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Skoff and the Lions Look to Continue Success Against Bentley

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There's no "I" in team, which is a concept goaltender Matthew Skoff is quick to recognize.

This season, Skoff has led his team to three victories, two draws and one loss. He has stopped 163 shots and allows an average of only 1.96 goals per game.

Even with his impressive play, the junior credits his two 2014-'15 Big Ten weekly honors, the second of which came following this past weekend's performance, to the entire team.

"I think it's indicative of how well the team's playing right now," Skoff said of his third star honor. "The team is playing really well. When individuals on a team have success it's more or less likely because the team is playing really well."

Through the first six games, the Lions have scored 25 goals and allowed only 12. The team is a cumulative plus-35, and 14 different Lions have found the back of the net.

Penn State is clicking.

"I think everyone believes in each other a lot more," explained the goalie. "Everyone came back basically. We are playing well, and I think the reason being is last year we really started picking up at the end of the year."

"Then this year, I think we're kind of rolling into the next season. Right now, we're taking it one game at a time, and it's worked so far. We just have to keep that attitude."

Skoff's team mentality was a driving force in his offseason preparations.

The junior took all the necessary steps to put himself in a position to succeed by both working with the team's strength coach throughout the summer months and by attending an NHL development camp with the San Jose Sharks.

"He obviously put in the work both physically and mentally to be able to play at a very high level out of the gates," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "We're very happy to see that. We're not at all surprised to see it because of how he ended up last year but very happy to see it."

Despite his efforts this summer, Skoff feels there is always room for improvement.

"Every summer I try to prepare the same way, no matter what," the goalie said. "We all had a good summer. A lot of us stayed back here and worked with each other, but I'm not going to say I'm playing outstanding. I can always get better and the same with the team."

Looking forward, Penn State (3-1-2) is ready to take on Bentley (3-2-0) this Thursday.

The game, which comes just four days after their last contest, gives the Lions a limited amount of preparation time. Nevertheless, the Blue and White are on a roll, and they want to keep things moving.

"I think the team's playing well, and I think when you're playing well it's important to get more and more games under your belt," Skoff said. "Hopefully, like I said earlier, we're just going to hopefully keep this rolling because the more and more games you play, the more and more you get comfortable with each other."

Bentley is fresh off an away sweep of Rensselaer, where the team scored a total of nine goals and held RPI to only two.

Even with Penn State's early offensive explosion, the team knows these games will be hard fought.

"I know they score a lot of goals," said Gadowsky. "They don't necessarily pepper the net, but they score a lot of goals. We're scoring quite a few ourselves. I think we're right around four, and they're at 3.8, something like that. They're just behind us. So they score a lot of goals and they just swept RPI at RPI, which is a tough place to play. I know they're playing very well right now."

Knowing Bentley's strengths will help the Lions in their final home series of the fall semester.

"They had some good teams the past couple of years, so we're not going to take them lightly," Skoff said of Bentley. "We're going to treat it like every other game. We're going to come in and do our best to put up a W."

PSU vs. Bentley jpg

2014 Opponent Previews - Maryland

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10480549.jpegMaryland | Beaver Stadium | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions meet the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday in the first meeting between the schools since 1993, and the first since Maryland joined the Big Ten.

Randy Edsall is in his fourth year leading the Terrapins with a mark of 18-27.  Edsall is 92-97 overall in his 16th year as a head coach.  Maryland went 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC in 2013.  They fell 31-20 against Marshall in the Military Bowl.  The Terrapins returned 52 lettermen and 17 starters.

The Terrapins dropped to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play on Saturday, losing 52-7 at Wisconsin.  The Maryland offense gained 175 yards, with 129 coming through the air.  Quarterback C.J. Brown completed 13-of-29 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Running back Wes Brown gained 22 yards on five carries. Deon Long caught six passes for 59 yards and Stefon Diggs hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass.

The Terrapins allowed 527 total yards, including 311 on the ground and five rushing touchdowns.  Safety Sean Davis recorded 17 tackles, including 14 solo, and broke up a pass. Cornerback Jeremiah Johnson made seven stops, six solo, and forced a fumble. Defensive end Andre Monroe added a 10-yard sack.

Maryland ranks fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 31.6 points per game. They also rank ninth in the Big Ten, gaining nearly 374 yards of total offense per contest. They average 137.5 yards rushing and 236 yards passing, ranking 11th and seventh in the conference, respectively.

Brown has completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,316 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.  He also leads the team with 376 yards rushing and five touchdowns.  Brown is seventh in the conference in total offense, averaging 211.5 yards per game.


Junior Brandon Ross and sophomore Wes Brown join C.J. Brown in the backfield.  Ross, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound junior, has 257 yards rushing and two touchdowns, gaining 4.4 yards per carry.  Ross also has 11 catches for 202 yards and two scores.  Wes Brown has recorded 231 yards and three touchdowns. Brown also has 115 yards on 11 receptions. Fullback Kenneth Goins has 41 rushing yards, 45 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

The Terrapins have a very strong receiving corps, led by junior Stefon Diggs. One of the fastest players in the country, Diggs leads the team with 601 yards and five touchdowns on 46 catches, averaging 13 yards per catch. Diggs has caught a pass in 26 straight games.  Senior Deon Long has caught 33 passes for 366 yards and a touchdown. Junior Marcus Leak has 253 yards and three touchdowns on 16 receptions. 

The Maryland offensive line includes two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. Three linemen have at least 21 career starts.

The Terrapins use a 4-3 style defense, but provide the look of a 3-4 scheme (standing defensive end). They allow 29.2 points and 458.4 total yards per game, ranking 11th and 13th in the Big Ten, respectively.  They rank 13th in the conference, giving up 212.4 yards rushing.  They are 11th in the league, giving up 246 yards passing.  They have forced 14 turnovers this season.

The defensive line is led by end Andre Monroe. The senior has 44 tackles, including eight for loss and 6.5 sacks and has forced a fumble.  Fellow end Keith Bowers has recorded 27 tackles, 14 solo, and 2.5 tackles for loss. Tackle Darius Kilgo has made 30 stops, 22 solo, six for loss and two sacks. Kilgo has also recovered three fumbles and blocked a kick. 

Cole Farrand, an inside linebacker, leads the unit with 67 tackles, including 35 solo, and four tackles for loss.  He has also broken up five passes.  Also on the inside is L.A. Goree, who has made 66 stops, 43 solo and two for loss. On the outside, Yannick Ngakoue has a team-leading 10.5 tackles for loss. Ngakoue also has 28 tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. 

Cornerback William Likely leads the Big Ten with four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.  He has 134 total return yards on those four picks.  Likely also has 51 tackles this year, nine passes defended, a sack and a forced fumble.  Fellow cornerback Jeremiah Johnson has three pass breakups and an interception.  Safety Sean Davis leads the team with 75 tackles, 52 solo. He has two tackles for loss and four pass breakups.  The other safety, Anthony Nixon, has 34 tackles, an interception and a blocked kick.

Kicker Brad Craddock, a Lou Groza Award candidate, has hit on all 12 attempts this year, including a 57-yarder against Ohio State. Craddock has made 18 straight attempts, dating back to last season.  Punter Nathan Renfro averages 41.1 yards per punt and has placed 15 inside the 20-yard-line. Diggs and Likely handle the return duties.  Diggs has averaged 25.2 yards per kick return.  Likely leads the Big Ten and ranks seventh nationally, averaging 16.3 yards per punt return.  Likely returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown against West Virginia.  

Penn State is 35-1-1 all-time against Maryland. The schools last met on Oct. 2, 1993, with Penn State winning 70-7.


What Randy Edsall is saying about Penn State:


"They have a tremendous history with their football program over the years. I think it's great to be able to be in the same conference with them, in a bordering state."

"[Hackenberg]'s big, he's strong, and he can make every throw that you want a quarterback to make. He's mobile and able to move around, so when an opportunity does present itself, he can hold the ball down and run."

"I think when you take a look at their defense, it starts with Mike Hull. That guy is all over the place. He is a tremendous football player. He makes a ton of tackles and is a leader for them... They are very strong up the middle and have very good athletes at the other positions."


Contributions on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by GoPSUsports.com Student Writer Paul Marboe.

A Balancing Act: The Tori Waldner Story

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10480482.jpegBy Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After winning their third consecutive Big Ten title and posting a 24-8 record, the Lady Lions graduated four seniors, leaving them with only one returning starter for 2014-'15.

Enter Tori Waldner.


A senior forward, Waldner is taking over the helm of the Lady Lions' leadership this season, a role that fellow teammate Peyton Whitted believes she has always owned.

"Tori (Waldner) has always been someone we look up to," Whitted said. "I don't think that this year will be any different."

Over the past three seasons, Waldner has seen action in almost every game, starting every game last season. This Lady Lion basketball team is young, but head coach Coquese Washington is looking to Waldner to "balance" her role as a leader along with working on her game.

"She's doing a great job of being vocal without being too focused on other people and not focusing on herself," Washington said. "She's done a great job of leading my example, with effort and communication."

Leading By Example
Waldner's leadership precedes her career in the blue and white. The Milton, Georgia, native was chosen to the All-Region 6AAAAA honors team as a scholastic senior and junior, while earning the 2009 and 2010 Defensive Player of the Year Award. She led her team to a regional championship and berth into the state championship playoffs, making it to the elite eight.

"If I am the only starter coming back, I need four other people with me," Waldner said. "I am willing to do whatever it takes to get everyone ready for the season."

Waldner is a leader off the court, as well. Aside from her contributions in the classroom, she is involved outside of basketball, when time permits. This year she was voted to serve on the homecoming court, an accomplishment she said sparked a desire for her younger teammates to join other clubs and organizations.

"Coach is really into helping us and encouraging us to accomplish things outside of basketball," Waldner said. "She helps us become great women and people, which is important because all of this comes to an end at some point."

Experience
The Lady Lions made it to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last year, a feat that Waldner contributed to during her efforts during the regular season and postseason. Her experience in tournament play will help leverage her leadership on the court. With the loss of Maggie Lucas, Ariel Edwards, Talia East and Dara Taylor, Waldner has big shoes to fill at the helm of Penn State's offensive and defensive schemes. Last season, she finished fifth on the team in scoring with 155 points (4.8 ppg), 179 rebounds (5.6 rpg) and 32 blocks. She is ranked 10th in program history with blocks per game.

"My experience, being a leader and being vocal is what I hope will help the team," Waldner said. "Coach says I know what I am doing on the court now, helping them and communicating what I am doing will help them adjust to the game."

Confidence
It was obvious at media day on Monday that both Waldner and Coach Washington are confident in this team, despite how young the group is. With several new pieces on the roster, along with a strong sophomore class, the future looks bright for the Lady Lions.

At practice, Waldner has been lending a hand to helping out with the freshman. Her style of play is something all young players can learn from, as she has had three seasons to develop as a collegiate player.

"Everyone has something special to bring to the court," Waldner said. "When we scrimmage, they show up. They will do the same in the game." 

Lions Continues Streak with Sweep Over No. 17 Ohio State

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10276416.jpegBy Anita Nham, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the heels of two weekend victories, the Nittany Lion women's volleyball team marched to an assertive three-set sweep (25-15, 25-22, 25-12) against No. 17 Ohio State on Tuesday evening inside Rec Hall.

"I thought it was a well-played match for us to block as well as we did and everything we did was good tonight," said head coach Russ Rose. "It was a nice thing to have happen at home. It's great to have a nice crowd and the band out on a Tuesday night."

The Nittany Lions came strong out of the gate by earning the first point and maintaining a big lead throughout the initial set. The Lions were on a three-point streak with a score of 18-10 when Ohio State called a time out. The Buckeyes notched a point out of the break, but Penn State pushed ahead and won the set 25-15 with a service ace from senior Nia Grant.

"I thought we came out and played a great first game," said coach Rose. "We hit .650. We didn't have any hitting errors and I think that kind of set the tempo for the match."

Though Penn State had a dominant first set, the team was unable to gain a lead on Ohio State for much of the second set. The Buckeyes had a 7-2 lead and never trailed until the Lions notched a 22-21 lead on an Ohio State service error. The Nittany Lions battled through the adversity in the second set en route to a 25-22 win and a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

"A lot of times, you're fighting yourself because we contributed to them getting a number of those early points, but when we were down 7-2, I wasn't too concerned other than how they got to seven," said coach Rose. "I thought we were going to score more than two points."

Penn State didn't want to fall behind Ohio State in the third set, so the Lions continued their drive from the previous set. They opened the set with a strong score of 6-2. Ohio State attempted to interrupt the streak, but the Nittany Lions continued their power and finished the third set 25-12 to complete the sweep.

"I think the biggest thing we're trying to focus on is coming out of the game strong and sustaining it," said senior Micha Hancock. "It's nice to have three 3-0 wins in a row. You feel like you're getting tighter with the group and we're getting to a more consistent level, so I really feel like we need to show more energy and I think we've been showing that with our 3-0 wins."

Hancock recorded 31 assists to earn a total of 5,010 all-time assists. She's the sixth player at Penn State to reach 5,000 or more career assists. Hancock also logged a season-high of seven blocks.

"I thought we had great performances tonight from all the hitters," said coach Rose. "We pass the ball well. I thought Micha did a nice job...Micha was good with distributing the ball tonight."

Senior Lacey Fuller also played a key role in the victory, finishing with five digs.

"[Lacey] played hard. Had a couple of good digs," said coach Rose.

With her performance, Fuller had a great time tonight.

"I felt fabulous," said Fuller. "It was amazing. The crowd was great. It was a really good game."

The team will continue to practice for their matchup with the Buckeyes once again on Friday evening, but this time, they have a better idea of what they will be up against.

"It's nice [to play a team] because it's one thing to watch film on a team, but getting to play them, you get more of a feel," said Fuller. "At least for defensive players, you know exactly where they hit the ball and hopefully going into Friday, I'll be more prepared since we just played them."

Even with a sweep, Coach Rose was pleased to earn a victory against a talented Ohio State team.

"They're ranked 17th in the country and they've beaten teams in the top 10 in the country. They're really good. They just didn't have their best outing tonight and we know that and we'll work hard [today] and Thursday and we'll have a tough match on Friday," said Rose.

Penn State will take on the Buckeyes again this Friday at 7 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio. 

VIDEO: Maryland Week Player Q&As - Miles Dieffenbach & Trevor Williams

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com catches up with senior guard Miles Dieffenbach and junior cornerback Trevor Williams.





By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While sophomore forwards Amy Petersen and Laura Bowman were growing up together and playing hockey in Minnetonka, Minn., junior forward Hannah Hoenshell was lacing up her skates in Plano, Texas.

Now, the trio synergize on the top line for the Nittany Lions.

With Petersen playing left wing, assistant captain Bowman positioned as center and Hoenshell on the right wing, opposing teams have struggled to prevent Penn State's heavy offensive attack.

This past weekend Penn State (3-3-2) split a two-game home series at Pegula Ice Arena against Princeton (1-1-0), winning Sunday night, 2-1, but falling late Monday afternoon, 4-1.

All three Penn State goals against the Tigers came from the top line of the Nittany Lions.

"That whole line continues to move their feet," said head coach Josh Brandwene. "When you move your feet and make good decisions with the puck good things happen."

Petersen netted two first period goals in the opening contest while Bowman scored the only goal in the second game.

"Overall we have really good chemistry as a line," said Hoenshell. "Obviously they've (Petersen and Bowman) played together since [they were little]. I just came in there, and they're really easy to play with. We see each other pretty well."

In Penn State's 2-1 victory, Petersen's first goal came on the power play when she buried the rebound from a Kelly Seward shot into the back of the net. Then it was a nifty Hoenshell pass to open Petersen in the slot to help her line mate notch goal number two.

With two more goals on Sunday, Petersen now leads the team with six goals in just eight games played.

"I think a lot of my success is because of my line mates," said Petersen. "They're getting me the puck in front of the net or taking good low shots and there are rebounds."

Bowman scored the first goal of the second period on Monday with a beautiful wrist shot assisted by Petersen. She nearly scored again when a wrist shot ricocheted off of the post and crossbar. Initially ruled no goal, the play was reviewed and confirmed.

"It was impossible from our bench to tell whether it went back bar in the net, post and out, or top bar to the post and out," said Brandwene.

For Bowman, being able to skate on the same line as Petersen at the collegiate level is a dream come true. The two grew up playing together from a young age all the way through high school.

"It's great. It's amazing, and I love playing with [Petersen]," said Bowman. "I've loved playing with her since day one. We have such great chemistry. We don't even have to talk basically on the ice, we just know where each other is, and we are always supporting each other."

Despite Hoenshell not playing with the two Minnesotans prior to her arrival at Penn State, Petersen says that the Texas native fits right in with herself and Bowman.

"Hannah's easy to play with," said Petersen. "She likes to move the puck a lot, which fits into how Laura and I play. Just communicating. We know each other is going to be out there, so it works well."

Bowman echoed the words of Petersen.

"Hannah Hoenshell is a great addition to our line," said Bowman. "She has blended into our line so well. She has the same hockey mind as we do...I personally don't think we've ever had a better line mate than Hannah."

Petersen, Bowman and Hoenshell have now accounted for seven of Penn State's 12 goals this season, and it does not seem like the trio will be slowing down any time soon.
    

Week Eight Press Conference Roundup - Maryland Week

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10478864.jpegJames Franklin Transcript - Oct. 28

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions cap off a two-game homestand on Saturday when they face off against Maryland for the first time since 1993.

Head coach James Franklin reviewed Saturday's clash with Ohio State and previewed the matchup against the Terrapins on Tuesday afternoon inside the Beaver Stadium Media Room.

Penn State scored 24-straight points on Saturday before dropping a narrow 31-24 double-overtime decision to No. 13 Ohio State. The Nittany Lion defense held the Buckeyes scoreless in the second half, largely thanks to an aggressive effort from the collective unit.

"Defense I thought we played really hard, 91 percent pursuit grade, which is really good," said Franklin. "I think that's one of the things we believe in, just the importance of running the ball, we had two takeaways, pick six."

With a strong performance down the stretch in regulation on both sides of the ball, Franklin wants to see the Nittany Lions play with the same energy, passion and execution again this week, and every remaining week of the season. Penn State has a great deal to build on from the second half against Ohio State.

"I talked to the team on Sunday after the game that I felt a difference on our - in our team in terms of their focus and in terms of their preparation and in terms of their enthusiasm and energy and I don't know if that was Ohio State, I don't know if that was the white‑out, I don't know what this was, prime time game, whatever it may be but I talked to them about we have to make sure that our approach and preparation and our attention to detail is consistent week in and week out," said Franklin. "It shouldn't be based on the opponent, it shouldn't be based on what time the game is. It shouldn't be based on outfits that people decide to wear to the game, shouldn't be based on anything of those things. It should be based on us wanting to go out and play at our highest level."

Shifting into Maryland week preparations, the Nittany Lions corrected the mistakes from the Ohio State game on Sunday before the team's off day on Monday. The squad resumed practice on Tuesday afternoon. Maryland's talent in the skill positions (offense and defense) is the focal point for the Nittany Lions this week as the group prepares for another tremendous crowd in Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

"Tremendous challenge for us, excited to be back at home," said Franklin. "Love to have the opportunity for the first time in the last four years to have back-to-back sellouts. 107K strong. We're excited about that. I cannot stress the impact that our fans had on our last game. Gave our defense a real home field advantage. Can't stress, again, how much would he appreciate their support."

Franklin is hopeful that the Nittany Lion offensive line will receive a boost on Saturday with senior guard Miles Dieffenbach on the brink of a return. Dieffenbach has returned to the practice field in recent weeks, and Franklin said his role could expand this week.

"Hopefully he will have a bigger role this week and that will allow us to play him in a game a little bit," said Franklin. "I think that would be the ideal situation. How much that is, I'm not sure, we'll see, but I think the biggest thing is we are never, ever going to put winning a game in front of what's in the best interest of our players and our student‑athletes, and we want to make sure he's prepared before we put him back on the field that's mentally, physically, emotionally, that's the whole package."

It was announced on Tuesday that senior linebacker Mike Hull has been named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (top defensive player). From day one, Franklin has been complimentary of Hull's efforts and how sets the tone for the Nittany Lion defense. He has been a huge factor in Penn State's outstanding defensive unit in 2014.

"Mike Hull is as good as I've ever been around, with coaches, fans, NFL scouts with selection committees for awards and things like that, we all get way too caught up in the eyeball test," said Franklin. "With the guy that walks through the door, he's 6-3, 250 pounds, just looks what you imagine in your mind and don't get me wrong, it's not like Mike is little, he's 6-feet, 235 pounds but how productive he is."

The Nittany Lions and Terps are slated for a noon kick on Saturday (ESPN2). The two teams have met 37 times in a series that dates back to 1917.


Press Conference Notes
- Coach Franklin Update on Ryan Keiser
"There is stuff being reported in the media that I don't think is completely accurate about Ryan Keiser.  Ryan did suffer a fracture in a rib in practice last Thursday. After undergoing operation for a small bowel injury sustained, overall he's improving. He's at Hershey Medical Center right now. There is no infection. I wanted to make sure that we're clear.  Ryan's family has our complete support. I've talked to his mother, talked to Ryan. Our trainers and doctors have been in constant contact or have been involved every step of the way, and I just want to clear that up because I know how the Penn State community supports one another. I wanted to make sure that everybody understands clearly what's going on."

- Franklin on the Maryland offense:
"(They are) averaging 31 points a game, eight starters, spread, no huddle team, they use tempo, big into the quarterback running game. They got a really fast and productive wide receiver unit.  That's one of the things I would say in general about Maryland their skilled positions are really good. C.J. Brown their sixth year senior at quarterback, 6-3, 218 pounds, I recruited C.J., know him extremely well, athletic guy who place extremely well and say able to make plays with his arm, as well. Brandon Ross, know him extremely well, so know him, Stefon Diggs seems like he's been playing there forever, I know Stefon and the family fairly well and he's doing nice things for them, continues to be one of the more explosive athletes in the country and the Deon Long who I've known for a very time, big-time playmaker for them as well.  Athletes across the board. "

- Franklin on the Maryland defense:
"Nine starters, we talked about, an experienced group.  I guess they technically call themselves a 4-3 defense, I would say they are a 3-4 defense, but their one defensive end stands up. They're able to play both from a three-down and four-down front, play a variety of coverages, pressure the quarterback well and as a defense Maryland has returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and that's William Likely who is a good player, he may not be very big, but he's an explosive player."

- Franklin on the Maryland special teams:

"
They're leading the Big Ten in the punt return average, third in kickoff return average, that's a lot to do with their scheme but that's a lot to do with their personnel, William Likely who we have talked about as the punt returner, he's seventh in the nation right now, got one return for a touchdown, that's going to be a challenge for us, Stefon Diggs is their kick return guy, first in the Big Ten in kickoff return yardage so we're going to have a tremendous challenge there and a guy that jumps out to me is Kenneth Goins, running back, "H" back type guy who is all over the field on special teams."



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Growing up, Drew Klingenberg didn't have to go far to find someone to play soccer with. 

While his parents Dan and Kristen were former baseball and softball players, Klingenberg's older sister Meghan had taken up soccer at a young age, and she made sure her younger brother of five years followed suit.

"I completely attribute me playing soccer to her," Klingenberg said. "I remember going to her games all the time when I was young. It just came naturally and I was always surrounded by a soccer ball when I was young."

So far, the soccer path has worked out pretty well for both of the Klingenberg children. While Drew is a starting midfielder for the Penn State men's soccer team for the second straight season, Meghan is a former North Carolina star and a current defender for the U.S women's national team.

As Klingenberg's own career has progressed from the being a two-time all-state player to a starter at the Division I level, the Penn State junior has watcher his sister develop into one of the best in the country at her position.

"We use to joke because I used to be better than her when I was younger," Klingenberg said. "When she was around 14 or 15 she just took off and she's great now and a role model to me. I've personally seen her develop into a fantastic player."

On October 20, Meghan scored the first goal of her international career in the U.S team's 6-0 victory over Haiti in Washington D.C. in the final game of the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers. 

Though it's tough for the two to talk regularly with their busy schedules, Klingenberg managed to call his sister to congratulate her on the moment, and added some teasing for good measure.

"I texted her and I was like, 'did you learn that from me?'" Klingenberg said with a laugh. "No, I just said 'great job and you're playing great.' I try to talk to her as often as possible, unfortunately she's usually somewhere in the world so it's a little tough but I'll always pick up the phone for her."

Being competitive with each other is nothing new for either of them. Growing up in Gibsonia, Pa., their battles began as one-on-one games in the backyard and progressed to pick-up games with the players on Meghan's club team when they got older.

During those games, the two were never a package deal, as both preferred to play against each other rather than pair up on the same team.

Looking back, Klingenberg is glad the two always squared off, as it helped him improve as a player and actually made him closer to Meghan off the field.

"There's always been a competitive edge with her so it's been great," Klingenberg said. "She would make sure that she would beat me and I didn't realize that when I was young. I was like 'why is she always on the other team?' and as I got older I realized.

"We want to beat each other, and I tell this to everyone, it's a great dynamic. I love her and she's my sister but when we're training it's always who's going to out best the other."

Even though Meghan can be tough on him, Klingenberg said that she has always given him words of encouragement when necessary. 

When Drew was about to enroll at Penn State in the fall of 2012, Meghan was busy with the national team and unable to see him off to school. Remembering how scared she was in 2007 before starting her All-American career at North Carolina, she called her brother to give him a pep talk.

"I remember taking her to UNC and I remember her being so nervous and her shaking," Klingenberg said. "I was the same exact way. Right before I left for college, unfortunately she had her national team duties, she was like, 'Drew you're a great player and you need to have confidence and if there's one thing you need to do it's believe in yourself.' I've always kept that in the back of my head."

Since then, Klingenberg has established himself as one of the unsung heroes of the Nittany Lions. While he has scored just three times in his three-year career, including this past Sunday against Wisconsin, his all-around game has been integral to Penn State's consecutive Big Ten titles the past two seasons. 

The 5-foot-9 midfielder has also given his parents another reason to continue watching soccer. While neither of them had ever played the sport, Klingenberg cites them as another support system. 

"They were baseball players and it's taken them a while to get into the soccer thing," Klingenberg says. "My parents have always been a huge backbone for me. They're not the kind of parents to just pat me on the back. They're going to tell me if it wasn't my best game and they've made me better by being realistic and honest."

As for which child his parents would rather watch play, Klingenberg says they would never pick a favorite. At the same time, he couldn't be prouder of his sister's accomplishments. 

"We're best friends," Klingenberg says. "I've only done soccer my whole life and that completely goes back to Meghan."

 

Sights and Sounds from Lady Lions Media Day

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By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Members of the media filled the Bryce Jordan Center Monday as the Lady Lions held their annual media day.

Coquese Washington met with the media prior to an open gym on the Bryce Jordan Center hardwood where players and coaches spoke about the upcoming season. The Lady Lions host IUP Sunday at 2 p.m. for an exhibition contest before the regular season begins Friday Nov. 14 against Towson.

Take a look through some news and notes from media day.

Young Players All Around
After losing four starters from one year ago, the Lady Lions are moving into a new season with a lot of youth. The roster is filled with players that have starting experience, some that are moving from role players to starters and some that are new to the Lady Lion roster. This brings a little uncertainty for Coquese Washington and her staff simply because players are still developing and progressing, unlike past years where there were veteran players at the helm.

However, even with youth and inexperience on the roster, the expectations haven't changed for Washington and her team.

"Our expectation is simple: we're going to get better every day, every week, every month of the season," Washington said. "We want to play our best basketball by the end of the season. Our expectations are to win. Those are our expectations and they don't change."

Washington said that she has talked to Penn State women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose and learned from his illustrious and successful career and used that as a guide for this season.

"How we do those things, what it looks like on the court may change depending on our personality from year to year, but the expectations certainly don't change," she said. "I've learned that from my Russ Ross. He tends to win championships like I eat popcorn, so I kind of listen when he talks."

Finally Playing
Two players that are a part of the youth movement for Penn State, Lindsey Spann and Sierra Moore, came in highly touted to the Lady Lions last season but had to miss 2013-'14 due to an injury and transfer rules, respectively. For Moore, being healthy but not being able to play was tough, but now she's solely focused on contributing in her redshirt sophomore season.

"I'm very excited," the Duke transfer said. "It's been a long time since I've been on the court [in a game situation] and I'm excited to play with this team. We're young and we're ready to go and we're fiery."

Moore was a McDonald's All-American guard coming out of high school. Fellow guard Spann was also highly recruited, but suffered an injury during summer practice in 2013 forcing her to miss her first season at Penn State. Healthy and ready to go, Spann is expected to fill in nicely at the guard position.

Both players have a unique bond together since they sat and watched from the bench side-by-side for an entire season. They were a visible force of energy from the sidelines and now get to bring it on the court.

"[Moore] is one of my best friends on and off the court," Spann said. "We have a really close bond and we love playing together. We both feed off the energy one another generate; it'll be exciting."

New Assistants Bring Added Energy
Itoro Coleman and Jocelyn Wyatt are new to the Lady Lion coaching staff this season. Coleman, former head coach at Clemson, was an assistant under Washington from 2008-'10 before taking the job at Clemson. Wyatt is in her first season in Happy Valley after previously coaching at Georgia State as an assistant.

Both coaches fit the Lady Lion bill being energetic and having a fun side to their coaching style. Washington said just three weeks into practice their impact is already being felt.

"Jocelyn [Wyatt] and Itoro [Coleman] are both having a really strong impact on our [program]," Washington said. "In practice, their energy level and attention to detail are certainly paying off. I think that's part of our growth. That's why we're seeing the team come together and get better over the past few weeks."

Coleman is helping specifically with the frontcourt players, who echoed Washington's sentiments and said that her knowledge has helped them grow and see the game better.

"As a group, she's helped us with rebounding and she's made us play smarter," center Tori Waldner said. "We're using our energy to get rebounds in specific ways. We're focusing on where the ball as it is coming off the rim. It's not the effort that she's worried about; it's more how we play the game intellectually."

The Lone Senior
Waldner is the only senior on the Lady Lion roster and the only player to be a part of the past three Big Ten tournament championships. She has been mentioned by all members of the team and staff as one of the team's biggest leaders this season and although it may be odd having just one senior on a roster, Waldner has embraced the role.

"It's pretty cool," Waldner said. "Being the leader is awesome, especially since a young group that is really enthusiastic about learning. I've been enjoying my experience with them and coach [Coquese Washington] has, too. We've been getting a lot better with experience in scrimmages and getting more playing time."

Washington said having a player like Waldner on the roster is critically important, especially with such a young team.

"She's doing a really good job of being vocal without being too focused on other people and not really focusing on herself," Washington said. "What I mean by that is she's sometimes out there with a freshman and three sophomores, so there's a lot of [messing] up that's going on.

If she spends so much time trying to make sure everybody else is doing what they're suppose to do, she would run the risk of not being able to make sure she's in a position to make plays."

Monday Notebook: Defense Looking to Build on Dominant in Second Half

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10476866.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite playing at a high level during the first six weeks of the season, the Penn State defense said that it could play a little better.

True to its word, the defense took its game to another level in the second half on Saturday against Ohio State. Simply put, the Nittany Lions were dominant in the second half of the primetime Penn State White Out against an offensive unit that came into the game among the top statistical groups in the country.

Ohio State entered the game averaging 46.5 points per game. The Nittany Lions held the Buckeye offense to 17 points through four quarters of regulation, including zero in the second half. Ohio State had only two combined scoreless quarters during the first six games before the Lions held the Buckeyes scoreless in back-to-back quarters.

Additionally, the Nittany Lions held Ohio State to 256 total yards through four quarters (277.8 yards below season average).

"I think, as the game went on, the fact that we were rotating our defensive line was helpful," head coach James Franklin said. "Like Bob [Shoop] usually does, he gets a feel of some adjustments that he's going to make. Slight adjustments, not really anything we're doing at halftime, just different calls. Mike Hull getting 19 tackles, that's helpful as well. The turnovers; that's something we talked about, trying to get some turnovers to get off the field, helping our defense."

Senior linebacker Mike Hull spearheaded the stout defensive effort on Saturday. Hull notched 19 tackles against the Buckeyes, the most by a Penn State player since the 2011 season. He is now averaging 11.9 tackles per game, which is ranked sixth in the nation and atop the Big Ten.

"I think he should be on every award list right now," Franklin said. "He deserves that. I've been doing this for 20 years. I've coached in a lot of different leagues, even the NFL. The guy is playing at a really, really high level week in and week out. He makes plays from sideline to sideline in the run game and in the pass game. You guys have heard me say this before, but I have a man crush on that guy. I love him. He's a big-time football player."

Collectively, the Nittany Lion defense is ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing defense (No. 3), total defense (No. 7) and scoring defense (No. 9).

Penn State will renew its series with Maryland on Saturday (noon on ESPN2) in a Big Ten East Division matchup.


Hamilton B1G Freshman of the Week
For the second time in 2014, DaeSean Hamilton has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his efforts against Ohio State on Saturday. Hamilton tallied 14 receptions against the Buckeyes, breaking the Penn State record for receptions in a game. Hamilton is the nation's top freshman receiver with 57 receptions and 8.1 receptions per game. He is ranked No. 8 overall in the nation in receptions per game and No. 1 in the Big Ten. Hamilton heads into the week just six yards shy of the Penn State freshman receiving record.

Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions remain among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:

QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is leading the Big Ten in passing yards per game at 265.9 yards per game and completions per game at 23.57. He ranks third in the Big Ten in passing yards at 1,861.

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is eighth nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (8.1). He ranks 16th in the nation and second in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 98.0.

LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is ninth in the nation in solo tackles per game at 6.7. He is leading in the Big Ten and sixth nationally in total tackles at 11.9 per contest.

K Sam Ficken - Ficken is 10th in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 1.86.

Early Look at the Terps
Maryland enters the week with a 5-3 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Big Ten. The Terps suffered a 52-7 setback at Wisconsin on Saturday. In Big Ten play, Maryland has victories over Indiana (37-15) and Iowa (38-31).

Quarterback C.J. Brown is leading the Maryland offense in passing and rushing. Brown has thrown for 1,316 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He has rushed for 376 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Receiver Stefon Diggs is ranked third in the Big Ten in receptions per game at 5.8. Diggs has 46 total receptions for 601 yards and five touchdowns. Diggs is also the Big Ten's kick return leader (25.2 yards per return).  

Maryland is the Big Ten leader in punt returns and third in kickoff returns. Cornerback William Likely is averaging 16.3 yards per return (1 for TD).

Penn State and Maryland will meet for the 38th time on Saturday, but last played in 1993. Penn State is 35-1-1 overall against the Terps.


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