Maria Evangelou, GoPSUsports.com student
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite a steady rain, Penn State took to the field with an admirable amount of energy Sunday afternoon at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, marking the beginning of Big Ten Tournament play.
"Our team came ready to play," Morett-Curtiss said. "They had great energy from the locker room. There's no way they let the conditions deter their focus on this game and I think we had a great passing game to get the ball rolling."
Katie Dembrowski opened up the scoring for the Nittany Lions in the seventh minute with a seamless penalty corner conversion, assisted by midfielder Madison Morano. While Penn State maintained possession, the Nittany Lions put eight shots on goal in just 15 minutes.
Finding success in drawing several penalty corner opportunities, an important factor of offensive play for Morett-Curtiss, the Nittany Lions were only able to score on one of five first half opportunities.
"I always thought Iowa was very skilled, and had grit," Morano said. "We knew it was going to be a challenge, but we knew that if we played together we would pull it off."
With a 1-0 lead headed into the second half, the Nittany Lions capitalized offensively to smother any opportunities for the Hawkeyes, while opening up the scoring.
Gini Bramley sparked the offense with an unassisted goal as the Nittany Lion energy levels started to rise.
With 12 minutes left in the game, sophomore Bes Bovelander set up teammate Emily Klingler to take care of the third goal of the match. Moments later, Putsch didn't waste any time, assisting on Bramley's second goal of the game, giving the Nittany Lions a firm advantage with a 4-0 lead.
The Hawkeyes looked to rebound with a goal off of a penalty stroke but the Nittany Lions didn't see that as a roadblock.
Penn State took over for the remainder of the game, scoring their fifth and final goal of the game off a penalty corner capped off with a swift shot by Aurelia Meijer.
"We were expecting a big challenge coming into the game with Iowa, especially being a Big Ten Tournament game," Bramley said.
For Murano, although the Nittany Lions would have liked to finish a bit more, it was a relentless team-approach that Penn State deployed to advance to the Big Ten semifinals.
Morett-Curttis, it was the team effort that proved key in the win.
"I give credit to the team for making a great team effort," Morett-Curtiss said. I thought our press was outstanding. I thought they put really good pressure on the ball, and our defense did a really nice job of not giving out a lot of penalty corners."
The Nittany Lions will prep for the Big Ten semifinals coming Friday, Nov. 3. Penn State will take on Maryland in the semifinal matchup traveling to East Lansing, Michigan for a 1:30 p.m. outing.