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Penn State Men's Soccer Canadian Trip: Day Two

June 19, 2016
The Penn State men's soccer team has embarked on an eight day trip to Canada where it will not only take part in international competition but also see the sites of the country. Through the student-athletes own words this blog will chronicle the trip on and off the field. The Nittany Lions left State College Saturday, June 18 to head to their first stop. The first blog was written by junior Aymar Sigue, redshirt-sophomore Ryan Gallagher and senior Riley Grant.

Day Two (Sunday June 20) - Penn State vs. Vaughan and Dave and Buster's

Aymar Sigue - Jr. - Forward

Less than 24 hours after arriving in Canada our team had to play against one of the best clubs in the area. The game was played at 11:45 a.m. in what would have been perfect beach weather with 90-degree heat, unfortunately those same conditions aren't ideal for a soccer game. Even though most of the guys were tired from the previous day, which was full of traveling and site seeing, Coach Warming expects nothing less than a complete performance offensively and defensively. 

Before the game started, Coach told us to start the game as if we were losing 1-0 in order to motivate the team into getting an early lead and playing the game with intensity. This proved to be effective because we went up 2-0 early in the first half before conceding a goal against the run of play through a penalty shot. We demonstrated our resilience by continuing to play our intense style of soccer which enabled us to score two more goals. We went into half time with a 4-1 lead. Unfortunately, the effects of the long trip started to present themselves during the second half and we conceded a second goal near the end of the game which made the final score 4-2. Although the performance was not perfect, playing against one of the best local teams was a great opportunity for us to learn and improve as a team.


Ryan Gallagher - R-So. - Defender

So far, I am definitely loving the 6ix (Toronto)! Today was my favorite day because today was the first day we got to play soccer. Today we played a talented young team in Vaughan. This is the club that our fellow teammate Dayonn Harris played for before he came to Penn State. It was very hot outside, and our feet were burning up because we were playing on turf, which is not what we were used to playing on. The final score of the game was 4-2, with a goal apiece from Dayonn and Aymar Sigue and two goals from Connor Maloney.

All four of our goals were scored within the first 18 minutes of the match which means that we definitely had dominated and controlled the pace of the game from the start for the first 20 minutes. After a good stretch of buildup involving our defensive midfielder and our attacking midfielders we got fouled near the opponent's bench. Connor, always alert, got the ball and quickly played a ball thru to Dayonn, who beat his defender using his speed and slotted it home near the far post. Aymar was in a great position for his goal, as Dayonn crossed a ball to Riley Grant, who took a shot on goal that the keeper deflected right to Aymar and he put it in the back of the net. For Connor's first goal, it was a penalty kick. Aymar had used a great shot fake and was fouled inside the 18-yard box. Connor then stepped up and hit a cheeky chip right down the middle. For Connor's second goal, the only way to describe it was that he used nothing but will power to score. Sam Bollinger dribbled into the box and went into a 50/50 challenge and when the ball popped out, Connor went to the floor and slide tackled the ball into the back of the net. It truly was a great display of Connor's will to score goals and win.  Dayonn scored the fourth goal on the grounds where he did much of his youth training on a lightning fast outside to inside run across the back line and got a great ball from Connor that he faced up to the goal and scored. 

I'm looking forward to playing Vaughan's PDL team on Tuesday and it should be a great contest.

Riley Grant - Sr. - Forward

Today we played a young talented Vaughan team after a long day of traveling the day before. Even though we were a bit tight and sore after travel, Coach Warming told us there is no excuse and we needed to be mentally ready to play, and if we were, we would be successful. We took care of business scoring four goals in the first 20 minutes of the match. Two from Connor, and one each from Canada's own, Dayonn and Aymar.

It was a great win but the fun didn't stop there. After the game we got a few hours to rest up and then the whole team got together to head to Dave and Buster's. The competition in the game room of Dave and Buster's was just as competitive as the soccer game we played earlier. Everyone was having a fun time playing all of the games and it was great way to end the day with another team bonding experience.  Ryan Gallagher won some teeth with his tickets from the games!  


We are taking on Canada one day at a time and it has been a great experience so far, with much more excitement still to come. 

Sneak Peek: Morgan Academic Center for Student-Athletes

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The sparkling new Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes is now open.

The more than 30,000-square-foot home of academic services and support consolidates Morgan Academic Center's services and staff into one physical location for 800 Penn State student-athletes for the first time. The project, which converted Greenberg Indoor Sports Complex into the new Morgan Academic Center, began in October.

The Morgan Academic Center is a vital component in keeping Penn State's academic services and the academic performance of its approximately 800 student-athletes at the forefront among the nation's premier Division I institutions. Tutoring, advising, computer labs, group study areas and meeting rooms were previously located in four separate locations on the University Park campus: East Area Locker Room, Lasch Football Building, Rec Hall and the Bank of America Career Services Building.

Among the numerous new features in the new Morgan Academic Center are: Staff offices for the student-athlete development and welfare unit, academic counselors, learning specialists and a sports psychologist; 15 collaborative learning rooms; small conference room; large conference room; classroom space; three large study rooms; two open reading rooms; traditional computer lab; student lounge; fueling station and displays of student-athlete academic recognition through the years.

Take an inside look at the new Morgan Academic Center with a guided tour from men's basketball's Josh Reaves and women's soccer's Megan Schafer.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Penn State Men's Soccer Canadian Trip: Day One

June 19, 2016

The Penn State men's soccer team has embarked on an eight day trip to Canada where it will not only take part in international competition but also see the sites of the country. Through the student-athletes own words this blog will chronicle the trip on and off the field. The Nittany Lions left State College Saturday, June 18 to head to their first stop. The first blog was written by sophomore defender Brennan Ireland, redshirt-sophomore Noah Pilato and redshirt-junior Sam Bollinger.

Day One - Niagara Falls and Toronto FC/LA Galaxy Match 

Noah Pilato - R-So. - Midfielder
The trip started early in the morning as we arrived at Rec Hall in state college at 7:30 in the morning. After a quick team picture at the lion shrine, we departed for Canada at 8. Our first stop was Niagara Falls, on the United States side. We had the pleasure of partaking in the Maid of Mist tour; a once in a lifetime opportunity. As our team stood on the boat, helpless to the hard mist of the falls, it was a comedic relief to a long day of travel. Through the border and into Toronto was the next step in our journey. As we arrived at BMO field, the home of Toronto FC, we were greeted with open arms, as well as confused stares. We were able to join 20,000 supporters in watching LA Galaxy take on Toronto FC, two powerhouses of the league. The game ended with home side coming out on top, 1-0, and it was a phenomenal experience. Fifteen hours after leaving state college, we arrived at our hotel and day one was in the books.


Brennan Ireland - So. - Defender
Today was the first day of our international trip and it could not have come soon enough. We had a great week of training and everyone was eager to make the journey up to Canada. Our first day was a busy one. Our caravan departed State College early in the morning. Most of the boys hopped into their respective shuttles, determined by class year, and fell back asleep. Myself being in the freshmen van, on the other hand was kept awake because of Travis and Mac's babbling. Fortunately, after awhile their talking tired them out and we got some much needed shut eye.  

I awoke to the news we were at the Niagara Falls and after a quick meal we went to do some sightseeing. I had seen the falls as a kid, but at the time was probably more enamored with the ice cream in my hand then the actual beauty of the plummeting plumes of water that descended both into the United States and Canada. We then went on the Maid of the Mist and the cool air that was given off from the water was a nice break from the heat of the day. The blue poncho's given out to us before we stepped foot on the boat I thought would be a terrible compliment to the scorching temperature, but as we got close to the waterfalls I understood why they are passed out.

Being on the water as the falls crashed on the rocks was an amazing experience that I am fortunate enough to share with my teammates and I can not wait for what else lies ahead for us on the remainder of our trip.

Sam Bollinger - R-Jr. - Midfielder
We arrived in Toronto around 7 and drove straight to BMO Field (Toronto FC's stadium) to watch TFC take on the LA Galaxy.  It was a relief to be able to get out and stretch our legs after a long trip from State College.  We grabbed some food from the concession stand and headed to our seats in the upper left section of the stadium, which is beautifully designed and holds around 20,000 people.  There was also a really cool view of the Toronto skyline from the upper levels of the stadium.    

 The game was exciting and very back and forth, with both teams having good chances right from the start.  The score was 0-0 at halftime.  Toronto fans are very enthusiastic, constantly chanting and waving their scarves and banners.  In the 70th minute Toronto scored a beautiful goal off of a cross that was flicked on and finished with a header at the far post.  The crowd went crazy and began a long chant of "T-F-C! T-F-C!"  The game ended in a 1-0 Toronto victory and we made our way back to the vans to travel to the hotel, which was about 30 minutes away.  Overall the game was a really cool experience and it was great to be able to see teams of such quality compete.

VIDEO: Athletes Volunteer at 2016 Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - More than 2,000 athletes from across Pennsylvania are on Penn State's campus this weekend to participate in the 2016 Special Olympics Summer Games.

The Opening Ceremonies took place on Thursday inside Pegula Ice Arena, kicking off a weekend of competition. Student-athletes from a host of Penn State teams will volunteer at the Summer Games over the weekend.

Members of eight Penn State teams greeted the Olympians as they entered Pegula Ice Arena on Thursday evening, taking photos and cheering them on in anticipation of the Summer Games.

Take a look through some photos and video of Penn State athletes volunteering at the Summer Games.

Photo Gallery: Special Olympics Opening Ceremony

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Chambers Leading the Fight at 20th Anniversary CVC Golf Tournament

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Five years ago to the day, Patrick Chambers was hired as the head coach of the Nittany Lion basketball program.

On June 3, 2011, Chambers and the program probably could not have imagined what type of impact he could have on the community through the Penn State chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer.

But one thing is certain. There is no better man to be the centerpiece of an event and fight driven by a positive attitude than Chambers.

11971527.jpegThe basketball program lives and breathes by the motto of approaching any type of adversity with a choice. You can either face challenges with a great attitude or dwell on them with a negative attitude.

For Chambers, there is no choice because everything he touches has a positive tone.

The atmosphere at Friday's 20th Anniversary Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament was again proof of that. A few light rain showers in the morning gave way to sunshine in the afternoon for the approximately 300 golfers taking part of the event held at the Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses.

"It's just a great day with a lot of great people coming together for a very tough cause," said Chambers. "The energy out there on the course was amazing. There is a lot of enthusiasm from a lot of great people to help raise awareness and raise funds.

The list of participants in the outing included several Penn State head coaches, including field hockey coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss who recalls the CVC-Penn State's first days in Happy Valley.

"Every coach of the basketball program has just done a great job taking the helm of this event," said Morett-Curtiss. "We've all been affected by someone with cancer. It's such a great cause. And if we can generate the energy and support, we are going to help and someday we are going to find that cure."

A who's who of Penn State Basketball alums took part of the festivities - Brian Allen (1986-89), Dave Angstadt (1974-76), Wally Choice (1981-84), Nick Colella (2012-13), Joe Crispin (1998-2001), Jon Crispin (2000-01), Chuck Crist (1970-72), Pete Lisicky (1995-98), Kevin Montminy (2012-15), Tyler Smith (1999-2002), Jarrett Stephens (1996-2000) and Alan Wisniewski (2012-15) - along with five-time NBA champion Ron Harper, who returned to the CvC event for the third-straight year.

For Chambers, this event has taken on a different meaning in recent years. Chambers lost his brother, Greg, to lung cancer at age 60 in March of 2014, and the CVC event has touched him personally.

"It's hit me differently over the five years," said Chambers. "You carry the torch because you want to be a part of this community and you know so many people who have been devastated by this disease. And then it hit home a couple years ago for me, which made it even more personal."

Chambers spent the morning session making the rounds on the golf course saying hello and greeting the participants before playing golf in the afternoon. Head football coach James Franklin visited the event prior to the afternoon tee off to show his support for Chambers and the CvC group.

11971549.jpegThe pioneers of the CVC-Penn State were former head coaches Bruce Parkhill and Jerry Dunn. Parkhill founded CVC-Penn State in 1995 before the first golf outing took place in 1997 under the direction of Dunn. Both were in attendance on Friday and could not be happier with how the event has grown.

"It's really remarkable to see how this has grown," said Parkhill. "To think about how many people this program has touched over the last 20 years is remarkable. It has grown into one of the nicest events around."

After addressing the afternoon flight of golfers, Chambers kept the mood light in his five-man group on the golf course. He thoroughly enjoys his time on the course during the CvC outing, and it's event that he looks forward to all year long.

Beyond the lighthearted talk on the course, Chambers is among a group of many leaders who play an integral role in a battle much bigger than a win or loss on the court or field of play. A great deal of credit goes out Parkhill, Dunn and Ed DeChellis for helping pave the way for CVC-Penn State to be what it has become today.

CVC-Penn State topped the $2.5 million mark in fundraising this year and immediately began to push towards the $3 million mark.

"It's hard to even know if Bruce (Parkhill) and Jerry (Dunn) even thought it could become this magnitude," said Chambers. "The ability to bring together a University and a community and the athletic department speaks volumes about the people who are part of this. There are some great people here at Penn State. And once again Penn State's pride really shows."

The CVC Golf Tournament is the flagship event of the organization created to raise funds year-round to support the American Cancer Society affected by the disease in Centre County through the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund (BCAF). In addition to the golf tournament, Coaches vs. Cancer conducts a year-round calendar of seven events.

The golf tournament has more than doubled in size since it began in 1996-'97, and there could not be a man with a better attitude continuing to lead the CVC-Penn State fight than Coach Chambers.

While it was a fun day on the golf course, the bigger fight cannot be stated enough.
To get involved as a sponsor or participant in Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer please visit CVCPENNSTATE.ORG or call 814-330-3337.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony


Rising junior defenseman Bella Sutton is heading to Rome, Italy, to study abroad for the next few weeks and she will be sharing her experiences via blog posts on

Fourth Post (Wednesday, June 22):

Welcome back to my blog everyone! 

I would be lying if I said I wasn't happy about the school work being done for the summer, but I do miss my classmates and professors who were in Rome with me. After our closing banquet and last gelato run (in Rome, I of course will keep eating gelato until I'm back home), we went to the hotel and sat in the lobby until about 3 a.m. continuing to talk and reminisce. Now, this was great and I wouldn't  have gone back and gone to bed any earlier...But looking back it probably wasn't the smartest choice with a train to catch at 7:50 a.m. the next morning taking a classmate (Chris Tofani aka Tof) and I to Venice. When we arrived at Venice, I got out of the train station and the first thing I saw was the water, I knew I was going to enjoy my next day and a half there!

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The beautiful streets of Venezia!

Growing up with water all around me (in the land of 10,000 lakes), being close to or on the water makes me happy! My immediate smile temporarily vanished when I realized I had to carry my (probably over) 50 pound bag over five bridges to get to our hotel. Needless to say, my right arm was still sore a couple days after when we were leaving Venice so KJ don't worry, I definitely got a nice arm work out in that day!! Once we were checked in, we decided to wind (literally wind, there is no direct route in Venice) our way to St. Mark's Square. Here, we walked around and admired all the art and little kiosks Venice had to offer. Then, we decided to climb (okay, this time we took an elevator, but in our defense stairs weren't an option) up to the top of St. Mark's bell tower for a great view of the city! It was so peaceful looking over the Grand Canal and watching boats pass by, or at least it was until I nearly jumped out of my skin realizing very quickly that these bells were not just for show. They rang quite loudly for a few minutes, but everyone at the top was laughing because it had startled so many of us! As we were going down the elevator Tof said about the man running the elevator, "I wonder if he likes his job... I bet it has its ups and downs" lol! I'm not sure if I laughed harder at the joke or a minute later when he told me he stole the joke from his dad! Either way, I was happy to know that he at least could appreciate a good joke (yes, I'm referring to my cheesy jokes being good hahaha).

That night we caught ourselves walking home in a light rain, where somehow all the men in the streets who earlier had tried to force selfie sticks in our hands, magically all had handfuls of umbrellas and ponchos now! Once we made it back to the hotel, I think I immediately passed out after my very little sleep the first night! That is after I think I half slept talk my way through a phone call with my parents to let them know I had arrived safely!

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A photo of me in front of one of the many colorful streets in Burano, Venice!

The next day we went island hopping to three different islands of Venice! Our first stop, Murano, was the island known for its glass blowing, creating beautiful pieces of all kinds. We went to a factory where were able to watch two men working on making colorful drinking glasses. It was so cool to see the process behind the pretty artwork! The second island, Burano, was another ferry away. This island was known for its lace, as well as its cute, colorful, little homes and buildings squeezed up next to each other. I feel bad because my warning to Tof about him probably needing to take a few pictures for me turned into a few more than a few...He was super nice about it, and hey, I did warn him! Anyways, after exploring Burano, we visited the island of Lido. A long, skinny island where we knew there was a beach to relax at for a bit. We walked along the beach, collected some sea shells, and even found a three inch crab along the way!

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One of the many photos Tof took for me on the island of Murano in Venice!

Before getting on the ferry back to Venice, we (of course) stopped for gelato and it didn't disappoint (I don't think it ever does)! Back in St. Mark's, we decided we had to take a gondola ride because we don't know when either of us will be in Venice again. Though the gondoliers apparently don't sing anymore, we had a nice ride and we were given information about all the buildings we passed, which was interesting. Tired, and knowing we had a train to catch at 5:15 a.m. to Cinque Terre, we crashed thinking waking up would be the hardest part about the next day, boy were we wrong...Waking up wasn't awful, what was awful was hearing heavy rain on the rooftop and thunder knowing it was going to be a longer walk to the train station than it had been on the way in (I didn't think that was possible!?). We grabbed our umbrellas and I decided to wear my heavy suitcase as a backpack...and that's what marked the beginning of leg day! The bridges were one thing, but the puddles we walked through were another! Once we made it on our train we decided that if nothing else, the puddles helped clean our shoes off and we were happy to be on the train! 

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My lunch view in Manarola, Cinque Terre.

To continue leg day, once we made it to Cinque Terre (which is made up of five small, but beautiful towns on the coast), the first thing we did after checking into our hotel was an hour and a half hike between the town Monterosso and Vernazza! The views of the coast from the hike were extremely worth the climb, but I was definitely surprised my legs weren't sore the next day! We then met up with a Rome classmate and her family to eat lunch overlooking the town of Manarola, shop, relax at the beach, and later enjoyed pear stuffed pasta for dinner (this was probably my FAVORITE meal of the trip!!)!! 

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At the end of the hike there was a beautiful view of Vernazza, Cinque Terre.

The next morning we got up and took a train to Firenze (Florence). When we arrived, we went out to lunch at a really good restaurant called Vini e Vecchino near our hotel. After, we were ready to explore Florence, but unlike the day before in Cinque Terre on two feet, we explored on two wheels!! Scootering around Florence was efficient for me, as I only had one day there before flying to London, England!! Anyways, the vespas (aka scooters) were SO MUCH FUN!! I was nervous about driving it around at first, especially because I had a passenger on it with me, but I went by the motto "fake it 'til ya make it" and after our test drive our guide said he was confident in my driving!! We drove on some of the busier roads first, up to a church that had a magnificent view of Florence from the top! Then, we took winding, hilly, back roads through Tuscany which was really pretty! It was hard for me to focus on the road with the scenery around me! We finally arrived at the family owned winery part of the tour where we ate dinner overlooking the olive trees and beautiful gardens. I was so thankful that my friend Haleigh and her family took me in for the day to join them on the scooter tour!

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Posed for a photo while stopped during the Vespa tours!

Later that night, I met up with another Nittany Lion you all know, Hannah Ehresmann!!  She showed myself and my two friends from my class in Rome (Haleigh and Tof) up to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sun set over the river. This was so cool to watch and the view of the city from here was unreal! We got a nice picture in front of fake David as well!! After watching the sunset, Hannah brought us to her favorite gelato place and it did not disappoint! It was so great to see her again (I think I forgot to mention in an earlier post that I did get to see her shortly when she visited Rome!)!! 

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Hannah and I watching the sunset in Florence!

The next day (Thursday the 16th) I woke up early to catch a train back to the FCO airport in Rome so I could make my flight to London! Another day another adventure, right?! In London, I navigated the tube, checked into my hotel, and met up with my boyfriend who is studying abroad here through Notre Dame (disclaimer: I tolerate the Fighting Irish when they aren't facing the Nittany Lions ;)). Right away we decided for dinner we would make stir fry at his flat (which is what they all an apartment in London)! I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the improvement in his cooking abilities as it was a running joke previously about how he would survive next year without a meal plan. The following day I slept in late, (probably catching up on sleep from all the travel!) then when my boyfriend was back from class we walked around the streets near his flat to get lunch from a fresh food stand which they had everywhere (very different from Rome where a good meal would only come from sitting down at a restaurant...For at least an hour and a half!). Later, we ate dinner at a little cute restaurant called Andrew Edmunds (where I sported one of my purchases from earlier!). Here, I tried three new foods; the first being crab. Those who know me well, also know I'll eat just about anything... except seafood. I'm slowly trying to change that and tonight was a step in the right direction!! Sole, a type of white fish, was the next food I tried (more seafood that tasted pretty good!!). Finally, I tried lamb. My mom cringed a bit when I told her I tried that, but I thought it was all very good! 

Saturday, we went shopping with a few of his friends at a low priced European clothing store called Primark (probably a mistake on their part taking me shopping as it was hard for them to find me when they were done considering there were three floors of girls clothing)!! After shopping we walked back to his apartment. Along the way, we stopped for gelato and enjoyed the singers playing on the streets. That night we made pasta and chicken for dinner (which is funny because I have been eating amazing pasta in Italy my whole trip, but I enjoyed making it myself again!)!!  We then went with a few of his friends to the 32nd level in the Shard, which is the tallest building in Europe! The view of the river, Tower bridge, and the city in general was really pretty!! 

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The Shard in London!

After a couple of days of enjoying everything near us, the third day we were tourists for the day! Walking to the London Eye, Thames River, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and we even stumbled upon a changing of the guards! All were really fun to see, and of course, take pictures (and selfies!) in front of! That night we ate burgers topped with avocado (a personal favorite!) and stayed up late to watch game seven of the NBA Finals! I didn't care who won, but I was glad it was a close game!! On my final day in London, I woke up to explore Borough's Market, the tower bridge, and Hay's Market by the river. It was really cool seeing London for a second time and really appreciating everything it has to offer (including the well-known sites, markets, and street performers!)! 

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Probably the most touristy picture we could have taken in London!

I am now beginning my journey back home to the US (Minnesota to be specific) for the rest of my summer. This journey includes a flight back to Rome, 13 hours in the FCO airport (I'll most likely be catching up on (my guilty pleasure) the Bachelorette, facetiming Sarah Nielsen, and shopping for last minute souvenirs) , and an 10 hour direct flight back! It's definitely sad to be leaving Europe, but trust me when I say I have thousands of pictures, even more memories, a handful of new friends, and a much greater appreciation for the opportunities I have been given throughout my life because of this experience. 

Quick thanks to all those who have been reading the blog and tolerating the stories of my adventures abroad! Enjoy the rest of your summer and get pumped up for next season!! It should be a great one! 


Third Post (Tuesday, June 14):

Wow, I can't believe three weeks went by so fast!! I just finished my last day of class here in Rome today, June 11th. However, this is not the end of my journey as I will be traveling to explore Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence, and London in the next nine days!! I am extremely excited about this opportunity, but I am sad to see most of my classmates travel home to the United States tomorrow as I reflect on yet another unforgettable week spent with them in Pompeii, Sorrento, and Meta (just north of Sorrento)! 

This past Monday we woke up bright and early to catch a train to Naples. Once we arrived we jumped on a train to Meta, where our hotel (Panorama Palace) was located on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Before getting on the sardine packed train, we were warned about pickpockets being especially tricky here in Naples. Luckily no one got anything stolen, but one of our professors did catch a man attempting to steal from one of my classmates and he yelled "Oh no, stop right there, I know who you are! I've seen the movies!!" Lol I'm not sure if he knew what our professor was screaming or not but it sure scared him away!! Also, I'm pretty sure he remembered that incident because when we got on the train again to visit Pompeii our teacher recognized the same man and made sure to say "Bonjurno!!" to him, making the man immediately squeeze out of our car into a different compartment. 

Anyways, upon arriving to our hotel we soon realized why it received its name, Panorama Palace, because right out front of our hotel was a breathtaking view of Sorrento to our left and high cliffs to our right with the blue sea beneath us (the latter which we took advantage of almost right after checking in). This view was particularly beautiful at sunset. The next morning, Tuesday, we went to Pompeii to visit the ruins of the town that was extremely well preserved due to the ashes of Mount Vesuvius preceding its eruption. It was so cool to get a better idea of what an ancient Roman town would have looked like along with homes of the wealthy. In these homes we were able to see baths, frescos, and mosaics still in place!! We also saw the plaster casted bodies of a few victims of Vesuvius putting into perspective how quickly the eruption took the lives of many living there. 

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Watching the sun set over the islands of Naples in Meta was a highlight of my trip!

Wednesday, we traveled to Naples to visit the National Archeological Museum where we saw the statue of Hercules at Rest as well as the Farnese Bull and then, after indulging in delicious pizza for lunch, we went to Herculaneum! Herculaneum is a small town that was also very well preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, however, because it was closer to the mountain than Pompeii was, there is even still ancient wood that remains intact! Being right on the ancient coast, when Vesuvius erupted, the people of Herculaneum fled for the water, unfortunately, that's where they found most of the bodies when excavating. I'm curious to know if anyone did escape Vesuvius' grasp. 

Thursday, we took a bus a little further south to the ancient town of Paestum. Here we saw a giant temple of Athena, the goddess of war, as well as two temples dedicated to Hera. Walking around this Roman colony south of Naples helped to give me an idea of how large the Roman Empire truly was! After viewing the museum here in Paestum and shopping a bit, we got on our train back to Rome. I was surprised that when arriving back in Rome I felt that I was back "home" because we had only been there for a week or so before this. I guess that goes to show how a place you visit can leave an impact on you no matter how long your stay. 

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Our whole group in front of the Temple of Athena in Paestum!

The next day we visited the Mausoleum of Augustus, Augustus' alter of peace, and Hadrian's Mausoleum (which is now the St. Angelo Castle). It was cool to see all the intricate designs and work put in to make these massive structures. At the top of the Castle there was a great view! However, the view wasn't as amazing as the view from the top of St. Peter's Basilica which I visited after class. After viewing the church itself and the catacombs, a few classmates and I climbed to the top of the dome. Though there were a way too many steps, the view at the top was incredible! 

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I really enjoyed the view from the top of the Vatican! It was worth all the stairs we climbed to get up!!

Finally, for our last day of class we took a bus to Hadrian's Villa about 45 minutes outside of Rome. Here, we met an archeologist who toured us around and showed us a recent excavation site! Next, we went to Palestrina to see a temple of Fortuna Primigenia and yet another incredible view!! That night we had our closing banquet at an authentic (by authentic I mean family owned with Grandma Nana who came out and gave us all hugs when we were done) Italian restaurant that was the best food by far! Our now tight knit group talked about the trip, our jokes, and how we are going to hang out once we are all back in State College! After this I conned a few of them to get Frigidarium Gelato for the last time. It was a really great way to end the trip! This group will always hold a special spot in my heart; they made this trip, walking 13 miles each day, and a lot of museums more interesting and much brighter!!

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A photo of the Nymphatorium at Hadrians Villa!


Haleigh (one of my good friends I made on the trip) and I at the top of the Temple of Fortuna.

I hope everyone has enjoyed my blog in relation to studying abroad! I would love for you to check back next week to hear where my journey takes me! 

Ciao Roma!


Second Post (Tuesday, June 7):


I'm glad you decided to check back in on my adventures abroad! As I mentioned in my last post, I was headed to the Vatican and then after that, the beach, on my past free day. We attended a mass at the Vatican in the morning and despite not understanding the Italian and Latin languages spoken, when everyone turned to their neighbor's, shook hands, and maybe gave them a hug, a light bulb went off and we all turned to each other and said "PEACE" acting as if we knew what was going on the whole time. It was a really cool experience being there, receiving communion, and attending mass in St. Peter's Square. After the outdoor mass, we were a bit concerned because we were barricaded into St. Peter's Square. However, we soon realized that the Pope was going to come through the crowd!!!


At the beautiful St. Peter's Square!

Soon enough he came whizzing by on a car-like automobile with an open top, standing, smiling, and waving to all throughout the square as we stood on plastic chairs to see who could get the best video. Once we returned back to our hotel after this, we rounded up the rest of our group and hopped a train to a small city about an hour south of Rome called Sperlonga.  <


The Pope wheeling through and blessing the crowd!


The cute little town of Sperlonga :)

After a questionable cab ride later we arrived at the beach where we swam in the Mediterranean. They said it'd be pretty cold, but after swimming in the Minnesota lakes in mid-May prior to this trip, it wasn't bad at all, actually it was quite refreshing! We then watched the sunset and had dinner on the beach. For dessert I took a break from gelato (mainly from Frigidarium) and I had the BEST tiramisu for dessert. This was just last week, but oddly enough it feels like it was both yesterday and a month ago at the same time! Class keeps us pretty busy during the days with different city tours each day, my classmates are awesome and this city is amazing! 


The BEST gelato ever! - Frigidarium


My tiramisu from Sperlonga, which I want to go back for!!

This week during class we visited the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, the Arch of Titus, the Roman Forum, the Capitoline Hill, the Palestine Hill, and the Pantheon to name a few! It's crazy to me how much history is here and how well preserved some of these sites are after all these years. I am definitely learning a lot!


The Roman Forum!

After class each day we have time to explore Rome! This week we went to a restaurant with karaoke, which was a LOT of fun! My teammates (and I'm sure most of you know if you've seen the pregame video) I enjoy singing/dancing in the locker room before games. Well, luckily, or unluckily for those in the restaurant, one of my classmates here in Rome shares the love of the song Fergalicious and the restaurant had that available for karaoke. So, needless to say we crushed it.

Another night we went to a Jazz club to hear live music. The musicians were so so good! If only I had played clarinet for longer than a year I maybe could've joined them! ;) Some of the group also spent one afternoon shopping on Via Cola di Rienzo to look for gifts for friends, family, and ourselves! Side note: The few guys that came along soon regretted their decision after realizing this wasn't an area of souvenir shops, but instead clothing, leather purse, and shoe shops...We may have forgotten to mention that...Whoops!

This past Saturday, June 4th, we had our second free day! We were planning on, and actually made it to Cinque Terre, which if you Google will see just how beautiful it is. Anyways, we got there and the weather was not 75 and sunny like we have been experiencing in Rome for the past week and they told us that if we tried to take the train to the first of the five cities we wanted to visit, we may get stuck there for the night due to the rain. So, we decided we better be safe, make it to class, and instead go to the Leaning Tower of Pisa!! 


Leaning tower of Pisa!


I found out that Pisa has more to offer than the leaning tower, and it took my breath away!

Traveling doesn't always work out the way you planned, but I was happy our group just rolled with it and had a great day eating pizza in Pisa!! 

Finally, on Sunday June 5th, we took a short train ride to Ostia, one of the major Roman Ports where the entire city of ruins is well preserved! Despite being made fun of for my Minnesotan accent on the way there, having to repeat the words dragon, about, boat, and one Coach Dawes and Ben (our equipment manager) love to tease me about, bag, the train ride was fairly quick!


Thought of my little friend Sophie (who skates with me after games) because there were many cats hanging around Campus Martius

In Ostia, we explored the ancient ruins of the old and extremely important port city and in doing so, turned the ruins into our own jungle gym! We climbed up the stairs and to the roof of every building they allowed us, into every little crevice we could squeeze into, and probably went a little past that in order to get a better feel for the ruins as well as (obviously) some really great photos (one of which as we were stepping across a small ditch a boy in my class ripped his pants!! Let me tell you after hearing about my accent on the way there I did not hold back my laughter when, after being in the sun for a while after the fact, he said, "oh, this breeze is nice" LOL) !! 


My jungle gym for the day: Ancient Ostia

Next week I will talk about our class trip to Sorrento and Pompeii! I hope everyone had a great weekend!! 


First Post (Tuesday, May 31):

I left May 24th in the afternoon, my mom dropped me off at the MSP airport in Minnesota and I was off!! ... Or I thought I was... The flight delay provided me with some time to work on my presentation I had to give later on in the week, however, I was worried I wasn't going to have enough time to catch my next flight out of Boston to Rome. By the time I landed and got off the plane I had 25 minutes to get to my gate. Let me just start by apologizing to anyone if they happened to see me sprinting (or running as fast as I could run with a backpack on) not only through the airport, but to another terminal where I had to go through another security line (special thanks to everyone for letting me jump the line, much appreciated)!! As I was running through the airport I couldn't help but thinking a few things, first, am I going to make this connection!? And what happens if I don't? Next, I was thinking I for sure can do this, this is what KJ (our strength coach) prepared me for. Thirdly, I was thinking, hopefully these new bright coral tennis shoes make me look fast haha. Luckily, I made the flight and made it to Rome, and so my journey begins!

I arrived on the 25th, but most of my class arrived the following day so on the 26th some of us ventured out to the Trevi Fountain! Surprised we didn't get lost and/or hit by a car because the drivers are crazy! You just cross the street whenever and cars swerve around you...If you don't cross you may lose the group! We then had our opening class "banquet" dinner at a small Italian restaurant.

The following day we visited the Baths of Diocletian, which I performed my 10-15 minute speech on and went into the Basilica of Santa Maria which was very cool! We saw the Imperial forums, Trajan's market, and Trajan's column, all for class! Later that night we went to the Vatican museum and even got to enter the Sistine chapel, which was beautiful.

Saturday May 28th, we spent most of our day at the Capitoline Hill museum and exploring underground, excavated temples!

Sunday we have our first day off and I think we will be headed to the Vatican and then the beach for some swimming and relaxing on the beach! Loving my experiences thus far in the Eternal City! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer adventures!! Check back next week for another blog post from Roma! We Are!!!



A great view of the Roman Forum from the Capitoline Hill museum

11967767.jpgTrying to be like Lizzie McGuire at the Trevi Fountain

11967768.jpgAt this point you can tell I like panoramic shots. This one shows a great view of the city and puts into perspective the number of churches here!

Introduction Post:

Well I can inform you it's been an eventful first few days of traveling overseas, navigating Rome, and meeting my classmates for the next three weeks! Before I get in to all of that, I suppose I should introduce myself.

Hi everyone, my name is Bella Sutton and I am a defenseman on the Penn State women's ice hockey team, #11. I just finished my sophomore year at PSU less than a month ago. I can't believe I'm already considered a junior!?! Anyways, these next few weeks I will be studying ancient Roman history by traveling around Italy. I will be sharing with you some of my experiences, what I've seen, done, and knowing me, some bad jokes or puns will be included so bear with me remembering I always encourage a good courtesy laugh :)


By Julie Bacanskas

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Coming into Friday night's matchup, the talk was at an all-time high. The only unseeded team to reach the Final Four this season, Penn State women's lacrosse was prepared to compete in its first NCAA semifinal game since 1999. Throughout the night the team proved one important fact.

The Nittany Lions are among the nation's best, a team that more than belongs in this group of elite programs.

Although Penn State saw its season come to an end at the hands of North Carolina for a second consecutive year, the Blue and White never gave in, competing until the very end. In a match that began with a three-goal Tar Heels' run, the Lions clawed their way back before dropping the 12-11 decision in the final seconds.

"It was a great game. That's really what Final Fours are all about - team's going on runs and competing hard and coming up with big plays at big times," head coach Missy Doherty said. "Thankfully our players were competing for 60 minutes. We fell a little short there at the end but I was so proud of how they worked and how hard the game was. I think we wanted to show everybody in the Final Four that there's a reason we're here and that's because we were ready for it. I think they certainly showed that today."

Down 12-9 in the second, an illegal stick called on Carolina began a momentum shift. An Abby Smucker free position goal, her second of the game, brought the team back within two and another quick score with 7:13 remaining made it a one-point game.

However, UNC was content to keep patient after regaining possession of the ball, aiming to let time tick off the clock.

"It definitely is frustrating having UNC pull us out a little bit, trying to keep possession of the ball so that we couldn't swing it back the other way," Smucker said. "We had some practice with that in our previous games. Florida used that tactic against us too. We just wanted to stay composed, stick to our game, not let them get anything easy on us. I think we did a good job on that."

Madison Cyr, who finished with two goals and an assist, forced a turnover, but a stop by Carolina's Megan Waters on a Steph Lazo shot with 40 seconds left sealed the team's fate.

Regardless of the outcome, the Nittany Lions showed their grit and determination, keeping close in a game they had already been counted out of yet again this season.

Understanding how and why Penn State reached the Final Four isn't difficult. They not only played No. 3 UNC, but also the top- two teams in No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Florida. Those two games were also decided by a single point - Maryland a 10-9 loss in the regular season finale and Florida a 14-13 overtime win in the tournament.

It's time to stop counting the Nittany Lions as underdogs and start recognizing their capabilities. The Blue and White is becoming a lacrosse powerhouse and it has no intentions of going anywhere.

"Everyone's talking all week long (that) it's the first time we've been back," Doherty said. "I told the team, 'Listen, we've been here before. We've played these games all year. It's not like all the sudden we get to the Final Four we try to play a different game.' I think they did a great job of that. They competed. We didn't have too many crazy turnovers. If anything, we were forcing some of those, keeping their composure, getting some good shot opportunities in the second half. I don't think we force opportunities. We had some good ones to make."

"Seeing their composure, I thought it was a championship composure," she added. "We didn't pull it out there in the end but I was so proud of them and the way they competed - even when they're down by three goals or by more goals. They just kept competing. They didn't give in. You could see the fight, the resilience of this team. I thought it was awesome."

Seventeen Years Later: Penn State Returns to the Semifinals

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By Jeremy Falls, Assistant Director of Penn State Strategic Communications


Seventeen years.


The Nittany Lions return to the grandest stage in collegiate lacrosse for the first time since a similarly talented, yet underdog-type outfit, upset a national power along the way to crashing the NCAA Semifinals.


What wasn't known then, as Penn State made its ninth semifinal appearance in the then 18-year history of the NCAA Tournament, was that it would be 17 years for the Nittany Lions to reemerge as one of the final four teams standing.


Seventeen years later, another Penn State women's lacrosse team awaits a semifinal game as the Nittany Lions take on No. 3 North Carolina on Friday at 5 p.m. in Chester, Pennsylvania.


On that 1999 team, senior captain and three-time IWLCA All-American Jen Johnson (1996-99) would help lead her squad to Homewood Field, site of that year's NCAA Championship Weekend. Johnson and her teammates enjoyed certain traits all championship-caliber teams encompass.


"I think we had a very tight knit team," Johnson said. "We had a lot of great chemistry on and off the field and I think that helped our success. We had a lot of talent."


Another alumna, B.J. Johnson (nee Lucey), was a freshman on the team and remembers a similar kinship.


"We had a lot of fun, we got along very well," B.J. said. "We had some characters like JJ (Jen Johnson). It was a very happy, fun team. We played really well together. It truly was a group effort from goaltending all the way up to attack."


One thing B.J. has a hard time processing is how fast time has gone by.


"I can't believe it's been 17 years," B.J. said laughingly. "I don't think I'm that old. I saw that on Twitter and I said, 'I think I'm going to vomit.' It feels like it was 17 minutes ago."


Dialing the clock back, Penn State had to travel to Princeton in a quarterfinal matchup for the right to reach the 1999 semifinals. The Tigers were able to force overtime late after a few Penn State missteps, but it was the Nittany Lion seniors who stepped up and prevailed in a 9-6 overtime win.


That was a very exciting game," Jen Johnson added. "It was close the whole time, we made a couple mistakes down the stretch, but we ultimately did what we needed to do to secure the win. That was a very good Princeton team. We just played at a really high level to keep it going and not have it be our last game."


This year's team possesses many of the same characteristics of that 1999 team: a talented bunch that relies on senior leadership and had to overcome a heavy favorite along the way. The Nittany Lions downed No. 2 Florida on the road in the second round, while the 1999 team took down Princeton, who went on to win the 2002 and 2003 national titles. 


Johnson served as a head coach at the University of Vermont for the past 12 seasons and is able to assess Penn State's accomplishments as both an alumna and a coach.


"They've been really fun to watch," Jen Johnson noted. "They're just really impressive. I think they have a lot of skill and a lot of athleticism and speed. I've been really impressed with their confidence in key moments."


A volunteer assistant at Rutgers, B.J. Johnson might know the team as well as any graduate of the program. She not only coaches against this current team as a Big Ten foe, but after graduating in 2003, Johnson returned to Happy Valley as an assistant for four seasons (2007-10).


"This is a little bit of an unlikely team,' B.J. stated, noting that this year's team wasn't as highly ranked as the 2015 team that fell in the quarterfinals. "They're playing well at the right time and they're doing everything they need to do. They have this great opportunity and it shows how hard it truly is and how special to be among the last four standing at the end of the year."


Both B.J. and Jen have been rallying their teammates from that special 1999 team and others to support the squad on Friday night in Chester.


"I think they have a great shot of going the whole way," Jen Johnson said. "I'm really excited to be there first hand. I'll be bringing my parents. This is big, not just for the alums, but the parents. It's a reunion for them as well. I'm expecting a huge, huge turnout."


"We're getting tailgating stuff together," said B.J. Johnson. "Purchasing tickets and getting t-shirts made so we can all be together. That's all we want, is to have one, big happy group of Penn Staters."


As for the task at hand, Penn State faces a potent North Carolina side that is seeded third and ended the Nittany Lion season a year ago in Chapel Hill. Friday may see more of the Penn State Blue & White in the stands and a Missy Doherty-led squad is ready to embrace that challenge.


"To be able to represent our fans and alums in the final four in Philly is an awesome thing," Doherty noted.


As for any home-field advantage, Doherty expects to have one.


"I would hope so. We are Pennsylvania's team so we're looking forward to that advantage and making our Pennsylvania residents and our Penn State fans proud our team and our program. Hopefully everyone will be close by on Friday night."


One thing is for certain, Doherty and her charges have already made the alums before them proud of this team. Jen Johnson heaped praise on the sixth-year head coach.


"I think she's a great person, a great leader," Johnson said. "She's done a great job recruiting and I think she has two great assistants in Amy (Altig) and Brooke (Matthews). I think she's done a really good job with this team and I've been really impressed with what I've seen on film."


Jen Johnson went on to add what it means that Penn State gets to play in its home state.


"I've spoken to a lot of Philadelphia-area alums and colleagues and everyone is rooting for Penn State because people are happy to see what a great job Missy has done and a new team in the mix."


As for whether this team can reach Sunday's national championship game, it would be an achievement unto itself.


"It would be incredible," said Jen Johnson. "I think it's definitely something that can be done, they have the talent. They showed it by almost upsetting Maryland."


She went onto add there's something a little special of a potential championship game matchup as well.


"We (the 1999 team) lost to Maryland in the semis, and we'd love to see a Penn State-Maryland final on Sunday and for PSU to knock off Maryland."


Nevertheless, if things don't go Penn State's way Friday night, all of Nittany Nation will have full support.


"I'm a proud Penn Stater win, lose or draw," B.J. Johnson added. "And I bleed Blue & White and I always will. This is super special."



VIDEO: Women's Lacrosse Primed for NCAA Semifinals

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the 10th time in program history, the Penn State women's lacrosse team (14-6) will compete in the NCAA semifinals when the Nittany Lions take the field to battle third-seeded North Carolina (18-2) on Friday at 5 p.m. (ESPN3)  in Chester, Pa.

Making their first appearance in the national semifinals since 1999, the Lions have built a great deal of momentum during a stout run through the NCAA Tournament bracket. After knocking off Winthrop in the opening round, Penn State has ousted second-seeded Florida (14-13) and seventh-seeded Penn (8-4) in back-to-back gains to earn a spot in the final four.

"I'm super proud of our players and of the program," said head coach Missy Doherty. "For our fans and alums, just to be able to represent them in the final four in Philly is just an awesome thing...We are looking forward to that. We are looking to make our Pennsylvania residents and the Penn State fans proud of our team and our program."

A tight-knit group, the players have relished the opportunity to extend the season one final week.

"This is a huge step for our program, and we are just so excited to finally get past the elite eight," said senior Jenna Mosketti. "In our four years here, we've made it to the elite eight almost every year, and to be in the final four now our team has been super pumped. And this week is really exciting."

"I'm so happy to be a senior and experience all of this with everyone," said senior Ally Heavens.

Looking at the matchup, the Lions are familiar with North Carolina. The two teams played in the NCAA quarterfinals last spring, with the Tar Heels topping the Lions by a score of 11-8. Penn State built an 8-4 edge over UNC in the second half before North Carolina ended the game with a surge.

Confidence is high for the Lions, who head to Philadelphia playing some of their best lacrosse of the season.

"I think transitions will be a big key for us," said senior Madison Cyr. "North Carolina is really good at riding back on the opposite end of the field. We need to take care of the ball on transition, and I think we will be successful."

Before the team's departure on Wednesday, caught up with Coach Doherty, Cyr, Heavens and Mosketti for their thoughts on advancing to the national semifinals.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

By: Jeff Sattora, Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The seniors on the Penn State women's lacrosse team have three NCAA quarterfinal appearances on their resumes in four years wearing the Blue and White in Happy Valley.  They can now add a Final Four trip to that list.  The Nittany Lions advanced to the round of four on Saturday afternoon, taking down the 7th seeded Penn Quakers, 8-4, to move on.

The win secures the program's first trip to the Final Four since 1999.   

"I can't even talk right now," said Penn State head coach Missy Doherty as she sat down to the podium postgame.  "It was awesome.  It's an awesome win for our program and just an awesome day in general." 

"We've been kind of knocking at the door the past couple years and every year's been a little bit different," she added on the program and seniors getting over the hump.  "We've been really fortunate in this tournament so far with some big wins and good learning experiences to go into such a tough Final Four next week."

Awesome was one way to describe Penn State's performance on this rainy afternoon.  Even with Penn jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes of play, Penn State battled. 

"You could see the nerves coming out because of the immense stress this kind of game provides," Doherty said.   "But I was so proud of them to come through strong and make huge plays when it mattered."

Freshman Kelly Daggett got the ball rolling with big plays for Penn State, as her goal down the right side put Penn State on the board 11 minutes into the game, and the Nittany Lions never looked back. 

Once Daggett found the net it was time for the senior class to shine.  Seniors Madison Cyr and Jenna Mosketti scored back-to-back goals to give Penn State a 3-2 lead they would not give up. 

The Nittany Lions continued that strong play into halftime, taking a 6-2 lead into the break.  While Penn opened the second half with a goal of their own to cut it to 6-3, that was the closest they would get the rest of the day. 

"We've shown a commitment all year to the play that we're in," Doherty said on the team being able to respond.  "We know we have great scorers and we know we were playing well defensively." 

Cyr was one of those great scorers on Saturday, as her first goal wasn't her only strong play on the afternoon.  She led the attack with two goals and two assists in the win.  

"I'm just thinking move as fast as you can and get around them," Cyr said on her offensive mindset. 

"She does a great job just seeing the cage," Doherty added on Cyr's efforts.  "She's not worried about this person or that person.  Her head is up seeing the cage and she came up with some awesome plays today."

While the offense gave Penn State the lead, it was the Nittany Lions' defense that helped secure in win.  The Blue and White held Penn's top three point scorers, including the nation's leader in assists, Nina Corcoran, to a combined zero points on the day. 

"Momentum-wise today we just got it from our defense," Doherty said.  "Emi (senior goalie Emi Smith), made some crazy saves this game and our mark-up defenders did a great job on their key players." 

Following Penn's two early goals in the game's first eight minutes, the Quakers would not find the back of the net again for 27:32 of game action. 

"The defense did a great job forcing them in a certain direction where I could make an easier save than just a one-on-one.  They work so hard down the field and on just want to back them up," said Smith, who finished the day with eight saves in the win. 

The strong play led to a great win, and that great win is a big step for women's lacrosse at Penn State.  

"It's a huge step for our program.  I love Penn State, I love our players," said Doherty.  "They work so hard and to see them experience something that they'll never forget, that's why you love to coach."

The seniors are not ready for this ride to end.

"The timing is perfect, happening our senior year we just want to stay here as long as we can," said Cyr. "We're just happy to make the Final Four."

"Being back on this field one last time, it was kind of like just give it your all, one last time," added Smith.  "It was an all or nothing type of feeling for our seniors and I definitely think that showed on the field." 

Doherty, the seniors, and the rest of the Nittany Lions will look to make a few more special memories next weekend in the Final Four in Philadelphia.  Penn State will take on the third-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels Friday night with a trip to the title game on the line.