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By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State track and field preseason training is officially underway. This week GoPSUSports.com caught up with the sprinters, hurdlers, and relay runners to get an inside look on this year's athletes, training plans, and goals.
Senior Dynasty McGee (Flint, Mich.) is coming off a big year with the team after playing a key role in the women's 4x400-meter relay team that finished in first place at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. McGee made a big impact in the outdoor season as well by winning eight events, qualifying for the NCAA Championships, and being named First Team All-American.
"Last year was a big year for me and I just want to top that. I want to get better and better and I know that if I stay focused and dedicated, I'll do that," said McGee.
Junior Kiah Seymour (Washington, D.C.) had an eventful summer as a part of the United States National Team in the 400-meter hurdles in Kamloops, Canada.
"When I went to Kamloops...it was the best track experience of my life. I got to run in the USA [under] 23 team and I made life-long friends," said Seymour. "After training with [coach] Bungard he really told me that I had nothing to lose so I went for it."
On the men's side, the team is looking young, focused and powerful.
"I'm just looking to go out, compete and do my best out there," said freshman Xavier Smith (Douglasville, Pa.).
The team is led by two upperclassmen, senior Sancho Barrett (Amityville, N.Y.) and junior Alex Shisler (State College, Pa.), who both qualified for an NCAA Championship event in 2013.
Coach Randy Bungard is in his third year with the program and he is thrilled to begin this season noting this year's goals are almost identical to those in the past - winning.
"Our goals this year are kind of the same they've always been. As a team, we want to win the Big Ten Championship and go to the NCAA Championships and be a presence there," said Bungard.
While the team's first official event isn't until December 13th when they host an intrasquad Blue vs. White meet, the athletes are already hard at work and preparing for the competition.
For more information on Penn State Track and Field visit www. GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.
Game Notes | Gameday Central | Ohio State Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday
Press Conference Roundup | Coach Pry Q&A | Player Q&A Video | White Out History
Penn State to Team with Best Man Tim Campaign
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2) return home on Saturday for a primetime Penn State White Out contest against Ohio State (5-1, 2-0). Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. with television coverage on ABC.
Penn State and Ohio State first met in 1912 and have met annually since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993. The two schools will continue to meet on a yearly basis as members of the East Division. The Buckeyes own a 16-13 edge in the all-time series.
The Lions return to action following their second and final bye week of 2014. Penn State's defense headlined the first six games of the season by playing at a consistently high level. The Lions are ranked among the top units in the country in three of the four major statistical categories. Penn State is No. 1 in rushing defense (60.8 ypg), No. 6 in scoring defense (15.2 ppg) and No. 6 in total defense (283.3 ypg). Penn State is No. 1 in the Big Ten in all three of those categories.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is leading the conference in passing with 272.8 passing yards per game. Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton has opened his Nittany Lion career with a Big Ten best 7.2 receptions per game. Hamilton is averaging 93.3 yards per contest. The Lion freshman is just 131 yards shy of Deion Butler's freshman record of 691 yards (2005 season).
Ohio State improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten with a 56-17 win over Rutgers in Ohio Stadium last Saturday. The No. 12 Buckeyes rank second in the Big Ten and fourth nationally in scoring offense at 46.5 points per game and have topped the 50-point mark in four straight games entering this week's game. Ohio State also is second in the conference and ninth in the NCAA in total offense at 533.8 yards per game.
A team and fan favorite and one of the most iconic scenes in college football, the stage is set for the 2014 Penn State White Out. All fans are encouraged to sport white attire to ensure a Penn State White Out for the primetime clash. The official White Out T-shirt can be purchased at the Penn State Bookstore and the GoPSUsports.com online store. A Penn State Football Letterman's Club tunnel will take place when the team takes the field. At the end of the third quarter, the Penn State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will present a check to the Uplifting Athletes Organization.
Additionally, Penn State and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced on Thursday that they will jointly honor Shane Conlan with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during Saturday's game. Among one of the all-time greats at "Linebacker U," Conlan starred from 1983-86. He will become the 23rd member of the Penn State football family to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Get primed for the 30th meeting between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week seven matchup against Ohio State.
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and the Penn State defense look to make opponents one-dimensional on offense. In a way, the Nittany Lions strive to play complementary defense, using rushing defense to set up effective passing defense, blitzing opportunities and forcing turnovers. But that process begins with defending the run. Through six games, the Nittany Lions are No. 1 in the nation against the run (60.8 ypg). Opponents have tallied just 2.0 yards per rush on 182 attempts against the Lions this year. Penn State's stout play against the run has been a huge part of the unit's collective success. Penn State is ranked No. 6 in scoring defense (15.2 ppg) and total defense (283.3 ypg). Senior linebacker Mike Hull has been the catalyst on the defensive side of the ball. Hull is second in the Big Ten in tackles per game at 10.7.
2. Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg enters the second half of the season as the Big Ten's leader in passing yards per game. A healthy passing game begins with an effective ground game. With the second bye week in the books, Penn State will remain committed to a balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball. Hackenberg talked earlier this week about how a strong outing from Bill Belton, Zach Zwinak and Akeel Lynch can lead to opportunities down the field in the passing game. Wide receivers Geno Lewis and DaeSean Hamilton head into the week averaging 16.0 and 13.0 yards per reception, respectively.
3. Head coach James Franklin has said it since spring practice that Sam Ficken has arguably been the most consistent player for the Nittany Lions. Ficken's senior season has gotten off to a strong start. Ranked sixth in the nation with 2.0 field goals per game, Ficken has connected on 12 of his 14 field goal attempts and all 13 of his extra point attempts. His two misses were both blocked at the line of scrimmage. Additionally, Ficken has 15 touchbacks on 31 kickoffs this season.
What to Watch For - Ohio State
1. The Ohio State offense enters the week having scored 50 or more points in four-straight games. Efficiency is a big reason for the offensive output from the Buckeyes. Quarterback J.T. Barrett is the conference's leader in total offense (333.0) and passing efficiency (182.1). The redshirt freshman has thrown for 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 2014. Barrett has led Ohio State on a touchdown drive during its first possession in each of the last four games.
2. Ohio State's defensive line headlines the Buckeye defense. Tackle Michael Bennett and end Joey Bosa are the two names to watch for when Ohio State's defense is on the field. Bennett is a disruptive player in the middle of the defensive line. A member of the watch lists for the Bednarik, Outland, Nagurski and Lombardi Award, Bennett has 12.0 career sacks. Bosa enters the game as the Big Ten's leader in tackles for loss (1.50 per game) and fumbles forced (0.50).
3. Head coach Urban Meyer has always placed a big emphasis on special teams play. The Buckeyes enter the weekend rated No. 1 in the Big Ten in kickoff coverage. Ohio State is also ranked in the third of the Big Ten in punting, kickoff returns and punt returns. Dontre Wilson is the lead returner for Ohio State. Wilson is averaging 9.7 yards per punt return and 22.7 yards per kickoff return.
The Final Word:
Saturday evening will mark Penn State's third and final primetime game of the 2014 season. The Nittany Lions play host to their seventh all-stadium Penn State White Out. The history of Penn State White Outs stretches back to the 2004 season when the first student section white out took place when the Nittany Lions hosted No. 9 Purdue on Oct. 9. Beaver Stadium hosted student white outs in 2005 (Ohio State) and 2006 (Michigan) before the first all-stadium Penn State White Out took place on Sept. 8, 2007 (Notre Dame). Since 2007, the Lions hosted full stadium Penn State White Out games against Illinois (2008), Iowa (2009), Alabama (2011), Ohio State (2012) and Michigan (2013). Kickoff is slated for 8:14 on Saturday night with Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe on the ABC broadcast.
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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- It was a matter of inches that separated victory and defeat for the Penn State men's soccer team Wednesday night.
At home against West Virginia, the Nittany Lions had numerous close chances come up short, including two shots that hit the crossbar, in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss.
"That's what I told them at halftime," Penn State head coach Bob Warming said. "A couple off the crossbar ... the game could be a little different. About two inches was the differences on those balls."
Coming off of consecutive losses, Penn State started fast and looked to be back to the form that helped it win 10 of its first 11 games.
Like many of the Nittany Lions' first halves this season, they generated plenty of opportunities with eight shots, yet were unable to score.
Mikey Minutillo was the first Nittany Lion to hit the crossbar, just missing an empty net opportunity on a play in which his jersey was pulled at the 21:40 mark. Just over 10 minutes later, fellow forward Mark Wadid would also nail a ball off the top bar as the game remained scoreless going into halftime.
"It's always discouraging when you hit the post," sophomore forward Connor Maloney said. "It's an opportunity to get one in the net but we just have to bounce back now."
Maloney has been the spark Penn State has needed all season, and as Wednesday night's game moved into the second half, he delivered once again.
Just into the fourth minute of the period, the 5-foot-6 forward blasted a shot past Mountaineers goalie Lee Johnston from 18 yards out to put the Nittany Lions up 1-0.
"We had a lot of opportunites don't get me wrong," Maloney said. "Our attack was pretty good. I wouldn't say our best, but it was decent."
Although it seemed like the Nittany Lions were on their way to snapping their two-game losing streak, the Mountaineers clawed their way back.
In the 62nd minute, West Virginia senior Andy Bevin got past the Penn State backline and one-timed a long cross from Paul Ehrenworth to tie the score at 1-1.
Bevin would strike again eight minutes later. After being brought down in the box by Mike Robinson, the Mountaineer striker converted a penalty kick to give West Virginia a 2-1 lead it wouldn't give up.
Although the Lions would continue generating chances, including back-to-back shots by Wadid and Minutillo that were just blocked in the 86th minute, they were unable to get another ball in the net and fell for the third straight game.
"You can't point at one guy who's playing terrible, you've got to say collectively as a group we're not playing very well right now," Warming said. "We should be better than this and they know they are."
Despite the disappointment, the Nittany Lions' season is far from over. They are still 10-3-1 on the season and have three regular-season games remaining, including two against Big Ten opponents.
After such a fast start to the year, Warming admitted that the grind of the season has been tough on his players lately.
"We were a great team there for quite a while," Warming said. "There have been a lot of factors. Guys have been sick, guys have been heavy under a lot of stuff with school, we gotta find a way to get it back."
One person who knows what Penn State is going through is West Virginia coach Marlon LeBlanc.
LeBlanc, who played at Penn State from 1997 to 2000 before serving as an assistant coach from 2001-2005, watched his Mountaineers squad start 3-0 before dropping three of their next four.
"We've gone through it," LeBlanc, who's Mountaineers are now 7-6-1, said. "You've just got to stick to your beliefs and continue to fight through. Sometimes the best teams don't always win and the best team on the night wins. This game was an even game for a long time."
"I'm saying this as an alum, they keep their heads to the grindstone and they're going to be fine. We want them to win every game the rest of the way through."
With a strong group of leaders, both young and old, the Nittany Lions will strive to keep their heads up as they fight through this tough stretch.
"I believe in everybody on this team," junior midfielder Drew Klingenberg said. "I think going forward we need to get that confidence back where we all believe in each other because we are a great team. It might be a little low right now but as soon as we start believing in each other again it's going to turn around."
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Having a lake in your backyard presents a multitude of activities to explore during childhood. Some grow up swimming. Others take the fishing route. But, for forward Caitlin Reilly, growing up in Chanhassen, Minn., means that she grew up skating on the frozen body of water.
The dazzling freshman, who scored her first collegiate goal last weekend against Union with her parents in attendance, was born into hockey.
"I started playing hockey when I was two years old or when I could stand," said Reilly. "I started to play just because my older brothers, sister and my dad played. So it ran in the family."
Her father, Mike, played collegiate hockey at Colorado College from 1976-78 and then at Minnesota from 1979-81. The Montreal Canadiens drafted him in 1977.
The five-foot-five freshman is the youngest of five. All of her older siblings have played Division I hockey.
"It's pretty cool having siblings that all played Division I collegiate hockey for Big Ten teams," said Reilly. "As the youngest I had a lot of pressure on me having to go D-I, but it's fun and I get to learn from them."
Reilly's oldest and only sister, Shannon, played hockey at Ohio State from 2006-10. Currently, her three older brothers--Mikey, Connor and Ryan--all play for Minnesota.
Being the youngest, you would think that friendly family competitions would ensue, but according to Reilly that has never really been the case unless on the frozen ponds.
"I wouldn't say as much with me, but definitely between my brothers," said Reilly. "But in Minnesota, when we get on the ponds, we have some competition out there."
Having four older siblings certainly has its occasional challenges, but Reilly attributes her growth as a hockey player and person to the guidance of her three brothers and sister.
"You have to go out there and give it your best effort," said Reilly. "They'd always come to my games back in high school and would tell me people are always watching, so you have to give your best effort so you show everyone the type of player you are. They've taught me a few things with my shot and certain things on the ice. Most importantly, go out there, have fun and always give it your best effort because they know how capable I am of playing well. That's the biggest thing they've taught me."
Growing up she tried other sports, but her love always returned to hockey.
"I also played lacrosse and soccer growing up, but I just fell in love with the game of hockey."
For Reilly's parents, Mike and Lisa, having all five children lace up their skates is a huge time commitment. Hockey schedules haven't always aligned between Reilly and her four siblings, but according to Reilly, the love and support from her parents has meant everything.
"It's definitely a lot of travel for my parents, especially the year when my sister was at Ohio State, my brothers were playing for Sioux Falls, another one of my brothers was playing at Shattuck-St. Mary's, and I was in high school, so they had to go watch four different teams," said Reilly. "But they've managed to come to an equal amount of all of our games. Now that my brothers are on the same team and my sister isn't playing as much, it's a lot easier for them. They split between my brothers and me."
Home Sweet [Happy Valley] Home
With Reilly being one of nine Nittany Lions hailing from Minnesota, the transition, like many of her other freshman counterparts, has been a smooth one.
In fact, Reilly has played in summer leagues with a number of the Minnesotans on the team.
"It's definitely been easier to transition," said Reilly. "Coming all the way from Minnesota but having all the other [Minnesota] girls here definitely made me feel included. As a freshman it's hard coming to a new place, but it's been fun! They all know the tradition of hockey in Minnesota, so everyone chirps us Minnesotans, but it's the best."
A Look into the Future
With the rewarding John Curley Center for Sports Journalism offered through the College of Communications, Reilly is ensuring that sports remains a part of her life after graduation.
"I love sports in general, especially hockey," said Reilly. "I'm hoping to one day be a reporter for the NHL. I just love the game; so being able to do that in my future would be awesome."
With all the Division I sports at Penn State, Reilly will have the opportunity to get real life experience in the sports broadcasting field while in Happy Valley.
The versatile freshman is coming off a weekend performance that led to her being honored as the College Hockey America Rookie of the week. You can see Reilly and the rest of the Nittany Lions face off against Princeton in a two-game series this Sunday (7 p.m.) and Monday (4 p.m.) at Pegula Ice Arena.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Always a fan favorite, Beaver Stadium will play host to a full stadium Penn
State White Out on Saturday under the lights when the Nittany Lions collide
with Ohio State (8 p.m. on ABC).
A tradition stretching back to a student section white out in 2004, the Penn State White Outs have created an unrivaled atmosphere inside Beaver Stadium. Saturday will mark the seventh time the Nittany Lions will host a full stadium Penn State White Out. Take a look through a photo history of the student and full stadium white outs since the idea began in 2004.
Purdue - Oct. 9, 2004 (student section)
Ohio State - Oct. 8, 2005 (student section)
Michigan - Oct. 14, 2006 (student section)
Notre Dame - Sept. 8, 2007 (full stadium)
Illinois - Sept. 27, 2008 (full stadium)
Iowa - Sept. 26, 2009 (full stadium)
Michigan - Oct. 30, 2010 (student section)
Alabama - Sept. 10, 2011 (full stadium)
Ohio State - Oct. 27, 2012 (full stadium)
Michigan - Oct. 12, 2013 (full stadium)
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Pressure is nothing new for David Goodwin.
Ending last season second in scoring for the Nittany Lions, the sophomore knows expectations for this season are high, but he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I'm looked upon to put the puck in the net and to help other people put the puck in the net," the forward said. "I think there's always, at whatever level or whatever age I am, there's going to be pressure, but I like it. I like being one of the guys that's looked upon. Hopefully I can have another good year."
To prepare for his second year donning the Blue and White, the sophomore put forth the extra effort during the offseason, working on the little things that will help to further elevate his level of play.
With four points in four game this season, Goodwin has not disappointed.
"My conditioning was probably my biggest thing," said Goodwin of what he needed to improve. "Obviously with playing consistently, you need to be at your best shape you can, so that was a big point of emphasis for me and on my shot.
"I want to be able to score from further out. I feel like I'm pretty good around the net, making quick plays and banging home rebounds, but I want to be able to score from father out and hopefully get a few more."
The forward will look to add to his scoring this weekend, as the team returns home to take on Holy Cross.
Playing at Pegula Ice Arena brings excitement to the entire program, student-athletes and coaches alike, and it seems to add an extra spark to Goodwin's game. Of his 18 points last season, 11 were earned at home in front of Penn State fans.
This year is no different, as the sophomore has already racked up two goals and two assists while playing in Happy Valley.
"All those points have come from playing here at Pegula, so I love playing here," Goodwin said. "There's no secret. Last year, a good chunk of my points came from playing here in front of our fans.
"I just think trying to be consistent, whether it be at home or on the road, just trying to play consistently and just being a good linemate and trying to make plays out there is the key."
Friday, Sunday Holy Cross Series
As Goodwin and the Nittany Lions (1-1-2) prepare to take on Holy Cross (1-2-1), they know they have to account for an unusual schedule.
Instead of the typical Friday and Saturday evening games, the two teams will face off on Friday night and Sunday afternoon due to Penn State's home football game.
"We actually offered a Thursday, Friday scenario, and Holy Cross, under the reason of academics, wanted it to be a Friday, Sunday," explained head coach Guy Gadowsky. "They actually made the move."
While the Lions are looking to bounce back from their draw and loss in Alaska, the Crusaders are looking to build off last weekend's success. Holy Cross is fresh off its series with AIC, games in which the team went 1-0-1.
To succeed this weekend, the Lions will not only need to battle through these losses, but they will also need to stay confident, composed and mentally tough.
"There are certain things that we do that are our objectives that when it comes down to the most crucial times, we have to know 100 percent that those things are going to happen," Gadowsky said. "Right now, and I'm not going to go into the people that aren't there yet, but quite honestly that's not happening at the most crucial times.
"We're doing them for a longer period of time, but when it matters most we have to know 100 percent that those objectives are gong to be met. Right now, they're not, so it's not just a matter of winning. I think it's really coming up with a plan that in those crucial times X, Y and Z are absolutely going to happen."
Even with some of the team's mental blocks, Goodwin knows he and his teammates can overcome the issues with time. The Lions are hopeful they can begin taking the necessary steps this weekend.
"I think the confidence is there," said Goodwin. "It's just mental toughness, and those few little mistakes can creep up whenever. I just think it's something we're going to work on, and I'm sure we'll get better."
The Lions and the Crusaders will open their series 7 p.m. Friday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach
Brent Pry spoke with the media on Thursday.
The Nittany Lions return to action on Saturday against Ohio State (8
p.m. on ABC). Take a look at a Q&A with Pry.
Q: What kind of challenges does the Ohio State offense present?
Pry: "I think first of all, they have more team speed on offense than anyone we have seen up to this point. I would compare their team speed to what you would see at Vanderbilt out of some of the better teams in that league (SEC). At wide receiver, there is not just one or two, there are multiple guys that can run and that are dangerous after the catch. At running back, they are really quality backs that can run. They have great balance. They have great vision, particularly No. 15. And of course the quarterback is a heck of an athlete in his own right. He can throw the ball around, particularly in their system. And then he's had numerous plays, particularly in the last four weeks, where he has made scramble opportunities and turned them into big gainers. And then where he has run the ball within the running scheme, he is dangerous that way. And then they have two tight ends that are very good blockers and have a lot of range. They can cover ground and stretch the field. There is not a weak component to the guys they can get the ball to."
Q: How much more difficult is it to prepare when you are playing offense with so many components to it, like you talked about?
Pry: "Sometimes you can isolate. When there are just one or two guys, you can bracket and hone in on one particular thing. These guys make you be very well rounded. You can't change your concentration. You have to be sound up front. You can't commit to the box too much or they will expose you on the perimeter. You can't be light in the box or they will run the football. Then the element of the quarterback running makes you guarded there. They do so much. They spread you out all over the field. They deliver the ball and get it around to all of their threats. Sometimes you can hone in on a guy or two, but these guys don't let you do that."
Q: Coach Franklin has talked about Nyeem Wartman. What is he doing well in your eyes right now?
Pry: "Probably, there are two qualities of his that impress me the most right now. No. 1, he's got a lot of maturity. For being a redshirt sophomore, he is a mature kid. He's got a great mentality. He's got a great understanding of the position; a very good understanding of the defensive scheme. And then the second quality I'm impressed with is that he's got great knee bend and agility. For a big guy who is weighing around 240, his lateral movement is right up there in the neighborhood of Mike Hull's. He's just a really good athlete. He's physical. To be honest, there have been numerous opportunities for us to end up in the wrong thing or make the wrong call, and Nyeem sees something and makes it right. He's really a good complement to Mike Hull in the box to get us lined up the way we want to get lined up."
Q: Following up on that, how much do you think Nyeem has benefitted from playing next to Mike Hull?
Pry: "There is no doubt. I think it is all of the guys, not just the linebackers but across the entire defense. He's one of those guys that practices the way you want a guy to practice. Nyeem certainly does that, as well. I think being a student of the game and mastering your position, I think he has learned that from Mike. I hope all of the guys are learning that you have to take to heart the techniques that are necessary for your spot, and then master those techniques. Nyeem is very vocal. He is a great communicator. He's got a lot of confidence. I thought up at Michigan, watching him play basically one-handed with that cast on, I was really impressed. He played physical. He made plays. He stuck his face in there."
Q: Can you talk about Brandon Bell and the progress he has made this year?
Pry: "I think Brandon, he is a guy - honestly, I was excited about Nyeem and Mike coming out of camp - Brandon, I still had some question marks. We ask a lot out of that field backer. There is a certain skillset we like to see, and Brandon is a little different. He's almost geared towards the position Nyeem plays a little bit more. Brandon has done a tremendous job growing into that position. He has given us everything to his abilities that we need out there. We have the good fortune and subbing and getting into a sub group when we feel like there needs to be a little more speed or athleticism out at that spot. We can put a safety in the game. Brandon has just done a very, very good job of being a solid player at the field backer position. I'd like to see more production from Brandon. I'd like to Brandon be a little more explosive in our blitz package. There are some things where we are working towards for the second half of the season where we can get a little more production out of Brandon."
Q: When you look at this weekend, what type of an impact does a Penn State White Out have in terms of recruiting?
Pry: "This is obviously a big recruiting weekend. Everybody as a prospect wants to come see Penn State-Ohio State, white out in a sold out stadium. That's obviously one of the great things about Penn State. When you walk into a high school and get into conversations with coaches and players that's one of the first things you talk about - Beaver Stadium and the white outs. A bunch of those guys that signed with us last February were at the Michigan game last year where it was a white out and Penn State victory in dramatic fashion. Those guys all talked about that during the recruiting process up to when we signed them. (Saying) that it was just a fantastic experience and that it was unrivaled - that there was no other gameday atmosphere that they had attended and made them as excited as Beaver Stadium did."
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By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - So far this season, Kindrah Kohne has been affecting the Penn State women's soccer team in a way that goes beyond statistics.
While the New York native and senior has 234 minutes of playing time and four shots so far this season, Kohne's biggest asset to the team can't be found on the stat sheet. What makes Kohne an essential piece to the team is her ability to be the glue that keeps everyone together.
"One thing I want to leave behind for this team after graduation is the change in environment of turning the team into a family," said Kohne.
Part of what makes the 2014 team so successful is the chemistry between the players. Kohne is someone on the team that has been the driving force for this transformation from team to family.
"What makes Kindrah special is her team first attitude. She has played four years with us now and has done so with more class dignity than any college athlete I've ever seen before," said head coach Erica Walsh. "Without her we would of never been able to create the environment this team has."
As her final season winds down, Kohne has been reflecting on her time in Happy Valley and the kind of legacy she wants to leave behind.
"I want to leave this season with no stones unturned," said Kohne. "I make sure to give it my all for every game since I never know how many minutes I'll get during a game so I want to maximize my opportunities for this whole season since it is my last."
With such a young team in 2014, Kohne made sure back in August that the team's 11 freshmen had no problem transitioning into collegiate soccer.
"I wanted to make sure the freshmen felt welcomed and made a point to get to know each of them right from the get-go," she said. "I wanted them to know I'm always here to help if they need or want to talk about anything since the demands of the season and school can get crazy at times."
Her compassion and eagerness to help goes beyond making new players feel welcomed.
Fellow midfielder Kori Chapic, who is also one of Kohne's roommates, cited her as one of the most influential players on the team.
"A lot of people on the team know she's someone that can always help them with their problems and is always that shoulder to lean on if needed," said Chapic. "She just likes to make people smile."
Having four years of experience under her belt, Kohne has improved greatly as a player and brings her team first attitude on the field with her.
"On the field she always make sure to get the details right. In soccer, details are so important positioning wise and she always knows how to put herself in the best place," said Chapic. "She makes everyone else's job that much easier whenever she is in the game."
Although she may not be a fixture in the starting lineup, Kohne is the type of player the team can rely on in tight games.
"When the team is in a tight situation and you look down the bench and see Kindrah we know as coaches she'll get the job the team needs done. She's earned our trust as a player," said Walsh.
Earning the team's trust as a reliable player and a true friend, Kohne's impact on the team is something that goes beyond game statistics.
The family feel that the 2014 Penn State's women soccer team wouldn't be possible without a genuine player such as Kohne.
"She's had such a positive impact on the players, coaching staff, and this program. She's one that we'll remember for years to come," said Walsh.