UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- February 18 marked the sixth-month anniversary of the day Penn State Director
of Athletics Sandy Barbour began her journey in Happy Valley.
GoPSUsports.com recently spent some time with Barbour to talk about a wide
range of topics in a two-part video interview series. In part one, Barbour
talks about her first six months on the job, the Penn State student-athletes,
coaches and more. Take a look.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -The Penn State women's hockey team may have concluded
the regular season on Saturday, but the team is ready for playoffs after
earning the highest postseason seeding in program history.
4-1, to conference foe Robert Morris (11-17-5, 8-8-4 CHA) on both Friday and
Saturday, Penn State (15-15-4, 9-9-2 CHA) earned a No. 4 seed this year after
earning No. 6 seeds each of the past two seasons.
"This team has worked very hard, and we are going to have a
home playoff series, and it's something everybody is looking forward to," said
head coach Josh Brandwene.
Saturday's matinee also featured a Senior Day celebration
for graduating junior Kendra Rasmussen and student manager Sammy Sarsfield.
Both have been integral parts to the development of the young program and will
certainly be missed.
"Two wonderful human beings surrounded by people who love
them," said Brandwene and the graduates. "Just a really special moment on the
ice that's for sure."
With such supportive fans all season long, it came as no
surprise when the 821 fans in attendance Saturday afternoon stayed for the
senior celebration to give thanks to two individuals who were both dynamic
parts of the team.
"From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank [the fans]
enough for their support, and the energy they put behind this hockey team,"
said Brandwene. "This is a special community, students and folks who live here
alike. And to see the support that we have is just really special."
Games aside, Penn State's Dance Marathon, or THON, took
center stage in University Park. A short walk across University Drive from
Pegula Ice Arena leads to the Bryce Jordan Center, the site where over 15,000
Penn State students effortlessly spent the weekend raising awareness and over
$13 million for the fight against pediatric cancer.
"We're here to work hard. We're here to push ourselves and
achieve, but when you take a step back and you know what's going on across the
street, and the kind of money that's being raised for such an important cause,
and so many families that have been so affected by this horrible disease, it
just puts it all in perspective for you," said Brandwene.
What made THON 2015 so special for the women's hockey team
is that this was the very first year the squad was home to dance in the Pep
Rally. On Saturday night, the players certainly provided the 700-plus dancers,
standing for 46 hours without sleeping, some much needed energy to keep going.
"It's that broader, bigger picture," said Brandwene. "You
grind away day-to-day. You go to class. You come to the rink. You keep working
and grinding, and when you get that moment where you can, not only step back
and see what's going on, but to also actually be a part of it, it really makes
Brandwene expressed some heartfelt words to the dancers.
"First I'd thank [the dancers] and just express my gratitude for what they're
doing," said Brandwene. "It's a pretty tall task for what they're doing. They
put a lot of not only the physical energy but also the emotional energy to be
on their feet that long and just knowing the kind of cause that they're working
towards, and spending time and interacting with the families. It's incredibly
special and just a powerful statement about what the Penn State community
With a large portion of the Penn State community still recovering from THON
weekend, the Nittany Lions are already looking ahead to their first ever home
playoff series against fifth-seeded Lindenwood, a team the Blue and White split
four games with this season.
"We're looking forward to [Lindenwood]," said Brandwene. "It's that moment of
the season where the reset button gets hit for everybody...we're really
chomping at the bit to get at it."
Penn State will commence its best-of-three series against the Lady Lions
(10-19-2, 7-11-2 CHA) on Friday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Game two will be played on
Saturday, Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. and, if necessary, a decisive third contest on
Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m.
By Rachel Fatherly, GoPSUsports.com Student-Athlete Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saturday started off with a motivational quote from Coach [Patrick] Ebel, "Believe
in yourself and let's get it done today.
set the tone for the day whether it was in the circle, on the runway, or on the
track. I think that today was definitely a tune up to say the least. We had
many outstanding performances that will set us up nicely for the upcoming Big
Ten Championships. The atmosphere today was great, like always. Everyone was
engaged in all of the performances.
that many Penn Staters took huge steps today. For example, Jon Yohman throwing
a season-best of 55-9.75 in the shot put. While warming up for shot put, it was
nice to be able to cheer on Matt Fischer as he raced the clock in the 5k.
As Penn Staters,
we definitely showed our pride as well as passion for each other. Across the
board there were many improvements, personal bests, season bests and better
As we enter
the Big Team Championships, many were able to tune up or work on things that
will help them later on in the week. What time is it? It's Big Ten Time!
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY
PARK, Pa. - It has been said that Rec Hall is the most electric sports venue in
collegiate wrestling. The fans are inches away from the mat; their voices echo
amongst the championship banners and the building is routinely packed.
Sunday's match against Rider was no different. As the fans funneled in in normal
fashion, packing the venue an hour before the match even started, the seniors
were prepared to wrestle in Rec Hall for the last time.
day is always an emotional one and it can't be any easier for a team that is as
close as the Penn State wrestling family. For these wrestlers, the Lorenzo
Wrestling Complex is their home away from home, often foregoing scheduled
breaks to continue to work at their craft.
senior class has helped the program win four-straight NCAA titles and four-straight
Big Ten Conference titles. While Sunday's match might have been the last time
fans witnessed these seniors wear their blue and white singlet, the impact that
they have made will never be forgotten. The 11 seniors gathered on Rec Hall's
mat one last time together at the beginning of the match, along side their
families, before they went out in true fashion...with a win.
Frey: "Today was a special day." After
redshirting his freshman campaign, Frey has opted to not wrestle next season.
He has helped the Nittany Lions in the lower weights all season, filling the
shoes of 2014 graduate, James Vollrath, at 157 and sharing the rotation with
fellow senior Dylan Alton.
match was a good day for Frey. Not only was he able to leave Rec Hall with his
first 'W' but earned a 10-4 bout score for the Nittany Lions against Rider's
was my debut in Rec Hall," Frey said. "To be able to get the win is a great,
great feeling. I found out Friday that I was going to wrestle. Being able to
have my family with me today is great. It's a weird feeling for me today,
knowing that it is my last time in Rec Hall. But, getting to see the families
of all the seniors was just great."
Lawson: "It has been a blessing to wrestle here." Lawson
has had a stellar year. He is tough, resilient and has endless potential in
postseason tournaments. After recovering from a knee injury last year, one that
fans battled through with him as it happened at Rec Hall, he came back ready
for redemption this season.
"You will never forget wrestling in a place like this," Lawson said. "The fans
come out here and support you no matter what, they deserve for us to give them
our very best. It has been an honor to wear the blue and white singlet all
these years. I am going to miss it."
the emotions of Sunday's dual, Lawson performed, giving fans a show in a weight
class where major decisions don't typically happen. The Nittany Lion was able
to score early, taking a 2-1 lead over Rider's Greg Velasco in the first 30
seconds. By the time the clock ran out in his final match at Rec Hall, Lawson
finished with a 12-4 bout score and earned 3:44 of riding time.
is the type of kid that needs to create action on his feet," head coach Cael Sanderson
said. "Whether you are shooting or he is shooting, he has the ability to come
out on top. He just needs to create those scrambles. He seems really confident
heading into Big Tens and confidence is half the battle."
Brown: "This experience has been a lot of fun." Brown
is one of those wrestlers that people drive hundreds of miles to see. He is
relentless, a fighter and a special member of the Penn State wrestling family,
leaving behind a legacy that will not be forgotten.
ranked No.2 heading into Sunday's match against Rider, was quick to attribute
his success to the support he has outside of wrestling practices.
is a team effort outside of wrestling too," Brown said. "We get to go out and
wrestle, but that is only because we have had support growing up our whole
lives. Our parents and siblings taking us to practice and the countless hours of
traveling, so it is good that those people can be recognized. Even now, my wife
always helps out. When we get home late from a match, she is there to pick me
up. You really can't do this by yourself. Our families play a big role in
sold out Rec Hall was on it's feet before Brown even took the mat, as the
wrestling community will miss seeing him wrestle, just as much as he will miss
wrestling in front of them. Sunday's match wasn't unusual for Brown: he scored
fast and tired out his opponent quickly. He was able to ride out Rider's Ryan
Wolfe to a 14-3 major decision.
remember seeing Matt [Brown] wrestle at a camp I was helping run," Sanderson
said. "I couldn't take my eye off of him, he was just go, go, go. Sometimes you
see kids who train hard and work hard, but it never pans out. It has panned out
for him and for us. Matt is a great example of consistency. We are really
grateful that he came to Penn State."
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a disappointing Friday night loss to No.
15 Minnesota, the Penn State men's hockey team knew winning Saturday's game was
a necessity. With such few series remaining in the regular season, the Nittany
Lions wanted to get back on track, break their three-game losing streak and get
their first program win against the Gophers.
The Blue and White immediately put the 2-1 loss behind them and began focusing
on the task ahead. The Gophers (17-10-3, 8-3-3 B1G) had not been beaten in
seven games, but a few Penn State (16-10-4, 8-5-1 B1G) adjustments and one
hard-fought rematch was about to change that.
Penn State downed the Gophers, 4-3, in thrilling fashion with an overtime, power
The Nittany Lions struck first when Curtis Loik capitalized on the man
advantage seven minutes into the game. Five minutes later, they extended their
lead to two after Scott Conway, who assisted Loik's tally, scored a
highlight-reel goal, the first of two on the night for the freshman.
"I think that might have been his best
all-around game, and that was a big, big, big time goal," said head coach Guy
Gadowsky of Conway. "The first one of his was just big time. The second one was
nice too, but he really played one heck of a hockey game. He's a confident kid,
and he was just so obviously not satisfied to just be on the same ice. He
played to win that game."
The strong play from Conway was exactly what Gadowsky was looking for after
benching the forward last weekend against Michigan State. With some time to
think, Conway knew he needed to refocus.
The changes he made led him to a plus-two, three-point night.
"I think Coach made a good decision putting me in the stands," said Conway. "I
took a step back and just thought about stuff, what I should be doing and what
I shouldn't be doing. That mainly brought my focus to these games, and I tried
to do my best."
Although the Lions maintained a lead throughout the majority of the game,
Minnesota refused to go down easily. The Gophers battled back and scored their
third and tying goal in the final minute of the play.
While the goal was disappointing, Gadowsky and the Lions remained confident.
The team had played a strong game, and it was ready to continue on. For the
Nittany Lions, this was a must win.
Not even two minutes into the overtime, Minnesota took a penalty. Luke Juha got
the puck and stuck to the Penn State hockey mentality.
The defenseman shot the puck.
"Minnesota was all over us for a little while there," said Juha. "They had a
bunch of momentum, and we got a power play. So, we knew we had to capitalize on
that to get three points. [Casey] Bailey got it on the far wall and passed it
to me. I had tons of time and was looking for sticks."
With David Glen screening the Gopher's goalie, the puck found its way into the
back of the net. With the win, Penn State officially beat every team in the Big
Ten Conference this season.
As for Juha, Gadowsky was thankful to have him in the lineup. The blueliner was
questionable for this matchup against Minnesota after an injury sidelined him
for much of the week.
"He had a lower body injury that kept him off the ice until Thursday actually,"
Gadowsky explained. "It's funny because we had a discussion after Thursday's
practice, and we were touch and go whether we would have him play. Good thing
While the win was important,
the team also played for more than itself this weekend.
With THON in full swing across the street in the Bryce Jordan Center, the
Nittany Lions wanted to be victorious for the kids, for every child and family
that has dealt with the effects of pediatric cancer.
"As hockey players, you have to battle through injuries sometimes," Juha said.
"It was a little tougher for me. I didn't feel like I had a full stride. But,
at the end of the day, especially on THON weekend, these kids battle so hard,
and I think for this weekend we did the same thing. We're lucky that we got a win
at the end of the day. So, it's a great weekend for us. THON is such an
inspirational thing for our school, and it's an uplifting event. After this,
we're going to go practice our Pep Rally dance and hopefully win that too."
Merely hours later, they did just that. Men's hockey was crowned the THON 2015
Pep Rally champions, raking in its second win of the night and making the
weekend one to remember for the entire team.
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This season was going to be a test for the young
Lady Lions basketball team, a realization both the coaching staff and team made
early on. But, their inexperience wasn't going to define them, as they keep
getting better every week, working harder day in and day out.
Over the course of the next seven days, the Lady Lions will play three
games against Big Ten opponents, opening the slate on the road against Maryland
Monday at 7 p.m. (BTN).
"You have to be able to make adjustments," head coach Coquese Washington
said. "We have to make sure what we are doing in practice is transitions well
on the court. We have to make sure we have the legs to get through this week."
Building On Last Matchup With The Terrapins After leading by as much as seven in the first half of the initial meeting
between the two teams, the Lady Lions knew they could compete with Maryland.
The Terps surged towards the latter stages of the first half, but the Lions had
confidence despite being down 41-24 at the break on Feb. 5. By adjusting to the
Terrapin pace on the court and their press, Penn State played a strong second
half, outscoring the Terps, 38-36 in the final 20 minutes.
"Maryland is an up tempo team and so are we," assistant coach Kia Damon said.
"We got off to a great start last time, then things kind of got away from us.
We want to start the game off the way we finished it and we will see what
happens from there."
The 'Moore,' The Merrier Redshirt sophomore guard Sierra Moore has had a stellar run the past few
games, holding onto the ball and helping with shot set up. The Duke transfer
has been an asset to the Lady Lions on both ends of the court. In last week's
matchup against Minnesota, Moore led the team in scoring with 17 points,
tallying eight assists and no turnovers.
"I think I have matured a lot this season," Moore said. "I think I am
getting better at finding the girls and getting them the shots they want."
B1G Time Hoops ESPN's postseason projections from Feb. 17 had seven of the 14 Big Ten
women's hoops teams earning a spot in the bracket. That being said, Coach
Washington appreciates the talent this conference presents on a nightly basis
for the Lady Lions.
"The Big Ten is a competitive conference," Washington said. "Each team we
play against has depth and talent. The coaches in the Big Ten really know how
to use their personnel. That is what makes this conference so great."
Looking Ahead The Lady Lions are in Maryland on Monday, before coming back to the Bryce
Jordan Center to finish off the regular season. Penn State welcomes Ohio State
on Thursday and Wisconsin on Sunday, marking a span of three games in seven
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State Athletics was again heavily involved with the 43rd
IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) held at the Bryce Jordan Center over the weekend.
THON's 708 dancers will began standing at 6 p.m. on Friday and did not sit down or
sleep until Sunday at 4 p.m. to raise awareness for the fight against pediatric
cancer in the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
Since 1977, THON has partnered with The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State
Hershey Children's Hospital with one goal in mind: conquering childhood cancer.
To date, more than $127 million has been raised by THON. THON again raised more than $13 million in a tremendous year of fundraising as part of 2015 dance marathon. Each year, more than 15,000 Penn
State student volunteers dedicate their time to THON, making it the largest
student-run philanthropy in the world.
Three Penn State student-athletes represented Penn State's Student-Athlete
Advisory Board (SAAB) as dancers: Elyse Archambault from women's golf and Laura
Gebhart and Bethany Mink from field hockey.
Additionally, Rachel Bove and Alicia Popescu from the Lionettes squad and from
Penn State cheerleading Caitlin Clearie, Sarah McEnroe, Michael Valania will be
danced in THON. In addition to the dancers and several committee members,
numerous other student-athletes both attend THON and participated in
Student-Athlete Hour and a THON favorite, the Pep Rally. The
football program hosted approximately 30 THON families at the Lasch Building
in conjunction with the THON Explorers Program on Saturday. We would also like to congratulate Penn State Athletic Communications student assistants Rachel Casciano and Lauren
Moyer after dancing over the weekend and the several student
assistants actively involved with THON. Complete Penn State Athletics coverage from THON 2015 is below.
Friday - 6 p.m. - THON 2015 Begins The 46-hour dance marathon kicked off at 6 p.m. on Friday evening when the 708 dancers stood. They will remain on their feet until Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Saturday - 9 a.m. - Student-Athlete Interviews With Bryce Jordan Center buzzing with energy during the 16th hour of THON 2015, GoPSUsports.com spent some time with student-athletes and THON dancers Elyse Archambault (women's golf), Bethany Mink (field hockey and Laura Gebhart (field hockey). Representing Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB), the trio is thrilled to carry the Penn State Athletics banner as dancers in the 2015 THON. Take a look at some of their remarks from the floor at the BJC.
Saturday - 2 p.m. - Football Hosts THON Explorers Event Nearly 50 members of the Nittany Lion football team welcomed approximately 30
THON Four Diamonds children and their families to a special tour of the Lasch
Football Building on Saturday afternoon as part of the THON Explorers program.
The THON event in Lasch is circled on the calendar for the Nittany Lions every
year. The THON families gathered inside
the home of Penn State football to take photos, get autographs, tour the facility
with the Nittany Lions, eat ice cream from the Penn State Creamery and take a group
The Nittany Lions formed a high-five tunnel for the families upon entry into
the building before the student-athletes took the families around the football
facility. Take a look at the THON Explorers
event at the Lasch Football Complex on Saturday.
Saturday - 5 p.m. - Student-Athletes Participate in Athlete Hour Athletes from several teams on campus spent times with the THON Four Diamonds children inside the Bryce Jordan Center during athlete hour on Saturday. Here are a few snapshots and video highlights from the event.
10:30 p.m. - VIDEO: Men's Hockey Wins Pep Rally Dance Competition One of the THON highlights every year comes on Saturday night when the teams of Penn State Athletics hop on stage and compete in a dancing competition during the annual pep rally. In all, 12 different teams competed in the 2015 version of the dance-off.
With resounding approval from a packed house in the Bryce Jordan Center, the Nittany Lion men's hockey team was named champion of the team dancing competition. It was a big night for the hockey team. The winning dance came just a couple hours following a thrilling overtime victory over No. 15 Minnesota across the street in Pegula Ice Arena. We have highlights of every team dancing on Saturday night at THON.
Sunday - 1 p.m. - VIDEO: Coach Franklin and Family Address THON 2015 Head coach James Franklin and his family, along with wide receiver Matt Zanellato and Noah Benner took the stage at THON on Sunday afternoon, urging the dancers to continuing working hard in their final push at the 46-hour marathon. Franklin spoke before a capacity crowd inside the Bryce Jordan Center. Take a look.
4:09 p.m. - THON 2015 Raises $13 Million For the second-straight year, THON's fundraising efforts raised more than $13 million. The grand total for THON in 2015 was $13,026,653.23 for fight against pediatric cancer. Congratulations to everyone involved in THON 2015. Here is a look at the reveal from Rec Hall following Sunday's Penn State wrestling victory over Rider.
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Before a sold out inside Rec Hall, the Nittany Lion wrestling team (11-4, 6-3 Big Ten) capped off its regular season with a 30-3 victory over Rider on Sunday afternoon. The program paid tribute to 11 seniors, including a trio of Lions who tallied victories in their final matches inside Rec Hall. Check out highlights of seniors Luke Frey (157 pounds), Matt Brown (174 pounds) and Jimmy Lawson (285 pounds) and post-match interviews.
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Penn State men's lacrosse team fell to in-state foe
Villanova, 11-7, on Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium.
A strong start from the Wildcats put Penn State on its heels early in
the game, placing the Nittany Lions in a position to try and mount a comeback. Creating an additional challenge, the weather
did not cooperate Saturday with the Penn State men's lacrosse team, as
blizzard-like conditions created significant problems and added to the level of
"It certainly made for a sloppy game," said head coach Jeff Tambroni.
"Both teams had difficulties; it wasn't like it was an advantage for Penn State
or an advantage for Villanova. I thought they managed the game better than we
did in the snow but clearly it was a different kind of game because of the
Despite the weather in the eastern part of the Commonwealth, the Nittany
Lions focused their attention on their performance, rather than field
The biggest concern for Penn State is their inability to start the game off
strong. Two first quarter penalties
resulted in two Villanova goals. Much
like their matchup last weekend on the road at Loyola (Md.), the Nittany Lions defensive
breakdowns resulted in early goals and the offense was unable to capitalize at
the other end.
"For two weeks in a row we just didn't get off to a good start," said
Tambroni. "Two weeks in a row we dug a pretty difficult hole to get ourselves
Penn State trailed 6-3 at the end of the first half, after being
outscored 5-1 in the first quarter.
A bright spot for the Nittany Lions was sophomore Nick Aponte, and his
first multi-goal game of the season. Aponte was responsible for four of the Nittany
Lions' seven goals, finding the back of the net on all four of his shots on
goal. Another solid performance came
from face off specialist Drake Kreinz, who went 14-of-21 from the dot,
including his 7-of-8 performance in the fourth quarter.
During the second half, Penn State's defense focused more on
double-teaming Villanova attack men in attempts to force turnovers.
"I think we just felt like we needed more possession time," said
Tambroni. "We weren't doing a great job off the ground and felt like we needed
to pick up the pace a little bit because it was a rather sluggish game."
Villanova's defense was successfully able to put the pressure on Penn
State's offense when they came close to scoring range, holding the Nittany
Lions to 10 shots in the first half. Penn State took 19 shots in the second
half, but the Nittany Lions couldn't overcome the first half deficit.
"I think a lot of our woes came with our inability to pick the ball up
off the ground," said Tambroni. "I didn't think we did a good job with some of
the details and possessions were clearly one of them. Villanova took advantage
of the overall possession time."
In addition to possession time, Coach Tambroni explained that the
Nittany Lions need to improve their ability to play from behind, and be
overcome the pressure.
"I don't think we did a good job at handling the pressure," said Tambroni.
"We were down 5-1 and probably created a more urgent style of lacrosse and then
didn't necessarily perform the way we were capable of under those
Although the outcome wasn't what the Nittany Lions had hoped for, there
is much to be learned from and improved on moving forward.
"The good and the bad is that it's still early in the season and there's
a lot of lacrosse left to play," said Tambroni.