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By Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Anytime a coach says that their team played at a consistent high level, the team gets a jolt. If that praise comes two-thirds of the way through a season, it means that much more, due to the fact that the team has played that many more games.

For the Penn State women's hockey team, that is exactly the compliment that they got from head coach Josh Brandwene who said that Friday's 1-0 victory may have been one of, if not the best, efforts of the season for the team. 

"[I was] really pleased with the business-like effort with the puck to do the right thing," said Brandwene. "When you do that, you get rewarded for it. Really pleased with the effort, especially over the last two periods."  

According to Brandwene, the final 40 minutes of the game were some of Penn State's best all season. Amy Petersen netted a short-handed goal in the first period and that was all the Nittany Lion's needed. The team peppered RIT with 33 shots and only gave up 14.

Game two was no different as once again Penn State peppered the opposition with shots, while conceding only 15. Brandwene commented that he thought the team was even better in game two.

"I thought we were better," said Brandwene. "Better attention to detail and overall a more consistent effort. I thought the first period was good and the second and third that much better."

The series hinged on a few key aspects for the Nittany Lions, the first being the outstanding defensive effort that limited the RIT team to just 29 shots all weekend.

"Overall I was very pleased with our defensive effort," said Brandwene. "Emily Laurenzi, especially, was flying all afternoon and that's something that helped but didn't necessarily show up on the stat sheet."

Bella Sutton, who had multiple blocks on the back line agreed with Brandwene's sentiment and echoed that the defensive effort all weekend was fantastic for Penn State.

"It definitely helps that we have our two goalies who have been playing really well behind us," said Sutton. "For us on defense, were just trying to play well for them. It is about following our plan and staying disciplined and I think that's why we played so well this weekend."

The two goaltenders, Celine Whitlinger on Friday and Hannah Ehresmann on Saturday, pitched back to back shutouts. Penn State, who is known for its goaltender duo, among other things, rode the hot play of both the netminders during the weekend series.

"They are both playing great," said Brandwene. "They both work hard and they are great friends. Not sure what could be better for a hockey team." 

As good as both goaltenders were, Shannon Yoxheimer stole the show during the weekend series. After playing a complete game on Friday and having nothing to show for it on the scoresheet, Yoxheimer led the dominant effort Saturday with two goals and eight shots on goal. The effort did not go unnoticed by her coach.

"Shannon was in beast mode all weekend," said Brandwene. "Her whole line played very well and she was great at both ends of the ice and made some great defensive plays both days. Today she got rewarded for her effort by going to the net and playing hard." 

Yoxheimer also said that she felt comfortable the whole weekend and said that the team as a whole was fantastic offensively.

"I think that we had some pretty good momentum today and things were clicking pretty well," said Yoxheimer. "We were really working as a team today and I think that we all felt pretty good out there all day."

Penn State will continue their home stand and look to continue their hot play next Friday and Saturday with another conference series against the Syracuse Orange. 

 

 

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By: Shannon RostickGoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With the Penn State Women's Lacrosse upcoming season kicking off this weekend, last year's Big Ten Champions are busy preparing for the 2016 season.  With many new rule changes this season, there is going to be a lot of learning to do for the Nittany Lions.

This upcoming season will bring many changes for the team, with many significant rule changes being implemented in the new season. While these rule changes are going to be a challenge to learn and get used to for the team, many of the players agree they will greatly improve the way the game is played

With a new rule that allows quick starts after a foul, a player can now pick up the ball after being fouled and immediately start game play. This change will allow for the game to keep running more smoothly and quickly.

"Usually you have to wait for the referees to set you up and place the defense before you start again," said senior Jenna Mosketti.

Erika Spilker, another senior, said, "game stoppage has been a complaint in women's lacrosse for a long time now, it takes so much time and every little foul is a stop, but now if you get fouled and you can just pick up the ball and start again."

The players also talked about the new three-second rule, this rule allows defenders not marking another player to stand in the 8-meter arc for longer than 3 seconds without penalty. 

"With the new rule they don't really call three-seconds unless you are blatantly standing in the middle of the 8-meter," said Spilker.

The players all agreed that this new rule does make it harder for attack players to get through the defense and make a shot on goal, but on the defensive end of things it is good to be able to send more defenders. 

With all of these new rules the players said there is going to be a learning curve early on in the season, especially with a couple of the changes being so major.

"The first couple games of the season are going to be a learning lesson for everyone getting used to the new rules," said Spilker. 

Aside from working on learning the new rules, the players also talked about how the entire team is working on themselves to improve this season.

"Missy (Head Coach Missy Doherty) has really had us focusing on the mental aspect of our play. She has had us working a lot on believing in ourselves and staying calm under pressure during games," said Ally Heavens.

The players said that working on their mental state during games is going to help them become stronger not only as individual players, but as an entire team. The team has also been working between and during practices to build upon team bonding and keep things fun during the season.

"Every week we have our hard practices and then sometimes during our easier practices we will have competition days," said Spilker.

The players all agreed that these more laid back practices help the team to throw some fun into their practice schedules and allow the team to get refreshed throughout the week.

With all three girls being seniors, their futures in lacrosse are very up in the air. Spilker said she is staying for a fifth year, so she will still be playing in the 2017 season, but Heavens and Mosketti are graduating in the spring. Regardless of their time left with the team all three girls expressed their desire to stick with the sport after graduation.

"I kind of want to coach. I'm still not over lacrosse yet and I'm keeping the door open for anything, but I think my passion is with coaching right now," said Heavens.

These seniors have a promising season ahead of them and they said their goal is to work hard and once again get back to the Big Ten Championship this season 

The team kicks off their season at home with an exhibition game at Holuba Hall this Saturday, February 6 at 3 p.m. against the Towson University Tigers.

VIDEO: Wrestling Highlights and Interviews vs. Michigan (1/31/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team (12-0, 7-0 Big Ten) marched past No. 10 Michigan (10-2, 5-1) by a count of 35-7 inside sold out and white-clad Rec Hall on Sunday afternoon.

Donning white singlets for the first time this season, the Nittany Lions were victorious in eight of the 10 bouts on Sunday afternoon. The dynamic duo of Zain Retherford (149 pounds) and Jason Nolf (157 pounds) notched a pin and technical fall during back-to-back matches to help fuel the Lions to another dominant performance.

Head into the media room to hear from head coach Cael Sanderson, Nico Megaludis, Jordan Conaway and Zain Retherford following the match.





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

Students Pack the Stands of MSG, Lions Fall to Wolverines

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
NEW YORK - Despite fantastic support from the Penn State fans in attendance, the No. 15 Penn State men's hockey team (16-7-3, 6-4-0 Big Ten) was unable to edge No. 6 Michigan (16-3-4, 7-1-2 Big Ten) on Saturday as part of Big Ten Super Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The Nittany Lions fell to the Wolverines, 6-3.

More than 500 Penn State students traveled to Madison Square Garden to support both the men's basketball and men's hockey teams as part of the doubleheader against the Michigan Wolverines. Penn State sent 13 buses of students to the Big Apple to cheer on the Nittany Lions.

Head coach Guy Gadowsky was extremely appreciative of the student body turn out at the event and noted how vital the fans are for the team's game mentality.


"They continue to surprise us, they are the best," said Gadowsky. "I hope that doesn't sound like a cliché because they are. They've proven it ever since we got here and this is just another example, to have over 500 kids come down and make this trip is amazing, it's just amazing."

The students and fans cheered every chance they got, and didn't let up until the third period horn.

Thunderous applause erupted thanks to a late goal in the first period by junior forward David Goodwin, sending the Nittany Lions into the second period tied 1-1 with the Wolverines.

It was end-to-end action throughout the second period as the Nittany Lions fought for possession of the puck. Two more goals from the Nittany Lions, from freshman forward Andrew Sturtz and junior forward Ricky DeRosa, gave the Nittany Lions the edge heading into the third period, with Penn State leading 3-2.

Despite the consistency of play throughout the first two periods, during the third period the momentum shifted as the Wolverines found the back of the net four more times with the Nittany Lions unable to answer. Penn State was outshot, 22-11, in the third period.

"I thought, like coach said, the first two periods there was a good sense on the bench, everyone was really confident, it's just one of those things that we didn't play all three periods to have success against a good team like Michigan," said Goodwin.

Junior goaltender Eamon McAdam made 43 saves during Saturday's contest, with the loss now putting McAdam's record at 9-4-0 during this season.

The Penn State men's hockey team was humbled by the opportunity to once again play at Madison Square Garden and look forward to opportunities to return to New York City in the future.

Next for the Nittany Lions, they will travel to Minnesota for two of their remaining eight road games. Penn State will host their only remaining home contest on Feb. 19 and 20 against Ohio State.

With little remaining home matchups, the Nittany Lions will look to notch critical wins on the road to help their chances of advancing to post-season play. 

Nittany Lions Fall Just Short To No. 17 Illinois

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11653025.jpegBy Mandy Bell, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK - Despite a couple remarkable individual performances, the Penn State women's gymnastics team came up just short of No. 17 Illinois 195.725-195.025 Friday evening.

"I feel like they got a lot better tonight and they had a lot of fun.  They were focusing on the process instead of the result," Thompson said.  "Instead of trying to hit the routine they were thinking about how to do the routine.  If we can get to where we do that every meet every time they will have a great season."

The Nittany Lions jumped off to a quick lead posting the team's best vault score of the season with a 48.925.  Briannah Tsang remained undefeated on vault as she took home her third straight vault title against the Fighting Illini.

"Bri's a special athlete.  She had a lot of international experience before she came to Penn State," head coach Jeff Thompson said.  "She was in the Canadian Olympic trials and she's competed in world cup events. She knows how to handle pressure."

In the second rotation for the Nittany Lions, Chanen Raygoza led the team on the uneven bars by putting up her best score of the season and tying for first place in the uneven bars for the meet with a 9.900.  

"I was definitely just more confident in myself," Raygoza said. "I trained a lot in the gym this week and hit a lot of routines so I felt good about it."

Although it was her best score of the season and tied her career-best score, Coach Thompson thinks there is much more to come from the sophomore.

"Chanen did a great bar routine with a great stuck dismount.  But Chanen will tell you that the bar routines she does in the gym every day are better than that," Thompson said. "She rushed a little bit and she was a little short on both handstands. It was a great routine and great score, but the more comfortable she gets, the more confidence she develops.  She will be able to do in competition what she does in practice.  Then she will score a 10."

The biggest improvement for Penn State came on the beam.  For the first time this season, all six gymnasts hit their beam routines.  Kiera Brown and Nicole Medvitz tied for third in beam each with a score of 9.850. 

"We went to beam and I felt like we tensed up just a little bit," Thompson said.  "They hit all six routines and put up a nice score.  There was a big sigh of relief afterwards because of the first two home meets."

The Nittany Lions entered their final rotation ahead of the Fighting Illini 147.200-146.525. Sabrina Garcia started the floor exercise with a score of 9.700 followed by a 9.675 by Brown.  Jessica Jones stepped onto the floor prepared to perform her routine from the first meet of the season.

"There was already a lot of pressure on the girls because we only had five gymnasts that could compete on floor tonight.  Normally you compete six and you can drop a score," Thompson said.  "When you have that mulligan it takes the pressure off of everyone knowing if I do mess up we don't have to count it."


Not having that mulligan hurt Penn State when, on her final pass, Jones' feet kicked out from under her causing her to fall. Briannah Tsang followed by tying her career high and set a season high score of 9.925 on the floor. 

"[Tsang's] floor routine was beautiful," Thompson said. "So big exclamation point for her on the night."

The Nittany Lions posted their best score of the season with a 195.025. 

"I think that we as a team have done really good. This meet especially, we have improved a lot and have gotten a lot more confident," Raygoza said. "We are going to just work on continuing doing what we are doing.  Each week we are improving so we will just keeping going up from here." 

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Lady Lions have always known that they have something special in Brianna Banks, Lindsey Spann and Teniya Page. They saw just how dominant that trio of guards could be in an 88-78 double-overtime loss to Purdue.

Despite the loss, Banks, Spann and Page led the Lady Lions on a furious route of the Boilermakers in the first half. Combining for 38 of Penn State's 42 points, it seemed that there was nothing Purdue could do to slow them down.

Banks opened the scoring with four quick points, including one off a steal, helping the Lions avoid the slow start they've faced several times this season. The fast start came as no surprise to Spann, who said the team was just executing their game plan.

"We played with a lot of energy. We came out and we made that an emphasis to attack them and that's what we did."

The hot start carried over into the second period, when the Lady Lions outscored Purdue 26-10 to take a 17-point lead into halftime. Page reached double-digits for the sixth straight game, and the eighteenth time this season, before halftime.

"I thought we played pretty well in the first half," head coach Coquese Washington said. "I thought we were aggressive, I thought we were attacking, I thought we were playing to our strengths and I think that certainly helped us get out to the lead."

The Lady Lions seemed to have cooled down in the second half, and Purdue was able to capitalize. The Boilermakers ended the third quarter on an 11-0 run to get the score to within five. In that time, Penn State had six of its 24 turnovers. 

"Our ball control in the second half of the game wasn't anywhere where it needed to be," Washington said. "I thought that was the biggest factor in the change in momentum and the change in the tide was the turnovers. We had quite a few live turnovers which they were able to turn into points and that was the biggest factor in the game." 

After letting Penn State's guards run the show in the first half, Purdue was all over Banks, Spann and Page in the second, virtually shutting them down. The Boilermakers used a 7-0 run in the final minutes of the game to shrink Penn State's lead to one when a foul put Andreona Keys at the free throw line for Purdue.

Keys made 1-of-2 shots to force overtime, but one period wasn't enough when Purdue's Ashley Morrissette tied the game up again with nine seconds left in the first extra session. Purdue kept Penn State scoreless in the second overtime period until there was just over a minute left, but by then it was too late.

"Basketball is an emotional game and you put a lot of heart and a lot of effort and soul into the game," Washington said. "When you have a finish like this where you feel like you let one slip through your fingers, it's tough. So one of the things about this team, their resilience has been pretty strong all season long so I have no doubt that we'll bounce back and get ready for the next game. It's an emotional game so when you have these kinds of experiences, they're hard."

The Lady Lions have a couple days to relax and bounce back before they hit the road to take on Nebraska on Wednesday night.

VIDEO: Super Saturday Hoops & Hockey Sights and Sounds

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NEW YORK - Penn State fans helped create a tremendous atmosphere for the first Super Saturday Hoops & Hockey Doubleheader inside Madison Square Garden.

The Nittany Lions fell short on the scoreboard on the hardwood (79-72) and ice (6-3) in contests against Michigan, but the Big Ten's first-ever day-night doubleheader was a resounding success. More than 27,000 fans attended the two events, including a traveling brigade of more than 500 Penn State students from the Legion of Blue and The Roar Zone.

"It was a great event and a great atmosphere," men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "During the basketball game and then out on the streets in between games and certainly the hockey game. I'm sorry we lost, but it was a great event."

Take an inside look from the Super Saturday festivities in New York, including the changeover from hardwood to ice in a Sights and Sounds highlight video from Madison Square Garden.





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

MSG Super Saturday Hoops & Hockey Live Blog

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NEW YORK - Welcome to the first Super Saturday Hoops & Hockey Doubleheader from Madison Square Garden. The Nittany Lion basketball and hockey teams are set to face Michigan in a day-night doubleheader in the "World's Most Famous Arena". 

Stay tuned for live coverage from Manhattan with game updates, behind the scenes photos and more from a unique day of Penn State sports.

Live Blog Super Saturday - Hoops & Hockey Doubleheader at MSG
 

Flying Under the Radar Just Fine with Megaludis

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By Ryan Hickey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Flying under the radar is sometimes tough to do in an individual sport like wrestling. Wrestling for Penn State, it is easy to get overshadowed with so many talented wrestlers on the team.

Having four wrestlers currently ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes can take attention away from many deserving wrestlers, including senior Nico Megaludis. While this could disappoint many athletes, the fourth-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds does not pay attention about how much people are talking about him and his success, because he focuses on what he's doing.

"I don't really care about the attention part or whatever. It doesn't matter. I know what I am going to do and I know what's going to be done. It doesn't really matter. As far as them [Nolf, Nickal] they are doing what they are supposed to do."

Early in the season, Megaludis suffered his only loss of the season, a 4-3-tiebreaker defeat to No. 3 Joey Dance of Virginia Tech. The senior says how losing that match was actually a good thing for him, as he refocused and noticed some of the flaws in his game as he was still working to get back in the everyday routine after redshirting last season. Megaludis cites how it was a completely different time earlier in the season for him and now, he feels that he's where he should be.

"It's gotten a lot better," said Megaludis. "The first quarter was a little slow and the second quarter has gone great. I'm taking my time a little bit more. I feel just like I belong out there and it's going well."

After competing at 125 for his first three seasons on campus, Megaludis redshirted last season, taking a step back from his game to work on a few things. The three-time All-American, including twice finishing as the NCAA Finalist, struggled to find his rhythm early this season. While he was still winning matches, the Murrysville, Pa., native didn't feel like he was back to his old self until just about midway through the season.

"After the Wisconsin match, I wrestled better in the dual meets," said Megaludis. "I wrestled good at the Southern Scuffle. I think it started around then. It's different being different out in a seven-minute match compared to freestyle. It's a little but different, but I feel fine."

One of the many highlights for this decorated wrestler this season was capturing the 125-crown at the Southern Scuffle. This was extra special for the senior because of his love for tournaments and the atmosphere that is associated with them.

"I absolutely love dual meets, but tournaments are fun because you get four or five matches and you have to keep on getting ready whether its every hour or five hours, so it's cool. Two day tournaments is what Big Ten's are and NCAAs is even better because it's three days, so that's pretty cool," said Megaludis.

With most matches starting at 125, Megaludis' opening bout can be viewed as the tone setter, which is an added pressure that can get in the heads of some wrestlers. For the senior, he doesn't let any extracurricular distractions affect his concentration, as he just try's to wrestle a relentless style. The Murrysville, Pa. native says he doesn't even focus on winning, instead having his goal of just wrestling to the best of his ability.

Head coach Cael Sanderson preaches an aggressive wrestling style to his team, and one of the best poster children for this mentality is Megaludis. This approach did not originate once he stepped foot at Penn State, but instead started at an early age as the senior states how he's always been a hard-nosed wrestler.

"I've always liked to score a lot of points and try and hand fight and make my opponents not like wrestling me, but obviously I have gotten better at it here no question about it," said Megaludis. "A lot of it stems back to Young Guns Wrestling Club with Jody and John Strittmatter. They definitely helped a lot and preached that style to me. My dad has had a lot of influence too, but here it's even gotten a lot better."

Currently, the 125-pounder is enjoying a 19-match win streak, knocking off four ranked wrestlers during that stretch. The biggest difference in Megaludis' game this season is his ability to finish shots, having a higher success rate compared to his first three seasons.

"I've scored 95 percent whenever I get in," said Megaludis. "I've learned some stuff to get out of a whizzer. My shot finishes have been a lot better and maybe in years past, they were at 75 or 80 percent and now they are probably 95 percent."

With March quickly approaching and the matches only getting more important as the calendar turns, Megaludis describes how he feeds off of his teammates success, which in turn fuels him to win even more.  

"This is a special team," said Megaludis. "When you are out on the mat, it's for you, but you also want to copy the team too because we all have different styles, but it's all the same focus: to go out an make your opponent hate wrestling you and just putting up a lot of points."  


Lions Fall to Wolverines, Prepare for Rematch in MSG

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a thrilling first period of hockey, the No. 15 Penn State men's hockey team (16-6-3, 6-3-0 Big Ten) was unable to complete a third period come back and fell to No. 6 Michigan (15-3-4, 6-1-2 Big Ten) on Thursday night, 7-4. Up next for the Nittany Lions is a rematch in Madison Square Garden against the Wolverines on Saturday.

The first period of Thursday's game got off to an eager start, as both teams tirelessly fought for possession of the puck. Michigan found the back of the net first, but Penn State was not going to give up easily.

Thanks to a goal from freshman defenseman Vince Pedrie, the Nittany Lions ended the first period tied with the Wolverines, 2-2.

Although their third period comeback fell short, head coach Guy Gadowsky observed several favorable things about Thursday night's contest.

"What a tremendous crowd, it was great to see the white out," said head coach Guy Gadowsky.

Thursday night's game was easily the most enthusiastic atmosphere the Nittany Lions have played in all season, with cheers for the home team and taunts of the Wolverines tirelessly filling the arena throughout the game.

Gadowsky also noted his team's ability to skate with Michigan's unrelenting offense, a goal he had stated earlier in the week.

Up next for the Nittany Lions will be a much-anticipated rematch between Penn State and Michigan in Madison Square Garden on Saturday. The team is eager to return to the ice and get back in the win column.

Gadowsky noted that although the team has a day in between, they won't necessarily be using the time to make significant changes to their strategy of play.

"This isn't the first time that we've lost a game and we have to come back, so no we're not going to change anything up, we're going to prepare like we can," said Gadowsky.

When asked about the significance of playing in Madison Square Garden and participating in a historic doubleheader on one of the biggest stages in sports, Gadowsky was eager to praise the opportunity his team has at hand.

"We're very excited, I think it's a great thing with the Big Ten, I mean we're really excited about not only playing Michigan hockey but our basketball program, it's going to be exciting," said Gadowsky.  

The Nittany Lions will be part of a double-header series on Saturday in Madison Square Garden. The Big Ten Super Saturday College Hoops & Hockey Doubleheader will feature Penn State taking on Michigan in basketball at noon, followed by Penn State hockey's rematch of Michigan at 7 p.m. Both games will be on the Big Ten Network.


 

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