UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
was a precarious situation the Nittany Lions found themselves in; bases loaded,
no outs in the bottom of the tenth inning in a tie game. Penn State (12-30,
3-15 Big Ten) got out of the jam unscathed and flipped the script on Minnesota
(28-15, 11-4 Big Ten), loading the bases with no out before a Tyler Skerpon
fielders choice pushed the game winning run across the plate.
If you were in the stands at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park you could feel the
momentum begin to shift in the sixth inning when the Lions tied the game at 3-3
with a pair of runs and when Neal Herring got out of the bases loaded jam in
the tenth inning, you knew that it was a now or never moment.
"The pitching feeds off the defense, which feeds off the hitting," said senior Luis
Montesinos. "Everything feeds off the other and when [the pitchers] are doing
well [the hitters] are going to take that confidence to the plate."
The team fed off of each other down the stretch in the series final against Minnesota.
After starting pitcher Steven Hill allowed a pair of runs in the top of the
sixth inning it looked like the Lions were headed towards a sixth straight loss,
but that was not the case.
J.C. Coban and Skerpon got the bottom of the sixth inning started with a single
and a walk, respectively. James Coates followed with his fourth infield single of
the year and when Gophers third baseman Ryan Abrahamson's throw went wide of
the first baseman, Coban and Skerpon were both able cross the plate to tie
Both team's threatened during the next four innings, but it wasn't until
Skerpon stepped to the plate in the tenth that someone was able to end the
battle of wills.
"I've been struggling a little bit lately," said Skerpon, "but going into my
last at-bat I told [Coban], 'if you don't do it, I'm going to'. I just went to
the plate wanting to hit the ball hard somewhere. The corners were playing in
and I obviously didn't hit it very hard, but I did my best to beat it out and it
The sophomore was 0-for-3 with a walk entering his fifth plate appearance of
the afternoon, but the confidence never wavered and he delivered one of the biggest
hits of his young career.
In life you do your best work when you feel comfortable; it's the same way in baseball.
On Sunday, the Lions entered the series final with a comfortable feeling at the
plate and it showed as they out-hit the Gophers, 8-7, and put base runners on
in seven of the ten innings.
Wine felt like his team had played well offensively all weekend, especially
against a pitching staff as deep as Minnesota's. The Gophers do not allow many
big innings and have limited opponents to 4.6 runs per game this season and own
a Big Ten-best .230 batting average against, however, Penn State never felt
uneasy in the batter's box.
"We are a team that is going hustle and play hard," said Skerpon. "We are
always working hard, everyone is up early working in the weight room, doing
conditioning and getting in swings. That's one thing we stress before every
game to make sure that you are locked in and playing hard on every pitch."
Now the Lions have to carry that momentum into the final two weeks of the
regular season. With just eight games left on the schedule, Penn State will
play four straight road games, before closing the year with four straight at
home and are looking to keep this momentum going down the stretch.
"We just have to keep moving forward," said Skerpon. "We saw some pretty good
pitching from Minnesota this weekend and the bats started to come alive a
little bit. We just have to keep playing out game, getting on base, moving
runners, stealing bases and playing solid defensively."
The effort has been there, but sometimes baseball is about catching - or making
- a break or two and the Lions made their own breaks on Sunday and were able to
end the weekend on a high note.
"I have been really happy with our effort," said Wine. "Sometimes things just
haven't gone our way, but today we just went out there and reacted and it
worked out for us."
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth,
senior Lauren Yao doubled to left on the 17th pitch of her at-bat to
bring in three runs and give the Nittany Lions a 3-2 lead over Nebraska.
It was her longest at-bat of the season, but when Yao finally put the ball
between the white lines she said it was easily the highlight of her year.
"The energy is what keeps you motivated and especially since my parents were
here and we had a huge crowd out, I was happy I could be the one to get it
done," said Yao.
The hit would prove to be enough to give the Lions the lead and the victory two
innings later as the Cornhuskers could not respond. And while head coach Robin
Petrini said that she was happy for Yao to come up big in a pressure spot, she
was even more proud of the way it all came together.
Kasie Hatfield led off the inning with a single to right and Alyssa Renwick put
down a sacrifice-bunt to move her. Then, Liz Presto pinch-hit for Shannon Hutchinson
and battled a nine-pitch at-bat to earn a single to left. Cassidy Bell followed
with a walk, and the bases were loaded for Yao. Petrini said that she couldn't
have asked for more.
"For them to fight and overcome all of the adversity that we've had all year
shows a lot of character for this team," said Petrini. "They made it happen
like I know they can, but more importantly like they know they can."
And what really sealed the deal was the pressure pitching that came from
sophomore Marissa Diescher. Diescher took over for started Jordan Wheatley in
the middle of the third and was supposed to get the Lions through two innings
"After I stuck her in there and she got us out of the third, I told her I
needed one more out of her and then we'd go from there," said Petrini.
But Diescher wanted more.
She finished the game and allowed just two hits to get the win.
"I just had to attack the batters and kept throwing hard," said Diescher. "As
the game goes on I really get into it and I actually start to throw harder as
the game goes on."
The victory marks the Lions' fourth in the last six games played, and their
fifth Big Ten win this season. And on a day that celebrated six seniors that
have averaged more than 162 starts for the Nittany Lions, their head coach was
nothing but proud.
"This team has never torn apart, they've never gotten on each other, they've
come out every day, they've worked hard and they've encouraged each other,"
said Petrini. "That's a sign of good leadership from your seniors."
Penn State closes out its regular-season schedule in the finale of a three-game
series against Nebraska at 1 p.m. on Monday at Beard Field.
Lucas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY
PARK, Pa. - Penn State hosted the Jim Thorpe Open, its only home meet of the
season, Friday night at the outdoor track.
It was a relatively small meet with only three other teams - University of
Buffalo, Shippensburg University, and Monroe College, competing.
didn't stop Penn State high jumper Jon Hendershot form having an outstanding
performance. The junior tied the school record in the event clearing the bar at
7-03.25. The record Hendershot tied has been standing since 1985 and currently
has him sitting at No. 3 in the Big Ten and No. 10 in the nation.
the only field athlete to have a good night. Redshirt junior Will Barr captured
two victories. In the discus, Barr won the even with a toss of 180-06, a season
best. He took the hammer with a throw of 204-00.
The Big Ten leader in the shot put, Darrell Hill, further distanced himself
from the competition setting a new personal best. Hill won the event with a
toss of 62-09.25.
replicated Barr's performance on the women's side. She tossed 165-1 in the
discus to win the event. Then tossed the hammer 195-08.
On the track the
women's team was lead by strong performance by junior Mahagony Jones and
sophomore Dynasty McGee. Jones took the 100-meter dash in a time of 11.74.
McGee would win the 200-meter dash in 24.93.
The men were
equally as successful posting victories in the 400 meters and 110-meter
hurdles. Junior Bernard Bennett-Green
lead in the way in the 400 clocking in at 47.90, a full second ahead of the
second place finisher. Sancho Barrett
capture a victory in the hurdles. The sophomore won the race in 14.28.
The Nittany Lions
will be back in action next weekend as they travel to Columbus, Ohio for the
Big Ten Outdoor Championships. The meet is schedule to open Friday and is a
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (11-30,
2-15 Big Ten) dropped their second straight contest to Minnesota (28-14, 11-3
Big Ten) on Saturday inside Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, but the final score
of 7-3 didn't damper the spirits or reveal the positives that have been
building in the Nittany Lions clubhouse.
Penn State was again stung by an early onslaught of offense from the Gophers,
who tallied all seven of their runs between the second and fourth innings, but
three PSU relievers combined to throw the final five innings scoreless and the
offense was able to put pressure on the Gophers, even though they were unable
to capitalize on opportunities against one of the best pitching staffs in the
That wasn't an excuse for the players, however, as they know they need continue
to relax, take it one pitch at a time and keep pushing forward with just nine
game left in the 2013 season.
"The effort is there," said senior Cody Lewis. "I have no doubt about that. Sometimes
we play a little tight and put [the game] on a pedestal and try too hard, instead
of playing loose and just letting the game come to us. Sometimes we [think too
much] and that gets in the way. We just have to go out and play our game."
That is something that Lewis did on Saturday as the first reliever out of the
bullpen versus Minnesota. Entering the game out of the bullpen to start the
fifth inning, Lewis retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced and fired three
and two-thirds innings of scoreless work. He tied his career-high with five
strikeouts, four of the looking variety, and allowed just five base runners.
"Cody struggled with an injury last year, but he's past that now," said head
coach Robbie Wine. "He changed his arm angle and he's always been a competitor.
He's been one of our main guys [out of the bullpen] and he came in today in a
game that was far from over and kept putting up zeroes for us. He's been doing
his job [all year]."
Another player that has been doing his job is junior Alex Farkes. The catcher was
able to put some good swings on the ball, but had nothing to show for it, which
ended his 10-game hitting streak, but it is the little things that he does that
stand out to his coaches.
"Farkes has done a good job," said Wine. "He's been throwing and receiving the ball
well, and he's really taking charge behind the plate. As a coach you see things
he is doing that the everyday fan might not see. His big thing has been
building confidence and taking control of the pitching staff. He's also a great
guy in the dugout and the clubhouse"
For Farkes, it has been about getting back to the fundamentals and getting a
chance to play every day. He has already set career-bests in a host of
offensive categories and is hitting .247 15 runs scored and nine RBIs. He made
his career-high 25th start on Saturday and has played in 30 of the team's 41
games and is fielding almost .980.
"I've been trying to keep it simple and just make solid contact," said Farkes. "Seeing
opposing pitchers on a consistent basis has been huge, too. You start to feel
good at the plate and you're not trying to prove too much [when you get to play
every day]. It helps the game slow down a little bit and makes it fun."
Farkes, Lewis and the rest of the Nittany Lions will try to get back on track
in the series finale with Minnesota on Sunday starting at 12:05 p.m.
The Blue and White will send senior Steven Hill to the mound for his tenth
start of the season and coach Wine knows his team needs a strong outing from
Hill to help the team build some momentum down the stretch.
"We are going to get back to the basics and find the fun in the game," said
Wine. "We are hoping Steve [Hill] goes out there and keep us in the game early...We're
not playing bad, but it just feels like we are climbing a mountain right now.
We need to get some momentum early and build on it."
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -When you look at the
scorebook for the Nittany Lions from Friday night contest vs. Minnesota (27-14,
10-3 Big Ten) you see that Penn State (11-29, 2-14 Big Ten) put runners on base
in seven of the nine innings against one of the Big Ten's top pitchers, but 12
free baserunners and 12 hits by the Gophers were too much in the 11-2 loss.
starts on the mound," said Wine. "When you have long innings...it takes the wind
out of you both offensively and from a pitching standpoint. If tonight's was
closer, it would have been a different game. Tomorrow [Greg Welsh] needs to go
out there with some energy, get deep [in the game] and give us a chance to
looked like sophomore T.J. Jann would present the Lions with a great chance to
grab a victory after allowing a first inning run and then limiting the Gophers
offense to just a hit over the next two frames.
State grabbed their first lead of the game in the second inning by taking
advantage of a misplay by the Gophers and using some timely hitting. J.J. White
reached on a two-out error and Alex Farkes moved his hitting streak to ten
games with a base hit. Zach Ell stepped in and delivered with a two-out,
two-RBI double down the left field line to push the home squad out to a 2-1
Lions faced Minnestoa's Friday night starter, Tom Windle, twice last season and
that helped them in the early going. Windle, one of the top hurlers in the Big
Ten with a 2.00 ERA and a .179 batting average against, took the loss on Friday
night vs. Penn State in 2012 and that success against the left-hander carried
hit [Windle] a little bit last year when we went to their place," said J.C. Coban,
"so we came into today with a little confidence. Confidence was a big key
today. And we were pretty loose and things were going our way early on."
A six-run fourth inning and two more runs for the Gophers in the fifth slowed
the momentum that Penn State had built and made the road a little tougher
against an efficient and effective Windle.
good thing about college baseball is that the Lions will have another chance
tomorrow to get back into the win column.
just have to take care of the things that we can take care of," said Searer.
"[Coach Folmar] always tells us to focus on what we can control, like hustling
and coming to ballpark prepared. We just have to keep playing the game the
right way. We need to come out and put pressure on [Minnesota] and see what
good comes out of it."
56 games in four months is a daunting task, but it makes focusing on what you
can control that much more important. An old baseball adage tells you that
momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher.
momentum will come in the form of junior Greg Welsh on Saturday. He will make
his seventh start of the season and carries a 3.62 ERA, the best among the Penn
State starters, while ranking second on the team in strikeouts (33) and batting
average against (.278).
left-hander also brings an edge to the mound that his teammates know they can
feed off of.
brings a great demeanor to the mound," Coban said. "He's a competitor. He wants
to win. You can always see it in his face; he is just ready to go once he steps
on the mound."
attributes will go a long way in helping the Lions even their series with the
By Pat White, GoPSUsport.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The third time proved to be the charm for Penn State
men's lacrosse (12-3, 7-0 CAA) as it defeated UMass (7-8, 2-5 CAA) 10-7 in the
semifinal of the CAA Championship on Wednesday.
Head coach Jeff Tambroni knew going into the game that UMass would not be
an easy first round matchup. They played a grind-it-out style that slowed Penn
State's tempo in the first half. He was pleased with the way his team fought
through despite not having a strong first half.
"I am very proud of our team's effort today. We knew we would have our
hands full and I am proud of the way our team responded after halftime,"
Tambroni said. "These guys have fought through a ton of adversity all year and
we are very fortunate to be playing in the CAA Championship."
Junior Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) and senior Jack Forster
(Jenkintown, Pa.) got the Nittany Lions a quick 2-0 lead just under three
minutes into the game. After that, the Penn State offense went stagnant and
couldn't possess the ball for long stretches like UMass did.
UMass' Joe Calvello owned the faceoff X, winning seven of nine first half
draws. Tambroni said the lone bright spot for Penn State in the first half was
the play of junior defender Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.). Bogert played one
of his best games of the year and stepped up in the first half with four
groundballs while played stellar defense.
"I thought Steven Bogert was the player of the game for 60 minutes,"
Tambroni said. "I thought we struggled in the first half outside of Steven
Bogert. He was a monster in between the 30s and outside the wing on faceoffs."
Senior faceoff man Danny Henneghan (Beverly Hills, Mich.) rebounded to win
six of 12 faceoffs in the second half. It was a big turnaround for Penn State,
and Bogert played a major role in creating possessions. He finished with seven
groundballs while adding pestering defense.
"We work on it every day and it was a big part of this week," Bogert said.
"Me and Danny have been on a great page. It wasn't just off of faceoffs. I knew
coming into this game that groundballs were going to be a big part of this
game. I just kind of got in a rhythm and got focused."
Tambroni thought there was a little bit of added pressure to finally move
past the first round that may have caused the poor start to the game. Tambroni
said that last year's captains-Matt Mackrides, Ryan McGarvey and Ryan
Link-wrote the team a note that motivated them coming into the game.
"I thought we played a little tight and lacked mobility," Tambroni said. "I
thought in the second half our guys relaxed, played hard, put themselves at
ease a little bit, and got over the hump."
Junior Shane Sturgis (Downingtown, Pa.) looked relaxed coming out of the
break. Sturgis recorded a third quarter hat-trick for the Nittany Lions and was
a major spark plug for the offense. The junior attacked the goal from all areas
of the field and got his scoring touch back after being held scoreless in the
last four contests.
Sturgis said he was the benefactor of the offense beginning to click with
good ball movement.
"I think our offense just moved the ball better in the second half," Sturgis
said. "We got some good opportunities and we were able to capitalize on some of
Penn State has been led offensively all season by a potent attack. In the
fourth quarter, Forster, Sturgis and freshman TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) put
the team on their back and cruised to victory. After being held in check the
first half, Sander chipped in with two goals to match Forster's output, while
Sturgis finished with four goals and a helper.
Penn State now looks to claim its first CAA Championship on Friday at 3 p.m.
against Towson. The Tigers defeated Drexel 11-8 in Wednesday's night cap.
Nittany Lions took down Towson 10-8 at home on April 13. Bogert said the
captains said that the regular season means nothing now and that every team has
a clean slate.
"Our captains said it best: that we are zero and zero," Bogert said. "It's
the CAA playoffs and granted we got a good win today but it doesn't matter now.
We are going to our first ever CAA Championship and that's enough of a
motivating factor. We are excited about that."
Tambroni said that both teams will look to play to their strengths while
taking away the opposition's. Forster and Tambroni both said that the ultimate
goal is to prepare and win the next game.
"I think it starts right now," Tambroni said after the game. "I hope they
enjoy it for a half an hour to an hour. It is more about rest. We are going to
need legs on Friday, so X's and O's are irrelevant to a certain degree."
Towson head coach Sean Nadelen also said that rest will be the key. His
team was dominated 19-3 by Drexel in faceoff wins, and he want to see that
improve in what will be a possession dominated game.
"It will come down to a possession game, especially with a quick
turnaround," Nadelen said. "Teams are going to be a little beaten down in terms
of physical status. It comes down to valuing possession time, capitalizing
possessions and making sure that the defenses aren't playing a ton of defensive
A Look at Towson
Towson looked dominating against Drexel in its victory. Midfielder Ben McCarty
led the way for Towson with six goals, matching his season total. McCarty
stepped into a rhythm as Drexel contained leading scorer Thomas DeNapoli (39
goals, 16 assists) to just one score. Andrew Hodgson added a pair of tallies to
up his total to 22 for the season.
DeNapoli and Hodgson are most dangerous with the ball. DeNapoli is at his
best when he can initiate the offense from behind the goal and get his hands
free in space. Hodgson primarily dodges down the wing where he either takes the
open shot, or uses his vision to find open teammates. Against Drexel, they
proved they can be used as decoys, and guys like McCarty can get hot as well.
Towson played a slow and methodical game on the offensive end, working the
ball around and slowing the tempo. The Tigers average 8.94 goals per game while
allowing 8.81. Senior goalkeeper Andrew Wascavage played spectacular against
Drexel and posted a .612 save percentage for the season. Wascavage and Penn
State keeper Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.) will make for a goaltending battle on
Penn State has won three straight games against Towson dating back to 2011.
CAMP HILL, Pa. - The Coaches Caravan capped off the first leg of the 12-stop
tour with visits to Lancaster and Harrisburg on Thursday.
A capacity crowd of 330 fans greeted head coaches Bill O'Brien, Cael Sanderson
and Russ Rose for a luncheon at Penn Square in Lancaster. The bus then loaded up for a 50-minute drive
to Camp Hill for the week's final stop before nearly 550 enthusiastic attendees. In total, more than 2,100 fans and alums took part in Caravan stops during week one. Take a look through some highlights on day three at two visits to the
heart of Nittany Nation.
Stop V - Lancaster (Marriott at Penn
Square) A sold out crowd of 330 enthusiastic Penn State fans and alums greeted all
three coaches on the docket for Thursday's lunch stop with a warm, standing
ovation reception. Five-time NCAA
champion women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose joined the Caravan for the
final day of the initial leg.
Sanderson kicked off the panel of speakers with high praise of the other two
leaders on stage with him. The wrestling
offices are just down the hall from the women's volleyball offices inside Rec
Hall, and Sanderson told the crowd that when he sees Rose and how he runs his
program, he uses it as motivation for leading the wrestling program.
"Coach Rose is a tremendous asset for Penn State," Sanderson said.
"What he (Coach O'Brien) has done for the University is unbelievable,"
Sanderson went on to say.
Nestled in the heart of wrestling country, Sanderson took the opportunity to
tell the fans to take advantage of the opportunity to see talents like David
Taylor and Ed Ruth wrestle during their senior seasons. Sanderson said that elite athletes like those
two do not come around too often.
Rose took the microphone second and echoed Sanderson's remarks about the cast
of coaches on stage at the Caravan stops on Thursday. He joked that his team's 109-match winning
streak during the program's unprecedented string of four-straight NCAA titles
pales is just a number alongside Sanderson's 159-0 mark as a collegiate wrestler.
The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will kick off a European tour on
Saturday. Rose said he is looking
forward to how his team works during the offseason. The Lions kick off the trip in the Czech
Republic and cap things off in Italy.
One of the great things about the Caravan is seeing how the coaches interact
with one another. All three leaders were
truly genuine in their remarks directed at one another. Sanderson and Rose both praised O'Brien for
his leadership of the program during the past 15 months. O'Brien's feelings are mutual for the other
two coaches. He and Sanderson shared
stories and exchanged coaching philosophies throughout the bus travel on Thursday.
"It's very humbling to share the stage with Russ Rose and Cael Sanderson,"
O'Brien said as he opened his speech.
The trio of coaches in Lancaster was among the seven Penn State leaders who
earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors during the 2012-13 season.
"[Penn State] is a great place to be. Our
coaching staffs are really strong in a lot of areas," Rose said.
VIDEO: Lancaster Press Conference with Coaches
O'Brien, Rose and Sanderson
Stop VI: Harrisburg (Radisson Camp Hill)
Following a luncheon before a capacity crowd, the Caravan rolled into the
Harrisburg area for an evening program in Camp Hill. Nearly 550 guests congregated inside the
Grand Ballroom at the Radisson to hear O'Brien, Sanderson and Rose address the
crowd on Thursday night.
The first week of the Caravan ended with a night
fun night of entertainment for the fans in Harrisburg. The largest crowd of the week was a lively,
engaged group from start to finish during the speeches and Q&A, largely thanks
to another sterling performance from leadoff man Cael Sanderson to kick-start
After drawing a huge crowd and shaking countless hands during the pre-event
reception, Sanderson had the audience in stiches with one-liner after one-liner
during his speech. Among many
quick-witted moments, he got the crowd into a standing ovation contest, as he
called it, to see how many times he could get the crowd to give O'Brien a
standing ovation during his own speech.
All three coaches fed off of one another at both stops on Thursday, but
Sanderson and O'Brien were a comical matchup on stage throughout the evening in
Harrisburg. O'Brien answered Sanderson's
stand-up act later during his speech by ribbing the wrestling legend for losing
a grand total of three matches from high school through college (He was a combined
286-3 in high school and college.)
"Come on, Cael. You could have done better than that (laughter)," O'Brien said.
With the crowd roaring, Rose took the microphone and said," Cael's on
fire!" The Nittany Lion women's
volleyball head coach went on to tell the crowd that the individuals in the
room understood what the true meaning is behind being a Penn Stater. The 34-year veteran also knows a thing or two
about what Penn State is all about with its success on the field of play and in
"I've been there a long time, and I love being there," Rose said. "I'm not going anywhere."
"When you talk about Penn State around the country, you just want people to see
what people are like in a room like this," O'Brien said.
The Penn State community is special to all three coaches. Without a doubt, they all had fun joking with
one another on stage Thursday night, but there is no question how each coach
feels about the place they call home and the people who support the Blue and
"If you have
that support before the success that's how you get the success, and that's what
we have at Penn State," Sanderson said.
"A roomful of energetic, passionate Penn Staters, this is what it's all about,"
VIDEO: Harrisburg Press Conference with
Coaches O'Brien, Rose and Sanderson
Miles Covered on Day One - 203 miles Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Miles Covered on Day Three - 254 miles
Caravan Total - 604 miles
The Caravan resumes on Tuesday with stops in Williamsport and Allentown.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's volleyball team is headed to
the 2013 NCAA Tournament in Los Angeles, Calif.
After securing a spot in the postseason tournament by capturing the EIVA
Championship last Saturday night, the Lions fly out of State College on Tuesday
before the start of competition on Thursday.
Just four Division I teams advance to the national tournament, which
include No. 1 BYU, No. 2 UC Irvine, No. 3 Loyola-Chicago and the fourth-seeded
Nittany Lions. Irvine and Loyola-Chicago will be featured in the first
semifinal match of the evening on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET and Penn State will
face BYU in the second semifinal at 11 p.m. ET the same night.
Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik has been to quite a few NCAA
Tournaments and faced numerous different opponents in his time at the helm of
the program, but said that going up against BYU will be a bigger challenge than
his team has seen in a long time.
"BYU is probably as physical a team as there is out there," said Pavlik.
"Those guys just keep coming at you. You can't bring a feather-duster to this
match - you've got to bring hammers."
Not only are the Cougars sporting an impressive overall record of 24-4
with a team attack percentage of .327 heading into NCAA competition, they also
have one of the hottest hands in men's volleyball. Junior outside hitter Taylor
Sander from Huntington Beach, Calif. has put up huge numbers against opponents
this year, rounding out the regular season with 409 kills on 3.79 hitting.
"Taylor is everything that you want in a player; explosive, great arm,
great volleyball IQ, great competitor," said Pavlik. "He's the guy you want on
your team and you hate to face."
But the head coach said that he and his squad aren't preparing for
Sander and the Cougars much differently than they would for any other match.
"This is where you just play volleyball," said Pavlik. "You don't try to
be tricky. Play as hard as you can for as long as you can and make sure your
fundamentals are in check."
As of late, Pavlik said that he's increasingly encouraged at the way the
Lions have played what he calls 'big-boy volleyball' and continue to work
together as a unit. The team has won nine of its last 10 contests and brought
its blue-collar mentality to each and every set, working for each point and
truly earning its victories.
And after all of the hard work that his team put in during the regular
season, Pavlik said that a trip to the NCAA Tournament is just icing on the
"This is why you get up at 7 a.m. in the fall," said Pavlik. "This is
why you endure the strength and conditioning. This is why you endure those long
bus rides. This is the time where, are we going to get any better between now
and Thursday? Minimal. But we've got to understand that we're one of four teams
playing - we've got a shot, let's take it."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Coaches Caravan bus rolled south on I-95 for day
two of the first leg on Wednesday morning en route for a lunch stop at the Inner
Harbor in Baltimore and an evening reception in Washington, D.C.
More than 225 fans at lunch and 375 enthusiastic attendees at dinner greeted an all-star cast of Penn State coaches,
which included Bill O'Brien, Patrick Chambers, Cael Sanderson and Coquese
Washington. Take a look through some highlights
on day two, which included an entertaining evening stop in the nation's capital.
Stop III - Baltimore (Sheraton Inner
Harbor) The Baltimore crowd was greeted with a treat on Wednesday morning as
coaches from four major Penn State programs took the opportunity to meet,
mingle and address a room filled with Penn State fans and alums. Joining O'Brien and Chambers on day two of
the Caravan were two coaches with Big Ten Coach of the Year accolades from the
2012-13 season in Sanderson and Washington.
Washington, who led the Lady Lions to a second-straight Big Ten title and
third-consecutive NCAA Tournament trip this season, spoke to the crowd first.
"It's fantastic to see so much support from Baltimore," Washington said.
Washington added that she will be thrilled for the Penn State fans in the
Baltimore to be able to see the Lady Lions in person when Maryland joins the
Big Ten prior to the 2014-15 season.
Washington highlighted her team's march to a second-straight conference
title and updated the crowd on what lies ahead for her young team in the fall.
"We have seven freshmen coming in this summer.
Baltimore, please pray for me," Washington joked.
To close her speech, Washington expressed her appreciation for what all of the
Penn State fans do for each and every program on campus.
"For us to do what we do, you guys are a part of our team," Washington said.
Fresh off leading the Penn State wrestling team to its third-straight NCAA
title, Sanderson received a standing ovation as he was introduced to the
crowd. O'Brien was among the first
people in the room to stand and applaud for Sanderson, who walked to the
microphone clad in a dark suit with a blue "O'Brien's Lions" T-shirt on under
"I think that was probable for the T-shirt," Sanderson joked as he opened his
jacket. "That's why O'Brien stood up
Coach Chambers explained to the crowd that he and his staff spend a lot of time
recruiting in the Baltimore area. Like
he did on day one, the leader of Nittany Lion basketball told the crowd to
expect an exciting, high-paced attack on the hardwood when the Lions take the
floor in the fall.
O'Brien spoke last during the luncheon.
He kicked off his speech with a sarcastic congratulatory message to the
fans of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the room, which drew a
great deal of laughter. Additionally, he
told the crowd how he and strength coach Craig Fitzgerald Googled Cael
Sanderson's name to marvel over his athletic and coaching accomplishments,
which again created a roar of laughter from the crowd of 225.
The Nittany Lions currently have 11 players on the football roster from
Maryland, many of which play a very prominent role on the team. With that being said, O'Brien talked about
the importance of recruiting in Maryland and how the program will continue to
emphasize the importance of finding talent in Maryland.
As was the case in Reading and Philadelphia, all four coaches used the Caravan
stop to say thank you for the support.
Without the core group of supporters, like the ones in the room at
Baltimore, the Penn State athletic programs would not be the same.
"You are the foundation. Without you
guys we are not possible," Chambers said.
VIDEO: Baltimore Press Conference with Coach
Stop IV: Washington (Hyatt Regency) The Coaches Caravan moved
south after the Baltimore stop to the nation's capital for the fourth program
on the first week. In front of a lively
crowd of 375, O'Brien, Chambers, Sanderson and Washington delivered a superb
series of speeches on Wednesday night.
"You all are a lively bunch. This is
going to be a fun evening," Washington said to open the program.
The four coaches deserve a great deal of credit for their presentations, but
the fans and alums in attendance made the Washington, D.C. event one of the
best in the two years of the Coaches Caravan.
From start to finish, the crowd was enthusiastic and energetic inside
the Regency Ballroom.
Sanderson, who spoke second, put on a display of stand-up comedy at the podium
during his five-plus minutes at the microphone.
Wearing his second piece of Bill O'Brien fan gear of the day, Sanderson
donned a "Billieve" shirt under his suit jacket.
From ribbing Coach Chambers about the work he has ahead of him to telling Coach
O'Brien that the reason everyone is a fan of his is because he goes for it on
fourth down every chance he gets, Sanderson had the crowd roaring with
"How many times do they really go for it on fourth down?" Sanderson joked.
Chambers picked up right where Sanderson left off, telling the D.C. crowd about
how he had been mistaken for Sanderson on several occasions in Baltimore and
prior to the evening event Washington.
He joked that he even signed a few autographs with Sanderson's
"He's a beast! I'm just a skinny point guard (laughter)," Chambers said.
Outside of the comical speeches from all four, the theme of Wednesday night
centered on the folks in the room, the core Penn State fans, as O'Brien has
called the group throughout the Caravan.
It is people like the enthusiastic crowd in Washington, D.C. that make
Penn State sporting events and its programs so special.
Like Sanderson said during his speech about what his message is to recruits -
"When you come to Penn State, you will be a part of something special," he
said. The same holds true for the fans. When you support Penn State sports teams,
whether it be fans or alums or both, you will become a part of something very
special, much bigger than wins and losses on the field of play.
"This is one of the best crowds we've had since we've done this for two years,"
The Caravan moves to Lancaster and Camp Hill on Thursday to cap off week one.
VIDEO: Washington Press Conference with
Coaches O'Brien, Washington and Sanderson
Miles Covered on Day One - 203 miles Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Caravan Total - 350 miles
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
Lucas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY
PARK, Pa. - The Penn State track and field teams had a superb weekend at the
prestigious Penn Relays Carnival at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa., coming
away with five championships.
Brittany Howell started the meet off for the Nittany Lions on Tuesday with the
heptathlon. Howell had a comfortable lead after day one of the two-day event.
She cruised to a victory Wednesday with a season-best of 5,084 points.
Loht followed up Wednesday securing her first collegiate Penn Relays title and
her second ever, the first coming as a high school senior. The junior's first
throw of the day was the winning effort sailing 154-6.
track Wednesday Natalie Bower posted a personal best in the 3,000-meter
steeplechase. Bower's time of 10:13.58
is the eighth fastest time posted at the relays and third fastest in the Penn
State record books. The senior's time was good enough to rank her No. 20 in the
nation and No. 3 in the Big Ten.
The men's team was able to come away with its first distance medley relay
victory at the games since 1959. The team of freshman Brannon Kidder, junior
Brandon Bennett-Green, senior Casimir Loxsom and sophomore Robby Creese won the
event in 9:24.68. Their time now ranks them No. 1 in the school record books.
Kidder and Loxsom followed up their record setting performance with a second
consecutive victory in the 4x800-meter relay during the final day of
competition. Adding freshman Za'Von
Watkins, the group finished the race in 7:14.14.
men's 4x400-meter relay team also had a strong performance at the relays.
Sophomore Matt Gilmore, freshman Alex Shizler, juniors Bernard and Brandon
Bennett-Green posted a time of 3:06.21. The result was good enough for the
group to be ranked No. 17 nationally and No.3 in the Big Ten.
women's team also put its 4x400-meter relay team into the national rankings at
the relays. Freshman Kiah Seymour, redshirt
junior Mahagony Jones, redshirt freshman Shelley Black and sophomore Dynasty
McGee raced to a time of 3:33.47 good enough for No.20 in the nation and second
in the Big Ten.
Evonne Britton makes her first appearance in the national rankings after her
performance at the Penn Relays. Britton clocked in with a time of 58.56 in the
400-meter hurdles, good enough for No. 24 in the nation and No. 4 in the Big
men's team slipped slightly in the national rankings this week, dropping down
two spots to No. 13.
outstanding performances, Penn State was not ranked in the DMR and the
4x800-meter relay because the two are not official NCAA outdoor track events.
Rankings as of April 30, 2013
Big Ten Rank
Matt Gilmore, * Alex Shizler,
Bernard Bennett-Green, Brandon Bennett-Green