is why he wore No. 19 throughout youth hockey. He now wears No. 23 for the Nittany Lions. 

Gober, a native of Colleyville, Texas, started watching the Dallas Stars after he started playing hockey, which began with a video game.

"I started because my buddy got a video game on his computer and asked me if I wanted to play hockey," Gober said. "He quit a week later but I stuck with it."

Gober grew up watching Modano play for his hometown Stars. He explained that when the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999, Texas saw a surge in young hockey players, including Gober, who laced up his first pair of skates when he was five.

"When I first started, hockey wasn't very big down there," Gober said. "I think there was only one AAA team that traveled all over and played against other teams. Then when I was growing up I was on a team that went to a national championship, it's growing a lot now."

Gober is already making a name for himself in collegiate hockey. He scored an empty net goal in his first appearance for the Nittany Lions, a win over St. Lawrence.

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In a game filled with a host of scoring chances, two overtimes weren't enough to break a 2-2 deadlock between Penn State and No. 22 Akron Tuesday night at Jeffrey Field.

"I think the whole game was a great advertisement for college soccer," said Penn State head coach Bob Warming. "This is what great college soccer should look like: skillful, teams play hard, move the ball well and they were exciting players on the field on both teams. I'd like to play this game every week."

Penn State's offense moved the ball into Akron's defensive end early and often. The Nittany Lions (6-6-2) knew Akron (7-4-2) could make things happen offensively after the Zips scored seven goals in their last match, but knew their aggressive play could be taken advantage of.

"We put two more attacking midfielders so I got to play alongside my brother which is always awesome. We were a lot more attacking minded today," said team captain Maloney. "We knew they were throwing guys forward so we threw guys forward because we knew they weren't going to have as many back. We put guys forward and we had those opportunities. We finished two of them but we could have finished more but that's how the game of soccer is."

Connor Maloney and Dayonn Harris constantly were on the attack. Right out of the gates, the Nittany Lions were on the prowl. Despite having several near goals but not finding the back of the net, Harris put fear into Akron's defense with his blazing speed to get behind the defense, craftiness and peskiness. His play ultimately led to Penn State's two goals on the night

"His activity level is insane right now," said Warming. "They had no answer for him. It was unbelievable."

Penn State found themselves trailing early to Akron. In the 11th minute, Stuart Holthusen took a lead pass to get behind the backline. Penn State goalkeeper Evan Finney didn't fully commit to coming out to get the ball causing Holthusen to shoot it around Finney to the right side of the net. It was rolling wide but he chased it down and tapped it in the right corner. Surprisingly, Holthusen's first score was the only goal of the half, despite both teams having multiple opportunities to score.

The Nittany Lions finally broke through for a goal in the 65th minute to tie the score 1-1 when Harris received a pass at the top of the box. He then dished it back to Maloney who hit a perfectly placed kick from just outside the box into the top right corner of the net, beating Akron's leaping 6-foot-7 goalkeeper. Penn State's scoring leader notched his first goal since scoring off a penalty kick Sept. 13 against Ohio State.

But Maloney wasn't done. A few minutes later in the 74th minute, once again Harris had the ball deep into the box. An Akron defender tried to clear the ball but it deflected off Harris onto the foot of Maloney all alone in the red side of the box. Maloney capitalized for his sixth goal of the season as he drilled it into the lower right corner just before Akron's diving keeper could get there. Maloney knows it's the goal scorer who usually gets the credit, but said Harris deserved it more than anyone for Maloney's two goals

"Dayonn worked very, very hard tonight and got those assists for me so a credit to him," said Maloney.

Several minutes later, Akron knotted the score at 2-2 when Holthusen headed a cross for a goal. The Zips recorded many scoring opportunities throughout the back and forth game. Last minute chances didn't result in any goals for either team so extra time was needed on what felt like a summer night.

An extra 20 minutes on top of regulation still couldn't decide the game. Akron's constant pressure in overtime caused the Nittany Lions to be on their heels. The new, rearranged backline bent but didn't break. Former Akron player now Penn State defender Riley Grant has settled into his new role switching from forward.

"It's tricky since I never played there before but coach is helping me out with film and all the guys are talking on the field so I know where to be," said Grant. "I'm getting accustomed to it now so it should be a good thing going."

Playing against his old school and against former high school teammate Brad Ruhaak isn't anything new for Grant as they have matched up every year since he's transferred to Penn State. The relaxed, soft-spoken, Copley, Ohio native seemed to take it as just another game.

"I did it every year since I transferred," said Grant. "I'm used to it, it's another game. It's good to see all those guys again. When I go home, I see them a lot."

Penn State has beat and tied ranked teams in their last two matches and that's going a long way for the team's confidence.

"Our confidence is soaring right now to honest with you," Maloney. "Especially going into the end of the season, this is where you want to be your best; right now we are at our best."

Penn State's explosive weapons are hitting stride and playing more as a unit which is a good sign as the regular season ticks down in time for the all-important postseason.

A favorable result again a ranked team is a good sign, but seven of Penn State's 14 matches this year have required extra time. Warming is pleased with his team's hard work but knows of the wear and tear of a long, grueling college season. After playing games Sunday and Tuesday, he looks to get his guys back in top condition for Friday's game at home against Rutgers.

"They were really exhausted," said Warming. We're going to take a couple days to do 're-gen' with everybody. They've had great work ethic coming early, staying late and doing extra shooting on the goalkeepers, now we're in that phase of the year where you have to manage your body because everyone is starting to break down a bit."

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

More than a Match, Penn State Preps for Dig Pink

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By Anita Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After notching two conference victories on the road at Purdue and Indiana, the Nittany Lions return home to Rec Hall to welcome No. 19 Ohio State on Wednesday evening.

But this matchup isn't a typical match as the Nittany Lions won't be seeing fans in blue and white. Instead, the evening will represent something bigger with pink being featured throughout the stands. 

Penn State and the Side-Out Foundation will host its annual "Dig Pink" match for the seventh consecutive year in support of breast cancer research. 

"It's just great that people want to participate and contribute to the cause," head coach Russ Rose said. "I think it's great for everybody affiliated with Penn State. I know they have a big program here with basketball, and this is something different that has been in play for a couple of years. We've been involved in it since the first year it started and I hope it continues long after I'm gone."

'Side-out' in volleyball means a team is regaining control of the ball, and that's what the Side-Out Foundation is all about. It's 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. Millions of dollars have been raised, which goes towards high-quality support services for cancer patients, their families and scholarships for young students to motivate them to continue achieving their dreams, all while developing treatments so a cure is discovered in the near future.

Having hosted an annual event in Rec Hall in each of the last seven years, Penn State's 2015 campaign once again generated nearly $4,000 for the Side-Out Foundation, to match a record number, which was originally set in 2014. 

"Breast cancer reaches and touches lots of people, and anything we can do to raise awareness and funding to help with the various programs and trials that are in play to help the people in the future, we should all be honored to be part of that," coach Rose said.

The match will also hit home for some of the student-athletes, like freshman libero Kendall White.

"I think it's a huge deal," White said. "My grandma is a survivor of breast cancer so it means a lot to me having all the girls support it, having all the fans come in and auction off our warmup jerseys. It's amazing to be raising money. It's a really great cause and I love it so much that I get to be part of it."

At the match, the Nittany Lions will host a silent auction to bid for the pregame Dig Pink warmup jerseys where proceeds will go directly toward Penn State's "Dig Pink" profile. There will also be free pink shakers, with the first 200 students in attendance receiving free pizza, Dig Pink shirts and pink wRECking crew hard hats. 

"Pink is my favorite color, so I think it will be amazing going out there with the team [and seeing all the pink]," White said. "We're just going to come out fighting hard. It's a big game, so I hope it's like every game where the fans come in and cheer us on."

Penn State's Dig Pink event comes at just the right time for the Nittany Lions, who recently returned home from the road, with visits to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota all looming the future after the mid-week against the Buckeyes at Rec Hall.

"It's a huge deal to have this break in the road trips," White said. "Playing at home is one of our favorite things to do because all of our fans are here. Everyone is supporting us and we are surrounded by people who love volleyball almost as much as we do. Going out and playing here before we go on the road next weekend against bigger teams we have to play is a huge momentum push as we go in." 

Penn State enters Wednesday's matchup against the Buckeyes on a 14-match winning streak. After opening the season at 2-3, the Nittany Lions have regrouped to remain undefeated in Big Ten conference play at 8-0. 

"What's been clicking with the team is just our chemistry," White said. "More than anything, not even volleyball-related, it's just us. As a team, we've been clicking a lot better. We've been communicating better on and off the court and just fighting. It's our heart and our fight playing into our game."

The Lions hope to match the tenancy and determination of the Side-Out Foundation. When asked what they're goal was for Wednesday evening, White responded with one word. 

"Win. That's what we plan on doing."

VIDEO: Ohio State Week Player Q&A

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUSports.com talks with cornerback Grant Haley and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton previewing the Penn State White Out matchup against Ohio State at Beaver Stadium Saturday. 

Check out the Q&A video sessions below.

DaeSean Hamilton

Grant Haley

Tuesday Press Conference Roundup - Ohio State Week

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Transcript: James Franklin Transcript: Players Weekly Q&A with DaeSean Hamilton and Grant Haley

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off the bye week, Penn State Football is set to return to Beaver Stadium, hosting No. 2 Ohio State Saturday.

Head coach James Franklin met with members of the media Tuesday to preview the upcoming Penn State White Out, while also giving an update on progress throughout the week off from competition. 

Penn State (4-2, 2-1 East) and Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 East) will meet for the 32nd time in program history, squaring off under the lights at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Franklin opened his press conference noting that the Nittany Lions are rested both physically and emotionally after the bye week, but looking forward to the challenge as the Buckeyes head to Beaver Stadium for the 13th time in program history.

"We have been talking to them all week about preparing hard and working hard and then playing loose," Franklin said. "Do everything you possibly can all week long so you can go out and play loose, and you can go out and play confident and have fun and take advantage of one of the better environments in college football that will take place in Beaver Stadium on Saturday."

With Ohio State presenting strength and talent at nearly every position on the field, Franklin also called on the support of Nittany Lion fans. 

"We need everybody in the stadium screaming and hollering," Franklin said. "It's no different than the election; every vote matters. It's the same way in the stadium: every clap, every yell, every scream matters. It makes a difference."

For Franklin, keys to success against a challenging Ohio State team include limiting signature Buckeye explosive plays, while also continuing to remain disciplined in avoiding costly penalties. As always, Franklin stressed that the games Penn State has seen success in this year have all come in limiting turnovers and protecting the football.

"The margin of error against these types of teams is too small," Franklin said. "So you have to play well. That's what we plan on doing again on Saturday."

On the Quote Board -

-  Not only did Franklin note that Penn State need to limit Ohio State explosive plays, but he also included how key the ability is in terms of success on the field. Penn State's seven plays for 50-plus yards on the year currently ranks 13th nationally according to cfbstats.com.

"I think last week, if you look at the Maryland game, we had 15 explosive plays on offense and our defense gave up four. So when you win the turnover battle and you win the explosive play battle, you've got a chance to be successful; and, like I mentioned before, keep the crowd involved."

- Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton on his first Penn State White Out experience. 

"The very first White Out was when I was a freshman, like the redshirt year that I took, when Penn State played Michigan. We obviously know what happened that game. So that was probably my first one and that was probably the best one, the best college football game that I've ever been a part of and I've ever seen, live and up close and personal. 

- Cornerback Grant Haley on the key to success against Ohio State.

"I think we need to make them a one-dimensional team. We obviously need to stop the run, the quarterback run especially, and also running backs back there, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel, just make them beat us through the air. If we can make them a one-dimensional team, it makes our chances of winning more successful."

-  Haley also likened the Penn State White Out crowd to a 12th man on the field, noting that he can feel the ground shaking when the crowd is loudest.

"Just having some of the best fans in the country coming in and supporting you day-in and day-out, I think that just gives us pride playing for your university. Everything we do is just to make them proud." 

- Franklin's thoughts on what the Penn State White Out embodies.

"I think the White Out exemplifies what this place is all about. It's about our community coming together, the fans, the professors, our alumni and our players and going into that stadium and having fun together and representing Penn State the right way. It's special. There's no doubt about it." 

VIDEO: Men's Ice Hockey Weekly Check In

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky took time to meet with Brian Tripp to recap the first road trip of the season at Mercyhurst, while also previewing the upcoming trip to No. 3 Notre Dame. Freshman forward Nate Sucese also took time to talk about the week in review as well as the upcoming Friday matchup in South Bend, Indiana. 

Check out the updates from each session below. 

Guy Gadowsky 

Nate Sucese

Monday Notebook: Looking Back at Penn State White Outs

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Back from a bye week the Nittany Lions are set to return for a quintessential Penn State White Out under the lights, hosting No. 2 Ohio State at 8 p.m. Saturday on ABC.

Penn State's White Out will be its ninth in program history encompassing the entire stadium, as the Nittany Lions have hosted a Penn State White Out among students or full stadium in each of the last 12 seasons. The Nittany Lions hosted their first student White Out Oct. 9, 2004 against Purdue, before going stadium wide for the first time against Notre Dame Sept. 8, 2007.

Penn State White Out History
Oct. 9, 2004 vs. Purdue (student section)
Oct. 8, 2005 vs. Ohio State (student section)
Oct. 14, 2006 vs. Michigan (student section)
Sept. 8, 2007 vs. Notre Dame (full stadium)
Sept. 27, 2008 vs. Illinois (full stadium)
Sept. 26, 2009 vs. Iowa (full stadium)
Oct. 30, 2010 vs. Michigan (student section)
Sept. 10, 2011 vs. Alabama (full stadium)
Oct. 27, 2012 vs. Ohio State (full stadium)
Oct. 12, 2013 vs. Michigan (full stadium)
Oct. 25, 2014 vs. Ohio State (full stadium)
Nov. 21, 2015 vs. Michigan (full stadium)

Among the 12 annual outings, a few current Nittany Lions have also logged standout performances in Penn State White Out conditions within the last few years.

Saeed Blacknall's Touchdown Catches
Blacknall has grabbed each of his two career touchdown receptions in Penn State White Out games. Last year, he highlighted the Penn State White Out against Michigan (Nov. 21, 2015) with a 25-yard catch in the second quarter.

In 2014, he recorded a 24-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to cut the Ohio State deficit to three, in a Penn State White Out game that resulted in a 31-24 Buckeye victory in double overtime.

Tyler Davis' Field Goals
Davis enters the week as one of five players in the FBS standings who remain perfect on the year in field goal percentage. Davis is also sitting atop the Big Ten Conference standings with 1.67 field goals per game. In his first Penn State White Out appearance last year, Davis set a career high with three field goals against Michigan, while also converting on his only extra point attempt. Since then, he has matched the career mark in Penn State's overtime win against Minnesota this year.

DaeSean Hamilton's Record Setting Day
Hamilton registered a record-breaking performance in his first ever Penn State White Out appearance. In the 2014 Penn State White Out game against Ohio State, he broke a Penn State game receptions record, as well as his own freshman receptions record with 14 catches for 126 yards against the Buckeyes. On the way to his second Big Ten Freshman of the Week award, he made three catches during the game-tying drive late in the game to force overtime.

A Look at Ohio State
Ohio State enters Saturday's matchup at 6-0 on the year, having also won each of its last 20 road games, which stands as the longest active streak nationally. Last week, the Buckeyes outscored then-No. 8 Wisconsin 24-7 in the second half to secure a 30-23 comeback win in overtime. 

Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have also won their last 13 night games. They enter Saturday's matchup with a 26-10 record when playing on the road with kickoff slated after 5 p.m. local time.

Meyer acknowledged the upcoming challenge for his Buckeyes though, as the Nittany Lions are undefeated in Beaver Stadium this season (4-0) and have won 10 of their last 11 at home. 

"Wish they saved the White Outs for other games, but I guess they used it for our game," Meyer said. "It's one of the top five atmospheres, again, in college football."

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Many teams view the non-conference portion of their schedule as a chance to test themselves to see how they stack up against tougher opposition before conference play. For Penn State, this statement holds especially true, as the Nittany Lions (1-4-1) have faced no shortage of tests in the early stretch of their schedule.

 After opening the season on the road in consecutive weeks, including a trip to No. 5 Clarkson, the Nittany Lions returned home to Pegula Ice Arena only to find perennial national powerhouse Boston University (3-1-1) waiting in the wings.

 On Friday night, the Nittany Lions and Terriers played to a 3-3 overtime tie as the teams traded goals throughout most of the game. Penn State struck first and led 1-0 after the end of the first period, but the Terriers struck twice early in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.

Penn State answered six minutes later with a goal from Laura Bowman to tie the game. 

"They responded beautifully," head coach Josh Brandwene said. "BU got those two goals to start the second period and credit to our leadership and credit to the whole team for really righting the ship and going back to being aggressive again."

Amy Petersen gave the Nittany Lions the lead in the third period on her fourth goal of the season, a breakaway opportunity in which she found the top left corner of the net. 

"I saw the net was open," Petersen said. "I was like 'I'll go for it' and it worked out well." 

A late goal from the Terriers leveled the score, but the Nittany Lions overall were satisfied with the effort.

"I think it was really fun," junior Bella Sutton said. "It's really cool when you know that they in the past have been a ranked team and a really good team. So coming into the game it was definitely a lot of fun and we had a lot of fans."

"We executed our game plan how we wanted," Petersen added. "So I think we're really focusing on our game and the results will happen. We're really just going to stick to our game plan and get ready to come back." 

Saturday's game was not as kind to the Nittany Lions, as they suffered a 7-2 defeat.

"It was a day of skating uphill," Brandwene said. "When you get yourself down a little bit, you see what kind of hockey team you have and I was really pleased with the response, especially in the second period. We had great scoring chances; sometimes they fall and sometimes they don't." 

BU jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Aly Hardy had the early goal for the Nittany Lions. 

"We just poked it out and Brooke [Madsen] was driving," Hardy said. "She cut across and that's what we worked on during practice. She drew the defense with her, passed it to me and I just shot far side."

Penn State was trailing 3-1 when Abby Welch netted her first career goal as a Nittany Lion from just inside the blue line.

"There was a power play and the goalie came out," Welch said. "I took a slap shot and I was so happy it went in. I think it changed a little bit of our momentum." 

Welch was the fifth Nittany Lion to score in the series, and she was excited to score her first career goal.   

"Every game I've had so many opportunities. Now that it's out of the way," Welch said. "I'm just so relieved." 

Penn State resumes play next weekend at Connecticut before opening conference play at RIT on Oct. 27.

Record Crowd as Penn State Comeback Falls Short

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The fifth-ranked Penn State field hockey team's comeback fell just short against sixth-ranked Maryland, 5-4, in front of the largest crowd ever at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex Sunday.

With nearly 12 minutes left in the game, the Nittany Lions (12-2, 4-2 Big Ten) found themselves down 5-2 to the Terrapins (12-3, 6-1 Big Ten). Penn State didn't give in. They remained hungry and competed until the final horn in front of a record crowd on an unseasonal October 72-degree day.

Penn State midfielder Katie Dembrowski blasted a long-distance goal which stood after an official review to cut the deficit to two with less than eight minutes to go. Dembrowski's goal gave the Penn State crowd something to get excited about. The packed stands and folks along the fence with shakers and posters gradually got louder and started to pick up energy as the team built momentum.

The Nittany Lions responded once again almost a minute and a half later to make it 5-4. A Penn State penalty corner was awarded and Aurelia Meijer capitalized with a shot that found the back of the cage.

"I thought Aurelia played really hard today," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "She kept the engine going for the team.

Meijer, a sophomore from The Netherlands, said she never played in front of a crowd like that and it definitely helped the team gain energy as the game grew on. In the end, she felt disappointed that the team couldn't get the Penn State fans in attendance a victory after starting the game slowly.

"I think we battled hard but we didn't start from the beginning and when all of the goals came we started to get a little bit angrier," Meijer said. "We played better but we didn't start like we're able to."

With less than a minute remaining, a Penn State penalty corner was awarded originally but then was reversed by an official review that ruled a Maryland defender didn't kick the ball in the circle. Maryland then proceeded to run the clock out with possession in their offensive end. Penn State's comeback effort just couldn't get over the deficit it faced late in the second half.

The Nittany Lions came out a bit flat and made a few costly errors offensively in the first half. Maryland played a possession style game and pressured in the Penn State defensive end much of the first half.

"I thought Maryland played a nice possession game," Morett-Curtiss said. "We were disconnected as forwards today. We made some really bad decisions in our attacking end in the first half. We can't throw those opportunities away against a team like Maryland."

The game was knotted 2-2 at halftime but Morett-Curtiss thought Penn State dodged a bullet. Penn State made adjustments to pressure the ball better but it just wasn't enough.

"We played a fall away press the first half and we gave them too much time to make passes," Morett-Curtiss said. "We probably should have gone into a full press earlier. I thought 2-2 at halftime, we just survived a bad half. Let's come out and play a little bit more aggressively with our press in the second half which we did but we gave up goals off of counterattacks."

Maryland clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a solid 70 minutes of play. The loss for Penn State marked its first home setback of the season. 

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Amanda Dennis recorded a career-high seven saves in No. 16 Penn State's 1-0 victory against Purdue on Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field.

 

Dennis totaled only six saves in the previous four matches combined. Her lack of saves this season has been a testament to a strong back line, but the freshman was leaned on heavily with starting center back Grace Fisk out of the lineup.

 

Purdue sent 15 shots at Dennis, but none got behind her.

 

"She makes it look easy," said head coach Erica Dambach. "I think some of the saves looked easy, but I think that's because Amanda made them look easy. Our positioning was good, and she continues to be a real force for us."

 

"It's just important to keep the ball out of the net," Dennis said. "When you find teams that are getting a lot of shots off you just got to really keep tight, keep your mind tight, keep the details right and make sure that the defense is cleaning stuff up."

 

In the last five minutes of the game Dennis made two crucial plays to keep Purdue off the scoreboard and ensure the win.

 

In the 86th minute, Purdue's Erika Arkans received the ball five yards away from the net but Dennis was there to make the save on Arkans' point blank left-footed attempt.

 

Then, with just 20 seconds remaining, Andrea Petrina made a run up the left flank and found herself one-on-one with Dennis. Dennis made a split-second decision to charge at Petrina and forced her shot wide of the net, solidifying the shutout win.

 

It was Dennis' sixth solo shutout on the year and fifth in Big Ten play.

 

Frannie Crouse netted the Nittany Lions' only goal with a 25-yard missile to the top left corner of the net in the 38th minute. Crouse beat a few defenders up the left side of the pitch, switched directions to the middle and scored her team-leading 11th goal of the season.

 

Crouse has now scored 11 goals in two consecutive seasons. Her next goal this year would be a career-high.

 

Penn State honored three members of the Nittany Lion program before the game on Senior Day in front of 1,122 fans.

 

Nickolette Driesse headlines the group as the only true senior on the team. Driesse transferred to Penn State from Florida State before last season and tallied 14 points on four goals and six assists last year. She has six assists this season but hasn't found the back of the net.

 

This year she serves as one of the three team captains. Dambach describes her as the heart and soul of the team in the midfield.

 

"Nikki Driesse is a winner in so many ways, whether it's her contribution on the field, so much off the field, in the classroom," said Dambach. "She's exactly what we want in this program as a Penn State women's soccer player."

 

"Always being on Jeffrey Field is a great opportunity, and then adding my family to that, I don't think it could get any better than that," said Driesse.

 

Redshirt junior Angela Widlacki, who was also honored before the game because this will be her last year, finally got to step onto Jeffrey Field in a regular season game. Three ACL tears have kept her off the pitch, but she was substituted in the game in the last minute in an emotional moment for her and the team.  (You can read her story here.)

 

"She's been through a lot and it's college soccer and it's important to make sure we recognize the contribution that these players make for us," Dambach said.

 

Team Manager Erika Wollman was also honored before the game. 

 

With the win and both Northwestern and Minnesota drawing Sunday, Penn State retakes the lead atop the Big Ten standings. The Nittany Lions lead Northwestern and Minnesota by one point with two matches to play.

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's strong backline play was rewarded Saturday night when defender Robby Sagel scored a game-winning header in double overtime to lift the Nittany Lions past No. 19 Michigan State, 1-0.

The match remained scoreless until the 103rd minute when Riley Grant took a hooking free kick from about 40 yards out that found a leaping Sagel, who headed the goal to beat Michigan State's keeper. Sagel, a humble team-first player, proceeded to celebrate by tearing his jersey off immediately before getting mobbed by his teammates.

"It could have been anybody," Sagel said. "I really could care less that it was me. I'm just glad it happened, it's unreal."

It was fitting that Sagel's second career goal sealed the deal for Penn State, because defense doesn't get much individual recognition in comparison to forwards who score goals. Also, the last time Penn State knocked off a top 20 opponent on Sept. 13, 2015 against then-No.10 Indiana, Sagel scored his first career goal.

The senior from Las Vegas, Nevada also played a key role in helping the Nittany Lions (6-6-1, 3-3-0 Big Ten) keep the Spartans (9-3-1, 3-2-1 Big Ten) without a goal and to snap Michigan State's five-game stretch without a loss.

"As defenders, the thing we're most proud of is blanking the other team," Sagel said.

Penn State's defenders have had their fair share of challenges so far this season. Head coach Bob Warming adjusted the lineup due to injuries and to see what would work best. The defense is continuing to get better. Penn State posted clean sheets in the past two matches.

"They're organized in the back and they're together," Warming said. "They're squeezing at the right time and dropping off at the right time. I'm really proud of the progress they made."

"It's what we have to do to move forward," Warming said. "We've been giving up way too many goals. I feel like our guys are settling in and I give a lot of credit to Robby and Mitch [Bringolf]. Mitch played top class center back today. The things he did were unbelievable."

New pieces of the defense, Ryan Gallagher and Riley Grant have both stepped in to contribute for Penn State's backline. Warming applauded their key contributions.

"Ryan Gallagher has done everything right for the last three years to put himself in position to play for us," Warming said. "Two games. Two shutouts. Unbelievable for him. Riley, we put back there and Riley never played in the back before. He did well."

Aside from superb defensive play, the Nittany Lions knocked on the door with great scoring chances in the first overtime session after minimal chances in regulation. Grant found Dayonn Harris in the box but Harris' shot went just wide right of the net.

A few minutes later, a hard slide tackle from Michigan State on Harris awarded Penn State a penalty kick. Team scoring leader Connor Maloney took the penalty kick. Maloney shot left and Michigan State's goalkeeper went left in order to save the shot.

Missing a penalty kick didn't deflate Maloney or his teammates, instead they were more motivated to score. Early in the second overtime, Sagel got the job done when he found the back of the net.

Penn State is playing its best soccer of the year as the Big Ten regular season slate winds down with two Big Ten games and two non-conference games remaining. The Nittany Lions look to continue their winning ways against Akron Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

Penn State Hosts 2016-17 Kickoff Event

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By Brandon Pelter, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in the 2016-17 season, the Penn State wrestling team put on a show for fans in Rec Hall.

From seven-year-olds donning their own Penn State singlets, to long-time Nittany Lion fans, many came out to show support for the team that has five national championships in the last six years, hoping to add another title this year.

"I mean it's pretty awesome just to see this many fans come out here for a kickoff event," Bo Nickal, last year's NCAA runner-up at 174 pounds, said. "It just makes me even more excited to wrestle this year and get back out on the mat." 

The team activities began with each wrestler being introduced by class, beginning with the freshman group, as smoke filled the north end of Rec Hall for a dramatic entrance. Following the team were the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club resident athletes, which included Olympians Frank Molinaro and Franklin Gomez, as well as two-time NCAA Champion David Taylor.

As the wrestlers warmed up on the mat, the Nittany Lion head assistant coach Casey Cunningham, explained some of the techniques that the wrestlers were using and discussed how he and the coaching staff are constantly looking to expand their knowledge on the sport, techniques and nutrition.

While the wrestlers sparred, Olympians Molinaro, who narrowly missed a bronze medal, and Gomez, who just came up short as well, both spoke to the crowd. Both talked about their experiences at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and being around the Penn State program.

And for many Penn State wrestling fans, the success of Penn State wrestling is fun to watch.

"We've been here at Rec Hall since 1970 and we've been following Penn State wrestling since it has been here in Rec Hall," Connie Christiansen said along with her husband Monty. "The activity that goes on with Penn State wrestling is some that one likes to follow. It's very clean, it's very neat and it's very very active for every fan, they don't even need to know about wrestling." 

With the season quickly approaching, Bo Nickal and his teammates are focusing on having another successful season.

"I'm just trying to do my best every match," Nickal said. "Just keep wrestling hard and having fun so, I mean, I do this because I love it and because I enjoy it and I'm just going to try and do that every match."

The season is just around the corner with the Nittany Lions starting on the road at Army, Friday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. The first home meet is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13 when Penn State hosts Stanford.

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By: Ryan Berti, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nearly 600 miles separates the campus of Penn State from Lisle, Illinois, a small village about an hour outside of Chicago, but while a distance that vast may be the intimidating for some to handle, freshman guard Jaida Travascio-Green has the length to cover it.

The 6-foot-2 wing player is flush with talent and has found herself in University Park after a storied career in high school. She racked up over 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and close to 200 steals in her time at Downers Grove North High School, as she earned All-State honors in both her junior and senior seasons.

But Travascio-Green didn't just dominate the competition on the court. She took her talents to the high jump in her time with the school's track and field team her junior and senior seasons. Her athleticism allowed her to leap to the top of the state's ranks, finishing third in the state her junior year before taking home the crown at the 2016 IHSA State Championships as a senior.

With her copious amounts of success at the high school level, the now-freshman was ranked No. 20 in the nation at her position in the 2016 recruiting class. Head coach Coquese Washington saw her as someone who could immediately contribute to the team and recruited her from the Prairie State.

"Jaida is a fantastic three-point shooter, and she's a shooter with size," Washington said. "At 6-foot-2, she has the ability to see over people, to shoot over people and to knock down shots."

Last November, Travascio-Green and fellow freshman Siyeh Frazier signed their letters of intent and committed to Penn State. Travascio-Green said she was thrilled to commit to a Big Ten school but the biggest appeal came not from what she could achieve on-the-court, but in the classroom behind coach Washington's dedication to academics.

"Something I loved about Penn State is Coquese was really big on academics before athletics, which you didn't see a lot of places," she said.

Being so far away from home, she says her transition into the life of a college student-athlete has not been the simplest route, but it has been easier than expected. With help from teammates to get rides and to be shown around, Adding she and Frazier have become acclimated to the way of things both in practice and on campus.

The wing has also not found it hard to make immediate connections with her fellow Lady Lions as the upperclassmen are helping ease her into college sports.

"I call [Sierra Moore] the grandma of the team because she's the oldest, and then Kaliyah [Mitchell] is always very supportive," Travascio-Green said about a few of her more experienced teammates. "All the upperclassmen make sure I'm okay, especially since I'm a freshman."

As she has been able to smoothly settle into college life, she has been able to turn her attention towards the floor and what she can bring to her team.  ESPN evaluated her as a high school student-athlete at the 2014 Nike Nationals, and described her as a "long and agile perimeter threat" with "off-the-charts potential."

Travascio-Green agrees that her outside shot is one of her best skills and she hopes it can help bring another layer to the team.

"I think that stretching the defense would really help with a lot of the girls being able to drive, like Lindsey [Spann] and Teniya [Page], really being able to get in and the defenses cannot sag as much," she said.

Coach Washington stressed the amount of confidence she has in her freshmen at media day by saying she expects both Travascio-Green and Frazier to be "impact players" on the team this year.

Jumping into the mix of things straightway for freshmen in college sports tends to be an exception rather than the rule at most programs across the nation, but while Travascio-Green has some expectations of her right out of the gate, the competitor in her is ready for the challenge and cannot wait to get into the action come November.

"I've thought about playing basketball ever since I was younger so to be here is pretty exciting," she said. ""I'm just ready to get started."

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By Alyssa Palfey, GGoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's cross country team swept the Penn State National Open today, placing 1-2-3 with Tessa Barrett (20:11), Elizabeth Chikotas (20:14) and Jillian Hunsberger (20:17) leading the team.

 

Barrett's time of 20:11 is tied for the third-best performance at the Penn State National Open. She ran 20 seconds faster than last time running this course at the Spiked Shoe Invitational earlier this year.

 

The women's team win puts them in great position going into their next meet, which is the Big Ten Championships held in Minneapolis, MN.

 

"The team win is huge. We knew we were going to have some good competition out here today, and I think going into Big Tens now, we feel more confident," said Barrett. "There's definitely a lot left in us, I know we're all in really good shape, and we worked together really well out there today."

 

"It's been two weeks since we've raced and it's a really good confidence boost going into Big Tens knowing that our training has put us all at a great spot and this is the second time we've run this course; we're going to run it again at regionals. We ran it earlier this season at Spiked Shoe and I think across the board everyone ran a lot faster today, so that gives us a lot of confidence knowing that our training is paying off," said Chikotas.

 

"I think it's going to give us confidence and take control and take lead and not be scared. Last year we went into Big Tens as the underdogs, and this year we are going in with a target on our backs, so I think it's a really nice confidence booster," said Hunsberger.

 

Fifth place team finisher, junior Greta Lindsley (20:55), ran over a minute faster than her performance earlier in the season at the Spiked Shoe Invitational. After today's race, she knows that her and the team are both physically and mentally strong going into the championship season.

 

"Overall, it was definitely a confidence booster. There were a lot of ranked teams here and great individuals here, and we came out on top so that was very exciting. We have the fitness level there, but our mental focus definitely shot up after this race and we are extremely ready for Big Tens."

 

Senior captain Julie Kocjancic, who placed sixth for the Nittany Lions and 46th overall, knows all their hard work is paying off.

 

"This team win just showed us what we are doing in practice and workouts is enough," said Kocjancic. "It gave us confidence that we know that we aren't even near where we're going to peak later in the season, so it's an exciting place to be."

 

Head coach John Gondak is ready to ride the momentum after today's victory as they prepare for the Big Ten Championships.

 

"It's a really big confidence booster for both teams. The women came in and made a statement today, this was an excellent field and for Tessa, Liz, and Jillian to go 1-2-3, and for us to win with 47 points," said Gondak. "I was really proud of their efforts. They are just brimming with confidence and just added another layer of confidence to the team."

 

"With the guys, they were kind of a little uncertain with how they would finish today and we had a really specific plan, and they executed it and I'm really proud. Sixth place finish, I just said there were a couple teams here that we shouldn't even focus on, we have focus on a few teams that we should try to beat, and we did that today."

 

With two top-15 place finishers, the men's team came in sixth place overall today. Tim McGowan (25:11) and Colin Abert (25:15) lead the team placing eighth place and 12th place respectively.

 

The Big Ten Championships will be held Sunday, Oct. 30th in Minneapolis, MN. The race is set to start at 11:45 a.m. ET.

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Games at Pegula Ice Arena are few and far between for the Penn State women's hockey team in the first few weeks of the season. Only one of the first six series is on home ice, so the Nittany Lions are looking to take full advantage of a pair of home games this weekend against Boston University.

"Between the fans and the atmosphere, it's very nice playing at home," junior Irene Kiroplis said. "You're in your own facilities, you're familiar with the place, you have your fans and your fanbase. You have your support staff here that you see on a daily basis."

"Pegula is a top-notch facility," senior Amy Petersen said. "It's a special opportunity every time we get to play here." 

 "The opportunity to play at home is something we want to take advantage of, head coach Josh Brandwene said. We're in our routine, we're home, we're having our pregame meal here at home. We want to take advantage of the wonderful facility we have here. The game day atmosphere in Pegula Arena is as good as it gets." 

Being at home also presents some time for players to settle into their routines more, not having to deal with the time spent traveling while on the road.

"Each person has their routine that they go through from game to game. It varies from person to person," Petersen said. "We try to keep the team stuff consistent while we're together, in our weight room, and then we break off. Some people tape their sticks in the stands, some people sit our here on the bench. Some just hang out in the lounge, maybe eat a snack. We play some soccer."

The home series this week also provided time for some of the players to get together earlier this week for a Canadian Thanksgiving celebration, something the team greatly cherished as a team-building opportunity. 

"It was a lot of fun," Kiroplis said. "Me and a couple of the freshmen girls just put a little homemade dinner together and we decided that, since the Canadians don't get to go home for Thanksgiving, we make it a little more special and a little homier. We had a little get-together to be thankful for all we have here at Penn State."

"They're a special group of people," Brandwene said. "It brings a smile to my face that they support each other in that way. It's really cool."

On the ice, the Nittany Lions were able to get their offense going stronger in an 8-1 road victory on Friday at Union College.

"Offense is something we're continuing to work on," Brandwene said. "Puck support, puck movement, especially in the offensive. "We're continuing to develop and get continued offensive support."

Boston University represents a new challenge for the Nittany Lions as the teams split their two meetings last year in Boston.

"We had a great series with them last year up there," Brandwene said. "It's going to be an exciting brand of hockey played by both teams and I think it's going to be very entertaining for the fans."

Puck drop is set for 6:00 p.m. Friday in the series opener. Game two will begin at 2:00 p.m. Saturday.

 

Taliaferro Impacting Lives Long After Penn State

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  A leader. A fighter. An ambassador. All describe former Penn State Football student-athlete Adam Taliaferro, who has more than overcome tremendous odds to thrive after sustaining a career-ending spinal cord injury 16 years ago.

His courageous story doesn't simply involve a devastating injury and a miraculous recovery. Rather, where Taliaferro's story lives on, is within the lives of those he has been able to change in the years following his own life altering experience.

Flash back to September 1, 2001, when Taliaferro, who just 11 months prior had faced the unthinkable, led the Penn State team on to the field at Beaver Stadium in front of a record crowd of 109,313 joyous and emotional fans for the season opener against Miami (Fla.).

A moment that Taliaferro still finds hard to put into words and one his father, Andre, describes, as a moment where Adam's life had started anew.

The Injury
The week of September 23, 2000 was similar to any other game week for the true freshman cornerback from Voorhees, New Jersey, as the Nittany Lions prepared to open their Big Ten Conference slate at Ohio State in a nationally televised contest on ABC.

Filled with excitement, Taliaferro was poised to play in one of the biggest games of his rookie career, playing in front of a packed crowd at Ohio Stadium.

"Any opportunity that I got to play was exciting, because for me, coming from South Jersey and playing in front of five or six thousand people and then playing in a place like Beaver Stadium or at The Horseshoe out in Columbus, I just remember a lot of excitement and enthusiasm," Taliaferro said.

On a routine play near the end of the matchup against the Buckeyes, Taliaferro recalls tilting his head down as he lunged toward Ohio State's Jerry Westbrooks to make a tackle he had made nearly 100 times in the past. He suffered a serious neck injury.

"I can remember the play, I can remember the position of him lying on the field and I can remember turning to the trainer, George Salvaterra, and saying, 'this is not a good situation,'" recalls Penn State's Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, who was among the first to run out on to the field after the impact of Taliaferro's tackle left him motionless on the field.

Unable to move his arm, Taliaferro's first thought was a broken arm. Unable to gather his legs to get up, his next thought was stinger, a nerve injury in the neck and shoulder area.

"I had heard from other guys that when you get stinger you lose sensation for a little bit and then it eventually comes back."

As team physicians and trainers asked Taliaferro a series of questions, he felt no pain as he correctly answered his name and location, while medical professionals worked swiftly to provide care that would give him the best chances for recovery.

"I just kind of laid there and they told me not to move and they took me off the field but the thought of being paralyzed never really went through my head while I was unable to move on the ground," Taliaferro said.

In the critical moments after sustaining his injury, Taliaferro was carefully transported to The Ohio State University Medical Center. 

"I knew my mom (Addie) would be pretty upset and I knew my family was watching on TV, so I wanted to give a thumbs up," Taliaferro said. "As they were rolling me off the field and I could not move my hands and I remember thinking this could be kind of serious."

That's where it gets foggy for Taliaferro, though, as he remembers an x-ray before waking up and seeing the face of his father.

"I remember him saying to me, 'you've been injured but you're going to be ok,'" Taliaferro said.

The Recovery
After surgery the following Monday, Taliaferro knew from his family that his his injury was serious, but his family kept the initial prognosis from him -- a prognosis that included a less than five percent chance that Taliaferro would ever walk again.

"We wanted to give him every opportunity to get better," Andre said. "We didn't want him to have to deal with anything negative or anything that would suggest that he wouldn't get better."

"Since I didn't know any better, I just always went into it like I was going to walk out of it," Adam said.

Focused solely on a full recovery, Adam Taliaferro believed with all his heart from the very first day of his injury, that he was going to get better.

Four days after his injury, Adam was transferred to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, less than 20 miles from his home. Several days later, he was moved to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia to begin his arduous rehabilitation.

Little by little, Taliaferro had to re-learn everything movement-related, with his largest task in regaining the ability to walk on his own again.

"We would do six hours of therapy a day," Adam said. "My physical therapist became like my football coach and I just tried to go into every therapy session like I would go into football practice, where I had to just get a little bit better every day."

Along with the constant support from his family, Taliaferro also drew inspiration from his coaches, teammates and Penn State Football family and administration, who were regular visitors throughout his rehabilitation in Philadelphia and later, at home. 

"They would come down every Thursday after practice and they would bring two or three players and I would see different guys," Taliaferro said. "It was exciting for me because as I was getting better, I would try every Thursday to show them that I was doing something new or that I was moving something new."

Spending weeks learning to move a single finger, Taliaferro celebrated every milestone along the way until major breakthrough presented a turning point.

Late one evening nearly two months into his rehabilitation, Taliaferro's nurse caught his toe moving and prompted him to attempt to move the toe again. Taliaferro successfully moved his toe on the next try, signaling hope.

Such a breakthrough called for a celebration, as Taliaferro's parents immediately returned to the hospital filled with joy, calling as many people as they could to share the promising news.

"We knew that from a medical perspective, once you wiggle a toe, you have about an 85 percent chance of walking so we were very encouraged at that point in time and literally within weeks he was on his feet," Sebastianelli said. 

The Rebirth
Having made significant progress in his recovery, Taliaferro incredibly walked out of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital on crutches on January 6, 2001 and went home, where he continued his rehabilitation. He returned to State College for the 2001 fall semester, where he would continue to rehab with Nittany Lion athletic trainers and team physicians, who made him like his regular self again.

"Tom Bradley, who was our defensive coordinator and my position coach, made me a student assistant coach," Taliaferro said. "I was still at all the practices and all the meetings and I was concerned because I was no longer a football player, but the coaches, the staff and my teammates still made me feel like I was an integral part of the team."

On September 1, 2001, surrounded by not just those who had directly supported Taliaferro along the way, but the entire Penn State community, he walked, then skipped and jogged in leading the Nittany Lions through the Beaver Stadium gates and on to the field. 

In the culmination of Taliaferro's relentless pursuit to defy the odds, he recalls the moment as one of the most exciting experiences of his life.

"It felt as though a mission had been completed," Andre Taliaferro said. "We knew that he wasn't going to play anymore, but the fact that he had recovered from an accident on the field and was told that he would never walk again, here he was and now he was going to start life anew."

By 2005, Taliaferro was crossing the stage on graduation day, having earned his undergraduate degree in labor and industrial relations. By 2008, he had earned his law degree from the Rutgers School of Law-Camden and was off to a successful career with Bristol-Myers Squibb. In November 2015, he was elected to his first full two-year term as member of the New Jersey General Assembly after being appointed to the seat in 10 months earlier. Taliaferro and his wife, formerly Erin Mulshenock, a Penn State swimmer, also welcomed a new addition to their family with the birth of their son last year.

Sparked by the tremendous amount of financial support his family had received due to the severity of his injury and his rehabilitation, the Adam Taliaferro Foundation was also born in 2001.

The process of recovering from a severe spinal cord injury is a lifelong journey. One that Taliaferro not only embraces on a personal level daily, but one that he continues to support through his dedication to the Adam Taliaferro Foundation.

"Penn State and Penn Staters had raised a lot of money for me and my hometown had raised a lot of money for me and my lifetime care, but thankfully, I didn't need any of those funds so we came up with the idea that if I don't need it, there are plenty of people out there who do," Taliaferro said.

With the mission to help athletes who have suffered devastating spinal cord injuries, the Foundation provides emotional, financial and educational support to student-athletes who sustain spinal cord injuries in sanctioned team events throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Operating entirely through volunteer support, Taliaferro has been able to give back to those who gave so much to him along the way. 

Among countless individuals he has been able to impact, Taliaferro recounts being especially proud to help a high school senior secure the financial support for a full-time nurse so she could attend college and fulfill her dream to earn a degree, just like Taliaferro.

"It's little things like that that where we just had a small piece in it, but here's a young lady who was able to get back to living her life and get an education although she was paralyzed because we were able to provide a full-time nurse for her while she was away at college."

Back to living life is exactly where Taliaferro found himself and where he will continue to have an impact on those who embark on the same journey as he did.

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When Megan Schafer pocketed her first shot of the game into the left side of the net in the 10th minute Thursday night at Jeffrey Field, it seemed as if Penn State would cruise to a carefree victory in front of 870 bundled-up fans.

 

Penn State continued to pass crisply in the midfield and create chances early in the game, but no one was able to stretch the lead in the first half.

 

"We definitely came out with a lot of energy," said Charlotte Williams, who recorded the assist on Schafer's goal. "We've been practicing a lot of different things and they've been starting to work. Our movement in the midfield was going really well and we were possessing. It's just the consistency of keeping that going."

 

Right before the halftime whistle, Rutgers' forward Madison Tiernan silenced the crowd with a 27-yard strike to the top right corner to beat Amanda Dennis and tie the game in the 43rd minute.

                                      

The carefree victory suddenly wasn't so.

 

The Nittany Lions outshot the Scarlet Knights 6-3 in the first half and controlled possession for the most part, but Rutgers was clearly riding more momentum going into the locker room.

 

Rutgers kept that momentum flowing out of the gate in the second half with a quick goal in the 50th minute on a defensive mishap by Penn State.

 

The tides had changed, and rather quickly.

 

For 15 minutes following the goal, not even the Park Avenue Army uttered a sound. A loud, jubilant first half crowd sharply shifted to feelings of shock and dismay.

 

The Nittany Lions, however, wouldn't stop fighting. Especially not Frannie Crouse.

 

The junior, who leads the team in game-winning goals (4), always seems to put the ball in the net at the most opportune times. Tonight was no different.

 

With everything going Rutgers' way, Crouse knotted the score up at two with a right-footed rip from 20 yards out into the bottom left corner of the net in the 67th minute.

 

It was her team-leading 10th goal of the season and the 31st of her career. The goal placed Crouse in a tie for 12th all-time in goals for Penn State.

 

"Frannie was all over the place tonight," said head coach Erica Dambach. "Her work ethic on both sides of the ball was incredible. We've got to live and die by those players. We've got to have special moments like we had from her and Schafer tonight on those goals. Big players step up in big games and that happened tonight."

 

In overtime, Crouse produced another chance in the 106th minute by dodging a defender and striking for goal with her left foot but her shot sailed just high of the bar. The draw was effectively sealed.

 

"I think it's a game we can be proud of," said Williams. "We always know Rutgers is going to bring a hard game, we have a lot of history with them. I'm definitely proud of all the girls. It says a lot about us as a team and what we're working at."

 

"They weren't going to walk home with a loss tonight," said Dambach. "This is a Penn State soccer team I want to coach right now and I'm enjoying working with these guys."

 

The top of the Big Ten is incredibly crowded following Thursday's draw. Penn State moved down a spot to second place in the conference, but they sit only one point behind leaders Minnesota and Northwestern.

 

The Nittany Lions will look to gain ground on the leaders Sunday against Purdue (4-10, 2-6) back at Jeffrey Field at 1:00 p.m.

B1G Men's Hoops Media Day in Washington D.C.

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WASHINGTON - Just a day after hosting their own event, Penn State men's basketball hit the road, traveling to Washington D.C. to participate in the Big Ten Men's Basketball Media Day. Nittany Lion head coach Patrick Chambers joined juniors Shep Garner and Payton Banks for the busy day.

Chambers opened the morning making his rounds through the media circuit, spending time with ESPN and the Big Ten Network. 

Check out the recap of Chambers' morning media circuit below.

Chambers capped off his morning media rounds with a brief press conference, taking questions from members of the national and local media.

"Penn State basketball is in a different place today," Chambers said in his opening statement. "We are going to get up and down, which we haven't done in the last five years. We're going to play and up-tempo style."

Check out Chambers' full press conference below. Transcript of the press conference available here.

Banks and Garner joined in on the media circuit in the afternoon, while also taking some time for a Big Ten photo shoot before closing out the day with a live appearance on the Big Ten Network. 

Both Banks and Garner echoed Chambers throughout the day, noting that the 2016-17 Nittany Lions are an all new team featuring experienced returners as well as a host of newcomers with plenty of potential.

Follow along with Banks and Garner below to see what they were up to this afternoon. 


Chambers followed the Nittany Lion duo with a live appearance on the Big Ten Network before hitting the road to return home to Happy Valley.

Penn State is set to open the 2016-17 campaign at home with an exhibition against Lock Haven Friday, Nov. 4 in the Bryce Jordan Center.

LionVisionVR Virtual Reality Channel Nears Debut

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  - "Wow! Pretty cool. That's sweet."

 

Those were just some of the reactions Thursday as members of the local media had an opportunity to participate in a demonstration of Penn State Athletics' virtual reality initiative - LionVisionVR.

 

Intercollegiate Athletics and EON Sports VR announced in late August a partnership to create a virtual reality channel, LionVision VR, for the Nittany Lions' loyal and passionate alumni and fans. The experience-driven initiative will debut the week of October 24 and add content from all 31 teams during the remainder of 2016-17.

 

Fans will be able to check out LionVision VR during Fan Fest on Curtin Road prior to the Oct. 22 primetime clash with Ohio State.

 

Through EON Sports' proprietary technology, Penn Staters can view exclusive, dynamic content via their iOS or Android based smartphone. LionVision VR will provide fans a behind-the-scenes views of practice, pre and post game locker room coaches' talks and a wide array of iconic Penn State experiences, while immersed inside a customized virtual reality environment.


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 The partnership between Penn State and EON Sports VR, the world's leading virtual reality sports training and fan experience company, is among the first offerings nationally in intercollegiate athletics to provide fans with an all-access virtual reality channel.

 

The partnership has extended to Penn State's Applied Research Lab (ARL), which has significant experience in working with virtual reality in the research work it does for the Department of Defense.

 

Thursday's demonstration was led by a trio of Penn Staters who are making LionVisionVR a reality: Michael Cross, Assistant Athletic Director for New Business; Jim Nachtman, Assistant Athletic Director for Media and Video Production and Tim Shaw, who directs the ARL's Synthetic Environment Applications (SEA) Lab.

 

"This is incredible technology," said Cross. "Virtual reality will allow fans to see things in ways they've never seen and see things the public can't typically see. It will let our fans see what our student-athletes experience.

 

"There's no playbook," Cross added. "We're taking a leadership position (nationally in college athletics)."

 

Among the experiences available for viewing on Thursday were the Nittany Lion football team running onto the field from the perspective of a Penn State Blue Band member, a kickoff, squad members warming up in pre-game, Coach James Franklin's post-game press conference and the Nittany Lion mascot getting the Beaver Stadium throng ready for a game.

 

In addition to fan experiences, Cross and Nachtman said that virtual reality could be used in recruiting, development, promotional and sponsorship opportunities, among other areas, once LionVisionVR is launched. In the not too distant future, coaches could take a LionVisionVR headset with them during recruiting visits to show a prospective student-athlete and his or her family numerous aspects of the program and student life at Penn State.

 

"We can use technology to help remind our fans about their experiences at Penn State," Nachtman said. "Virtual reality is not new, but it's new to us. There aren't a lot of colleges doing much in this space. Tim Shaw and his group have been doing things on a global scale. We've created a strategic partnership that has ramped up our learning curve.

 

"There are different types of virtual reality," Nachtman added. "We're starting with these football experiences and will soon be adding men's and women's soccer and field hockey experiences" en route to having experiences on all 31 programs during this academic year.

 

Nachtman added that live coverage of selected events will be discussed, as long as they are in accordance with the Big Ten media rights agreements.

 

To access LionVision VR, Penn State fans will have the opportunity to purchase an annual subscription to LionVision VR for $29.95 in launch first year. The 2016-17 subscription will run through June 30, 2017 and include a free, Penn State branded Dodocase VR headset, sent directly to subscribers who sign up by October 24.

 

Shaw said that Penn State's Applied Research Lab has been working on virtual reality the past 15 years with the Department of Defense. He stated that virtual reality and augmented reality is forecast to be a more than $30 billion industry by 2020.

 

Assisting the LionVision VR efforts has been Adam Geiger, a member of Nittany Lion football team in 2013 and '14. Geiger is a senior and an ARL intern. The computer science major is interested in virtual reality coding after he graduates next spring.

 

"This project has been a unification of a lot of strengths," Cross stated. "Our partnership with the Applied Research Lab is a good partnership across campus."


LionVisionVR technology and hardware is available for purchase at

www.gopsusports.com/vr. Fans who subscribe by October 24, 2016, will receive a free Penn State branded head set to view the content in VR. Penn State plans to debut the new technology to fans the week of October 24, building toward content from all 31 teams during the upcoming year.


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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State extends its reach internationally as an academic institution and the men's soccer team is doing its part with having four international players on the roster, three of whom are from the country north of the United States, Canada.

Dayonn Harris, Aymar Sigue, and Mitchel Bringolf make up the trio of players on Penn State's roster from the second-largest country by area in the world. Each come from different provinces throughout the vast country. Harris, a speedy sophomore forward hails from Milton, Ontario, only a five-hour drive away from campus. Sigue, a junior transfer is from Tulsa and physical forward from St. Albert, Alberta, which is above Montana, a trip that can't be covered in one day by car from University Park. Bringolf, an impact freshman defender hails from Montreal, Quebec, about eight hours away.

With the growing trend of more collegiate programs looking internationally for players, head coach Bob Warming knew he could take advantage of Penn State's proximity to Canada. Penn State and Warming have made a splash by tapping into the talent from all over Canada in recent years.

"There aren't many foreign countries you can drive to," said Warming. "They're closer to us than a lot of the other American players that we have."

Location isn't the lone factor for recruiting Canada. Warming applauds the people of Canada, especially the Canadians on the team for their genuine kindness and overall positive nature.

"No offense to any other country in the world including our own but Canada has to be the nicest bunch of human beings on the planet," said Warming. "They're very positive people and all of us need positive people around us. I absolutely love the guys."

"If we get an opportunity, we'll go back and get a couple more," said Warming with a grin on his face.

Summer Canada Trip

This summer, Penn State men's soccer traveled north to Canada for a 10-day foreign tour, training, competition and touring Montreal and Quebec. The Nittany Lions also happened to be in Montreal for St. Jean Baptiste Day.

The trip impacted the team in a variety of positive ways and the Nittany Lions experienced much more than just playing of the game of soccer. From a Niagara Falls tour to exploring Toronto and Montreal to going to two MLS matches, the team used these experiences to prepare for this season and beyond.

About the Canadians

I sat town with the three Nittany Lion Canadians to learn more about the group from up north. 

#10 Dayonn Harris

What's it like to be Canadian on the team? "The guys kind of make fun of me for my accent, like how I say 'aye'. It's all out of fun though."

Favorite memory from the summer Canada trip: "We went to downtown Toronto and saw the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre and went shopping. It was amazing for the guys to see my hometown. We were pretty close to where I live.

What was the impact of the summer Canada trip? "We grew as a team for sure, just from little things like team dinners, jokes and banter helped make us more of a team. We actually played my home team. It was great to score on them for bragging rights as well."

Why did you choose Penn State? "Coach Warming traveled to Canada to watch me play and train. He came and watched me hit an upper-90 shot in training and it was amazing. "I was always looking to come to the United States ever since high school. The family environment felt welcoming from everyone here especially the seniors. They welcomed me in open arms."

What strengths do you bring to the team? "My speed is my strength, being able to run into channels to get us opportunities and alleviating pressure off our defense."

#7 Aymar Sigue

Being from Western Canada, what's it like being far from home and is the culture different? "I'm used to it. I lived far from home for a while but the culture in definitely different. Sports here are a lot bigger and the football culture is different especially."

Favorite memory from the summer Canada trip: "I've never been to Montreal before being from the Western Canada. I speak French so it was nice to actually be around people who also spoke French. I'm not French Canadian but I speak French. It's a question I get a lot."

What was the impact of the summer Canada trip? "It made the team a whole lot closer especially for me since I was an outsider coming in. It allowed us to have a common experience to bring us together."

What made you choose playing collegiate soccer in the U.S.? "I had the option to stay with the Vancouver Whitecaps academy team but I thought I might as well get a degree and keep playing. I go back to Vancouver during the summers to train with the team."

Why did you choose Penn State? "I transferred from Tulsa. I'm from the west side of Canada but I wanted to try something new. The winning culture and coach Warming is great. The campus is beautiful and the alumni group is really supportive."

What strengths do you bring to the team? "I'm a physical presence. We have smaller players like Dayonn who are quick forwards. I offer a different dimension to the team."

#15 Mitchel Bringolf

Is there a difference between Canada and the United States? "I don't really find that there's a big difference. Canada and the United States are very similar."

What's it like to be Canadian on the team? There's just a lot of making fun of us for saying 'aye' or the stereotypes of igloos, moose and other stuff."

How were you involved in the summer Canada trip? "I didn't go because I'm a freshman but I actually played against Penn State. We tied 1-1. My club team was the only team Penn State didn't beat."

How do you feel about going to school in another country? "Obviously I miss home but it's nice to experience something else. Even though it's a bit similar. Living on campus and living with everyone else, there still a little difference than living at home."

What was your path to Penn State? "I played with a USL team in Montreal and studying at McGill University in Montreal but it wasn't connected. The school didn't care that I played soccer and soccer didn't care about schooling. If I would have stayed, I would have had to choose one or the other."

Why did you choose Penn State? "Honestly, it was a mixture between one of the best athletic programs in the nation plus this school academically is one of the best schools in the nation plus the second I started talking to the coaching staff, it just all felt good."

What strengths do you bring to the team? "I'm a defensive player so my work ethic, being solid defensively and being clean with the ball are my strengths."

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

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By Alyssa Palfey, GGoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State cross country team will run their last home meet of the regular season at the annual Penn State National Open this Friday, Oct. 14th at the Blue-White Golf Course.

 

Last year at this meet, the women captured the top spot with their top three runners placing in the top-10, while the men got second as a team with their top five runners placing in the top-15.

 

This will be the last meet they compete in before championship season starts and will have several ranked teams present.

 

Along with being their last meet before championship season, this will also be Senior Day for the Nittany Lions.

 

Seniors on the men's team are redshirt senior, Conrad Lippert of Middletown, N.J., Brad Rivera of Bensalem, Pa., and Joseph Phifer of Union, N.J. For the women, the seniors include captain, Julie Kocjancic of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Cara Uilizio of Redondo Beach, Ca.

 

Senior Captain Julie Kocjancic reflects on how she has grown as athlete throughout her career at Penn State.

 

"I have improved from my freshman year by being able to get ready for competition and approach workouts with confidence in my training," said Kocjancic. "Also just figuring out the system of what works for me, whether it be my mileage or my diet and that has shown improvements in my time and fitness."

 

She also relives her favorite memory on the team, and is looking forward to the upcoming championship season.

 

"The most memorable part of my cross country career was last year winning Big Tens and all the fun I had with the team. We beat a No. 2 nationally ranked team when weren't even ranked in the top 10," said Kocjancic. "I am looking forward to this season more than I ever have any other season because we have a very talented team that is in a great spot, and it being my last cross country season since I was in sixth grade. These last few races will be very bittersweet."

 

Head Coach John Gondak, enjoyed coaching and watching Kocjancic grow over the past few years.

 

"Julie has come in and really grown as an athlete in XC, earning all-region honors last year and helping to seal the deal as our number 5 runner when we won the Big Ten last fall. It has been great to see her grow as a person and athlete," said Gondak.

 

On the men's side, redshirt senior, Conrad Lippert, is the only one left from his freshman year, but feels the team atmosphere is still the same as it was back then.

 

"There is no one else on the team right now who was also on the team with me my freshman year. In that sense, this team is completely different. In another sense, nothing has changed," said Lippert.

 

Lippert is ready to take on the rest of the season, as championship meets are coming up.

 

"I'm just looking to experience that underlying presence of Penn State XC that has been such a prominent part of the last five years of my life a few more times and make the most of this championship season," he said.

 

Gondak is happy to see Lippert competing hard for his final season as a Nittany Lion.

 

"It is great to see Conrad back in the mix and competing well for the team. This is his final semester and he is really taking advantage of it," said Gondak.

 

Coaching is a very rewarding job for Gondak. He enjoys watching his athletes grow as both athletes and people. 


"It is always exciting to see athletes grow from when they come in as wide-eyed freshman to where they leave as young adults with a Penn State education," said Gondak.

 

The Penn State National Open will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET on Friday.  

2016-17 Men's Hoops Media Day Recap

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's basketball head coach Patrick Chambers met with a packed media room Wednesday afternoon to preview the 2016-17 season on media day.

With nearly every seat in the Bryce Jordan Center media room occupied, Chambers took questions from members of the media before the 2016-17 Nittany Lions were made available for individual interviews in the practice gym.

Penn State preseason practice is well underway in preparation for an exhibition matchup against Lock Haven Friday, Nov. 4 at home in the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions officially open the regular season Friday, Nov. 11, welcoming Albany to Happy Valley for a 7 p.m. matchup in the opening game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic. 

A Fearless Approach

In his opening statement, Chambers made note of the team's mentality this year, which is simply to be fearless in their approach. With a tough non-conference schedule that's stacked with tough opponents and features five road or neutral games, Chambers stressed that the focus right now is for the Nittany Lions to be the best they can be and get better every day, while also keying in on attention to detail.

"If we can do the little things great, that could be the different in a couple more victories for us heading into this great non-conference that we've put together." 

More from Coach Chambers and his outlook on the season below.


Newcomers Transitioning
Poised to welcome the program's highest ranked recruiting class in program history, Penn State's signing class featuring Tony Carr, Nazeer Bostick and Lamar Stevens all join walk-on Grant Hazle and Virginia Tech transfer Satchel Pierce, who will sit out a year. The Nittany Lions will also see first-year contributions from Mike Watkins, who was not eligible to play last year and UCONN transfer Terrence Samuel, who also sat out last year.

"I think this summer session and the fall preseason that we had kind of gave the new guys an indication of what to prepare for how hard practice would be and I think they are adapting," Chambers said.

Chambers also sighted that consistency in practice is still an area where the Nittany Lion newcomers can work on improving to build trust among teammates and coaches heading into week one.

Among newcomers Chambers mentioned today, he noted that he has seen tremendous versatility from Stevens, a 6-7 forward who has already shown the ability to play at the three or four and even the five in a tight situation.

"We are moving him all over the place and he has earned it," Chambers said. He's strong, he's a freakish-athlete, shooting the ball much better than I remember in high school. He is really going out and playing hard, making mistakes and allowing us to coach him, which I think is huge."

Hear more from Stevens below.


Garner Stepping Up Leadership
With the departures of 2015-16 senior leaders Brandon Taylor, Jordan Dickerson and Donovon Jack, Chambers said that Garner knew coming into the season that he would need to step into the leadership role to guide the younger members of the team. 

"In the summer and fall, it was a little bit slower for him but once practice started I now hear him a little bit more," Chambers said. "We have attitude club in practice and he has been in the top three for eight practices. For a guard, like Shep, that's pretty impressive." 

Garner talks more about stepping into that leadership role below.


Scoring 80

Chambers unveiled plans for a new offensive style coming this season, one that's up-tempo and quick, ideally producing 80 points per game.

Drawing inspiration from NBA teams such as Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Nittany Lions will look to inject some serious speed into their game this year.

"There are going to be some tough stretches, there are going to be some high turnover games and that's something we have to coach these kids," Chambers said. "But we are going to play at a very high tempo. That is what we want to do this year. I am committed to it."

Practice Update - James Franklin (Bye Week)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin took time to meet with members of the media Wednesday following practice during the bye week to take questions and give updates on the off week. 

Check out updates from the media session below.

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Going for Gold

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By Mark Brumbaugh, Penn State Strategic Communications 

Ask Malik Golden what his goals are for the remainder of the 2016 season; he only has one.

"Win, win, win, win, win, win, and then win some more. And after we win some more, win after that. All I want to do is win.

Ask him what his career plans are; he suggests having his own TV show and network. 

"Kind of like Oprah, man. I'm trying to make some money, have my own TV show, like 'The Golden Show' or even my own network. 

Clearly, Golden expects nothing less than success and there is no reason for him not to.

Originally a soccer player, the Hartford, Connecticut, native's football career began in seventh grade with the Newington Knights Pop Warner football team. Recruited by a friend, Golden joined the team and helped it win a National Championship in Arizona.

"The quarterback [of the team] was like, 'we could use some fast guys,' so I joined the football team and have been playing football ever since," Golden said.

Golden went on to have a decorated prep career, transferring to Cheshire Academy for his junior and senior seasons, where he developed into the second-ranked prospect in the state of Connecticut. An All-New England and all-conference player both seasons, Golden helped lead Cheshire to a pair of New England Preparatory School Athletic Council state titles. He was elected team captain as a senior and led the squad to an undefeated season.

Golden played both ways as a wide receiver and defensive back, totaling nearly 3,000 all-purpose yards in two seasons and hauling in seven interceptions as a senior.

Cheshire Academy is a boarding school about a half-hour from Golden's home and it provided him with more than just a great football experience.

"I lived [at Cheshire], so I had a roommate from Beijing my first year, and my second year, my roommate from Manhattan, so it kind of diversified me a little bit," Golden said. "It was cool. I actually enjoyed it a lot.

"At my public school, I would have graduated with four or five hundred people. At Cheshire, I probably graduated with 50 or 60."

The big school experience awaited Golden though, as Penn State became interested in his talents on the recruiting trail. Golden came to Happy Valley for a camp, and Joe Paterno offered him a scholarship the next day. 

Golden committed in August 2011 and is one of the last remaining Nittany Lion to have verbally committed to Paterno. However, tumult would hit Penn State later that year and with no coach in place, Golden reconsidered his options. 

"I reopened my recruitment, but then came back and fell in love with Penn State again," Golden said. "It was crazy, especially for being a young kid, but it helped me grow a lot. Everything happens for a reason, and I'm really glad to be here."

Golden redshirted during the 2012 season as a wide receiver but was moved to safety the following year and saw most of his action on special teams. While he worked for a larger role, he had exceptional mentors in Adrian Amos and Jordan Lucas, who are both currently suiting up in the NFL. 

"I started here as a receiver and when they switched me to safety, I felt like I was finally getting my niche at receiver. I had to relearn the safety position again and that took me awhile," Golden said. "Then when [defensive coordinator and safeties coach Bob] Shoop came, I learned how to watch film and scout opponents. Now, [current safeties coach Tim] Banks has really sharpened my technique, so it has been cool learning from all of those guys."

With strong competition at his position, it was hard for Golden to see playing time as a redshirt freshman and sophomore but as a junior he saw more regular action and drew four starts. His first career interception sealed a narrow victory over Maryland.

"[College football] is difficult, because everyone's a star in high school," Golden said. "When you're young and you see other young guys have success, you're happy for them, but it hurts you a little bit not to play as much. But everything happens for a reason. You can't compare someone's chapter five to your chapter 10, so I knew I would get on the field eventually."

Golden's senior year has been his time to shine in a starting role at safety and as one of the leading tacklers on the team. However, he is embracing the role of being a mentor, too. 

"I enjoy helping the young guys learn," Golden said. "Of course it is always good to be a starter, but when you see young guys like Nick Scott and Ayron Monroe come along and get better each day, and they look up to me for advice, that's where I get the most satisfaction." 

Penn State Football is about much more than football though, and Golden has taken full advantage of the university's resources. In December 2015, he graduated with a degree in telecommunications but he is adding a second degree in broadcast journalism and hoping to complete a minor in business too.

Over the most recent summer, he gained valuable work experience interning at a local radio station. 

"I was on the air a little bit, so if you think you heard my smooth voice, that was definitely me," Golden said with a smile. "I cut music, copied music, got it on the air, checked the stream and went to local broadcasts and talked to people. It was a pretty good experience. It kind of made me realize I want to be in TV and not radio though.

"Hopefully, when I'm done playing football, I can have my own TV show."

So while The Golden Show is in its final season at Penn State, the final episodes are shaping up to be the best yet.

And if Golden's track record so far is any indication, this is certainly not the series finale.

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - There are few things more rewarding for a parent than seeing their child succeed after a lot of hard work. For the mother of freshman Kate Rydland, that opportunity came earlier this year when she visited Penn State for the Nittany Lions' exhibition match against Guelph as Kate began her Division I hockey career.

Rydland hails from Eden Prairie, Minnesota and had a very successful career in high school, so her parents Rick and Valerie had plenty of opportunity to witness her accomplishments. She was a team captain of her state championship squad last year and was named an all-state honorable mention that same year. She tallied 32 points in her senior season on five goals and 27 assists, capping a career that destined her for Division I hockey. 

Coming to Penn State was a family-oriented decision for Kate, as Valerie went to Penn State and was a member of the swim team from 1982-84.

"She influenced me a little bit," Kate said. "She wanted me to go wherever I was happy but she always kind of was like 'well you should look at Penn State, it's a really good school, you'd love it out there.' So there was definitely an influence, but not in a bad way at all. It was in a loving way because she knew me and she knew I'd like it."

"When Kate told me what she wanted out of a school, I'm like 'you need to look at Penn State,'" Valerie said. "She came from a large high school with a lot of school spirit, big football program, and she loved that and so she wanted that too."

Valerie stayed true to her word of not forcing Kate into anything, but in the end, both really feel that Kate made the right decision.

"I chose Penn State because of the wonderful academics, school spirit, the awesome facilities and coaching staff and also the great alumni association," Kate said. 

It's been several years since Valerie last walked around campus, and some things were a little different on her most recent trip.

"It was really weird looking at her [Kate] in white and blue," Valerie said with a laugh. "She's been in black and red [high school colors] her whole life. It's really thrilling, really different being back on campus. I talked to Kate about where things were. It's grown and it's really fun to see."

From a hockey perspective, Kate attributed much of her interest and development in the game to her late grandfather, Pat Quinn. Quinn played nine seasons in the NHL, including stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and Atlanta Flames. Quinn also spent several years as an NHL coach, taking two different teams to the Stanley Cup Final as well as winning four gold medals at the helm of Team Canada.

Kate can play all over the ice as well at both forward and defense, earning high praise from head coach Josh Brandwene, who was as happy as any of Kate's family members that she chose the Nittany Lions. 

"Height, strength and versatility set Kate apart," Brandwene said. "She brings outstanding work ethic and hockey sense to our program,can contribute at both forward and defense, and brings an incredible amount of enthusiasm to the rink every day."

Kate has already had a chance to contribute to the team, as she saw ice time in the exhibition and both games of the season-opening series at Clarkson, before sustaining a minor upper body injury last week.  She looks to return to the lineup soon.

The Nittany Lions play their first regular season home games this weekend against Boston University. Game 1 puck drop is set for 6:00 p.m. Friday at Pegula Ice Arena.

Freshman Feature: Myllari a Well-Rounded Defenseman

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hockey parents are no strangers to long hours in the car on the way to hockey practices and games. Freshman defenseman Kris Myllari's parents Roy and Dawn, are no different.

The dedicated pair has been to all three home contests for the Nittany Lions so far this season, including Penn State's win over St. Lawrence last Thursday night.

"They've got a pretty decent drive, so for them to come down was awesome," Myllari said.

The drive from the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, Ontario is no walk in the park. In fact, it takes a little more than seven hours to reach Hockey Valley. 

Myllari's parents have been instrumental in their son's success in hockey. Both Roy and Dawn have been a constant support system for their son, helping him navigate the waters of Junior hockey. Myllari most recently played for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL from 2014-16.

Roy, a hockey player himself, played in the Ontario Hockey League and the British Hockey League during the 1980's. He won the 1984 Memorial Cup with the Ottawa 67's.

Myllari's parents have also been very supportive of their son's education, so when the opportunity for Myllari to attend college with a hockey scholarship, the decision was a no-brainer. 

"I thought being able to come to a big school like this I'd get a great education and have the resources to become a better hockey player," Myllari said.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky has always been adamant about making his players better on the and preparing them for the professional world once hockey is over. 

"Coach has established a great culture," Myllari said. "All the guys he brings in, from the seniors to the freshmen, I think they all get along well and there's a culture that doing well in school is a good thing. The guys on this team compete to do well in school, it's not something they blow off." 

Being a well-rounded student-athlete is something not only the hockey program, but also, something all of Penn State Athletics has strived for over the years. Penn State is consistently ranked above the national average when it comes to athlete graduation rates.

Myllari is simply appreciative of the opportunity he has to further his hockey skills alongside his education and isn't something he'll take for granted. 

"I think it's very important," Myllari said. "Even if you're fortunate enough to play 20 years of professional hockey you're still going to need a job afterward, so your education is very important." 

This weekend, the Nittany Lions travel to Mercyhurst to face off Friday night at 7 p.m.

"We're going to stick with our game plan," Myllari said. "But just one game, we're just going to leave it all out on the ice, there's nothing you have to say before. Just go, give it all you've got, empty the tank and see what the scoreboard says at the end." 

Moira Putsch Finds Home at Penn State

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - In a sea of the same blue and white uniforms, it is hard to identify a specific Penn State field hockey Nittany Lion from the stands. However, for Moira Putsch, all one needs to look for is the bright yellow headband.

"When I ran track in grade school I always wore the same headband," Putsch said. "I guess I am just weird with stuff like that. My hair is too crazy not to wear a headband, so I guess that's where it all started. It's totally superstitious. I wore the headband when I was at Maryland. I coincidentally put it on for the first game and I just felt like I had to put it on for any other game. I was debating whether I should do something new when I came here, but I liked it too much and had to stay with it."

Through elementary and middle school, Putsch experimented with almost every sport she could. When it came to high school, she decided to focus on just field hockey and lacrosse.

Putsch's freshman year field hockey season was complete and spring was around the corner. The freshman at the time was excited to start her first high school lacrosse season and was ready for the team's first scrimmage.

During the scrimmage, Putsch cut left, but ended up going to her right causing a pop in her knee that no athlete ever wants to feel.

Putsch tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and suddenly her future in field hockey seemed to be in jeopardy.

When most would be out for a year from an ACL tear and surgery, Putsch was back and ready for her sophomore field hockey season just a few months after the injury.

"I remember being so annoying at first," Putsch said. "They let me play like five minutes each half because I was still coming back from surgery. I remember I was dying for just a minute each half. I was definitely being a little pest about it, but I think I only missed one or two real games that season."

All of her dedication to the sport despite any injury paid off for the high school sophomore when she was selected to the U21 National Field Hockey team entering her junior season.                                                           
"I have been playing USA Hockey since eighth grade," Putsch said. "I was named on the U21 team going into my junior year of high school. I did a tour with them and it was awesome. We went to Holland. So I went to Holland with Penn State and two other times with USA Hockey. It's definitely different to play international teams. The tempo is faster. I also feel like my game knowledge increases every time I play an international team. Teams like Holland and Australia are very poised and it is very pretty hockey. It's really fun to play against them because you learn so much at the same time." 

Playing at an international level is not something that every high school field hockey player being recruited by big colleges get to experience.

"Playing USA Hockey prepared me so much for the collegiate level," Putsch said. "I think I would've been really overwhelmed going