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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Seven

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Seven

Day Seven in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Jenny Rizzo, Colleen Conway and Mary Nell Smith

May 14, 2016
The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a nine-day, five-city exhibition tour of The Netherlands, playing five games against a variety of competition in the most renowned field hockey country in the world. Through the student-athletes' own words and pictures, the #PSUFH2Holland daily blog chronicles their adventures on and off the field.

Days 7 & 8, May 13-14
The Hague - Harleem

Colleen Conway, sophomore, Franklin Lakes, N.J., and Jenny Rizzo, sophomore, Hershey, Pa.
"Greetings from your PSU goalkeepers! On Friday night we played against the HDM ladies, who are The Hague's hometown team. We knew coming into the match that they would be a tough opponent because they are in the top league and they practice every day as a cohesive unit. However, we psyched ourselves up really well for the game by playing old school sing-alongs on the bus ride over -- the parents on the bus especially loved hearing Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel!"

Colleen: "This was a homecoming of sorts. I had already been to HDM for a tournament last year, so it was awesome getting to play against some of the same girls at this wonderful venue."

Jenny: "HDM was one of the best clubs we've seen so far. Their clubhouse is beautiful and they had five top quality pitches for their players. The game itself was the toughest any of us have ever played in -- the goalkeepers really didn't get a break the whole game."

Colleen: "Jenny started the first half and had some of the nicest goalkeeping I have ever seen!"

Jenny: "Colleen went in during the second half and held them off with a great stick save and multiple crotch shots. Good thing she was wearing her pelvic protector!  Even though we lost in an incredibly fast-paced game, we loved all the action we saw. It gave us ample opportunity to practice and learn from some of the best players in the world."

Colleen & Jenny: "After the game, we ate dinner in the clubhouse and socialized with the other team. The salad and yogurt they served were good, but really different than anything we have had in the United States. The best part of the whole night, though, was when the other goalkeeper came up to us after dinner and gave us her glove and a playing jersey! We gave her one of our practice jerseys in return, and each keeper walked away with a nice souvenir to cap off a great night."

 

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Penn State goalies Colleen Conway (left) and Jenny Rizzo (right) with their HDM counterpart.

Mary Nell Smith, sophomore, Dauphin, Pa.
"Before I recap our Saturday morning in Den Hauge all I can say is, 'Make the trip!' Waking up early in Holland has been a breeze -- and trust me, at home you can catch me in bed until 1 or 2 p.m. Around every corner is something my teammates and I have never experienced before. For example, with the language barrier and the diverse and different food choices, we have been taken out of our comfort zones. It has been nothing but an astounding learning experience. I would highly recommend to anyone I meet or to anyone who reads this that you get out and see something new - be it in Holland or down the straat.

"On our first brisk morning in Den Hague, Netherlands, I awoke to the sound of horseshoes on brick. A little bit of a culture shock... am I right? The street below my window was bustling, so I figured I might as well start my day too. Together as a team we started off with now our 'normal' Dutch breakfast tradition. Everyone meets in the breakfast room to enjoy an assortment of meats, cheeses, eggs, fruit and sprinkles. Yes, sprinkles! Here in Holland hagelslag - also known as sprinkles -- are found literally everywhere. You could probably find hagelslag in a church if you truly looked hard enough. The breakfast way to eat hagelslag, taught to me by none other than my roommate Jenny Rizzo, is to butter wheat bread and place the pure fruit, milk or dark chocolate sprinkles on top and just eat away. Sounds very different from what we would eat at home. I can't seem to wrap my head around it yet, but Jenny embracing culture like she does, is in love with it.

"The next adventure at breakfast laid within an orange juicer. Together of course, Jenny and I tackled yet a new experience. We had to cut around six oranges in half and place them on the juicer, just like we watched the man before us do. When we tried to juice the oranges it didn't work as well as it did for him. A nice woman promptly came up and told us there was a pedal we hadn't been pushing that would make the machine work. After we pushed that pedal there was no stopping us. In no time we had a glass of orange juice that the whole team wanted to sample. It was gone quicker than it was made, but it was undoubtably the best O.J. I have ever tasted.

"Saturday was the first time we actually had to put on our heavy clothes. We have been blessed with beautiful weather ... until today. A group of us walked around Den Hauge looking for souvenirs and gelato. At home I am a fan of hard ice cream, but here in Holland the gelato is amazing. I so far have tried flavors like cookie, Kinder bar (a Dutch candy here), stroopwafel, Oreo and cinnamon. With one taste of this cinnamon gelato all I could think about was Christmas. The Dutch have managed to put an entire holiday season into one flavor of gelato. Like a lot of the foods here, it is to die for!

"Later in the day, we took a bus to Haarlem, a city just as or even more beautiful as the ones we had already seen. We didn't have much time, but a few of us ate at Dessert Bar, where they say life is sweet but they are sweeter. As our pre-game meal - we play at nearby Bloemendaal Saturday night - we ordered eggs with ham, bacon, tomatoes, and bread underneath. Not quite something I would eat at home, but here it was better than I could have ever imagined. Next stop: Bloemendaal, to face one of the Holland's top teams!"

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Action in Friday night's game (clockwise, from upper left): Shay Cannon, goalie Jenny Rizzo (5) and associate head coach Lisa Love with Mary Nell Smith.

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The Nittany Lions enter the gates of the HDM field hockey club for their game Friday night in The Hague.

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Shoe shopping in Haarlam on Saturday morning (left to right): Doug and Char Morett-Curtiss; Skyler Fretz and Shay Cannon; and Stuart Smith and Lisa Love.

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Posing along the canals of Harleem are (left to right): Emily Klingler, Jenny Rizzo, Lauren McNally, Katie Dembrowski and Cori Conway.


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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- In front of a standing-room only crowd, the Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 8-7 in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Big Ten Tournament on Friday night.

Sophomore catcher Alyssa VanDerveer got the Penn State offense rolling and sent the crowd into a frenzy when she put one over the right field fence with the bases loaded in the third inning. 

The grand slam, VanDerveer's fourth of her career, dug the Nittany Lions (30-23, 14-9 Big Ten) out of an early 1-0 hole after a Mattie Fowler RBI put Nebraska up in the first inning. 

"I was just looking for a pitch to hit into the outfield to even just score one run at that moment or even just a base hit up the middle," VanDerveer said. "I wasn't trying to do anything special but I happened to hit the ball hard and my teammates did a great job of getting on base before me, and I couldn't ask for anything else."

Despite preaching all season that she doesn't want her team to rely on the long ball, head coach Amanda Lehotak was happy with the way that VanDerveer handled herself in that situation.

"In that moment right there, we work on those situations all the time. I actually think our kids are very good in those situations," Lehotak said. "And that's what we reward in those moments, so Alyssa's very good in that situation that we work in all the time. I actually really trust all of our kids in that so she got the right pitch and she did something with it and it was a lot of fun."

After a Nebraska (33-19) pitching change, Shelby Miller hit a solo homerun on the first pitch she saw to extend the Penn State lead to 5-1 

"I just saw a good pitch and I hit it," said Miller, who was hitting sixth in the batting order, rather than her usual two spot. "When another pitcher comes out we want to be ready to hit, kind of shut them down, so first pitch I'm going to go hit and I swung and it happened to go over the fence."

Miller's homerun came after she had a slow start to the game, although it didn't last long. The junior had an error in the first inning, but shook it off and finished the game with seven assists to first base.

"After that, I knew I had to just do what I do and not be nervous, it's just another game," Miller said.

Nebraska kept the Nittany Lions on their toes in the second half of the game, scoring three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.

Penn State battled back in the bottom half of the fifth inning to score three runs of its own, thanks to a Tori Dubois double and an Erin Pond single, both coming with runners already on base.

Nebraska was able to cut the lead down to one in the sixth with a three-run homerun from Kiki Stokes, but that was it for the Cornhuskers. With runners in scoring position, Penn State centerfielder Lexi Knief made a diving catch to end the inning and prevent Nebraska from tying up the game.

But even with the lead narrowed down to one, the Penn State defense was still keeping it loose on the field, and they weren't hiding it. During a timeout, the infielders not included in the meeting at the mound could be seen dancing to the music playing over the speakers. 

"It's who they are. When they're not having fun, then as a coach I know we're in big trouble," Lehotak said. "I think I have the best coaching staff in the country with Coach Si [Sarah Sigrest] and Coach [Joe] Guthrie and we believe strongly in our preparation, so our kids, to me, being willing to dance in a crucial moment during a timeout, I interpret that as a head coach that they know exactly what they need to do." 

With the win, Penn State advances to their first conference tournament semifinal since 2002, and their third semifinal overall. 

After the win, Coach Lehotak wasn't too worried about watching the next game against Indiana and Michigan in its entirety, the winner of which Penn State would be taking on in the semis [Michigan eventually won, 10-0]. She was ready to celebrate the win with her team at every Penn State student's favorite place: The Creamery.

"I kind of feel like we should get ice cream. I know a lot of teams when they come here and they play us they go get ice cream if they win and I love a victory cone so we're going to check out some ice cream and then we'll probably work our way back."

The Nittany Lions will take on the #1 seed Michigan in the second semifinal game on Saturday. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. 

VIDEO: Men's Tennis Headed to NCAA Championship

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the seventh time in program history, the Nittany Lion men's tennis team (21-7) will compete in the NCAA Championship.

Penn State garnered an at-large bid into the 64-team draw for the second time in three seasons. The Lions are set to face off against Columbia on Saturday at 9 a.m. in Charlottesville, Va. The winner of the Penn State-Columbia match will meet either Monmouth or No. 1-seeded Virginia on Sunday.

GoPSUsports.com talked with head coach Jeff Zinn and seniors Matt Barry, Tomas Hanzlik and Leonard Stakhovsky to preview the trip to the NCAA Tournament.





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

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Five

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Five

Day Five in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Shay Cannon and Delani Higgins

 

May 12, 2016

 

The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a nine-day, five-city exhibition tour of The Netherlands, playing five games against a variety of competition in the most renowned field hockey country in the world. Through the student-athletes' own words and pictures, the #PSUFH2Holland daily blog chronicles their adventures on and off the field.

 

Days 5 & 6, May 11-12

Utrecht

 

Shay Cannon, junior, Wilmington, Del.

 

"Hi everyone! On Wednesday we arrived in Utrecht with the luxury of yet another beautiful sunny day. We are staying at a hotel in central city. Our hotel is very modern and contemporary along with luxurious rooms and great views. It only takes about five minutes to get to Central Station, which we must walk through to get to central city. As Emilee Ehret described in yesterday's blog, we have had the opportunity to tour all that this city has to offer.

"On Wednesday night we enjoyed dinner in the city with different groups of teammates. Some of us ate at Smaak Eten & Drinken. I've noticed many stores and restaurants here are very small. Eten & Drinken was no different. I was very surprised to walk into a restaurant with a single cozy-sized room consisting of about 10 tables. It looked like a room in a house! Despite the size of the restaurant, we unanimously decided it was the best meal each of us has had thus far. Some entrees included steak, salmon, spare ribs and tortellini, all with a Dutch spin. After dinner we enjoyed gelatos while others searched for the infamous Dutch stroopwafel and ice cream.

"I've quickly learned you always have to be on the look out for bikers and mopeds (the primary sources of transportation). If you give them an inch, they will take it. Bikers do not slow down for those who are walking! Traveling through this city, I felt like I was in a movie strolling through the cobble streets along the canals listening to live guitar music. Nowhere in Delaware have I experienced this! The Dutch culture is breath-taking. Although it is different than what I'm accusomed to, I could definitely get used to it!"                                                           

 

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Shay Cannon (left) and Skyler Fretz had a rockin' good time touring Utrecht. 

Delani Higgins, Hummelstown, Pa.

 

"Hi everyone! It's Thursday afternoon and we've had a busy day so far in advance of our game tonight at the Leidenscheen Oegstgesster Hockey Club in Oeggstgesst, Holland. We spent most of the daytime today trekking around the city center of Utrecht. The city is built on the canal, so there are so many great opportunities to get a look at how the people of Utrecht spend their time and get a glimpse of their culture.

"On Thursday morning, the two teams split into two separate groups for a morning expedition to an 'Escape Room' - a room in which you get locked in with your group and you receive different clues to find your way out within a time limit of an hour. It's a good team-building exercise, with an emphasis on communication ad collaboration.

"I was lucky enough to be in the second group, so we slept in a bit longer that the first group. To get there, we ventured through the train station to the Dom Tower, where we met with our tour guide, Judith, who took us the rest of the way to a place called 'Mysteria,' where the escape room was located. The room was medieval-themed and right beside the canal -- so it was below street level. As the first group finished, our teammates were not allowed to give us any clues. But they did freak us by saying how scary it was down there. That did not relax our nerves at all.

"The leader of Mysteria came out and invited us into a little room in the canal wall. The room was tiny and the man was wearing an outfit that reminded me of the wizard in Fantasia. He told us that he was a part of a 1500s society led by Cornelius Foxeus, who had learned the gift of living forever. He said that back in that time people did not like that kind of magic and that they had to live in the tunnels of the canal bridges ever since.

"We were then blindfolded and led into the escape room. We were all handcuffed to metal rods in a wall and locked into the room. 'The Voice of Cornelius Foxeus' told us we could take our blindfolds off to start our attempt to escape. If we escaped in time, we could become a part of that society that lives forever, if not...well, you get locked in there forever. We took our blindfolds off and eventually worked our way out of the handcuffs. We got clues on how to escape by looking through books, standing on stones to make doors open and placing compasses on the right spot on a map. My favorites were placing the chess pieces on the right place on the board and lining up mirrors to let a light shine through to expose another clue.

"Suspenseful music played the entire time, as my teammates wore monk costumes in hopes of gaining clues -- we didn't get clues, but we did end up looking ridiculous. At one point, Brooke Birosik thought there was a clue in the attic. She wasn't tall enough to reach the door, so she got Shay Cannon to open it. A taxidermy fox fell from the top and scared all of us.

"To finish the game, we had to translate shapes and numbers into the correct letters. We then put the letters into a lock that looked like it came from the movie 'The DaVinci Code.' Unfortunately, neither group was able to finish the last code as each team missed a different letter. Thankfully, Cornelius Foxeus could see how hard we worked to get to the last clue, so the didn't lock us up in there forever. It was a fun experience and at the end we all tried on medieval clothes and took pictures.

"The rest of the afternoon was ours to shop, stroll the sidewalks of Utrecht, take kayaks up and down the canal, and grab lunch. A couple of us decided to look through a 'make-your-own jewelry' store down the street from the escape room. We then got Italian pizza at a restaurant along the canal, which was amazing. From there, we found our way back to the hotel to rest up for the game. I'm excited to see what tonight's game and the trip have in store!"

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Under blue and white skies, Delani Higgins takes a canal-side selfie.

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Left to right, in Utrecht: Skyler Fretz, Delani Higgins, Gini Bremley, Kirsten Gouchnauer, Shay Cannon and Mary Nell Smith.

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Team members dressed up in medieval-style costiumes as part of the Mysteria escape room experience.

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Shay Cannon enjoys dining outside along the canals of Utrecht.

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 Many folks in the Penn State traveling party toured the amazing gardens of Keukenhof on Thursday.

 

 

 

VIDEO: Women's Lacrosse Set to Open NCAA Tournament

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the fifth consecutive season, the Nittany Lion women's lacrosse team is set to compete in the NCAA Tournament.

Earning their 22nd selection all-time, the Lions open competition with a matchup against Winthrop on Friday (4 p.m.) in Gainesville, Fla. The Penn State-Winthrop winner moves on to face No. 2-seed and host Florida in the second round of the tournament on Sunday (1 p.m.).


Winthrop enters the tournament with a 20-2 mark after winning the Big South. The Lions earned an at-large bid after finishing second in the Big Ten regular season standings. Penn State and Winthrop have never played before.

GoPSUsports.com caught up with head coach Missy Doherty prior to the team's trip to Florida to preview the NCAA Tournament. Take a look.




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

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Four

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Four

Day Two in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Moira Putsch, Kasey Moreno and Emilee Ehret

 

May 11, 2016

The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a nine-day, five-city exhibition tour of The Netherlands, playing five games against a variety of competition in the most renowned field hockey country in the world. Through the student-athletes' own words and pictures, the #PSUFH2Holland daily blog chronicles their adventures on and off the field.

Days 4 & 5, May 10-11

Laren - Zwolle - Utrecht

 

Moira Putsch, junior, Media, Pa., and Kasey Morano, Hammonton, N.J.

 

"Hey guys! Moira and Kasey here. Boy, do we have a lot to tell you! Tuesday afternoon, after a day in De Hoge Veluwe National Park, we headed to Laren for our second match of our tour of Holland. Add in an hour's drive, and we were worried we weren't going to have enough energy. (It helped that we all fell asleep on the bus.)

"But when we walked off the bus, saw the beautiful Laren two-story clubhouse and felt the energy and excitement coming from its five surrounding synthetic turf fields (used for field hockey only), we woke up and got amped for the game. We also learned that three of the three of the best field hockey players in the world -- Masha Palman and Naomi VannAs, Joyce Strombock - came from the Laren club. We were ready!

"The game against the Laren Girls U18 team started out really strong for us. We were connecting and passing better than we had been in a while, and it was definitely an improvement from the first game on Sunday, when we landed in Holland in the morning and played that evening. Gini Bramley started us out with a saaaaaa-WEEEEET goal on a pass from Kasey (who is writing this with Moira). Then Laren answered with a goal to tie it, 1-1. Carly Celkos stepped up on a corner and rocketed one into the back of the cage, followed by a goal from Laren that made it 2-2.

"We scored again when Aurelia Maijer, who is from Holland and was playing in front of several family members and friends, took the ball down the sideline -- and wearing a very determined look on her face - scored for a 3-2 lead. Laren again answered with a goal. Gini then put us ahead 4-3 when she scored with an incredible pop over the defender on a drive to the top left corner from the right side. It was nasty!

"The game was exciting and fast, with everyone on our team putting all the energy they had left out on the field. The double teams were dangerous and it felt really fun to be connecting like that. Kasey had a fire tip-off (Moira's words) of a shot from Carly on a corner. Talk about deception! The corners were on point. The match ended with a 6-4 victory, after both Aurelia and Laren added goals. The horn sounded and our head coach, Char Morett-Curtiss, had a big smile on her face. It was a good win and the first of our trip.

"We concluded the evening by sharing a meal in the clubhouse with the Laren team we had just played. The girls were so nice and very funny. We had a really great time conversing using a mixture of Dutch and English. It was also really interesting to hear all about the differences and similarities between our two lifestyles. We shared a delicious salad, noodles and a meat, veggie and tomato sauce concoction that was scrumptious. The bread is unreal. It's so good, I am taking a suitcase of it home. Our nutritionist, Kris Clark, would be so proud we are carb'ing it up!"

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Kasey Morano (left) and Moira Putsch (right) pose post-game with a member of the host Laren team.

Emilee Ehret, senior, Philadelphia, Pa.

"We started off Wednesday with a 90-minute bus trip from our first home base of Zwolle to the city of Utrecht. We all were fast asleep, but as soon as we arrived we immediately started roaming the city. We walked around and we all enjoyed a hustling and bustling city in Holland.

"We went to the Dom Tower after lunch and experienced a historic spot in the city of Utrecht. This tower stands very tall in the middle of the city and is part of two sections of a beautiful church that was partially destroyed several centuries ago. The two ends of the church remain, like bookends, while the middle is now a big courtyard.

"Climbing the 465 steps to the top was not easy. After 100 steps, we all were struggling. The steps in Holland are designed to be very steep. Throughout the tour of the bell tower, we stopped to listen to the tour guide describe each of the floors and their importance for the tower. One floor had seven large bells and the largest of the bells weighed more than two elephants combined. These bells are only rung twice a year on New Year's Eve and a national festival day. Only two people on the tour had the opportunity to ring the bells, and Emily Klingler and I were the chosen two!

"On the floor above that, we got to see the largest music box of its time, which was created in the 1700s. It rings a specific melody every year and only on one day of the year the music box does not play because it takes an entire day to change the melody for the following year. Finally, we walked 100 more steps to the very top. The very narrow staircase was tiring and a little scary. Still, it was a fabulous way to get to see an astonishing and amazing view of the city. It was worth every step.

"When we made it to the top, Moira Putsch yelled, 'I love Utrecht!' Seeing such a historic site and being with our entire team was a memory we won't forget. However, my feet were killing me at the end of the tour because we were going up and down so many steps. So, on the way back to the hotel, I decided to treat myself to a new pair of shoes to ease the pain!"

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Emilee Ehret had a ball ringing a big bell in Dom Tower.

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Emilee Ehret stands in front of the Don Tower, the tallest building in Utrecht, Holland.

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The Penn State team climbed 465 steps to the top of the Dom Tower and was still smiling.

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A panoramic view of Utrecht.

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After Penn State's 6-4 victory over Laren on Tuesday night, the two teams shared a traditional post-game meal in the Laren clubhouse. Reliving the game and getting to know their opponents in a relaxed and friendly fashion is a key part of the trip's learning experience.


VIDEO: Nittany Lion Softball Set to Host Big Ten Tournament

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time in program history, the Nittany Lion softball team will play host to the Big Ten Tournament.

Action on Beard Field at Nittany Lion Softball Park begins on Thursday with four games. The Nittany Lions will play Friday (5:30 p.m.) after earning a bye as the tournament's No. 4 seed. Penn State has finished in the top four of the conference just three times prior to this season.

The Nittany Lions won five conference series en route to a 14-9 Big Ten record. Penn State tallied 13 wins at home this spring, including seven in conference games.

In all, 12 of the 14 teams will be in action at Nittany Lion Softball Park. The tournament will consist of 11 games, with each contest slated to air live on the Big Ten Network.

Penn State will meet either No. 5-seeded Nebraska or No. 12-seeded Purdue in its first game on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Lions did not play either team during the regular season. Nebraska enters the tournament at 32-18 and ranked No. 32 in the RPI. The Boilermakers finished 27-27 in the regular season and are rated No. 83 in the RPI.

Big Ten Tournament Schedule
Thursday, May 12
12 p.m. - No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Rutgers
2:30 p.m. - No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Michigan State
5:30 p.m. - No. 5 Nebraska vs. No. 11 Purdue
8 p.m. - No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Indiana

Friday, May 13
12 p.m. - No. 3 Northwestern vs. Ohio State/Rutgers Winner
2:30 p.m. - No. 2 Minnesota vs. Illinois/Michigan State Winner
5:30 p.m. - No. 4 Penn State vs. Nebraska/Purdue Winner
8 p.m. - No. 1 Michigan vs. Wisconsin/Indiana Winner

Saturday, May 14
1 p.m. - Semifinal No. 1 (Friday game one winner vs. Friday game two winner)
3:30 p.m. - Semifinal No. 2 (Friday game three winner vs. Friday game four winner)
6 p.m. - Championship Game



GoPSUsports.com caught up with head coach Amanda Lehotak and senior Macy Jones to preview the Big Ten Tournament. Take a look.





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

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Three

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Three

Day Two in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Katie Dembrowski and Brooke Birosik

 

 Holland Trip Recaps: Day One | Day Two

May 10, 2016

The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a nine-day, five-city exhibition tour of The Netherlands, playing five games against a variety of competition in the most renowned field hockey country in the world. Through the student-athletes' own words and pictures, the #PSUFH2Holland daily blog chronicles their adventures on and off the field.

 

Days 3 & 4, May 9-10

Zwolle - Ottrelo - Laren

 

Katie Dembrowski, sophomore, Palmyra, Pa.

 "I grew up in Palmyra, a small town adjacent to Hershey - so I know all about tourists flocking to a city. For the first half of our tour of Holland, our team is staying in the beautiful town of Zwolle, located in the north-central part of The Netherlands. It is not quite the tourist place that I am accustomed to. I am used to "Chocolatetown, U.S.A.," with people waiting in line to get into the park, lots of cars clogging the streets and so many people coming to buy Hershey's famous chocolate.

 "Here in Zwolle, people are not used to seeing Americans walking around shopping and trying new foods. In fact, we went to a restaurant named "De Vier Jaargetijden," and asked our waiter if he serves a lot of Americans. He quickly said no. It is interesting to see the difference in tourism between Hershey and Zwolle. Most restaurants here do not have American menus, so we ended up asking the waiter a million questions. Once we found out what was on the menu, it seemed as though they served a lot of American foods, like burgers and ribs. So of course, I ordered a burger -- but it did not taste anything like an American burger. It was delicious and had a more natural taste to it. I find that to be the case with a lot of foods here; they seem to be more natural than the foods we have back at home. 

"When we went a tour of the city and surrounding countryside on bikes, we did not see many people just out riding and looking at all the scenery -- everyone had a place to go! They were going to work, going to school or going to a shop. They would not wait for us to turn or get across the road. Instead, they would just speed by us because I do not think they are used to people riding bikes around the city who are just sight-seeing. Everyone here has a destination. 

 "Of course, everyone here is so also nice. They may not be accustomed to tourists, but they sure do a good job of hosting them!"

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Kirsten Gochnauer (left) and Katie Dembrowski.

Brooke Birosik, senior, Ickesburg, Pa.

"Hello from the Kröller-Müller Museum & Sculpture Garden! Today, our team took a trip over to De Hoge Veluwe National Park. It is about an hour away from our hotel in Zwolle.

"During the bus ride, we had a blast singing and doing some throwback karaoke. When we arrived to the park, we were free to roam for about four hours. The museum was about two kilometers from where we got dropped off by our bus. We could either walk to the museum or take one the hundreds of free white one-speed bikes available all over the park. Like almost everyone else in Holland, most of us took the bikes!

"The museum is like a second home to the work of Vincent Van Gogh. It has around 90 paintings and more than 180 drawings, making it the second-largest collection of Van Goghs in the world. After touring around the art inside the museum, a few of us explored the outside sculpture garden, where you could see modern sculptures and how they just blended into the natural background of tall green trees and many trails. The garden serves as a backdrop for over 160 sculptures by prominent artists, like Jean Dubuffet and Marta Pan.

"Afterwards, we had a cozy lunch outdoors in a large tent located in the middle of the garden. There I devoured a delicious goat cheese salad alongside a classic Latte. Later on, a bunch of us headed back to the bikes and we then ventured off on a 12k trip to the Jachthuis Sint Hubertus castle, which is located on the north side of the park.

"They call this park -- which is the biggest nature reserve in all of Holland -- 'The Green Gem of the Netherlands.' It certainly is and the visit made for a unique and unforgettable experience."

 

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 Lunch with (left to right) Kirsten Gouchner, Jenny Rizzo, Cassie Kline and Brooke Birosik.

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All over the sculptures and artwork at the Kröller-Müller Museum were (left to right) Lauren McNally, Emilee Ehret, Aurelia Maijer and Moria Putsch.

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Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the world's second-largest collection of Van Gogh artwork, including his celebrated "Café Terrace at Night" and "Joseph Roulin."

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Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the world's second-largest collection of Van Gogh artwork, including his celebrated "Café Terrace at Night" and "Joseph Roulin."

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Bike riding through De Hoge Veluwe National Park.

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Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the world's second-largest collection of Van Gogh artwork, including his celebrated "Café Terrace at Night" and "Joseph Roulin."


Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Two

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The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a nine-day, five-city exhibition tour of The Netherlands, playing five games against a variety of competition in the most renowned field hockey country in the world. Through the student-athletes' own words and pictures, the #PSUFH2Holland daily blog chronicles their adventures on and off the field.

 Holland Trip Recaps: Day One

Days 2 & 3, May 8-9
Hattem - Zwolle

Carly Celkos, senior, Berlin, N.J.

 "Sunday night we played our first match against a Dutch team that included the brother (Gilles) of my teammate, Aurelia Meijer. We learned a lot of playing for the first time against the Dutch, who are known for their quick passing and decision making.

 "It seemed like everyone at the club arrived riding their bikes with their field hockey sticks attached.  It was amazing to see the passion and love for hockey the people of Holland have. Parents, grandparents, teenagers, and young children all came out to watch our game and stayed to socialize afterwards. Hockey here is a big part of their lifestyle for people of all generations. The people at the club were very friendly. It was great getting to meet people our age in Holland and seeing how much we have in common - we have similar tastes in things like music, clothing and movie.

 "After the game in Sunday night we had a little time to explore of Zwolle as a team. What really surprised us the most was how clean the downtown of Zwolle was for being a city. There was a beautiful moat also with little boats in the lake.

 "One of the advantages of going away is being able to have everyone on the team at the same place at the same time. Other than practice and games, that doesn't happen a great deal back on campus. Being able to really bond and be together off the field is special and I know it will help with team-building in the future, all of us sharing this great experience 24/7. We went to a cute little café in Zwolle, just a short walk from our hotel. We all sat down and talked about our amazing first day. It was a great way to end our day all together, just the 20 of us.

 "On Monday morning, we all gathered after breakfast for a team bike ride through Zwolle. We got to see the city close-up, going past old cathedrals and riding on cute brick streets, all the while joining hundreds of cyclists who riding to work and school. After a day off, on Tuesday we have our second match of the tour, against the Laren Girls U18 squad."

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 Penn State teammates (left to right) Jenny Rizzo, Katie Dembrowski, Brooke Birosik and Carly Celkos prepare for a cycle ride in Holland.

Lisa Winters, sophomore, Hershey, Pa.

 "After we finished our bike ride, we had the rest of Monday as free time to explore the city of Zwolle. We walked toward the center of the city, where teammate Brooke Birosik and I stopped at a small cafe to get some sandwiches and lattes for lunch. The whole menu was in Dutch and we only understood a few words, but we made our best guesses and ended up with some pretty tasty meals.

 "After filling our stomachs with some food, we set out down the main shopping road. I recognized a couple of stores that we have at home, like H&M, but most of the time we just looked in the windows and tried to guess which stores we would like. The best part was that whenever we started to get a little tired or wanted to get out of the sun for a little bit, there was always a cafe around to grab some coffee or a snack and sit down until we were ready to go again. I don't think a vanilla latte in the United States will ever taste the same to me again after having some of the most amazing ones I've ever had over here.

 "It was a pretty hot day, so after a few hours of walking around and shopping we all headed back to the hotel to chill out on the porch and rehydrate a little bit. We stayed there until dinnertime, when a whole bunch of us walked back into the city, planning on finding a restaurant that had been recommended by our hotel staff. Even with the help of Google Maps, we hadn't found the place after walking around awhile, so once we got tired of looking we just sat down at the closest place. Nearly everyone in the group wanted a burger, but apparently our 'refined' American love for burgers was a bit confusing to our waiter; he was pretty confused about our exact specifications for toppings and condiments and none of them came out exactly as planned, but we all thought it was pretty funny and made it work.

 "My sleep schedule is still pretty messed up from the six-hour time difference, so at this point a few other teammates and I decided to grab some ice cream and head back to the hotel. It's good to have some time now to rest up for another fun day and our second game tomorrow!"

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Many of the Penn State student-athletes spent their leisure time in Zwolle dining out and shopping. 

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Carly Celkos and teammate Gina Bramley pose outside of Sassenpoort, one of the old city gates in Zwolle, which is the capital city of 125,000 residents of the province of Overjssel, Netherlands.

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One of the team's two cycling tours took its riders past a quintessential Holland windmill on their way to the town of Kampen.

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By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  With another academic year in the books, the Penn State men's gymnastics team can reflect on many lessons learned during the 2015-2016 campaign.

 

Despite numerous injuries, the Nittany Lions were determined to grow this past season.

 

"Although it was a tough season due to injuries, it gave a lot of guys a chance to step in and improve," said head coach Randy Jepson. "We gained a lot of experience which is the best thing we can ask for moving forward."

 

The Blue and White fought through all the injuries and showed great determination and drive with every meet.

 

"I would say we surprised a lot of people this year with how much our guys fought until the end," said Jepson.

 

"There were times when we were five points behind and turned around to win the match, and in gymnastics every point and every second of a routine counts," he continued.

 

Penn State was able to place fourth in the Big Ten Championships, and then placed fifth in the NCAA Championships.

 

"These guys were always hungry to win and willing to put the work in it to show the other schools what Penn State has to offer," said Jepson.

 

This year, the team was lead by three seniors, Trevor Howard, Alexis Torres, and Blake Young, who all helped the team grow this year. 

 

In addition to being one of the veterans on the team, Howard was able to earn his seventh All-American title this season.

 

"Everyone motivates one another on this team, we want to see guys lead by an example," Jepson said.

 

Other notable veterans on the squad were team captain, Leroy Clarke Jr., and Dominic DiFulvio, who was picked to be team captain for next season.

 

Despite any injuries, every member of the squad played their part and helped the Lions advance this season. Additionally, the season allowed many of the younger players gain experience and start molding the future leaders.

 

"I always tell the guys there's success to be had as long as we keep moving forward and working hard," said coach Jepson. "I want us to always grow from the season."

 

"This season was good and I'm very proud of the team, we fought hard and showed everyone what our program is about," continued Jepson.

 

With the season officially over, the team is already in preparation for next year. Many of the guys will continue their training this summer and start working out wit the team again in no time.

 

Recent graduate Trevor Howard will also be returning in the fall, joining the coaching staff come fall as he continues to train and help develop the team.

 

"I'm very excited to have (Trevor) Howard back and see what happens in the future, said Jepson. "A lot of these guys train year round and now we can take what we learned this past season and use that to make us an even stronger team in the future."

 

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