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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff WriterUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the Big Ten title on the line, the Penn
State women's lacrosse team prepared to go up against an undefeated Maryland
team. The Nittany Lions knew they were in for a challenge, but they would not
go down without a fight.
Following a slow start, the Blue and White returned to the field for the final
30 minutes of play trailing the No. 1 Terrapins, 8-3. Unfortunately, after a
tough battle and hard-fought second half, Penn State suffered its first
conference loss of the season. Despite outscoring the Terrapins in the final
minutes, the No. 8 Nittany Lions (12-4, 4-1 B1G) fell to No. 1 Maryland (17-0,
5-0 B1G), 13-10.
"I thought it was a good game," said head coach Missy Doherty. "We came out,
and the first half was really tough. We couldn't manage to get the draw. That
made it hard to get any goals. So, I think in the second half we did a much
better job of getting the draw, and turning the game around."
The Nittany Lions came out as a different, more aggressive and determined squad
in the final half. They worked to swing momentum in their favor. The team could
not find a way to win the draw in the opening 30 minutes but was determined to
make a change. It knew possession would be key to winning the game.
Leading the way for the Nittany Lions in that aspect of the match was junior
Jenna Mosketti. She secured six draw controls alone, helping the team win the
draw in eight of the second half's 13 attempts.
"I don't know if it was as much words as it was just a better effort there in the
second half," said Doherty. "I mean Jenna came up really big, coming up with
some huge draw controls in the second half. She really helped us change the
momentum around. Then the offense got a little bit more aggressive going to
goal and finishing their shots."
In addition to the draw, Mosketti registered a hat trick, assisting her team in
as many ways possible. Sophomore Steph Lazo also recorded three goals, and
captain Maggie McCormick continued building on her assists record, adding five
more to her total.
Throughout the game, the Nittany Lions saw goals from six players, as Madison
Cyr, Katie O'Donnell, Tatum Coffey and Ally Heavens all added goals of their
own. Nevertheless, the Blue and White were unable to capitalize from the free
position, which ultimately hurt them in the end.
Also taking away from the team's momentum was an injury to goalie Emi Smith.
The junior played the first 42:34 of the game, allowing nine goals and stopping
seven attempts before being helped off the field. Freshman McKenna Coyle
stepped into the cage for the final 17:26. She made three saves and allowed
four, giving a strong performance as well.
"I think McKenna came in and did a really solid job for us," Doherty said. "I
think from a motivational standpoint, it hurts a little when someone like Emi
leaves the game. But, thankfully McKenna came in and stepped up and came up
with some pretty big saves."
Overall, the Nittany Lions' performance showed that they can play with the best
in the country. The loss gives them the opportunity to learn from their
mistakes. Had they come out a little stronger, not putting themselves into such
a deficit, the outcome could have been different.
Penn State may not have captured the Big Ten title yesterday, but they know
they have the ability to beat a team like Maryland. That confidence will be
huge in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, which will be the team's next
"I think we've seen that we can compete, and we have to do that for 60
minutes," said Doherty. "We had a little bit of a slow start, and against a
team like that you need every advantage. But, I think the way we competed for
the full game was awesome. I'm really proud of the team."
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - After a strong win on Sunday over Rutgers, Penn State (4-8, 1-3 Big
Ten) looks to finish the regular season on a high note when they take on
Michigan (5-7, 1-3 Big Ten) on Saturday Saturday in Ann Arbor.
by an outstanding performance by the Nittany Lion offense last weekend, Penn
State looks to gain a playoff birth with a win against the Wolverines. The
winner of Saturday's contest will secure the No. 4 spot in the Big Ten
tournament, a spot the Nittany Lions hope to find themselves in.
head coach and defensive coordinator Peter Toner is hoping this game will prove
the final piece to the puzzle that was a trying 2015 regular season. A win
against Michigan and a playoff spot will bring validation to the young group of
men who have worked hard throughout the season.
on where we're at in the Big Ten we have to kind of treat this as a playoff
game," said Toner. "I think at this point I wouldn't say it's do or die but obviously
if we don't win our season probably comes to an end mathematically. For the
guys we're excited about the opportunity to go to Michigan and do what needs to
be done on the field and earn our way into the Big Ten championship series."
State has faced Michigan every season since 2012. The Nittany Lions have won
all three contests in those years, including a dominant 22-7 win to open the
2014 campaign. Despite recent successes, this weekend's game will not be
Nittany Lions, having come back from a two-goal deficit against Rutgers, will
need to come out strong on defense to stay confident in all 60 minutes of play
still have yet to start a game defensively on the right note," said Toner.
"Unfortunately we always seem to go down by a couple and I'm not sure if it's
our guys overthinking or if they're a bit nervous, I don't know, but we keep
working on it during practice. We keep using these scrimmage opportunities and
adding emphasis on the early portion of the scrimmages and hopefully our guys
will just continue to just have a better focus when the game starts."
will be another key for the Nittany Lions this weekend. In previous years the
Nittany Lions have been strong away from University Park, but this year have
been inconsistent on the road. This weekend's matchup, in Michigan's "Big
House," will prove a challenge for a team that needs one final win. The bus
ride will give the players and coaches time to focus and strategize on their
one goal of the weekend: to win.
the season, the team's motto has been "one game at a time." By never getting
ahead of the next game on the calendar, the Nittany Lions focus all of their
energy on one opponent at a time. Coach Toner emphasized that although this has
given the team a new perspective on their season, he does still see room for
improvement even as the season winds down.
think we just got to keep working on us," said Toner. "I think that's the key.
We were talking to our guys last week about just doing what we do, but just
doing it a little bit better. I think a lot of our focus earlier in the year
tended to be on our opponent versus fixing the things that were going on within
our own team."
other area of improvement the team looks to tackle this weekend is possession
time. To start, faceoff specialists like Drake Kreinz will need to win face
offs, it then comes down to Penn State's ability to keep and possess the ball.
of possession in this game is going to be key," said Toner. "It certainly
highlights our ability to clear the ball effectively. To tip the scales a
little bit more in our favor in terms of possession time for our offense and
limited possessions for [Michigan's] offense. The fewer times we have to defend
them the better off we'll be."
every game offers the opportunity for improvement, the little changes that the
Nittany Lions are focusing on this week could be the difference between extending
their season and cleaning out their lockers sooner than they would like.
think this is an exciting opportunity for them and for us, knowing that we can
extend our season with a win and we certainly look forward to the challenge,"
State will face Michigan Saturday in Ann Arbor at 6 p.m. The game will air on
the Big Ten Network.
Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2015 season didn't
quite get off to the start that James Coates wanted it to.
After entering the campaign as Penn State's
expected leadoff hitter and a team leader, the junior outfielder went hitless
in the team's opening series against Elon and pulled his hamstring. By the time
the Lions home schedule started on March. 18, Coates was just 2 for 19 on the
season and fighting to get healthy and earn a spot back in the lineup.
"I had a rough first weekend, I hit the ball
hard but got a few tough outs and then I was injured for a while," Coates said.
"Just trying to fight through the injury but when you don't get to see a lot of
live pitching it's hard to just come in and get hits and that was a big problem
While it was starting to look like a lost year
for Coates, his hamstring healed by the start of April and head coach Rob
Cooper placed him back in the starting lineup. It didn't take long for the
results to start showing.
Since April 7, Coates has hit .316 and worked
his way back to the front of the order. Even with his slow start, the 5-foot-8 outfielder
has a .352 on-base percentage this season and has looked like the player that
hit .287 with a .393 on-base percentage over his first two seasons.
What has led to the drastic improvement?
According to Coates, it's been about receiving consistent playing time and not
being expected to turn things around in just one game.
"For me, it was about getting more at-bats and
seeing more pitches and getting more comfortable in the box," Coates said.
"Just trusting myself is what it comes down to."
For Cooper, the biggest difference between
Coates right now and at the start of the season has simply been his health. The
outfielder first began struggling with his hamstring at the end of last season,
and the second-year coach said the injury was the only thing holding Coates
"He's healthy and has confidence in being
healthy," Cooper said. "He's a guy that really cares about playing for Penn
State and has a lot of pride in himself. Last year he was doing a good job for
us before he got hurt and it ate at him and then to have it early on [this
season], it's like, 'Gosh, is this ever going to heal up'. So one, he's healthy
and two, he's mentally healthy."
Not only does Coates feel better than he has all
season, his presence in the leadoff spot has Penn State's lineup ready to reach
Although Cooper used second baseman Taylor
Skerpon and even power-hitting outfielder Aaron Novak in that spot at times
this year, neither player was a perfect fit there. With Coates sliding back in,
Novak is back at his normal No. 3 spot while Skerpon has gone down to seventh,
where he went 4 for 5 with two RBIs on Tuesday against Kent State.
But Coates hitting leadoff has done more than
just help his teammates succeed. It has also allowed him to do what he does
best, which is work counts, get on base and use his speed to his advantage.
"Unless you're able to watch him play, if look
at look him on paper at his stats you might say, 'Why is this guy leading
off,'" Cooper said. "Even when he doesn't get a hit he finds a way to get on
base and when he is on base, because he can run he generates offense that way.
And him being a leader, being on the field and being able to not just talk and
lead but play and lead helps."
That's part of the reason why Coates enjoys the challenge of starting things
off for the Lions. Not only does he feel it plays to the team's strengths, it
also allows him the opportunity to lead by example.
That chance was once the things that the Girard,
Ohio, native, looked forward to before the start of the season. Although he
tried to remain a leader even when he wasn't playing, being back on the field
has made it much easier.
"I always try to be a leader, that's the role I
want to take on this team," Coates said. "I felt I had a duty to the team and
responsibility to be a leader.
"I like having the leadoff role because for me,
it's about doing anything I possibly can to get on base so the guys behind me
can get me in and see more pitches. It definitely seems to have put our lineup
back in synch."
On Tuesday, Coates put on a leadoff hitting
clinic against the Flashes, going 2 for 4 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs
scored. His ability to come through for his team didn't stop after the final
With Coates' family living less than an hour
from Kent State, his aunt provided the team with two-dozen homemade pepperoni
rolls, which the team enjoyed on the bus ride home.
While he can't promise post-game snacks the rest
of the season, Coates is determined to keep his hot steak going.
"They were a big hit on the bus for sure,"
Coates said with a smile. "Just a one time thing since we were so close to my
home. I come from a big Italian family, we're really big into food, probably a
lot of excess food."
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
Pa. - In his 21st season as head coach of the men's volleyball
program, Mark Pavlik is on the brink of his 500th career victory.
After wins over
NJIT and Princeton last weekend, Pavlik now sits in his Rec Hall office with
499 wins under his belt at the helm of Penn State Men's Volleyball heading in
to Saturday's match at Saint Francis.
"It's a nice round
number that people tend to remember," Pavlik said. "You get a chance to look
back on it. If it happens this weekend, I'm glad it happens with this group of
guys. I really enjoy this team. They've been so resilient, so much fun to be
around, and they've worked so hard. It's just a time where you get a chance to
think about what's come before you."
owns a lifetime record at Penn State of 499-151. He has won more than 77
percent of the matches he has coached, a statistic that speaks volumes to the
standard he has set in Happy Valley.
He captured the
2008 NCAA National Championship and has made University Park one of the premier
spots across the country to play Division I men's volleyball. He has helped
Penn State earn 17 straight EIVA Regular Season Championships, EIVA Tournament
Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances.
The maestro has
coached 21 different players to 41 All-America awards. Even further, each
season at least three of his student athletes have earned first team
"Any coach will
tell you 500 [wins] is a great accomplishment, but it really means that you've
been doing it for quite awhile with some really great people around him,"
assistant coach Jay Hosack said. "He's been lucky enough to be in a place like
Penn State where they've been very supportive of the program and supportive of
him. The quality of the kids that he gets here, you look at the whole package,
and that's really what that means."
For Pavlik, winning
has always been important, but what he takes pride in is the way in which he
develops his players into well-rounded student athletes who positively impact
both the program athletically and the university academically and socially.
"I think Pav will
tell you that the 500 wins belong to the players, and he's just happy to be a
part of all the great players that have come through that have provided him
with the opportunity," assistant coach Colin McMillan. "He's been a great
shepherd and steward for the program throughout his 21 years as head coach."
sealed the top spot atop the EIVA standings, the Nittany Lions will host the
EIVA Tournament for 17th straight season under Pavlik. Garnering
home court advantage is an area that Pavlik understands is integral to the
success of his team in the postseason.
"It's huge," Pavlik
said. "You look at our history, and I think our guys, over the course of all
the EIVA Championships that have been hosted by us, we've been able to stay in
our routine and embrace the pressure that's on us to win these matches. They've
done that really well. This year, with the other three teams involved, we're
going to have two tough matches to play, and we're going to have to be ready
for them. That's the beauty of hosting."
The Nittany Lions
will look to not only help get Pavlik his milestone victory, but also close out
their regular season a perfect 12-0 in EIVA Conference play when they travel to
Loretto to meet Saint Francis at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
"The way we've been
playing, we've shown that we can play a pretty high level game, and we're
playing for a longer and longer period of time during a match, and I just want
that to continue," Pavlik said. "Let's keep building. Let's keep getting
stronger because after this weekend, their season can end in one match, and I'd
like to stay with this group for as long as I can."
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Embarking on yet another stepping stone toward a
championship, Penn State track and field is headed to Philadelphia to compete in the Penn Relays Carnival.
Unlike any other meet, the Penn Relays is the oldest, largest track meet
in the country celebrating its 121st year this weekend and with over
15,000 athletes, of all levels, from around the country competing in over 120
events, the Nittany Lions have a big three days ahead.
"I don't think it's that you prepare any differently. I think it's that
you have to respect and understand what the history and the tradition of the
Penn Relays are. It's one of the oldest track meets in the country. Right now,
if you get a sunny day, from the attendance stand point it will be one of the
largest attended track meets in the country," said head coach John Gondak.
With its long-established tradition, the Penn Relays has bred more than
just another exciting meet weekend. The carnival-style display has sparked
careers, dreams, and motives.
"There have been so many Olympians and champions whether it's at the
high school, college, or professional level that have competed at the Franklin
Field. It's a very hallowed ground of our sport," said Gondak. "It's the track
meet I attended that got me into the sport back when I attended in the 10th
grade and it has been, in my opinion, what launched my career."
"Although the Penn Relays are
hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, at Penn State we still take pride in
having one of the largest track and field meets in the country being held in our
home state. [There is] pride that is involved with [being a part of] the blue
and white...Talking about the history we are involved in gives you a little bit
of added motivation and a different type of respect for the meet," said Hill,
"It's always really exciting to get into the Philly area and compete.
It's exciting to have my parents come out and support me. I know the facilities
and some of the officials...and it's the Penn Relays. It's always exciting to go
To add to the motivation, Penn State is entering this weekend as the
sole owner of the men's 4x800-meter relay record time of 7:11.17 for the 30th
"It's an incredible sense of pride for our alumni, those that ran in
that relay and the program in general. It's talked about at every alumni
gathering and event," said Gondak. "Records are out there in an attempt to be
broken but it has been 30 years and no one has broken this one. It's something
that I know is in the back of our minds for our team to go out there and try to
Returning shot put champion, Hill knows very well the excitement that
comes with big accomplishments but notes that the most important part is to
focus on the now.
"You have to stay focused on the task. It goes on for a few days but the
excitement about it helps you soak in the atmosphere and use [it] to your
advantage. You have to be focused on the goal," said Hill. "I understand that it's
a new year. I won last year, which was cool but it's a new feel and a lot of
good competition so it's going to take a good day to repeat a championship. I'm
prepared and that's the goal but I understand that it's going to take [a lot].
I can't underestimate anybody."
The most exciting weekend of the year begins Thursday, April 23 and
lasts through Saturday, April 25th.
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When the Penn State women's lacrosse team takes
on Maryland, it will be playing more than the final regular game of the season.
These two teams will be going head-to-head, each looking to hand the other its
first conference loss. Following Thursday's game, only one team will
capture the first-ever Big Ten regular season title.
While the Blue and White are hoping to emerge with a win, this game is set to
be the most difficult of the season. The No. 8 Lions will not just be going up
against the No. 1 team in the country, but they will also be going up against
the only undefeated team this season in the NCAA.
"I think it makes it more exciting," said head coach Missy Doherty. "It's a
great way to end your regular season with a game that's so important. It's also
a great way to gain some experience going into the Big Ten Tournament and hopefully
NCAAs. So, I think it's a great matchup and great timing. We're pretty excited
In terms of what the Lions need to do to compete, Doherty believes defense will
be key. She wants her team to be physical and assertive, ready to go up against
the Terrapins from the time the game starts to the time it ends.
With Maryland's scorers and its ability to gain possession on the draw, Penn
State has to take advantage of its time with the ball. Nevertheless, the team's
leading scorers, Maggie McCormick and Steph Lazo, know that if they sticks to
their game, success will come.
"We just need to listen to our coaches and believe in what they have to say,"
said Lazo. "They put out a really good scouting report. So, we just need to
listen to them and play our game, not going into it thinking they're the No. 1
team. We're a top-ten team as well, so just being smart will be important."
The Blue and White will need to find a way to get balls by the Terrapin's
goalie, who has one of the best save percentages in the Big Ten conference.
Again, Lazo believes confidence will be a major factor. If the team stays calm
and focused, it can achieve the results it wants.
"Missy [Doherty] always says when we're shooting we're going to shoot with a
purpose," Lazo said. "We're going to shoot with the mindset that we're going to
make the shot. I think just going in confident with our shots, just faking and
putting it in."
With so many aspects the Lions will have to overcome, it is only fitting that
the game will be played away from home. However, this challenge may not be as
large of an issue for Penn State.
Fifteen athletes on the roster hail from Maryland, meaning there will be
Nittany Lion supporters in the crowd giving the Blue and White an extra boost.
In many ways, the team will feel right at home.
"Going back to Maryland, it's definitely a special game for a lot of people,"
McCormick said. "I know that a lot of girls on the team enjoy going back there,
and we're definitely going to have a lot of fan support. Technically it's an
away game, but it's not going to feel like that."
Even with all the pressure of going up against Maryland and playing this game
on the road, the Nittany Lions have remained calm. No matter the outcome, they
are happy to take the field for such a competitive, hard-fought match.
Right now, this team is excited. It is ready to play its best game of the
season, and the Lions cannot wait to battle for the Big Ten title.
"I don't think this team really gets nervous, which I think is a good thing,"
said McCormick. "But, it's definitely exciting that the last game of the season
is against two undefeated teams in the conference. We wouldn't want it any
By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa. - The Penn State softball team split its doubleheader with Saint
Francis University Wednesday night. The Nittany Lions dropped game one 5-4 then
rebounded with a resounding 14-2 (5) victory in game two.
gloomy skies and scattered showers threatened to shorten the night, but a
little water wasn't enough to stop the two Commonwealth foes from completing
both contests. The mixture of rain, wind, and chilly temperatures usually goes
great with some defensive mishaps, but the stout PSU group only committed one
error on the night.
game one, Jessica Cummings pitched a fantastic game in the wet conditions. The
freshman completed all seven innings while allowing only six hits and notching
five strikeouts, but the Red Flash were able to push across five runs in the
"I'm very happy with
Jess. I think they only had really two hard hits the whole game," said head coach
Amanda Lehotak. "She has had a bit of bit luck. We call her the bloop queen. We
haven't really played well behind her either, but she keeps getting better and
better. If she's going to pitch her best ball, now's the time to do it."
Offensively, the Nittany
Lions stalled a bit against three SFU hurlers. The team totaled five hits in
the game, but they saw productions across the lineup as four different Nittany
Lions recorded an RBI. Sophomore Shelby Miller continued her offensive
onslaught with two of PSU's five base knocks. She has now risen her batting
average to .355 on the year.
Penn State had a
chance in the bottom of the seventh, but the late rally ran out of gas. After a
pair of one out walks with the bases loaded, the Nittany Lions found themselves
within one run with the powerful Kristina Brackpool coming to the plate.
Brackpool, who leads the team in RBIs, put together a solid at-bat and fouled
off pitch after pitch until finally popping up to end the game. She did,
however, smack a double earlier in the game and added another RBI to give her
42 on the season.
"She's the one we
wanted in that position," Lehotak said. "She's a deep ball threat and a tough
out. We want a big hit from her every game and everything beyond that is a
The hits and runs that
eluded Penn State's sticks in game one came out to play in game two. The Blue
and White scored five in the third and nine in the fourth to put away the Red
Flash. The 14 runs scored were the second most scored in one game this season
for the Nittany Lions. The team hasn't amounted that many runs or finished off
a team in five innings since April 4.
Macy Jones was the
star for PSU at the plate and in the circle in game two. The junior threw all
five innings while allowing one earned run and six hits. The win brings her to
7-3 on the year as her performance lowered her ERA to a team best 3.00. Just to
add to her dominance, Jones slugged a no-doubter to right field in the third
inning to give her 10 dingers this year. She totaled three RBIs and scored two
more runs in the throttling of SFU.
VanDerveer also added to her homerun total with a long ball in the third inning
a few pitches after Jones smacked hers. She leads the team with 12. Lexi Knief
and Kristina Brackpool contributed multi-hit games in the offensive show.
"It's a lot of fun,"
said Brackpool. "Scoring a lot on offense is the most fun you can have. The
first game we struggled a little bit but the second game we came out and our
hits came together."
"The first game I feel
like we were really pressing," Jones said. "We felt like we should beat them so
it made us not play our game. The second game we tried to focus on giving a lot
of effort and playing our game and our style. The outcome obviously showed that
that's what we need to keep doing."
Next Up: Rutgers
Penn State will play
its final home series of 2015 this weekend against the Scarlet Knights. The
eventful weekend includes Bark at the Park on Friday, Senior Day on Saturday,
and the Pink Zone game on Sunday. It will be a fun-filled weekend, but the
Nittany Lions have some work to do in the series as the end of the B1G season
is rapidly approaching.
Rutgers comes into the
weekend sitting at sixth place in the conference and winning six of their past
eight contests. The Scarlet Knights feature seven hitters above .300, led by
senior outfielder Jackie Bates who sports a .389 average. Bates also leads the
team in RBIs (44), homeruns (16), slugging (.905), and runs (48). Her 16 homers
is second best in the conference and her 48 runs scored is good for fifth in
On the hill, RU boasts
a powerful lefty in Alyssa Landrith. The senior is 14-8 on the year with a 3.19
ERA and 116 strikeouts. Besides Landrith, the Scarlet Knights aren't too scary
in the circle, so getting to her early and driving her out of the game should
be the goal of the PSU offense.
"The series this
weekend is really important," Jones said. "It's our senior weekend so we really
want to play for the seniors and get a good outcome for them. They're beatable
so we just want to just play our game and take this momentum to the weekend."
"Rutgers is really
good," said Lehotak. "I think they have seven hitters hitting over .300. I
think it could be a couple of high scoring games because we're two very similar
teams. Their pitching staff is giving up a lot of runs but they score a lot of
Penn State currently
sits at 11th place in the B1G, but a series win could vault them
right back in contention for a playoff spot. Adversely, getting swept or losing
the series might put the Nittany Lions in too big a hole. It's fair to say this
will be the most important series for PSU so far this season.
Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the
regular season starts to wind down, the softball team is set to host the second
to last home series on Wednesday, Apr. 22. The Blue and White will welcome
Saint Francis to Beard Field hungry for a doubleheader sweep. Penn State enters the series sporting a 23-23
record going 7-6 at home.
Although Saint Francis isn't in the B1G,
the Red Flash comes to Happy Valley with a 26-12 record. First meeting in 1990,
Penn State leads the series 30-3 winning the last contest, 9-1, on April 2,
Taylor Parsons leads the Red Flash with a .373
batting average earning 47 hits. Another offensive leader is sophomore Alexis
Bower with a .296 batting average, four homers, and 34 hits.
At the mound, Blaire Lauthers and Ethel Santai
lead SFU earning 12 and seven wins, respectively.
PSU is entering the doubleheader with
determination to put on a show for its home crowd.
The team has been consistently aggressive at the
plate with Lexi Knief, Macy Jones, and Kristina Brackpool leading the team with
.410, .365, and .362 batting averages, respectively. Also making an impact at the plate is freshman
Alyssa VanDerveer. With a .294 batting average, she is leading the team with 11
home runs. Brackpool and Jones follow closely behind recording nine homeruns
To match the team's powerful at bats, the Nittany Lions are
staying solid on the field and at the mound. The Lions' top three pitchers are Marlaina Laubach with 74 strikeouts,
Jessica Cummings with 59, and Macy Jones with 29. Laubach leads the team with
121.1 innings pitched earning 10 wins.
This team has worked hard to be a tough team both
on the road and at home. With the dedication of the players and coaches, Penn
State is fighting for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament.
Wednesday's series against Saint Francis is bound to be a
battle as the first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. followed by the second game at
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
KENT, Ohio. - There
are some nights in baseball when runs are just hard to come by. Tuesday,
however, was not one of those games for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions
entered a midweek contest at Kent State having averaged just shy of nine runs
in their 12 wins this season. Against the Flashes, it took them just one inning
to reach that exact total, as they blew open the doors with nine in the first
on their way to a convincing 15-5 win.
Not only did the
game get the Lions back on track after three loses against Minnesota over the
weekend, it also evened their season series with the Flashes, who topped Penn
State 9-7 on April 1.
State is a good team and they play us hard," head coach Rob Cooper said. "It's
good to see our guys get of to a good start after a tough weekend and put it
behind us. I'm proud of our guys and we got on them early and it was great to
Right from the
jump, the key for the Lions was being patient at the plate. After loading the
bases with walks from James Coates and Greg Guers and a hit-by-pitch by Aaron
Novak to start things off, Penn State got on the board when Jim Haley also
worked a walk off pitcher John Birkbeck.
First baseman J.J.
White then ripped a double that scored two and ended Birkbeck's evening before
the junior recorded an out. While the score was already 3-0, it was just the
beginning for the Lions.
hitting and taking advantage of three Kent State errors, the Lions batted
around and tacked on six more runs in the inning. Taylor Skerpon, Coates and
Novak all registered RBI hits after Ryan Richter drove in two on a grounder
that resulted in a throwing error by second baseman Tim Dalporto.
"You know, it
helped out that their pitcher struggled and hit and walked some guys, but as
hitters we did a good job of not chasing and when they threw a good pitch not
trying to do too much, just putting a good swing on the ball," Cooper said.
"And we also created some offense because we ran the bases aggressive which
forced them into making some bad throws."
In the first inning
alone, the Lions scored more runs than they did in seven of their wins this
season. Still, the Flashes didn't go away quietly, battling back with one in
the first and three in the third to cut Penn State's lead to 9-4.
That proved to just
be a bump in the road for the Lions, as they scored five runs between the fifth
and the seventh and tacked on another in the ninth to complete the rout.
Nittany Lions registered at least one hit, the two players who really stood out
were senior second baseman Taylor Skerpon and sophomore outfielder Nick Riotto.
Skerpon, better known
for his glove than his bat, was on fire all night and finished 4 for 5 with a
double and two RBIs. Riotto on the hand, made the most of his one at-bat as a
pinch hitter by slamming his first career home run with a two-run shot in the
"It's good to see
[Taylor] swinging the bat well," Cooper said. "He had some good at-bats against
Minnesota, but I felt like he's been putting too much pressure on himself and
trying to do too much since it's his last year. He did a great job tonight.
we feel [Riotto] can do. We've just been trying to have him use his lower half
to get barrel on ball. It's not about hitting home runs but to me that wasn't a
surprise to see him do that."
As much as offense
ruled the day for the Nittany Lions, they did get a great performance out of
the bullpen from Dakota Forsyth, who went five innings and gave up just one run
and one hit.
The Lions will need
more performances like that this weekend, when they face Illinois, the top team
in the Big Ten and the No. 8 team in the country.
performance] was huge, you don't really realize, that in that game with the
wind blowing out you need a pitcher who isn't afraid to start bats," Cooper
said. "When the game was 9-4 for him to come in and sure things up, well that
was really big for us. "
By Alex Shisler, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Now that we are in the middle of the outdoor season, I
think we can all agree... It's great to compete in the south. When we first
arrived in Baton Rouge, the weather was not looking good for a track meet. The
forecast had called for thunderstorms and over an inch of rain so that's what
we were all preparing for. Luckily for us, Mother Nature had different plans.
The day started off
with a great javelin competition in the rain that Mike Shuey won with a huge
throw of 242 feet and 8 inches. After the rain had stopped in the morning, the
sun was shining for the rest of the day. We had some great performances
throughout the meet but the freshman Bryce Williams grabbed himself a personal- best in the long jump (23-3.25). Steve Waithe had a great showing in
the triple jump where he won the invitational section with a leap of 51-7.25.
After the meet, the
coaching staff treated us to a delicious seafood dinner. It was great to be
able to sit down with the team and discuss all the great performances we had
that day while enjoying food that you definitely cannot get in Central
With another great meet
in the books, it's time for us to focus on the task at hand for next weekend, Penn