Recently in All-Sports Blog Category

By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's hockey concluded the weekend on a high note with a 3-2 overtime win over RIT on Saturday. Head Coach Josh Brandwene continues to commend the freshmen class on their consistency on the ice.

"They just continue to grow every single day," said Brandwene. "The effort is always there. The poise continues to get better with great jobs at both ends of the ice, and a tremendous performance by Hannah [Ehresmann] in net."

Caitlin Reilly, CHA Rookie of the Week, boosted the Nittany Lions with two goals on Saturday including the game-winner in overtime. Reilly's first goal came in the first period with assists from Amy Petersen and fellow freshman Remi Martin. However, Reilly's game-winning goal was a total team effort.

"Great pressure at the offensive blue line by Amy Petersen," said Brandwene on how the play started. "Just a really smart hockey play with a nice chip and support from Laura Bowman. And, a great heads up play by Laura to feed Caitlin in the slot. Caitlin stuck with it and on her second opportunity threw it on net, and when you put pucks on net great things happen."

Making the necessary adjustments from a loss to skate to victory the next day speaks volumes to the type of program Brandwene and his players are creating.

"It says everything about the team family environment that we have," said Brandwene. "They are a great group. They bring tremendous enthusiasm and a great effort to the rink. We have a great group of leaders and veteran players who are tremendous veteran leaders for them."

Not only have the freshmen shined but also special teams.

Penn State's penalty kill was perfect against the Tigers, holding them scoreless on six opportunities. According to Brandwene, Bowman, Petersen, Emily Laurenzi, Micayla Catanzariti, Hannah Bramm, and Sarah Nielsen continue to positively progress on the disadvantage.

"A great week of practice from the penalty kill this week and an excellent effort on Friday and nice adjustments as well on Saturday," said Brandwene. "Great effort. Great poise. Great adjustments."

After going 0-for-3 on the power play in Friday's loss, the Blue and White scored on the player-advantage in Saturday's win. Freshman defenseman Bella Sutton netted the game-tying goal while on the power play with 5:06 in regulation.

"They remain patient and poised," said Brandwene on his power play. "We had good looks all weekend, and they made some just nice, simple adjustments to find some open space and open lanes, and I'm really proud of their effort, as well."

After nearly a month away from home, Penn State finally returns to Pegula Ice Arena this upcoming weekend for a two-game conference series against Lindenwood.


By Astrid Diaz, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State track and field jumpers are looking to make a big impact this year as one of the staple point-scoring groups of the program. In part four of season previews, caught up with Coach Kevin Kelly and his group of student-athletes on their improvements during the preseason, their goals, and this year's outlook.

Senior captain Steve Waithe had a phenomenal 2014 season on both the Big Ten and National stages. Waithe took home the Big Ten title in his 52-feet triple jump and placed fourth in the long jump (24-0.25). At Nationals, he triple jumped for 52-11.5 feet, the fourth best jump in Penn State history.

This year he returns leading the Nittany Lions and ready to break more records.

"Winning Big Tens definitely gave me some confidence...just to execute on the big levels is what I wanted to do," said Waithe. "This year my goals are obviously to break some records.

Sophomore Lexi Masterson joined the program last year and immediately got to work. At the 2014 outdoor Big Ten Championships, she pole-vaulted 13-3.5 meters, the Penn State all-time record. In 2015, she's looking to improve her performance and be a big contributor to the team.

"My goals for the team definitely include keeping up the winning streak at both Big Tens, indoor and outdoor," said Masterson. "Personally, I really want to make it to the NCAA Championships and I'm going to work really hard to achieve those goals."

Senior Dylan Bilka and sophomore Robert Cardina return this year for the Nittany Lions, as well. Both student-athletes hold Penn State records and are looking to raise the bar.

"Well, this year I'm looking to improve. Obviously, I'm going for the indoor record, which is only a couple inches higher than my [personal record]," said Bilka. "And just to see the rest of the group do really well."

Bilka finished fifth at the outdoor Big Ten Championships in 2014 with a 16-8 ¾ meter pole vault and moved to fifth in the Penn State all-time record book.

Cardina has had tremendous success in the decathlon and heptathlon in all levels.

At the indoor Big Ten Championships, he broke the Penn State record in the heptathlon with 5,511 points. His second-place finish and score of 7,666 ranks second in the All-Time Penn State books.

"That sets the bar," said Cardina. "I have the school record now and I just want to keep setting it and setting it [higher]."

Coach Kelly is excited about the group's progress and depth noting their great preseason performances and their ambitions to bring home as many Big Ten titles as possible.

For more information of Penn State track and field visit and follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.

Monday Notebook: 2014 Defense Stacking Up Against Program's Best

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
10543984.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Through 10 games in 2014, the Nittany Lion defense has played with tremendous consistency and has established itself as one of the top units in the nation.

Statistically speaking, Penn State is ranked in the top five in three of the four major defensive categories. The Nittany Lions are No. 1 in the nation against the run (83.1 ypg.), No. 3 in the nation in total defense (265.6 ypg) and No. 4 in the nation in scoring defense (16.2 ppg).

Additionally, Penn State leads the nation in team pass efficiency defense (96.89), is sixth in third down conversion percentage defense (29.2 percent), is second in the nation in first downs defense (140 total), is 10th in passes intercepted (15) and is No. 16 in passing yards allowed (182.5 ypg).

Penn State is also one of just three teams in the nation to have not allowed a rushing play of 30 or more yards (Duke & Syracuse). The Lions also lead the nation with fewest plays of 30 or more yards allowed this season (7).

"You just never know who is going to make the big play with this group," senior Mike Hull said. "Coach Shoop puts us in great positions to make big plays all the time and we are just swarming to the ball every single play."

Visually, the Nittany Lions have been even more impressive. Playing with relentless pursuit and never-ending pressure, the Lions have forced their opponents to become one-dimensional on a weekly basis. The Nittany Lions have held their opponents to an average of 15.4 points and 139.9 yards below their season average coming into the games. In the last three games, Penn State foes are 7-of-47 on third down (14.9 percent).

"We bring the intensity every single time we step onto the field," junior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel said. "We love playing with that intensity and that has been a big key to our success."

Granted, there are still two regular season games to play, but the 2014 defense finds itself in elite company when it comes to some of Penn State's all-time best defensive units. The highlights include:

Rushing defense - 83.1 ypg in 2014 is the lowest since the 1986 national title team's 69.4 ypg average.

Total defense - 265.6 ypg in 2014 is the best since the 1978 team's 203.9 ypg average.

Scoring defense - 16.2 ppg in 2014 is the lowest mark since the 2009 team's 12.2 ppg average.

Yards per play allowed - 4.1 ypp in 2014 is the best since 1990 when the Lions allowed 4.0 ypp.

Just four times in Penn State history since 1966 have the Nittany Lions held their opponents to fewer than 85.0 rushing yards per game in a season. Only eight Penn State defenses have limited opponents to fewer than 270 offensive yards per game in a season.

Individually, Mike Hull is ranked No. 9 in the nation in total tackles (111). Hull is averaging 11.1 tackles per game. Only four players in Penn State history (Since 1970) have averaged 11.0 or more tackles per game during a season. Dan Connor is the most recent Nittany Lion to do so (11.1 tpg in 2007).

Penn State travels to Illinois in the final road game of the 2014 regular season on Saturday at noon (ESPN2).

"We are just playing as a complete defense right now," sophomore Austin Johnson said. "We feel good about the way we are playing, but we can't wait for the next game."

Lions in the Stat Rankings
Several Nittany Lions remain among the leaders in national and conference statistical categories. Here is a weekly breakdown of Penn State players in the stat rankings:

QB Christian Hackenberg - Hackenberg is third in the Big Ten in passing yards (2,318) and passing yards per game (231.8 ypg). The sophomore is second in the conference in completions per game (20.70).

WR DaeSean Hamilton - Hamilton is 15th nationally (first in the Big Ten) in receptions per game (6.8). He ranks third in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game at 78.7.

LB Mike Hull - Hull leads the Big Ten and is eighth in the nation in tackles (11.1 per game). He is second in the Big Ten and 20th nationally in solo tackles per game at 5.9.

K Sam Ficken - Ficken is leading in the nation and first in the Big Ten in field goals made per game at 2.20.

Early Look at the Illini
The Fighting Illini will look to snap a two-game losing streak on Saturday after back-to-back losses to No. 16 Ohio State (55-14) and Iowa (30-14). Illinois enters the week 11 matchup with a 4-6 overall record and a 1-5 mark in the Big Ten. The Illini defeated Minnesota on Oct. 25 (28-24) for their first Big Ten victory of the season.

Quarterback Wes Lunt missed three games due to injury, but was among the Big Ten's leaders in several statistical categories before getting hurt. Lunt returned to the starting lineup against Iowa last week. He has completed 65 percent of his passes in 2014 and thrown for 1,671 yards with 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

Defensively, linebacker Mason Menheim has been productive throughout the 2014 season. Averaging 9.8 tackles per game, Monheim ranks second in the Big Ten in tackling.

Penn State and Illinois will meet for 22nd time on Saturday. The Nittany Lions are 17-4 all-time against the Illini.

Extended Game Highlights from the Temple Game

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

McAdam Leads Lions to Weekend Split

| No Comments | No TrackBacks


By Julie Bacanskas, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the loss of Friday's game still fresh in their minds, the Nittany Lions took the ice on Saturday for a rematch with No. 4 UMass Lowell determined to make changes and play a stronger brand of hockey.

As time in the third period expired, the Lions successfully accomplished what many believed to be an impossible task for the young program. They dominated against and beat a top-five team on the road, taking down the River Hawks, 4-1, to complete a weekend split.

"I'm really proud of the way they did it because it shows that they certainly can focus and commit to playing a much better hockey game and give more of themselves," said head coach Guy Gadowsky. "I think that's exactly what happened. I think every single guy really worked extremely hard throughout the whole game, and when everybody does that you give yourself a chance."

Following Friday's 5-3 loss, Gadowsky decided to make a few changes in an attempt to give his team some life. One of those decisions was giving sophomore goalie Eamon McAdam the nod for the first time this season.

McAdam's play on Saturday was a defining point of the game, and his 24 saves against the top-scoring team in the NCAA allowed the Lions to stay competitive against the River Hawks.

"First of all, I think Eamon has really made some commitments to himself and how he was going to approach this year," Gadowsky said. "Both in his own work ethic and throughout the start of the year the way he's approached practices and the team has been excellent. We do a lot of evaluations and statistical evaluations at practice as well, and he really has been excellent. He's absolutely deserved to get the chance if we needed him to come in."

"Friday night we weren't playing very well, and we certainly were giving up some huge opportunities. By no means is this a knock on [Matthew] Skoff, but we happened to give up a lot of Grade A opportunities and four of them went in. The timing seemed right to have Eamon go in, and he actually faced a lot of very difficult shots and played extremely well. Starting him on Saturday was really a no-brainer."

While the win was momentous for the Lions, it also marked a special occasion in McAdam's collegiate career. With the performance, he earned his first win as a Nittany Lion.

"It was a pretty big relief and a monkey off the back kind of feeling," said McAdam. "It's always good to get your first win. Last year, I was close a bunch of times, but I couldn't pull together a win. Like I said, it was a big relief. My parents were there, which is cool because I got to enjoy that with them."

Through the first 10 games this season, both McAdam and Skoff have combined for a .924 save percentage and an average of 2.16 goals allowed per game.

Both goalies are playing consistently for Penn State, giving the team its best chance night in and night out.

"I think it's big to have two great goalies," said junior Casey Bailey, who had two goals in Saturday's victory. "Skoff has been playing amazing for us, and we kind of left him out to dry Friday. Coach gave Eamon a chance on Saturday, and it shows a lot. He played really well Saturday and at the end of Friday's game, and I think to have two goalies playing this well is definitely good for the team."

Despite the positive outcome this weekend, Gadowsky is far more satisfied with the way his team played and the effort he saw. In his mind the win itself is not the key to believing in the team and its abilities.

"I think where we're going to gain our confidence is the fact that we played a very good hockey game," Gadowsky said. "Win or lose, I think that because they're such a well-coached team UMass is so consistent in their habits and so difficult to play against that we sort of proved that we can perform at a high level against a very, very difficult team."

The Lions now have a 6-2-2 record on the season, which stands as a testament to their growth as a program. With this historic win under their belts, the remainder of the year looks very bright for Penn State.

"Compared to last year, we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were," McAdam said. "I think as a team, and also you can just look at it on paper, you can see the steps we've taken have really started to turn into results. I think that's sparking a ton of confidence with the whole team. It's only going to make us want to work harder and try even harder for bigger and better things."

Nittany Lions Lock Down Fordham with Strong Defensive Effort

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

10543030.jpegBy Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Relentless.

That has been the approach that Patrick Chambers has preached to his players throughout his tenure as head coach of the Penn State men's basketball team.

On Sunday against Fordham, the Nittany Lions defense embodied that word, shutting down the Rams for much of the evening in a convincing 73-54 win.

The Nittany Lions held the Rams to just 29 percent shooting from the field, marking the first time Penn State held a team under 30 percent since a 72-45 win over New Hampshire on Dec. 23, 2012. The Lions also forced 17 turnovers and won the rebounding battle 40 to 37.

"Just five guys playing as one," senior guard D.J. Newbill said. "Talking and communicating and just playing hard. We were out there helping each other and our rotations were on point."

While they limited the Rams throughout the game, the Blue and White's defense was particularly sharp in the first half, as they hold Fordham to a mere 20 percent shooting performance (6 for 30).

As eye-popping as that stat is, the number that really exemplified the Lions' effort on that end of the court is 10:30. That's the amount of time Penn State held the Rams without a field goal during the middle of the first half.

It was that stretch that changed the course of the game. When Chris Sengfelder scored at the 16:22 mark, the Rams were leading 10-5. By the time Manny Suarez finally ended the drought with a 3-pointer with 5:52 remaining, the Lions had a 25-16 lead and a hold on the game.

For Chambers, the highlight of those ten minutes wasn't simply getting stops. It was seeing his players actively communicating with one another.

"When you see us talking early and often, man we're really good on the defensive end," Chambers said. "We're really solid.

"There was a situation out there, we were playing zone, Ross Travis, Julian Moore, I think all five guys were talking. If we can get to that level, now you're back to being the best defensive team in the league. I'm talking about the Big Ten and that's what we're striving for."

One player that especially represents that mindset is sophomore guard Geno Thorpe.

While not one of the team's top scorers (he finished the game with four points), Thorpe is as tenacious and dogged as they come. In 16 minutes of playing time Sunday, he registered two steals, grabbed three rebounds and picked up an assist on what was arguably the play of the game.

With Penn State leading 22-11 eight minutes in, the 6-foot-3 guard dove for a steal near midcourt, then flipped the ball to Newbill who slammed home an emphatic dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.

"Geno might not have been big on the score sheet but he does so many things that helps us out," Newbill said. "He's always in passing lanes, he's always guarding the best [scorers].

"And that steal just kind of raised the momentum. The crowd went crazy, the team was pumped up. Now everybody's like, 'let's go,' and getting the energy back. That's what Geno does for us."

Thorpe was one of three players on Penn State to finish with multiple steals, as Travis and guard John Johnson each had two as well. On the offensive end, four Nittany Lions, Newbill (18), Shep Garner (12), Johnson (11) and Brandon Taylor (11) reached double-figures.

Still, it was their work when the Rams had the ball that impressed Fordham head coach Tom Pecura.

While his players came out with energy and even led for the first 5:11 of the game, Pecura said that the Lions were ultimately too much for his young squad to handle.

"I think that their intensity and physicality, you know all of a sudden [we're] shooting a little quicker or we're hesitant because they've closed down hard the possession before," Pecura said. "They did a great job rotating...they're well drilled in that and I think that had a lot to do with it."

Penn State has now held opponents to just 30 percent shooting and 51 points per game in its first two contests. Despite this, Chambers knows they can be even better.

Although they've started off well, there is still plenty of basketball to play and a number of challenging Big Ten opponents to face. With five upcoming games between Nov. 20 and Nov. 28, the Lions will begin to find out how far along they are.

"We're still a work in progress, we can be a whole lot better," Chambers said. "But a ton of positives. I thought we were consistent throughout. Overall, for 40 minutes I thought we played consistent." 

DeGraaf Shines Against Albany

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
10543101.jpegBy Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In a game that was back and forth for the duration of the contest, Penn State and Albany traded big shot after big shot.

With 1:28 to go and down three, Penn State's big shot came from sharpshooter Jenny DeGraaf, who nailed a 3-pointer from the wing to tie the game at 53-53.

DeGraaf gave a fist pump and tried to get the Lady Lion crowd in the Bryce Jordan Center on its feet. Both her shooting and her energy are what head coach Coquese Washington wants to see as a constant from DeGraaf this season. It's safe to say she got it on Sunday.

The sophomore was 4-for-4 with a career-high 12 points, all of which came in the three-point fashion in Penn State's 54-53 setback to Albany. DeGraaf said she was successful off the bench Sunday because she knew that was exactly how the coaches wanted her to play and perform.

"Our coaching staff has talked to all of us about our roles. I know that's my role," DeGraaf said. "I know I have to come in the game and be an offensive spurt and that's what I try to do. The girls got me the ball when they could and I was able to knock down some shots."

Washington and the Lady Lion coaching staff made it clear that DeGraaf would be a shooting threat off the bench and the Springboro, Ohio, native has took that to heart.

As a coach, Washington said that it is a luxury not only to have a sharpshooter off the bench, but especially one that knows exactly what she is asked of when she enters the game. Penn State tried to establish and inside presence against the Great Danes and couldn't entirely do so, thus DeGraaf was able to take advantage of the Albany focus on the interior and succeed from the exterior.

"The thing is, we wanted to get more looks inside with our size, but [Albany] did a pretty good job of packing the paint and making it tough for us to get those looks inside," Washington said. "The fact that we can bring Jenny in and she can make some shots off the bench against a zone defense is big."

Coaches look for two things from bench players, according to Washington - the player to affect the game statistically and emotionally. DeGraaf did just that against Albany.

Her 12 points and perfect shooting from downtown directly affected the statistical part of the game, but it was hard to miss what happened after that. DeGraaf would wave her arms to pump up the crowd or high five her teammates with noticeable passion and energy, sparking the Lady Lions.

"That's what you want from somebody who comes off the bench," Washington said. "You want them to be somebody to affect the momentum of the game and you can do that in a number of ways.

You can do it statistically, but you can also do it emotionally and today Jenny did both. She came off the bench and gave us a lift both emotionally and statistically."

DeGraaf's impact was felt on all aspects of the game and in the postgame press conference Albany head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson noted that her team struggled covering Penn State's three-point threat.

"Our game plan was to make them take outside shots," she said. "But, not [Jenny DeGraaf], we weren't supposed to be letting her shoot from out there,"

DeGraaf's career day will be one she humbly thinks she still can improve on and take with her moving forward as she continues to try and improve her impact on the Lady Lions.

However, it was certainly visible on Sunday.

Rec Hall Atmosphere Helps Fuel Sweep Over Minnesota

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

10543067.jpegBy Anita Nham, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A season-high crowd of 5,569 fans packed Rec Hall to watch No. 6 Penn State women's volleyball sweep past Minnesota in straight sets (25-20, 25-12, 25-23) on a chilly Saturday evening.

In some areas, spectators were standing two-to-three rows deep in order to watch the defending NCAA champions continue their 10-match winning streak.

"I thought the crowd was fantastic," said head coach Russ Rose. "It was a great day in Penn State Athletics with the football team becoming bowl-eligible, the field hockey team winning a NCAA game versus Boston College, and the effort we had tonight. Minnesota is very good and I thought we played really well...Great win against a good opponent."

The Nittany Lions trailed early in the first set, 6-4, but due to two attack errors from the Gophers, Penn State was able to tie the set. The Gophers quickly retaliated and went on a four-point run that caused Penn State to call the first time out of the match.

After the timeout, Penn State went on a 4-1 surge to trim the deficit to within one, 12-11, but the Gophers pushed ahead from errors from the Nittany Lions. A service ace from senior Lacey Fuller and an attack error from the Gophers allowed Penn State to get their first lead of the match, 15-14.

Penn State built on their momentum and created a four-point lead, 21-17, that required Minnesota to take their final timeout of the set. Holding a 23-19 the Nittany Lions clinched the opening set (25-20) thanks to consecutive kills from junior Aiyana Whitney.

Whitney recorded a team-high of 17 kills on .682 hitting.

"I'm kind of in the mindset of 'I just want to take pressure off of the hitters,'" said Whitney. "I know if I'm playing well than our younger players can feel less pressure and can kind of play relaxed and I think that's my ultimate goal - to take the pressure off of everyone else and just play well."

The Nittany Lions built on their momentum from the first set to create a five-point cushion, 9-4, early in the second. Minnesota cut the streak by one, but Penn State rallied back with a 5-1 drive to create an eight-point advantage en route to a 25-12 victory in the set..

Hancock, who recorded 31 assists and four aces in the match to tally 91 aces this season, played a critical role in the 2-0 lead. She tied the all-time single season record, which she previously set in 2011.

"When Micha serves well, I just want the rest of the people to serve the ball on the court," said coach Rose. "When Micha is struggling with her serves, then their serves are a little more important."

Nonetheless, Minnesota wasn't going to give the match up easily as they had an early six-point lead, 7-1, in the third set.

"I'm still worrisome [from the third set]," said Hancock. "I know we're better when we control the ball. It's hard to have that confidence when you've come off a second game like that. It's all mental readiness."

Coach Rose agreed.

"Just because you win one game easy, doesn't mean [we aren't going to lost] when down 8-2 in the third game. I'm not thinking about how easy the second game is; I'm thinking about what I didn't do at intermission to get them ready to play," said coach Rose.

The Nittany Lions went on a 13-6 push to tie the set at 13-13. It was a back-and-forth set until a block from freshman Haleigh Washington allowed Penn State to take a two-point edge, 21-19. The Gophers reclaimed the lead on a four-point drive, 23-21.

However, in the midst of a deafening home crowd, Minnesota recorded two attack errors to give Penn State a 24-23 lead. Senior Dominique Gonzalez recorded an ace for match point to complete the sweep.

"Everybody's playing for something. Some people are playing to get into the tournament, some are playing for a top-seed, and in the second half of the Big Ten season, everybody's good," said coach Rose.

2014-'15 Men's Hoops Blog - Penn State vs. Fordham

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to's live, interactive coverage of the 2014-'15 men's basketball season. Tonight, the Nittany Lions face Fordham inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

Live Blog 2014-'15 Men's Hoops Blog - Penn State vs. Fordham

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

LIVE BLOG: Lady Lions Host Albany

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live in-game coverage on for the Penn State women's basketball preseason WNIT second round contest against Albany on Sunday, November 16 inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

Be sure to interact with today's blog coverage with questions or comments at the bottom of our widget. Post your photos to Instagram or Twitter and use #PennState or #LadyLions and your photos may be chosen for use on our in-game coverage.

Live Blog Lady Lions Host Albany

LIVE BLOG: Lady Lions Host Albany

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome to live in-game coverage on for the Penn State women's basketball preseason WNIT second round contest against Albany on Sunday, November 16 inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

Be sure to interact with today's blog coverage with questions or comments at the bottom of our widget. Post your photos to Instagram or Twitter and use #PennState or #LadyLions and your photos may be chosen for use on our in-game coverage.

Live Blog Lady Lions Host Albany