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Penn State Set for EIVA Championship

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By Will Desautelle, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After closing the regular season with a senior night win, Penn State will head to George Mason for the EIVA Championship. Penn State clinched the No. 2 seed in this weekend's tournament with a 3-1 set win over NJIT to clinch the two-seed in this weekend's tournament. Read More

Penn State Set for EIVA Championship

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By Will Desautelle, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK - After closing the regular season with a senior night win, Penn State will head to George Mason for the EIVA Championship. Penn State clinched the No. 2 seed in this weekend's tournament with a 3-1 win over NJIT.

Only four of the eight teams in the league qualify for the EIVA Championship each year with the winner automatically earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament. Penn State will take on third-seeded Harvard in Thursday's semifinals.

Penn State defeated Harvard in straight sets early in the season but lost to the Crimson two weeks ago. The Nittany Lions were without three regular starters in Aidan Albrecht, Luke Braswell and Calvin Mende in the most recent loss. Both teams have grown very familiar with each other and Pavlik believes neither team will do anything drastically different from what has been seen in the previous two matchups.

"They run a 6-2 and are not an extremely physical serving team, so you have to pass their float servers pretty well," Pavlik said. "They just play good volleyball - they'll dig balls that are hit at them, and their two setters make good decisions and try to go fast to the antennas to put some pressure on your pin blockers"

For Pavlik though, it really comes down to who can execute to their strengths the best.

This weekend though, will be on foreign grounds for the Nittany Lions, marking the first time this roster has played in the EIVA Championship outside of Happy Valley. Penn State is an experienced group though and Pavlik's message all week has been to worry about the things they can control. 

"I think experience is not to be underrated, we've never had to go someplace and play in the EIVA championship," Pavlik said. "We've got to be good at controlling what we can control on the road. You get into the championship events and there are a lot of things you can't control." 

The good news for the Nittany Lions is everyone is back at full strength and there are no lingering health problems to be concerned about at the moment.

While the past few weeks for Nittany Lions have been up and down, a big reason for that has been not having everyone healthy. However, with key veteran leaders like Albrecht, Braswell and Mende all healthy, Penn State still has a great opportunity to win the tournament.

Pavlik has been very impressed by the leadership from not only his regular contributing Nittany Lions, but also many of the more inexperienced members of the team. 

"Leadership can be everybody," Pavlik said. "I don't think there is one overriding person ever. I think the people that are looking outside in to us tend to see people that are on the court the most and call them the leaders, when in reality, those on the inside who are surrounded by the forest understand that each and every one of us have a responsibility for leading whenever we can."

Penn State and Harvard will face off at 5 p.m. with the winner advancing to take on the winner of top-seeded George Mason and fourth-seeded Princeton in the final semifinal match of the day.

Penn State Offense Comes Alive

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The second inning Wednesday night was the type of inning the Penn State offense has been waiting for all season long. The Nittany Lions kept the bottom of the second going for about 30 minutes, sending 11 total batters to the plate. The result was six runs on seven hits that led Penn State to a 7-2 victory against Mount St. Mary's. Read More

Penn State Offense Comes Alive

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The second inning Wednesday night was the type of inning the Penn State offense has been waiting for all season long. 

The Nittany Lions kept the bottom of the second going for about 30 minutes, sending 11 total batters to the plate. The result was six runs on seven hits that led Penn State to a 7-2 victory against Mount St. Mary's.

"It's good for us," left fielder Parker Hendershot said. "Obviously we have been struggling lately. It's good to have a game where we get these runs and these hits here and there and it's hopefully something that can get us started for the rest of the season."

Hendershot got the second inning started with a single through the right side. After moving to third on a wild pitch and a ground out, shortstop Joe Weisenseel singled him home with a lined drive under the second baseman's glove. Tommy Gibson then knocked in Weisenseel on a single down the left field line before Ryan Sloniger brought home two more on a single to center.

Third baseman Connor Klemann kept the offense rolling with his first career triple on a shot to deep left center field. Hendershot, who started the inning, then knocked in the final run of the second with a double down the left field line. 

"It was fun," Hendershot said of the second inning. "Everyone was into it and we just kept piling them on. Hopefully we can continue to do that."

The offense tacked on another run in the third inning, but was unable to put another run on the board for the rest of the game. 

Although the scoring may have slowed down, Klemann did not. 

On top of his first career triple, the third baseman tied his career high with three hits on the evening with a run scored and an RBI.

"It definitely feels good," Klemann said of his three-hit night. "Baseball has its ups and downs. It's a long season and we're only half way. I've been hitting some balls hard, so I've been sticking with it. It was good to finally see some results tonight." 

Klemann got off to a hot start to the 2018 season hitting .297 through the first 20 games of the year, but over the past few weeks he has struggled at the plate. Entering Wednesday's game, Klemann was hitting just .243, but the third baseman was able to bump his average back up to .259 after his three-hit night.

Slumps are not something Klemann has had to battle in his time at Penn State. The third baseman has played and started in all 30 games this year, which is more games than he has played in a single season since his first season with the Nittany Lions in 2016.

In his freshman season, Klemann was named the opening day starting second baseman, but ended up with an injury in the first game that sidelined him until April, allowing him to play in only 28 games. Again in 2017, Klemann only played in 10 games before he was forced to end his season due to another injury.  

For Penn State head coach Rob Cooper, because Klemann hasn't be able to get a full season under his belt, he hasn't had to learn how to bounce back from hitting slumps. 

"It's been awhile," Cooper said. "It's one thing that we talked about earlier. It was like, 'Hey man, I know you're struggling. I know you want to get out of it. It's kind of new to you. You got to stay with it.' He made some adjustments to his swing yesterday and it kind of showed up today."

The adjustments the third baseman made to his swing prior to Wednesday's game paid off with two singles and a stand up triple that gave Klemann his first multi-hit game since March 30 against Purdue.

"Obviously he can really hit," Cooper said. "He's a guy that hits in the middle of our lineup and when he can do some damage it helps."

Along with Klemann's hot bat, Hendershot continued his hot streak going 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI, while Weisenseel went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. The hot offensive night gave Penn State its first win since March 25 snapping an 11-game losing streak.

The Nittany Lions hope that the hot bats continue in Ann Arbor, Michigan this weekend when the team takes on the Wolverines.

"I think we should treat every game the same no matter who it is," Hendershot said. "I think we should go in there knowing what we are capable of and put the past experiences behind us. Just focus on the task at and just knowing that we can beat any team in the country as long as we just focus and put our mind to it."

Spring Ball Top Performers: Linebackers, Quarterbacks

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's spring season has nearly come to a close with Saturday's annual Blue-White game marking the final practice of the spring season. Ahead of the weekend, Penn State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne and defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry paused for closer look inside spring ball. Read More

Spring Ball Top Performers: Linebackers, Quarterbacks

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's spring season has nearly come to a close with Saturday's annual Blue-White game marking the final practice of the spring season.

Ahead of the weekend, Penn State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne and defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry paused for closer look inside spring ball.

Talking quarterbacks and linebackers, both Rahne and Pry also give a quick snapshot of a few Nittany Lions stepping forward on both sides of the ball.

There's no question the Nittany Lions have plenty of roles to replace defensively, beginning with the situation at linebacker

As Penn State head coach James Franklin noted early this week, when it comes to filling a priority position in the middle linebacker spot, it all comes down to trust and consistency. 

For Pry though, spring ball has been an opportunity to get a variety of Nittany Lions plenty of snaps at multiple positions. The results so far having been promising. 

"Cam Brown has started off very well," Pry said. "Jan Johnson is very steady. Ellis Brooks has made some flashes. Jake Cooper has shown flashes."

Among the younger group, Pry like many, is pleased with the transition Micah Parsons has made since arriving to campus as an early enrollee.

His biggest surprise in the room though is Jarvis Miller, who has shown progress at outside linebacker.

"Jarvis has always had abilities and a skillset but hasn't been able to play with them," Pry said. "He is comfortable. He knows his position. He's doing some good things out there."

Outside of the linebackers, Pry only echoed the earlier picks of a few previous position coaches. 

In the back end, there's Jonathan Sutherland and Garrett Taylor, led by the leadership of newly elected captain Nick Scott. Among the cornerbacks, Pry also noted he and the staff have been continually impressed by Donovan Johnson.

"Defensively overall, we have some guys up front who are getting a lot of reps for the first time in their career and doing some good things," Pry said. "Obviously there are your steadies in there, Kevin Givens, Shareef Miller and those guys. At the same time Antonio Shelton is really having a good spring. A guy we'll be counting on who is in competition for significant playing time."

On the offensive side of the ball, for Rahne there's no better place to start than with quarterback Trace McSorley, who has only continued to lead with the same confidence he has had since taking over as Penn State's starting signal caller.

"He has such command of the offense, not only the schemes but also the timing of everything," Rahne said. "He makes great throws. He does everything physically. He's a great player, really happy to coach him."

While pleased with all of Penn State's quarterbacks, Rahne also noted sophomore Sean Clifford has done some good things with an increase in reps this spring.

"I'm happy with what Sean is doing really from the mental side and being able to consistently put together big plays," Rahne said.

Outside of the quarterbacks, much like Franklin, Rahne is pleased with the progress the entire offensive line has continued to make. 

"I think they have been blocking very well, getting movement," Rahne said.

By Briana Zuccarelli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Nittany Lions head into their final stretch of regular season play, which may be the most difficult games of the season. Read More

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By Briana Zuccarelli, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State Nittany Lions head into their final stretch of regular season play, which may be the most difficult games of the season.

The Nittany Lions will face the first and third-ranked lacrosse programs in the country in their next two games, No. 3 Maryland followed by No. 1 Stony Brook, both on the road. Penn State is now 9-5 on its season and 3-1 in Big Ten play. Head coach Missy Doherty knows it will be a challenge but believes her team is ready. 

"I think we are always competing hard and our players are always in every game," Doherty said. "I think we need to make some momentum plays. At certain points, there have been a couple losses where the other team just scored at the right time. Going against the better offenses, I think we need to find a way to make some better stops."

On Thursday, the team will travel to College Park, Maryland to take on the Terrapins. Maryland now sits at 14-1 for its season and has a perfect 4-0 record in the Big Ten. Thursday's game will mark Maryland and Penn State's 55th meeting.

 "I think a lot of teams have the same history with Maryland," Doherty said. "They're a team that certainly wins. For us, coming back-to-back two Final Fours, is great experience for our program and taught our team a lot. Our last regular season games against them have been tight games and good matches. I think we have the type of players that can compete hard against any team." 

After the matchup against Maryland, the Nittany Lions will then have to focus on playing No. 1 Stony Brook on Tuesday, April 24th in New York. This will be the first time since 2005 that Penn State faced a top-3 team in back-to-back weeks.

 "It is never hard to get the team motivated when playing teams like Maryland and Stony Brook," Doherty explained. "Playing in those games, you have to do the simple things well all the time. You can't have any minor mistakes that turn into bigger ones when you play these better teams." 

The Nittany Lions are focusing on being consistent and playing the full 60 minutes heading into their last three games against Maryland, Stony Brook, and Michigan. Senior Madison Carter explained the importance of consistency and not letting an away game change your mindset. 

"I mean, we love to play at home," Carter said prior to the two road games. "But we also need to love playing away too. We can't let it change our mindset and we can't let the travel and being on the road get to you. We just have to stay having a good mindset like we would if we were playing here at home."

Carter also explained what the experienced players have been telling some of the younger ones, leading into the toughest games of the season. 

Players like freshmen Rachel Rosen, Quinn Nicolai, Sophia Triandafils, and Lucy Lowe, will continue to be pushed to make big plays, especially heading into the final games of the season. Rosen now has four goals and 12 assists for the season, while Nicolai leads the freshman with 19 goals and 24 points followed closely behind by Triandafils with 18 goals and 23 points. Lowe, the starting goalie, now has a .439 save percentage on the season. 

"They just need to treat it like any other game," Carter said. "Maryland is obviously a big Big Ten game for us, but they can't let the outside pressures and the hype of the game get to them. Just come out, bring what you do best and play your hardest for the full 60 minutes."

Hendershot's Unconventional Journey

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Last spring Penn State freshman Parker Hendershot was just a few months away from starting his collegiate baseball career at the University at Buffalo when he found out on social media that his future was about to change. Read More

Hendershot's Unconventional Journey

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Last spring Penn State freshman Parker Hendershot was just a few months away from starting his collegiate baseball career at the University at Buffalo when he found out on social media that his future was about to change. 

Hendershot scrolled through Twitter early one morning to find out baseball was one of the four programs Buffalo would cut at the conclusion of the 2017 season.

"I kind of panicked because it was late in the recruiting process," Hendershot said. "I didn't know who was going to give me another opportunity or where I was going to go."

Committed to Buffalo since the spring of his junior year in high school, Hendershot was forced to start from square one exactly one year later.

Not only was it late in the recruiting process, but most schools also require an academic decision from the institution by the beginning of May. With Hendershot receiving the news around March, that left him just two months to create a new plan. 

Instead of taking all two months though, Hendershot got things turned around in just two weeks when he selected Penn State as his new home.

"Unfortunately, in the last 10 years, we've seen some [baseball] programs get cut and that has not good for our game," Penn State head coach Rob Cooper said. "It's worked out where it's been really good for Penn State baseball. He's an unbelievable young man. He comes from an unbelievable family. He works extremely hard."

Although Hendershot was looking for the best place to continue his baseball career, he also wanted to find a school that he loved outside of baseball.

Penn State's campus was the perfect fit.

"I wanted to go to a big school and Buffalo was a big school too," Hendershot said. "Obviously, this is a step above. I liked all of the facilities here and the coaches. Obviously every program here is a great program. I told myself once I committed here that if I don't get to the next level, that's on myself because obviously the coaches and the facilities are going to put us in a place to thrive. If we don't perform and improve the way we want to, then that's our own fault."

As ready as he was to start his journey to the next level, Hendershot was thrown yet another curveball. With an injury plaguing him through the entire fall season, the young freshman was not able to start the 2018 season as ready as his teammates were.

"Some of the things he's gone through in January, February and early March, a lot of our guys got to go through in September, October and November," Cooper said.

In the first series of the season at Elon, Hendershot was not selected to travel with the team because Cooper and the coaching staff felt as though he was not quite ready.

"He never pouted. He never complained," Cooper said. "He said, 'Yes, sir. I'm going to keep working.' In fact, the morning we left for our first trip, he and some other freshmen were there at the bus wishing our guys luck. It shows the kind of person he is. It shows you how he works."

While some freshmen may get frustrated under tough circumstances, Hendershot uses it as motivation. Although he's a natural hard worker, Hendershot has previous experience being a young member on a veteran team, which has helped him keep his confidence throughout the beginning of the 2018 season.

Hendershot is from Barton, New York, where high school sports teams sometimes allow middle school students to play up if the player is good enough to make the cut. In middle school, Hendershot made his high school team and graduated as a five-year letterwinner from Tioga Central High School.

Serving as team captain in his senior year, the Tigers MVP was ranked the ninth-best player out of New York and the second-best third baseman ahead of arriving in Happy Valley.

"It does [help] because there are some teams that have freshmen that struggle and then there are teams that freshmen thrive on," Hendershot said. "I think, in regards to this program, the freshmen have gotten a lot of opportunities and I think we've done our fair share of contributing."

Despite the early season challenges, Hendershot has started to heat up at the plate, hitting .313 (5-for-16) in his last four appearances. Last time out, the freshman had a career day, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk. 

For Cooper though, he believes this is only the start for the young freshman. When it comes to Hendershot's future, the sky is the limit.

"One thing he does love to do, is he loves to play baseball," Cooper said. "He's not afraid of competition and he's extremely coachable. He wants to soak up knowledge. Love having him. We're lucky."

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