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By: Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With the last game of their regular season against a Big Ten rival, the Nittany Lions women's lacrosse team is pumped up and ready to take on the Terrapins on their home field. This is a big game for Penn State, and if they clinch themselves a win they will tie with Maryland for the top spot in the Big Ten.

For team co-captain Abby Smucker, who is a Maryland native, this is an exciting game as the end of the season nears. 

The team plans to go into the game as if it is any other team and play the best that they can, but Smucker admits that there is a different feeling going into this last game of the season.

"As a player, personally it brings more of an emotional and motivational factor knowing that it is a chance to play for the Big Ten regular season championship," said Smucker.

She has come a long way from her first season on the team and she cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by.

With the seniors graduating in a little over a week, it is only a matter of time before the reins are turned over to the rising seniors.

"I think just yesterday I was a freshman and the years have just flown by. Next year we are still going to have a great group of upperclassmen that are willing to lead the way and show the underclassmen the ropes," said Smucker.

Playing Maryland is a big deal to the team, they are excited to end their season against such a good team and believe that they are more than prepared to take on the Terripans.

"I love playing Maryland last. It's an awesome way to end our season and I think we are ready to take them on," said Smucker.

"We've had our ups and downs this season, but I think we've played that out. We've grown a lot as a team and we're peaking at the best point in our season against Maryland."

The girls have a lot to take on, as Maryland is a very fast and talented team, but Smucker is confident that with all of the practice the team has put in, that they are ready to take on a top rival. 

"Maryland is very fast in transition and they are going to have all seven attackers that can come at us hard," said Smucker.

"We are looking to play good, hard defense and really have each other's back to make those 1 v. 1 stops."

Smucker said the team is also going to continue to focus on communication and keeping up quick ball movement in their last game in an effort to outplay Maryland.

Although it is the beginning of the end for the seniors, they are going to push their hardest against Maryland and through the postseason to make the most of their time left with the team.

Smucker said she was going to miss the upperclassmen that have led the team for the past year, and thanks them for their dedication to the program over the past four years. 

"The seniors have done an amazing job of inspiring all of the underclassmen and showing us the way and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors," said Smucker. 

The Nittany Lions are so close to snagging that number one spot in the Big Ten alongside Maryland, and the team is highly motivated to get that spot.

The two teams will face off in University Park on Thursday, April 27 starting at 7 p.m.

Powell Settling Into New Position with Lady Lions

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the Lady Lions in the midst of the offseason, there is a new, yet familiar, face walking the halls of the Bryce Jordan Center.

Miriam Powell, the former executive director of Pink Zone, has increased her role with the program and is now the Director of Community Outreach, a position she stepped into in January.

In her new objective with the program, Powell's main focus is creating powerful and impactful relationships within the Penn State and surrounding communities, through service and volunteerism

"My biggest goal is more visibility for Lady Lion basketball outside of the Bryce Jordan Center," Powell said.

Powell has worked closely with the women's basketball team ever since she first became the Pink Zone executive director five years ago. The decision to join Pink Zone was all about timing for Powell, who had moved to the area with one young child and another on the way.

"I was just looking to keep my sanity as a new young mom, and was doing volunteer work in community for the American Cancer Society," Powell said. "One of the other volunteers told me about the Pink Zone opening and thought that based on what I had done for ACS that I would be a good fit."

The position proved to be a really good fit at that time, allowing Powell to work from home and still be around her kids. It also allowed her to build relationships with the community and the Lady Lion program.

Now that her kids are a little bit older, Powell was ready to get back into an office setting. Having always felt that volunteering and community service are important to building character, Powell jumped at the opportunity to apply for the position with the Lady Lions.

"The one thing that I loved most about my years with Pink Zone was getting to know the community better," Powell said. "I just really loved getting to know the people in the other communities so when this job became available and the focus was on community outreach and community service, it was a good fit."

As she settles into her new job, Powell's been busy wrapping her head around all parts of Penn State athletics in what she describes as a "fun and busy" first couple of months. She's excited for what the future holds for the Lady Lion program, both on the court and in the office.

"It's been really fun getting to work more closely with the Lady Lion players, I've loved that part of it," she said. "I love coming to work every day. Every day is different and the people who work in this office specifically are awesome."

As the Director of Community Outreach, Powell plans to use her strength of connecting with people to focus on connecting Lady Lion basketball even more to the community.

"My goal is creating more visibility, and getting the players and the coaches out engaging with the fans that are supporting them now, or lining them up with new fans because of the community service that they do," Powell said.


Nittany Lions Eyeing Future

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11900173.jpegBy Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It didn't go as planned for the Nittany Lions as they closed out the 2016 postseason earlier than many expected.

Penn State dropped a tough four set match to Saint Francis in the EIVA semifinals at Rec Hall. Arguably the second best team in the EIVA, Saint Francis was ranked fourth in the conference, but alongside the Nittany Lions, were one of two ranked teams in the EIVA at 15 in the nation.

"We were still in it, we had chances, we needed one point in game to go up 2-0 and maybe that changes the timber of the match. We never got that side out, and we were in a dogfight from there on," head coach Mark Pavlik said.

The match ended in four sets, but every set could have gone either way as the teams could not find separation until the later stages of each set. The disappointment for the Nittany Lions was palpable in the postgame press conference but there was still time for reflection from some of the seniors.

"The past five years this program is kind of all I have ever known," senior Matt Seifert said. "I thank Pav for all that he has given me and I will take a lot of the things I learned here with me. I think he cares about his players more than any other coach I've had."

Sometimes you work extremely hard and the results don't turn out in your favor. That was the sentiment shared from many of the Nittany Lions as they team scratched and clawed all season, but in the end couldn't fine the results they desired.

Despite the exit that many didn't see coming, the positives are still there for this season, as they always are. They just usually don't show themselves until a few days after a tough loss. Three Nittany Lions received first team All-EIVA honors in Chris Nugent, Matt Seifert and Taylor Hammond. Nugent was co-EIVA player of the year. Royce Clemens also garnered EIVA honors as the newcomer of the year.

"We have a very strong group of guys here and all of them help the team in some way," Seifert said. "It's nice for the team and a few guys to get recognized like that."

The positives don't just stop with the accolades that the Nittany Lions received this season, in fact they don't just stop with this season. Many of the main contributors and starters this season for Penn State were either juniors or sophomores. The core is young for this team as Pavlik has eluded too many times and this means the future is bright.

"We have gotten contributions up and down the lineup all season long," Pavlik said. "This one hurts, but for the guys coming back next season it should also serve as a motivator, that will be interesting to see how it works out in that way."

For Penn State, the returnees include Nugent, Aidan Albrecht, Jalen Penrose, Matt Callaway, Kevin Gear and Clemens. All these players were main factors in victories at one point or another for Penn State this season.

"Obviously we aren't happy with the way this season ended," Albrecht said. "But we know we have a group of guys who have experience and can help us build a very good team next season as well. We just have to work hard and make sure were ready."

Though the loss may sting for a few more days, the new season has already started for Pavlik and Penn State.

"This is a feeling we haven't felt in a while, now the job is to take this disappointment and make sure the program benefits from it," Pavlik said. 

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a fruitful four years with Penn State women's lacrosse (11-4, 3-1 Big Ten), which included winning the inaugural Big Ten tournament championship in 2015, the class of 2016 left their mark during Senior Day in Happy Valley. No. 14 Penn State defeated No. 12 Northwestern (7-8, 2-2 Big Ten) 17-13 on Saturday.

"The senior class has helped us turn a corner for our program and you could really see that physically out on the field today," said head coach Missy Doherty. "So those guys coming up big was certainly not a surprise to me because they've done it for four years."

Senior midfielder Madison Cyr led the Nittany Lions by scoring four goals against the Wildcats. Known for her domination in the offensive zone, Cyr also contributed three assists and six shots on Saturday.

At the other end of the field, senior goalkeeper Emi Smith kept the Wildcats at bay as she made nine saves during Saturday's contest.

After a close first half, the Nittany Lions were tied with the Wildcats at seven apiece. During the second half, the Nittany Lions once again found themselves with a tied game at 11 apiece with 18 minutes left to play. With constant lead changes, this was the sixth tie of the game.

With 17:27 left a timeout was called by the Wildcats and Penn State set up in its defensive zone. A turnover caused by senior midfielder Ally Heavens gave the Nittany Lions possession of the ball, and they immediately took it into the Wildcats' zone. 

Junior attacker Steph Lazo's shot on net was saved and again the Nittany Lions found themselves on defense. Despite their relentless efforts, the Wildcats were unable to find the back of the net as junior midfielder Abby Smucker caused a turnover.

Once again on offense, the Nittany Lions weaved their way through traffic and down the field. Still tied, Cyr made every effort to bring the ball into the zone. Passing to Lazo, Cyr and her fellow teammates set up their play. A few passes later and it was freshman attacker Madison Carter who gave the Nittany Lions the go-ahead goal, assisted by Cyr.

The Nittany Lions took the lead, 12-11 with 11:16 left to play.

Another lead change forced Penn State to buckle down just a minute later. With the Wildcats up 13-12 and less than ten minutes left in the game, the Nittany Lions surged forward on offense.

Five unanswered goals at the end of the second half gave the Nittany Lions the edge they needed, and beat out Northwestern 17-13. Seniors scored two of the final five goals, one from attacker Jenna Mosketti, her second goal of the game, and one from Cyr, a fitting end to a day celebrating the class of 2016.

"I think we buried our shots and we had some momentum," said Doherty. "We hadn't necessarily gotten momentum in some of our games, we didn't have bad momentum but we just didn't get it but today we go it from Emi [Smith] making some big saves and then we got it from putting our shots away toward the end of the game. It was good to see us capture that kind of momentum and make some big plays when it counted." 

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By Shannon Rostick, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With only two games left in the regular season, the senior women's lacrosse players are reflecting back on their time with the team and making the best of the time they have left.

Seniors Madison Cyr, Heather Herman, Ally Heavens, Jenna Mosketti and Emi Smith all agree that they are not ready to be done with the team that has brought that so many memories over their careers.

They have devoted so much of their time at Penn State to practices, games, watching film, and traveling together, and that is something each and every senior does not want to end.

The girls are upset to have only two games left in their regular season, but they are excited that their last ever regular season games are on their home field.

"It's sad to be ending, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Having Northwestern and Maryland be our last two games and be at home is awesome and we are going to go out with a bang," said Smith.

Smith also thinks that the team plays better at home and truly does have that home-field advantage. With the vibes from the crowd and from the team as a whole, she believes that it helps them to play their best.

Heavens also agreed that being at home for the end of their season is the best thing for the team. 

"It'll be to our advantage being at home. We will have a good crowd cheering for us and that makes it so much better," said Heavens.

The game takes up a lot of the players' time, which has helped them to keep their minds off of graduation and the culmination of their time with the team.

"I have been so consumed with lacrosse and it's nice to have the game to distract myself with, so it hasn't really hit me yet," said Heavens.

Cyr agreed and said that with so much time being devoted to the game and her schoolwork she hasn't had enough time to sit down and think about the end of her career as a player and as a student.

Smith took a slightly different stance, in the fact that their playing time continues through graduation, which makes the transition more manageable.

"We keep playing when school is done, so it's not like when we're done, we're done. We still have some time to keep playing after we graduate, so I haven't really thought too much about it yet," said Smith.

The girls also reflected back on their season so far and the success they have had as a team up to this point.

"We have had an incredible season. Our team has never had a record like we do right now and we are still having a great season," said Smith. 

The one criticism the girls had of their season, was how hard they were on themselves after a loss.

"We focus way too much on our losses even though we've had a great season. But I guess that's a good part of our team because we expect so much from ourselves," said Heavens. 

The girls are looking forward to the rest of the season ahead, and hope that they can look back after it is all over and be proud of the work they have done this year.

Penn State has been their home for the past four years and has given the girls an incredible opportunity to become a part of the community, build relationships, and integrate themselves into the amazing Penn State culture.

Although graduation is quickly coming upon them, the players are excited to be a part of the alumni base and to experience a different part of the school's culture.

"There is no place like Penn State and being on a team that has brought us all together from so many different places is awesome," said Heavens.

Smith also talked about how big the alumni base is and that she loves that no matter where she ends up she will always have someone yelling "We Are" at her whens she's wearing Penn State. 

These past four years also mean that the girls have had lots of time to bond and get to know each other. They spend all of their time together and they have become like their own little family.

"We are not just teammates, we are sisters and Missy (Head coach Missy Doherty) is like our mom," said Cyr.

These close bonds make it hard for the underclassmen to see the seniors go, but they are making sure to celebrate and honor the work they have put into the team with a Senior Day celebration this upcoming weekend prior to their game.

Before the game, the seniors will receive gifts and videos from their underclassmen teammates and will be walked onto the field by friends and family.

This will be a great way to honor the seniors who have put so much time, energy, and love into the team. 

The Nittany Lions will take the field this Saturday, April 23 at 12 p.m. against Northwestern.

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By Zach Reagan, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Dannielle Gibson has broken through this year with remarkable performances, but it's her competitive moxie that drives her for nothing short of greatness.

 

The junior jumper from the Bahamas has picked up right where she left off during the indoor season. Gibson earned triple jump victories in the Pac-12 vs. Big Ten Invitational and the Pepsi Invitational so far this outdoor season. She has used the indoor season as motivation to improve.

 

To wrap up the indoor season, Gibson finished a not too shabby tenth in the triple jump in this March's NCAA Indoor Championship with a leap of 42' 3.25" (12.88m). She displayed vast improvement from her sophomore to junior year. Gibson, a fiery competitor, still wasn't satisfied with her indoor finish and she has made it known that she wants to be one of the best collegiate triple jumpers in the country. Ultimately, Gibson wants to stand at the top of the podium when it's all said and done.

 

"Coming into the outdoor season, I had the goal of wanting to go undefeated," said Gibson.

 

Gibson doesn't settle for anything short of excellence on the jumping runway as she practices her craft with jumping coach Fritz Spence. Coach Spence and Gibson continuously work on technique and jumping phases to get winning results.

 

"It's all about competing, I have the physical skills but right now we're just working on my mental approach," said Gibson.

 

Gibson stands at eighth in the country and second among East athletes in the outdoor women's triple jump with a high mark of 42' 11" (13.08m). In the Nittany Lion record books, Gibson finds herself fourth all-time in the triple jump.  A list she looks forward to sometime sitting at the top of some day soon.

 

Among other factors that positively influence her performance on the jumping runway is her pride for Penn State. The balance of elite academics and athletics impacted her coming to Penn State. Her father Dwight thought Penn State was a perfect fit.

 

"I love it here, especially the family atmosphere and community and I've never been a part of anything like this before coming here," said Gibson.

 

Gibson and the Penn State track and field squad will compete this weekend when the team splits up for the Stanford Twilight in Stanford, California on Friday and the Bucknell Team Classic in Lewisburg, Pa. on Saturday.

 

The men's team comes into this weekend No. 12 in the country and No. 1 in the Mid-Atlantic region. They look to be hitting their stride after sharing co-champion honors with No. 2 Oregon in the Pepsi Invitational at the University of Oregon on April 9th.

 

Currently, Isaiah Harris (800m), Brannon Kidder (800m), and Brian Leap (triple jump) all have top-four marks in the country in their events. Leap earned Big Ten Men's Field Athlete of the Week last week with a personal best triple jump of 53' 4.5" (16.27m) in last weekend's Texas Invitational victory.


For more on Nittany Lion track and field, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com or follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.

Canadian Lacrosse Players Contribute Unique Skillset

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Most people know Canada as the home to ice hockey. However, Canada is also home to the arguably equally as intense sport of box lacrosse. With four Penn State men's lacrosse (7-5, 1-2 Big Ten) players hailing from Canada, their experience with box lacrosse has helped them build a different skillset than their American teammates.

Senior attacker TJ Sanders, junior midfielder Dan Craig, sophomore midfielder Chris Young, and freshman midfielder Dylan Foulds all have experience playing the physical sport of box lacrosse.

"I started playing field lacrosse when I was 14 but have played box since I was about five," said Foulds. "But really growing up I only played field lacrosse about once or twice a week."

Box lacrosse varies greatly from field lacrosse, as players in box must all use the same length stick, there are only six players from each team on the field at a time (including the goalie), and the more prevalent use of a shot clock.

Equipment is a big differentiator between the styles also, because in box instead of elbow pads players have slash guards to protect the forearm to mid-bicep. Players in box also have bicep and rib protection, which players in field don't have. In box lacrosse there is also off-ball contact, which means players without the ball can be hit, which is against the rules in field lacrosse.

The smaller playing surface of box lacrosse also requires players to be more physical, but also forces them to develop high-quality stick skills. While field lacrosse requires a combination of skill and speed, box lacrosse players can sometimes separate themselves from average players with superior stick skills alone.

"Box is a lot more physical and up-close," said Young. "You've got to be able to handle pressure and it's a lot more compact so you've got to adapt to the game better. On the field you have more open space so you have to adjust your speed and use your size differently."

The need for such skills in box lacrosse, Craig explained, is the reason behind why he believes Canadian players have the innate ability to be more creative on the field. Craig credits his background with box lacrosse for some of the more intricate shots he's taken on net this season, such as those behind the head.    

Having played box lacrosse most of his life, Craig's transition to college lacrosse was unique. He had little experience with field lacrosse, the least of all the current Canadian players on the team. Increasing Craig's confidence was key head coach Jeff Tambroni explained, and noted how the midfielder seems to get more confident the more years he's played on the field.

"I've been playing box lacrosse for over 10 years, close to 13 years," said Craig. "I didn't even know general rules of field, I had to work on spacing, and learning how to shoot on American goalies was something I had to work on also. American goalies play like a player with their stick up in the air whereas they have their stick on the ground in box."

In his earlier years on the team Craig was more hesitant on the field in his movements, but throughout his sophomore and junior years he has developed more fluidity. The hard work Craig has put in has paid off, and today he is an effective and dominant presence at midfield.

Tambroni noted how important the Canadian players are to his program. Having seen a good amount of Canadian players come through Penn State, Tambroni highlighted a few areas that Canadian players excel in.

"There's two distinct skillsets that they bring down," said Tambroni of Canadian players. "One is just their stick stills in general they just seem to be a little bit further ahead than most of our American players because of the confines of the arena that they play in. The other one would just be toughness. The rules are much looses in the indoor game, certainly in the box game, it's an extremely physical game and there's not much complaining up there. Those guys expect that when they put that equipment on and they have the ball on their stick that they're going to take a pounding. That's the mentality they carry and more often than not they carry that down to the States. I admire it."

As the game of lacrosse grows in the United States, the Canadian members of Penn State men's lacrosse hope to see more Canadian players come to American colleges to play.

"I think in the past ten years there's been a lot more Canadian players," said Craig. "I think that's just going to keep increasing."

Penn State plays at Rutgers on Friday at 8 p.m. The game will air on the Big Ten Network.



Senior Leadership to Help Lions in Postseason

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11886641.jpegBy Jack Milewski, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Experience is a key factor on any team, especially when the postseason begins.

The Penn State men's volleyball team is loaded with experience. Though the team is only graduating five seniors, the underclassmen on the team have also seen more than enough game experience to be considered seasoned veterans. Everything is magnified come playoff time, including the importance of leadership. This fact is something that head coach Mark Pavlik is well aware of.

"I think that this is the time of year where the seniors step up and lead by example on and off the court," Pavlik said. "They have done that a lot for us and you certainly hope they continue to do so."

Penn State lost its last match of the season, an uncharacteristically sloppy performance at George Mason. Though it was the Nittany Lion's final match, Pavlik says he isn't too concerned by that match and says it shouldn't be too indicative of how the team will come out in their EIVA semifinal match.

"Our mindset after the match was okay," Pavlik said. "We had the luxury of playing in a playoff environment when it didn't matter, so now when we get home on Thursday and then maybe Saturday, we will be prepared for that and I think that is the best thing about playing Mason when we did is it gave us a big time game to prepare us for the playoffs."

Penn State's captains are always the ones to step up and calm the team down after matches, or encourage them after wins on the bus rides back. One of those captains, Matt Seifert said that this team is unselfish and will always be ready to play despite the result.

"We have a group of guys that play very hard so I don't think that effort is ever the issue, we just have to remind ourselves to play clean volleyball and stayed focused," Seifert said.  

As the season has gone on for the Nittany Lions, the leadership of the seniors and other captains has shown not just in their vocal encouragement, but also in their willingness to do what is best for the team. Every senior has been sat at points in the season or pulled from a match, but it never seems to affect the overall team psyche or that individual as well.

"We know what we are going to get from everyone on this roster," Pavlik said. "There are no secrets when it comes to our team and I think that is a big benefit for us come this time of the year because we know that one through 13, everyone on that bench needs to and will be ready to jump into the game. I always tell the guys that because more often than not there is a time in a game where they are going to need to step up off the bench cold and come deliver a play for us."

No senior epitomizes the leadership off the bench role better than Andrew Roberts. The service specialist has seen time at right side during the season but primarily journeys behind the service line one to three times a match to try and provide his team a spark.

"Andrew really helps us out a lot and he is one of those guys who is so reliable off the bench," Aiden Albrecht said. "It's tough to come in and make a good serve while you're cold, but Andrew does it really well."

Leadership and experience are not the only key components to a long playoff run, but they certainly are cornerstones and a good foundation to have. The Nittany Lions will rely on their experienced roster as a whole as they start the EIVA tournament this Thursday in Rec Hall at 7:30 p.m. against Saint Francis. The winner of Saint Francis-Penn State will face the Harvard-George Mason winner on Saturday night at 7 p.m. for the championship. 

By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It isn't enough to have a 4.0 GPA since freshman year of high school.  It isn't enough to have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors twice.  It isn't enough to be a heck of a designated player, hitting a game-winning shot against Maryland last weekend.  Softball senior Shannon Good wants to make a difference. 

 

"I actually went on a mission trip to Guatemala last fall and really loved the reconstructive surgery they did there, so right now, that's what my interest is," she said.

Good will be attending SUNY Upstate Medical University in the fall as a graduate student after completing her pre-med program at Penn State.  She is interested in all aspects of surgery, but has a special interest for helping out and doing reconstructive surgery in less developed countries.  Her head coach, Amanda Lehotak, knows she is incredibly driven. 

"She's just very 'this is what I'm going to do, this is how I'm going to do it' and nothing really seems to phase her.  I know they all get stressed, but Shannon's one of those kids that, to me, it's hard to tell when she's stressed or overwhelmed," Lehotak said.  

Good was originally a chemical engineering major, like her sister Courtney, until she realized she wanted to be more hands-on with her patients.  She did know from a young age she wanted to be a medical professional.  Since then, she has received near-perfect grades, and was considering Cornell before she chose Penn State and its chemical engineering program. 

With the softball team heating up, she has proven she can be a key contributor to the team.  In game three of last weekend's series against Maryland, Good pinch-hit with the bases juiced in the bottom of the sixth.  She proceeded to rope a single up the middle, scoring two runs and securing the victory for her team. 

So yes, she is a good softball player.  But everyone around her realizes she is more than that.

"Shannon Good is just the highest integrity individual player that you could find.  For someone to do what she did undergrad to go to being accepted to med school, it's pretty amazing," said Lehotak. 

Intensity is a buzzword when talking about Good.  She is intense academically and on the field, and accomplishes goals. 

"I do like the word intensity for her.  Her time management is excellent, that's just who she is," added Lehotak.

Good is looking to help propel her team to an NCAA tournament berth in her final season at Penn State, and after winning seven of the last eight games, the team is looking to keep that momentum going.  As for Good, just like the team on the field, she is in great position to succeed in medicine going forward.  

Lions Plate Five Runs in First, Complete Season Sweep of Bucknell

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11883917.jpegBy Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State (23-14) defeated Bucknell (16-24) by a score of 9-5 Tuesday night for its sixth straight victory and second over the Bison in a week.

The Nittany Lions handed Bucknell a loss just six days earlier, 8-1.

Penn State wasted no time getting ahead on the offensive end. In the first inning, the Nittany Lions scored five runs on three hits and three walks and ousted Bison starter P.J. Strahm before he could record even two outs.

"Even though we scored five, you still got to play the rest of the game," said head coach Rob Cooper. "I do think it helped kind of take a little bit of energy and kind of put them down a little bit emotionally, but you got to keep playing and you got to respect the game. Otherwise this game is going to jump up and bite you."

Starter Eli Nabholz held Bucknell hitless for the first three innings and ended up with the win to improve his 2016 record to 2-0. Nabholz lasted five innings, giving up just two hits and one run while striking out five.

"I felt good," Nabholz said. "I was just working with [coach Brian Anderson] during the week trying to get a little more confidence in hitting spots. That was the game plan today. Just to go out and see results kind of reflect on some of the work you've been doing is good."

Nick Distasio relieved Nabholz in the sixth inning and gave up four runs in two innings, three of which came on an inside-the-park homerun by Joe Ogren in the seventh inning.

Jack Anderson came in to close out the game and notched his ninth save of the season. He's tied for ninth in the country for most saves in 2016 and he leads the Big Ten in saves and ERA (0.72).

Greg Guers continued his onslaught of opposing pitchers by smacking two hits and adding an RBI on the night. Guers is 15-21 in his last five games with nine RBIs, and his batting average has risen from .189 in early April to .320 currently.

"It seems like every time I swing the bat it's finding a hole somewhere so that's always good," said Guers. "You just stick to the same approach you've been having, and it's been working so I'm not adjusting it too much right now."

For his spectacular efforts in the past week, Guers earned Big Ten Player of the Week and NCBWA National Hitter of the Week honors.

"It's awesome to see," Cooper said. "Even when he was struggling, we still trusted him in the middle of that lineup. His success right now started back a month and a half ago when he kept with that process and he kept with that approach. If he had just kind of scrapped everything then I don't know if he's where he is so I'm extremely happy for him."

Also logging a strong night at the plate was freshman catcher Ryan Sloniger. Sloniger went 2-4 and tied a season high with four RBIs to lead the Blue and White in that category.

"I've been working with [coach Ross Oeder] a lot in the last few weeks, and I've felt a lot better in every game," Sloniger said. "Leading up to the night, I just wanted to barrel the ball and stay in the middle of the field."

Seniors James Coates and Tyler Kendall recorded multi-hit games in the win as well. The top four batters in the lineup (Coates, Jim Haley, Guers, and Kendall) reached base a combined 13 times and accounted for six of Penn State's nine runs.

The Nittany Lions have now won 11 straight games against Pennsylvania foes dating back to 2014. Penn State still has games scheduled against Pitt and Villanova later this season.

Penn State will travel south to face Kent State in another non-conference matchup Wednesday night. This weekend, the Nittany Lions will visit Piscataway, N.J. for a three game series against conference foe Rutgers. The Lions currently sit at fourth in the B1G with an 8-4 conference record, while Rutgers occupies the 11th spot with a 3-6 conference mark. 

 

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