Recently in All-Sports Blog Category
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- A header from junior Mallory Weber in the 71st minute and a standout
defensive performance lifted the Nittany Lion women's soccer team (20-3-0) to a
2-1 victory against Virginia Tech (16-6-0) in the NCAA Third Round on a warm
Sunday afternoon at Jeffrey Field.
With the triumph, the Nittany Lions are headed to the NCAA Quarterfinals for
the 10th time in program history and the second time in the past three seasons.
"Obviously it is a fantastic feeling (to get back to the quarters)," head coach
Erica Walsh said. "That was a very good Virginia Tech team,
well-coached...Obviously they gave us everything we could handle today. It
certainly felt like we had to bend at times, but we never broke."
Weber will be credited with the game-winner. And senior Raquel Rodriguez's goal
in the 40th minute was a crucial momentum boost for the Nittany Lions late in
the first half, but the day belonged to the defense. Penn State's effort
against Virginia Tech's relentless attack was exceptional.
"That unit has been very good all season," Walsh said. "But the great thing
about them is that they have been getting stronger as the season has gone on
and becoming more of a unit, and led by Britt Eckerstrom, who was great today.
You look at Kori Chapic and you look at Whit Church. They have freshmen on
either side, who are no longer playing like freshmen. They believe they are as
good as they are because of the leadership."
Chapic and Church spearheaded a tremendous 90-minute performance against a
Virginia Tech squad that came into the game averaging 2.90 goals per game.
"It was definitely a tough task that we had today," Church said. "They were
bringing it to us. Like Coach said, we would bend at times and kind of give
them things away at times, but we never broke and we stayed strong. It was really
The Nittany Lion back line was outstanding with the ball in the air during
Sunday's victory. Virginia Tech delivered a number of balls into the box during
both halves, but the Lions yielded just one scoring play from the Hokies. Defending
in the box, along with the midfield's work rate and ability to track down balls
were Walsh's keys to Penn State advancing into the round of eight.
The visiting Hokies nearly struck first in an entertaining opening half.
Virginia Tech's scoring leader, Murielle Tiernan (14 on the season), delivered
a shot towards Penn State keeper Britt Eckerstrom in a one-on-one opportunity
in the 27th minute. Eckerstrom managed to get a hand on the drive, but it was sophomore
midfielder Salina Williford's foot that directed the ball away from the net as
it rolled freely into the 6-yard box towards the goal line.
Penn State broke the scoreless tie on a blast from Rodriguez at the 39:59 mark.
A great feed from Katy Keen set Rodriguez up with a breakaway opportunity. The
Nittany Lion midfielder dribbled to the edge of the 18-yard box before ripping
a shot that careened off of the post into the back of the net.
But the Hokies were far from done. Virginia Tech threatened on two occasions in
the opening eight minutes of the second half before midfielder Ashley Meier
tapped a ball home to set the score at 1-1 as the clock read 52:42.
Nevertheless, Penn State went right back to work on both ends of the field. The
Lions earned a free kick in the 71st minute of action from 30 yards out.
Midfielder Emily Ogle delivered a flawless set piece into the box where Weber
elevated for the eventual game-winning header.
"We work on them in practice day in and day out," Weber said. "(Ogle) played a
great ball in and the goal came out. I just need to get a touch on it."
The Jeffrey Field crowd willed the Lions on from there as the Hokies looked for
the equalizer. Limiting Virginia Tech to just two shot attempts in the final 10
minutes of play, the Lions held strong en route to raising their all-time
postseason record at Jeffrey Field to 33-6-1.
"The crowd was super pumped and energetic out there today," Church said. "It
makes that much of a difference. Hearing the crowd behind us, that gets us
going and helps us a tremendous amount. That was a very special day out there
to hear all of them behind us."
Focus now shifts towards a quarterfinal matchup against No. 1-seeded Texas
A&M (21-2-2). The Nittany Lions will play the Aggies in College Station on Saturday with a spot in the College Cup semifinals on the
"I think this is a very good soccer playing team this year, but even more
importantly, they've got a ton of courage," Walsh said. "We've talked a lot
about that it is our family, and we live to fight another day and play another
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It has been 14 years since the Lady Lions and the
Seton Hall Pirates have battled it out on the court. In the 10th meeting of the
series on Saturday evening in the Bryce Jordan Center, the Lady Lions came up
on the short end of a seesaw 75-70 decision.
The Lady Lions are a young team. With only one returning starter, Penn
State is starting a sophomore-heavy team, a reality that head coach Coquese
Washington believes was clear in Saturday's game.
"I think our youth showed tonight," Washington said. "We need to get
more confident and comfortable playing with one another at this pace."
Despite the loss, there are some major takeaways from this game that the
Lady Lions can use to their advantage heading into their matchup against St.
Bonaventure on Tuesday.
The Lady Lions got off to a slow start, with their first bucket coming
three minutes into the game after the Pirates put nine on the board. Penn State
cut into the deficit, but the Pirates pulled away with a 21-8 lead with 10
minutes before the half.
"I feel like it got away from us from the jump," junior Candice Agee
said. "We fought hard to stay in the game and get back in it, but at the end
Seton Hall got the better of us. We have to give it up to them for that."
Agee was superb for the Lady Lions, leading the team with 21 points in
Saturday's contest, along with five rebounds and two blocks. Agee took command
inside the paint for the 17 minutes she was on the court, helping the Lady
Lions stay in the game until the very end.
"I just want to play hard," Agee said. "I want to be able to do what
needs to be done for my team and what is asked of me. If some nights it looks
like a 20 point game, then that is alright with me."
Sophomore Sierra Moore posted a career-high game, tallying 14 points, 10
rebounds, five assists and a block. Moore was a major asset during the game
playing for 37 minutes, the most on the team.
"Whatever is asked of us, we do." Moore said. "We all take turns in
practice (playing point guard); that's what practice is for."
Regardless of the slow start, it is obvious that this young Lady Lion
team is hungry. Coach Washington took her team to the locker room at half time
trailing the Pirates 37-29.
"We talked about playing a little bit faster and moving the ball (in the
second half)," Washington said. "We had a lot more energy in the second than
The Lady Lions turned on the offensive strategy taking the lead, 40-39,
five minutes into the second half. The Lions closed to within one at 71-70, but
that is as close as they would get down the stretch. Fouls and turnovers in the
last 30 seconds hindered the Lions in the 75-70 loss, an issue coach Washington
believes will work itself out.
"We have to do a better job at the free throw line," Washington said. "I think
that if we can fix a few small things, we aren't that far away. We are three
games in and I am still getting to know this team. We rallied back and put
ourselves in a position to tie it, even possibly force overtime. This is the
learning curve, the growing pains of a young team."
The Lady Lions take on St. Bonaventure on Tuesday at the Bryce Jordan
Center. Following Tuesday's contest, they will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, for
the Georgia State Thanksgiving Tournament Nov. 28-30.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Head coach James Franklin addresses the media following Saturday's game at Illinois.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Several Nittany Lions address the media following Saturday's game at Illinois.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive
coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all
12 games on the schedule. The Nittany Lions meet Illinois in the penultimate game of the season.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Miranda Kulp,
GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany
soccer team (19-3-0) used an early goal and a determined defensive effort to
defeat UConn, 1-0, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Jeffrey Field
on Friday night.
The NCAA Tournament is full of surprises, but the
Lions wasted little time getting on the board in the second-round matchup. Penn
State scored in the seventh minute and never looked back.
The goal was scored by freshman Frannie Crouse and
assisted by veteran Kori Chapic. Crouse got the ball and headed in the back
"I wasn't really sure
if it went in or not at first, but as soon as I heard my teammates and the
crowd cheer I knew," Frannie Crouse said.
The Greensburg, Pennsylvania, native is currently
the team leader with 10 goals for the Lions, despite this being her first year
at the collegiate level.
"I just always
remember what coach preaches, believe. We need t o believe in ourselves and
believe in our team and that's how we'll score," Crouse said.
Both teams were aggressive and had opportunities
to score throughout Friday's game. Penn State had 19 shots in total
while UConn trailed with 10 shots.
"We knew they
would come out strong and so did we, I couldn't be prouder of the way the girls played," said head coach Erica Walsh.
With an aggressive offense from both teams, the Lions' defensive line made sure to not to let
UConn get on the board.
"As a defense
all playing really well together right now," goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom said.
communicating constantly and we're so connected right now, we really are playing
as one backline," Eckerstrom added.
As the starting goalkeeper, Eckerstrom helped
lead the team to victory on Friday night with five saves for her eighth shutout
Eckerstrom was also in goal for the regular
season match against UConn back in August, but she acknowledged that since the
last meeting both teams have improved.
play some of the same teams in this tournament it's always different every game," Eckerstrom said. "When we
played UConn earlier we both were just different teams, we both have grown so
much with our regular seasons. It's cause in the beginning of the season everyone
is still trying to find their place on the field. We both have grown so much so
re-playing them today was like two brand new teams playing."
With the NCAA Tournament in full swing, Penn
State will take on its next challenge by facing Virginia Tech on Sunday.
thing about this tournament is its unpredictability," Walsh said. "We are
exposed to both familiar and new teams and we get to see what each team can
excited to see what Virginia Tech can do."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Lady Lions close out the Preseason WNIT on
Saturday against Seton Hall, a matchup that has been on hiatus since 1998. With
one exhibition game and two preseason matchups under its belt, the young Lady
Lion basketball team is ready to place another 'W' in the win column.
Seton Hall's style of play is something similar to what Penn State demonstrates
on the court; attack in transition.
Heading into this Saturday's game, head coach Coquese Washington and her staff
are firm that if the team can attack the paint in transition, the Lady Lions
will come out on top.
"We've got to get more free throws," said coach Washington. "We've got to get
more pressure on the defense by attacking the paint."
The Lady Lions are known to be a fast-paced team that can sink baskets on
transition. This season, the key to execute just that is point guard Lindsey
Spann. A newcomer to the starting lineup, the Laurel, Maryland native is leading
the Blue and White in scoring after posting 14 points against Albany and 17
against Towson last week.
"She's a fantastic point guard," said coach Washington. "She has a really high
basketball IQ. She sees the floor and has a knack for scoring."
Spann isn't only focusing on her offensive contributions but how she can further
aid on defense.
"I'm working on hustling, being more aggressive on defense, getting deflections
and steals," said Spann.
Washington knows that the Lady Lion defense will have to be prepared when the
Pirates come to University Park.
They're a pretty aggressive team," said Washington. "They've got really quick
guards who do a great job attacking the basket. They're going to put pressure
on our defense with their dribble penetration."
Senior Tori Waldner's experience and height is no secret for the Lady Lion
defense. Waldner has tallied 20 rebounds in two games. However, the Lady Lion
defense is looking to increase its total boards across the roster tomorrow.
"Seton Hall throws up a lot of shots," assistant coach Itoro Coleman said. "We
have to rebound. They move very quickly in their offense and there will be
plenty of opportunities for us to rebound. How well we are able to get the
50/50 balls will determine who will win this game."
The Lady Lions will tip off with Seton Hall on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in the
Bryce Jordan Center.
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach John Gondak and two members of the Penn
State cross country teams are headed west to Indiana this weekend to compete in
the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Freshman Jillian Hunsberger is making her National stage debut after
qualifying at the Mid-Atlantic Regional with an 11th place (20
minutes, 49 seconds) finish in the 6,000-meter run.
The freshman has had a great 2014 season posting competitive times in all
As most athletes would be, she is excited, nervous, and ready for the
"I don't event know what to expect I'm just going to go and try my hardest.
Just thinking about the race, making sure I have it planned out," said
Hunsberger. "I [mostly] mentally preparing, I will be excited on Saturday.
Fifth-year senior Matt Fischer has had an exemplary year. He finished first in
both races he competed in at home and was named second team All-Big Ten at the
Big Ten Championships.
Fischer, the Mid-Atlantic Men's Athlete of the Year, is making his second trip
to the NCAA Championships this weekend after a phenomenal first-place finish at
the Regional meet with a time of 30 minutes, 16 seconds.
"I was pretty excited and just to see how well the team did was exciting. It
was a bit of a let down when we found out that we didn't make it [to
Nationals]," said Fischer. "Personally, it ended up working out and I think it
set me up well for this week."
As Fischer looks to end his senior year in the best way he can, his second trip
to Terre Haute, Indiana provides opportunity for preparation.
"Last year was my first time there and I wanted to go out there and get
All-American but there were 70-80 guys that at any given day could fall in
there too," said Fischer. "I'm just more mentally and physical ready [this
year] and I'm more confident."
In 2013, Fischer posted a 78th place finish in 31 minutes, 6 seconds,
a 10,000-meter time.
"I feel that I still have work to do and I'm not satisfied at all and I want a
big result this weekend," he said. "Making sure I feel good is all that matters
at this point. There's only one left and I have to put all my energy into that
This weekend will see Fischer final collegiate cross country race, however, he
doesn't fear the end quite yet as he stays focused on the mission.
excited. I feel like I'm in the best spot I've been all season at the right
time and as long as I can put that together on Saturday and I can walk away
happy with what I did, it'll be a good end to the season," he said.
Hunsberger will represent the Nittany Lions in the 6,000-meter run set to kick
off at noon on Saturday followed by the men's 10,000-meter run slated for 1
Game Blog: Penn State at Illinois
Game Notes | Gameday Central | Illinois Scouting Report | Coach Franklin
Press Conference Roundup | Coach Huff Q&A | Player Q&A Video
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (6-4, 2-4)
will play its final road game of the 2014 season on Saturday when it travels to
Illinois (4-6, 1-5) for a noon kick (ESPN2) inside Memorial Stadium.
The Nittany Lions earned their sixth win of the season last weekend with a
30-13 victory over intrastate foe Temple. The running back duo of Akeel Lynch
and Bill Belton powered the Penn State offense behind a strong outing from the
offensive line. Lynch and Belton combined for 222 rushing yards and a pair of
scores in the victory. Lynch tallied a career-high 132 yards in the winning
Defensively, the Nittany Lions forced five turnovers and limited the Owls to
just 248 yards. Freshmen Christian Campbell and Grant Haley each snagged their
first career interceptions in the contest. Haley returned his interception 30
yards for a touchdown, marking the first time a true freshman has scored a
touchdown since Nov. 15, 2003 (Paul Posluszny).
State is ranked in the top five in three of the four major defensive statistical
categories. The Nittany Lions are No. 1 in the nation against the run (83.1
ypg.), No. 3 in the nation in total defense (265.6 ypg) and No. 4 in the nation
in scoring defense (16.2 ppg).
Additionally, Penn State leads the nation in
team pass efficiency defense (96.89), is sixth in third down conversion
percentage defense (29.2 percent), is second in the nation in first downs
defense (140 total), is 10th in passes intercepted (15) and is No. 16 in
passing yards allowed (182.5 ypg).
Nittany Lions have held their opponents to an average of 15.4 points and 139.9
yards below their season average this year. In the last three games, Penn State
foes are 7-of-47 on third down (14.9 percent).
Fighting Illini will look to snap a two-game losing streak on Saturday after
back-to-back losses to No. 16 Ohio State (55-14) and Iowa (30-14). The Illini
defeated Minnesota on Oct. 25 (28-24) for their first Big Ten victory of the
season. Illinois is averaging 25.6 points per game on offense and is ranked No.
2 in the Big Ten in passing (255.6 ypg).
Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week 11
matchup against Illinois.
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. Senior safety Adrian Amos said that the Nittany Lions set a goal of
forcing at least two turnovers per game. Through 10 games, the Lions have
forced their opponents into at least two miscues on five different occasions.
That includes each of the last four games. Penn State has forced 11 turnovers
in the last four contests. Head coach James Franklin often talks about the
importance of playing complementary football. The turnover picture speaks to
that in clear details. Since the Ohio State game, Penn State has scored 41
points off of turnovers, including two defensive touchdowns. Simply put, the
defense's ability to create turnovers has put the Nittany Lion offense in a
good position to capitalize on short fields and score more points.
2. Thanks to a season-high 254 rushing yards against Temple, the Nittany Lions
have gained 416 yards on the ground during the past two games. Junior left
tackle Donovan Smith returned from injury against the Owls and senior captain
Miles Dieffenbach played extensive snaps for the first time this season last
week, as well. The addition of two veteran players up front is a significant
boost to the offensive line and its ability to create running lanes for Bill
Belton and Akeel Lynch.
3. Penn State is the nation's second-youngest team with 76 underclassmen (49
freshmen/27 sophomores). Only Pittsburgh entered training camp with more
underclassmen on its roster (81). In all, 11 players on offense, two players on
defense and two players on special teams (15 total) have made their first
career starts this season. Nine true freshmen have played for the Nittany Lions
in 2014, including five on defense, three on offense and one punter. All nine
freshmen - Marcus Allen, Troy Apke, Saeed Blacknall, Christian Campbell, Jason
Cabinda, Mike Gesicki, Chris Godwin, Grant Haley and Daniel Pasquariello - have
been instrumental in helping the Lions secure six victories.
to Watch For - Illinois
1. Illinois quarterback Wes Lunt returned to the field last week after
missing three games due to injury. Prior to getting hurt, Lunt was among the
top signal-callers in the Big Ten. Lunt has completed 65 percent of his passes
and thrown for 1,671 yards and 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions this
season. Senior Reilly O'Toole stepped in for Lunt when he was injured, and he
will likely see action on Saturday. O'Toole has thrown for 745 yards and five
touchdowns with his arm. Additionally, he has playmaking ability with his feet.
Freshman receiver Mike Dudek has been very productive for the Illini with 51
catches for 787 yards.
2. Junior linebacker Mason Monheim is the leader of the Illinois defense. A
Butkus Award Watch List member, Monheim is ranked 16th among all active FBS
players and first in the Big Ten with 8.26 tackles per game (Minimum of 24
career games played). Monheim is second in the Big Ten behind Mike Hull with
9.8 tackles per contest this season. He equaled his career-high with 15 tackles
against Iowa last week.
3. Illinois is ranked 10th in the nation in net punting thanks to a 44.9-yard
average from Justin DuVernois. The Illini have averaged 40.85 net yards on 60
punts this season. DuVernois has kicked 17 punts of 50 or more yards this
season and has forced 15 fair catches.
The Final Word:
Saturday's game marks the final road game of the 2014 season. The
Nittany Lions are 3-1 in games away from Beaver Stadium this season, which
includes a 2-1 mark in Big Ten games. Penn State topped UCF to open the season
in Ireland. In Big Ten play, the Lions have victories at Rutgers and Indiana. Since
2000, the Nittany Lions have tallied four on-field wins away from home just
three times. The list includes the 2008, 2009 and 2011 seasons. Saturday's
contest in Memorial Stadium will mark Penn State's 12th visit to Champaign. The
Nittany Lions own an 8-3 on-field mark in games held at Illinois. Kickoff is
set for 12:01 p.m. on Saturday with Bob Wischusen, Matt Millen and Quint
Kessenich calling the ESPN2 broadcast.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony