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Bailey's Dominance a Product of Dedication

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With 14 goals and eight assists in 19 games this season, Casey Bailey has emerged as one of Penn State hockey's offensive leaders; however his value as a member of the Nittany Lions goes far beyond his ability to score.

Bailey puts his heart and soul into every second he is on the ice, every shift he gets to play. His game has never looked stronger or more consistent, a result of his commitment to the program.

"The better hockey he plays, especially away from the puck, it seems the more goals he scores, and his conditioning right now is at the highest level it's been," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "And that's by far. That's easy. I think that helps. The better condition he's in, it allows him to play better hockey away from the puck. Anytime you're playing good hockey, it seems you get more chances. That's what's happening to him."

With his increased success, Bailey is quick to acknowledge his linemates, Taylor Holstrom and David Goodwin. The three have played together all season, and they are by far Penn State's most productive line, accounting for 60 of the Lions' points.

"I think a lot of credit goes to my linemates Holstrom and Goodwin there," Bailey said. "I think, you know, unless they're not passing to me, they're opening up space for me. So a lot of credit goes to them and the rest of the team. I think when we're playing our best hockey and I'm kind of doing the small things to help us play our team game, that's when I'm doing my best and scoring the goals."

Bailey's goal scoring is what he is most recognized for, but the junior is not only successful when the puck is on his stick. He constantly battles in the defensive zone. He forechecks at every opportunity and drives the net.

The forward truly has a hockey sense and knows exactly what he need to do in order to be a smart player.

"I'm constantly trying to read where the puck is about to be," said Bailey. "I'm trying to get lost, especially in the offensive zone, obviously. I have confidence in my linemates to find me. They're constantly looking for me in the zone, and I'm trying to do the same when I have the puck. I think they're distracting the other guys with their speed and skill, and it's leaving space for me."

At the conclusion of last season, Bailey started to show glimpses of his abilities. It has been no surprise to Gadowsky and the rest of the coaching staff that he has dominated this year.

This weekend, Bailey and the Lions will welcome Michigan State to Happy Valley. The Blue and White were winless against the Spartans last season, with four hard-fought games, but the team is expecting better results now. Penn State is an improved team.

"I think that we've showed at times that we are very much improved, and it's a matter of playing our game," said Gadowsky. "We know the preparation that we need and the mindset that we need to play our game, to have our best performance, our best chance at a positive result. It's a matter of doing it.

"I know their scores. I know their record, things like that, but I don't know how much maybe they're improved as well. I think it just comes down to I know what happened here last year. I know the games that we played in. They were all very, very close. The coaching staff, we're sort of hungry on this one to see where we're at and see if we did improve."

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By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In their season opener last weekend, the Nittany Lions sent a huge message to fans and rivals; this season they're coming, they're looking, and they're conquering.

Penn State spent the week fine-tuning and dusting off in preparation for the Nittany Lion Challenge, which will look to bring six schools to Happy Valley including powerhouses Georgetown and the University of Miami on Saturday.

"We have another group of six teams coming in this weekend that are excited to be here and we're excited to have," said head coach John Gondak. "Last weekend showed a lot of our student-athletes are ready to accomplish some big things so we're going be to be going after some good marks this weekend."

"It's Our House"

Home facility advantage will be one of the best parts of this weekend's challenge (and of the indoor season).

There's something about being in a routine and a familiar environment that brings out the best in an athlete and the Nittany Lions aren't taking that for granted as their feeding off of the energy one event and one fan at a time.

"It's a cliche that 'it's our house' but that's how they look at this and they don't want people to come in here and beat them. They feed off of it a lot," said assistant coach Randy Bungard. "The stands are packed so there's a lot of energy and the video board going. Plus, when you travel you might take 30 guys and 30 girls but when you're here, even people that aren't traveling are here to cheer. So when you're here you have a huge fan [advantage]."

The sprints group is especially excited to see some tough sprints competition as some of their core runners are healthy and ready to race.

"The sprint group is excited about [it]. Miami always brings good sprinters - they're chomping at the bit especially Kiah [Seymour], Quenee [Dale] because they were held out. They're ready to get racing," said Bungard. "The sprints group was a very big part of our Big Ten and National Championship success last year and they just need to keep it going."

Consistency is Key

Several Nittany Lions had huge showings at the Penn State Relays and consistency will be key as they look into Saturday's challenge.

The throws group has hungry competitors including Darrell Hill and Rachel Fatherly who will be key leaders as they move forward.

"We have some good energy in the throws group right now. We had some ups and downs but Rachel [Fatherly] who sits eighth in the country and Darrell [Hill] who's first in the nation will definitely propel [the team's] confidence levels. As a group hopefully everyone can feed off of that," said assistant coach Patrick Ebel.

The team's pole-vaulters and jumpers are doing big things as well and will look to close some gaps within their group in order to be one of the most prominent powerhouse teams.

"What we got out of [last] meet is that we can be better. We have some nagging little injuries. We're looking to do something big this weekend and show what we have here. I think we have a lot of talent," said assistant coach Kevin Kelly. "We're fine tuning stuff this week. We're trying to have high quality practices."

We Are...Pitbulls

The second competition will, hopefully, be an even better one for the Nittany Lions as the team gets electrified to win.

There's no doubt that the universities coming in this weekend will experience a huge competitive atmosphere paired with healthy and determined athletes.

Of their eventful week of preparations, however, Penn State wants the competition to know only one thing.

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Whoever comes in here, we're going to go after them," said Bungard. "We are pitbulls. We're going to go after you and if we're not wining, we're going to push you to a PR (personal record) and we're going to make you run hard."

The Nittany Lion Challenge kicks off Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track.    

Nittany Lions Eager to Host Three of Next Four in BJC

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10693019.jpegUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The upcoming schedule is a welcome sight for the Nittany Lion basketball team (12-5, 0-4 Big Ten).

After playing three of their first four conference games on the road, the Lions will host three of their next four games inside the Bryce Jordan Center, beginning on Saturday when Purdue (10-7, 2-2 Big Ten) comes to town for a 1 p.m. tip on ESPNU.

"It's good to be home," said head coach Patrick Chambers. "It's good to be in our own beds. It's good to be in our own gym. We know the baskets. We know the nets. We know the court. It's good to be home and hopefully we get a great home court advantage tomorrow."

On the heels of a narrow 76-73 setback at Indiana, the Nittany Lions are expecting another tight ballgame against the Boilers. While the Lions came up short on the scoreboard, the Indiana game was a big confidence boost for the Penn State big men. After a slow outing against Michigan last week, Donovon Jack, Brandon Taylor and Ross Travis combined for 35 points on 58 percent shooting at IU. As a team, the Lions tallied 46 points in the paint.

Chambers remarked after the game on Tuesday that it was a big point of emphasis to get the ball inside. Penn State's front line has the tools to create mismatches and give the Lions an added dimension on both ends of the floor when they are active. Now, Chambers wants to see the backcourt and frontcourt complement one another in the same game.

"We haven't hit on all cylinders all year long," said Chambers. "Our guards were just OK against Indiana and our bigs were great. And then Michigan our guards were great and our bigs weren't so great. So we have to keep mixing it up. Guys got to continue to take open shots and play with great confidence."

Inside the arc, the Nittany Lions have played well in Big Ten play. As a team, Penn State is shooting 43 percent from the field in the four Big Ten games. The Lions have shot 25 percent from three and 54 percent from inside the arc. At Indiana, the Lions shot 64 percent (27-42) from two-point range.

Coach Chambers has talked about it at length in recent days, but the Lions need to remain aggressive in getting the ball into the paint.

"Nothing changes. Put the ball inside like we've been doing," Chambers said. "Take open, uncontested threes when they're there. I felt we took too many early ones against Indiana. But overall, I think we have to get to the free throw line as well, a little bit more than we have the last few games."

The Boilers opened conference play with back-to-back wins over Minnesota (72-68) and Michigan (64-51) at home. Purdue dropped back-to-back road games at Wisconsin (62-55) and Maryland (69-60). The Boilers have a balanced offensive attack with six players averaging 8.5 points per game or more.

Purdue's rotation features two seven-footers, including junior A.J. Hammons (7-0) and freshman Isaac Haas (7-2). Both players are combing for 20.2 points and 11 rebounds per contest. Purdue ranks second in the Big Ten with 12.5 offensive rebounds per game.

"Tomorrow if Purdue wants to grind it out, we need to do a really good job of playing five guys against the ball, whether it's inside or out," said Chambers. "And then on the offensive end, our defense needs to dictate our offense."

The Nittany Lions will be hosting Purdue for the 22nd time. Penn State is 10-11 all-time in games played in Happy Valley. The two teams split last year, with Penn State scoring a 79-68 win in the BJC.


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

BLOG: Lady Lions Progress Continues, Set for Road Clash With Nebraska

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By Mike Esse, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coquese Washington has made it clear that while wins are of utmost importance, the progression of her Lady Lion basketball team is a very significant part of the evaluation of their play so far this season. Five games into the conference season, Washington said she likes the upward progression shown by her team in practice and in games.

"I definitely think we are progressing. Is it at the rate that we wanted, probably not, but we are certainly better in a number of areas then we were at the beginning of the season," Washington said.

Washington noted two things she wants to see her team consistently develop over the next few weeks of conference play: improved outside shooting and a reliable third scorer.

"I'd like our outside shooting to be a little more consistent, I think that would help with our offensive output," she said of her team's numbers from beyond the arc.

In terms of getting a third scorer, Washington noted Kaliyah Mitchell and Jenny DeGraaf as two players that could fill that role and make the offensive output more potent and consistent.

"When you have that third scorer that you can rely on every night it makes the offense a little better. If we can get that third scorer consistently that would be a help for us."

The Lady Lions have another tough Big Ten road test Thursday as they travel to Lincoln to face No. 17 Nebraska (12-3, 2-2) at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska has won its last two games against Michigan State and Illinois respectively.

Newfound Confidence Helping Gulibon Reach Potential

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10690419.jpegBy Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the surface, Penn State wrestler Jimmy Gulibon doesn't look much different than he did a year ago.

Not only are his wiry 133-pound frame and floppy brown hair still the same, he also hasn't changed his shy, quiet demeanor.

At the same time, it's been hard not to notice the redshirt sophomore's transformation on the mat. A year after he struggled to find consistency during his first season as a starter, Gulibon has been a force for the Nittany Lions throughout the 2014-'15 campaign.

So far, the Latrobe, Pennsylvania, native has gone 14-2 with a 7-0 mark in dual meets, huge improvements from his 18-15 season last year when he went just 5-8 in duals.

"I mean, it feels good but it's a long season," Gulibon said. "There's still a lot more wrestling to do so I'm trying to take it one match at a time."

His low-key personality aside, Gulibon has been attacking opponents with a tenacity that, while shown in glimpses last season, has been steady this year. With eight dual meets remaining, the 133-pounder already has four dual wins over ranked opponents to go with three major decisions and one pin on the year.  

What's been the difference for the sophomore? For starters, it's been learning to accept and enjoy the pressure that comes with competing at a wrestling-crazed school like Penn State.

A four-time PIAA at Derry Area High School, Gulibon came to University Park with extremely high expectations. For someone who's never been about the spotlight, it wasn't an easy adjustment.

"Going out there the first few times in [Rec Hall], it was pretty nerve racking," Gulibon said. "It's pretty scary and pretty hard to get used. But once you get used to it it's pretty fun."

Gulibon certainly looks like a guy who's having a lot more fun these days. Before he could start enjoying himself on the mat however, he had to work on a few things that had held him back.


Last season, Gulibon had trouble early in the schedule with getting escapes when wrestling in the bottom position. Soon, the new starter found himself hesitant to take shots, afraid of the possibility of giving up a takedown and having to fight his way out of it.

After dropping his first four duals, Gulibon improved enough to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in March, where he finished with a 1-2 mark. Knowing he had a lot more in him, he went into the offseason with a new sense of determination.


"I worked really hard this summer," Gulibon said. "You kind of have to have a little confidence in yourself. I mean this whole summer I trained, did extra work outs. Just a lot of that really helped out with my confidence. Working on all different positions, top, bottom and neutral I guess led to a bit of a confidence boost.

"Basically, I was afraid to get on bottom. I was having trouble getting out all the time and I think that led to me not opening up on my feet because there's a chance I make a mistake and get taken down and then I'm on bottom."

With Penn State entering the current campaign without the services of five of last season's All-Americans due to graduation (James English, Ed Ruth, and David Taylor) and redshirts (Nico Megaludis, Zain Retherford), the need for Gulibon to step up was very high. When the Lions dual slate began in November, it didn't take long for the second-year wrestler to answer the bell.

In the team's opening match against Lehigh, Gulibon faced off against the same opponent that handed him a 7-6 loss in his first ever college dual, second ranked Mason Beckman.


Not wanting a repeat performance, Gulibon scored two takedowns and added a pair of back points to overcome an early 2-1 deficit on his way to an 8-3 win. Since then, he hasn't looked back, going undefeated in duals and establishing himself as the lynchpin the Lions need in the top half of their lineup.

"With him, I think it's a maturity and understanding thing," associate head coach Cody Sanderson said. "He went right back to work after [last year's] national tournament because he wants to win. He's not okay with getting beat or having close matches, he wants to win. I think last year forced him to really figure some things out about himself and how he's approaching the sport and I think that's what we're starting to see in his results."

This past Sunday, the sophomore had another banner performance on the road at Ohio State. Taking on fourth-ranked Johnni DiJulius, who beat him 3-2 last year, Gulibon used a third period takedown to register an impressive 5-4 win.

Though the victories against ranked opponents keep piling up, Gulibon continues to look ahead. He knows that dwelling on the past won't do him any good, and there's still plenty left for him to accomplish.

"No...I try to leave [the previous matches] behind me," Gulibon said. "Last year I kind of dwelled on them a lot but this year I'm trying to forget about it and move forward."

VIDEO: This Week in Penn State Wrestling - Jan. 14

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com catches up with associate head coach Cody Sanderson leading up to Penn State's Big Ten weekend featuring a road trip to Rutgers (Friday at 7 p.m.) and a home dual against Purdue (Sunday at 1 p.m.).


McAdam Looks to Build Upon Recent Success

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By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After a shaky start to his Penn State career, sophomore goalie Eamon McAdam has worked hard to prove himself this season. With his first four wins as a Nittany Lion and his first victory at Pegula Ice Arena now under his belt, McAdam is ready to keep rolling with his team, contributing in any ways he can.

Following the goalie's winless freshman season, he evaluated his game and his habits. McAdam knew he needed to make a change in order to compete with the best. It was time to step up.

"At the end of last year, I kind of looked back and really noticed that I was working hard at times, but it wasn't an all the time thing," said McAdam. "One of the biggest parts of being a pro is really coming out and working every time you're on the ice. I think that's pretty much been my biggest change, just battling at every turn, every play."

McAdam's fight and determination to compete to the best of his abilities have not gone unnoticed. Earlier in the season he was in net when the Nittany Lions defeated then-No. 4 UMass-Lowell on the road, and this past weekend he helped lead his team to a commanding win over Ohio State.

The sophomore's efforts against the Buckeye's resulted in his first Big Ten weekly honor as he was named the conference's third star. Although recognition is wonderful and appreciated, McAdam believes there are more important things to focus on right now, like helping his team succeed.

"You have to take it in stride and not let it go to your head," said the sophomore of the honor. "It's cool to experience, and maybe later down the line it's something neat to have on your resume. For now though, it's just another day."

Through seven appearances and six starts this year, McAdam has posted a .918 save percentage and is allowing an average of 2.77 goals. These numbers are very telling of how far he has progressed in a year, as last season he finished with a save percentage of .882 and a goals allowed average of 4.09.

His improvements have allowed for increased depth at the goalie position for the Blue and White, as McAdam splits times with goalies Matthew Skoff and PJ Musico. With such competition to start, goaltending can be mentally challenging, but McAdam doesn't find it difficult to stay positive with teammates like Skoff and Musico by his side.

"You need to be able to take things in stride more as a goalie than any other position," McAdam said. "It's more of a mental battle than any other position. You need to be able to stay even-keeled and not ride a roller coaster of emotions, otherwise your play is going to reflect it.

"It also helps that Skoff, PJ and I are all so close. Honestly, if one of those guys is starting, it's not like it's a challenge for me to cheer them on. I really enjoy having them as teammates, and when they're succeeding and the team is winning, that's really all I can ask for. It's great when I'm in there, but also it's great to be a part of when they're in."

Looking ahead to this weekend, McAdam is hoping to get back in net against Michigan State. He, as well as all of his teammates, love the atmosphere at Pegula Ice Arena, but they love it even more when the Roar Zone is filled to capacity with Penn State students screaming loudly.

After playing a home series without them, McAdam and the Lions are looking forward to the having the students back where they belong.

"It's nice that we filled the building still and sold those seats last weekend, but it's a completely different atmosphere when you've got the students back there," McAdam explained. "They're loud and they're into it. They're rowdy. They have signs, and they're banging on the glass, kind of getting into the other team's head. It's just a whole other animal. It's really cool, and I'm really excited to have them back."

VIDEO: Patrick Chambers Postgame at Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Thanks to six players in double-figures, the Nittany Lions rallied from 12 down in the second half and had a chance to tie the game on the final possession, but came up just short in a 76-73 setback at Indiana. Ross Travis led the way with 14 points on a red-hot 7-for-8 shooting. Hear from Coach Chambers following the narrow decision inside Assembly Hall.

2014-'15 Men's Hoops Blog - Penn State at Indiana

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VIDEO: Shootaround Preview with Coach Keith Urgo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive coverage of the 2014-'15 men's basketball season. Tonight, the Nittany Lions are inside Assembly Hall taking on Indiana.

Live Blog 2014-'15 Men's Hoops Blog - Penn State at Indiana
 

VIDEO: Shootaround Preview at Indiana

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - GoPSUsports.com previews Tuesday's 7 p.m. tip at Indiana with associate head coach Keith Urgo. Break down the game here.