Kulp,GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- As the
regular season starts to wind down, the softball team is set to host the second
to last home series on Wednesday, Apr. 22. The Blue and White will welcome
Saint Francis to Beard Field hungry for a doubleheader sweep.Penn State enters the series sporting a 23-23
record going 7-6 at home.
Although Saint Francis isn't in the B1G,
the Red Flash comes to Happy Valley with a 26-12 record. First meeting in 1990,
Penn State leads the series 30-3 winning the last contest, 9-1, on April 2,
Taylor Parsons leads the Red Flash with a .373
batting average earning 47 hits. Another offensive leader is sophomore Alexis
Bower with a .296 batting average, four homers, and 34 hits.
At the mound, Blaire Lauthers and Ethel Santai
lead SFU earning 12 and seven wins, respectively.
PSU is entering the doubleheader with
determination to put on a show for its home crowd.
The team has been consistently aggressive at the
plate with Lexi Knief, Macy Jones, and Kristina Brackpool leading the team with
.410, .365, and .362 batting averages, respectively.Also making an impact at the plate is freshman
Alyssa VanDerveer. With a .294 batting average, she is leading the team with 11
home runs. Brackpool and Jones follow closely behind recording nine homeruns
To match the team's powerful at bats, the Nittany Lions are
staying solid on the field and at the mound.The Lions'top three pitchers are Marlaina Laubach with 74 strikeouts,
Jessica Cummings with 59, and Macy Jones with 29. Laubach leads the team with
121.1 innings pitched earning 10 wins.
This team has worked hard to be a tough team both
on the road and at home. With the dedication of the players and coaches, Penn
State is fighting for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament.
Wednesday's series against Saint Francis is bound to be a
battle as the first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. followed by the second game at
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer KENT, Ohio. - There
are some nights in baseball when runs are just hard to come by. Tuesday,
however, was not one of those games for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions
entered a midweek contest at Kent State having averaged just shy of nine runs
in their 12 wins this season. Against the Flashes, it took them just one inning
to reach that exact total, as they blew open the doors with nine in the first
on their way to a convincing 15-5 win.
Not only did the
game get the Lions back on track after three loses against Minnesota over the
weekend, it also evened their season series with the Flashes, who topped Penn
State 9-7 on April 1.
State is a good team and they play us hard," head coach Rob Cooper said. "It's
good to see our guys get of to a good start after a tough weekend and put it
behind us. I'm proud of our guys and we got on them early and it was great to
Right from the
jump, the key for the Lions was being patient at the plate. After loading the
bases with walks from James Coates and Greg Guers and a hit-by-pitch by Aaron
Novak to start things off, Penn State got on the board when Jim Haley also
worked a walk off pitcher John Birkbeck.
First baseman J.J.
White then ripped a double that scored two and ended Birkbeck's evening before
the junior recorded an out. While the score was already 3-0, it was just the
beginning for the Lions.
hitting and taking advantage of three Kent State errors, the Lions batted
around and tacked on six more runs in the inning. Taylor Skerpon, Coates and
Novak all registered RBI hits after Ryan Richter drove in two on a grounder
that resulted in a throwing error by second baseman Tim Dalporto.
"You know, it
helped out that their pitcher struggled and hit and walked some guys, but as
hitters we did a good job of not chasing and when they threw a good pitch not
trying to do too much, just putting a good swing on the ball," Cooper said.
"And we also created some offense because we ran the bases aggressive which
forced them into making some bad throws."
In the first inning
alone, the Lions scored more runs than they did in seven of their wins this
season. Still, the Flashes didn't go away quietly, battling back with one in
the first and three in the third to cut Penn State's lead to 9-4.
That proved to just
be a bump in the road for the Lions, as they scored five runs between the fifth
and the seventh and tacked on another in the ninth to complete the rout.
Nittany Lions registered at least one hit, the two players who really stood out
were senior second baseman Taylor Skerpon and sophomore outfielder Nick Riotto.
Skerpon, better known
for his glove than his bat, was on fire all night and finished 4 for 5 with a
double and two RBIs. Riotto on the hand, made the most of his one at-bat as a
pinch hitter by slamming his first career home run with a two-run shot in the
"It's good to see
[Taylor] swinging the bat well," Cooper said. "He had some good at-bats against
Minnesota, but I felt like he's been putting too much pressure on himself and
trying to do too much since it's his last year. He did a great job tonight.
we feel [Riotto] can do. We've just been trying to have him use his lower half
to get barrel on ball. It's not about hitting home runs but to me that wasn't a
surprise to see him do that."
As much as offense
ruled the day for the Nittany Lions, they did get a great performance out of
the bullpen from Dakota Forsyth, who went five innings and gave up just one run
and one hit.
The Lions will need
more performances like that this weekend, when they face Illinois, the top team
in the Big Ten and the No. 8 team in the country.
performance] was huge, you don't really realize, that in that game with the
wind blowing out you need a pitcher who isn't afraid to start bats," Cooper
said. "When the game was 9-4 for him to come in and sure things up, well that
was really big for us. "
By Alex Shisler, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Now that we are in the middle of the outdoor season, I
think we can all agree... It's great to compete in the south. When we first
arrived in Baton Rouge, the weather was not looking good for a track meet. The
forecast had called for thunderstorms and over an inch of rain so that's what
we were all preparing for. Luckily for us, Mother Nature had different plans.
The day started off
with a great javelin competition in the rain that Mike Shuey won with a huge
throw of 242 feet and 8 inches. After the rain had stopped in the morning, the
sun was shining for the rest of the day. We had some great performances
throughout the meet but the freshman Bryce Williams grabbed himself a personal- best in the long jump (23-3.25). Steve Waithe had a great showing in
the triple jump where he won the invitational section with a leap of 51-7.25.
After the meet, the
coaching staff treated us to a delicious seafood dinner. It was great to be
able to sit down with the team and discuss all the great performances we had
that day while enjoying food that you definitely cannot get in Central
With another great meet
in the books, it's time for us to focus on the task at hand for next weekend, Penn
By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-When looking at any sports team there's a clear
structure of people all working together to accomplish one goal. Some of those
such as coaches and players become the face of the team, while behind them are
the backbone of the team--the managers.
Managers spend countless hours compiling
paperwork, charting team statistics, gathering equipment and any other tasks
managers are a huge part of this team and family,"said head coach Amanda Lehotak. "It's amazing how
much they do for us and how helpful it is having them."
The Penn State softball team has four current
student managers, Jon Herzing, Nathan Sterner, Alex Comonitski, and Jordan
These four dedicate their free time to help the
coaching staff and make sure the team is always game ready.
"You'd be amazed
with everything those kids do, although they aren't officially on the roster they're a huge
part of the team,"said coach Lehotak.
Currently a sophomore, Alex is one of the main
student managers for the team and has been for roughly two years now.
Starting her first semester she was in contact
with the softball coaching staff and quickly became a part of the team shortly
Although Alex does a wide range of task to help
out the team, her specific job is working with a program called "Right View
During every game Alex sits with the computer,
recording every pitch, at-bat and defensive play. That's because after the game she combines all the
data and with help of the software, creates various report-cards and stat
sheets which show the team's performance during each game.
This program is especially helpful for the
coaches and players to see how their performance is against various hitters or
pitchers so they can continue to get better as the season progresses.
become a manager was the best decision I have made while being a student at
said Alex Comonitski.
"Going to the
field everyday and having the feeling like I am a part of something important
is the most rewarding part of the job,"she added.
Growing up playing competitive softball, Alex
feels grateful she's still able to play an important role.
"I have always
loved the idea of a team and being one big "family."Its rewarding knowing that I found my place on
this campus and the work that I am doing is a contribution to the success of
the team. I'm
also grateful for the things I have learned," Comonitski explained.
Alongside Alex is sophomore Jordan who also the
most senior member of the student managers.
Jordan is originally from Effort, Pennsylvania near
the Poconos and is a biology major with dreams of becoming a physician's assistant
or coach in the future.
Similar to Alex, Jordan started his manager
duties during freshman year. Growing up Jordan played sports and watched his
own dad coach, so naturally managing a varsity sport interested him as soon as he stepped foot on campus.
"One of the
best parts of being a manger is the amount of people I've met and
able to do with the team, said Caffrey. "It's an amazing
Being a biology major and involved in other
activities on campus, Jordan always makes sure to mange his time properly, so
he can travel with the team and be available every game and practice.
can be time demanding, I enjoy every minute of the job,"said Caffrey
The softball team is a perfect example of just
how much student managers can help a team, both on the field and off. They
become not only important assets to the coaching staff, but they're an
essential part of the team's overall blue print toward success.
do so much, There's not a day that goes by without realizing how
lucky we are to have them,"Lehotak said.
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Headed into Sunday's matchup, the No. 12 Penn
State women's lacrosse team knew what was on the line. Going up against a team
like No. 7 Northwestern would be no easy task, but the Nittany Lions had
confidence. They knew they could compete with any team in the country.
With this mindset, the Blue and White came out strong in Illinois and battled
hard. The Lions outscored their opponent, 10-4, in the opening half and
eventually secured their first victory against the Wildcats since 2003 by a
final score of 14-10.
"I think it was just the team aspect on both ends," head coach Missy Doherty
said. "We moved the ball really effectively, found the open people. Our defense
did a great job sliding together and targeting their top scorers, coming up
with some really big plays."
Although Penn State (12-3, 4-0 B1G) came out on top where it counted, the
Wildcats (10-5, 2-2 B1G) outshot the Lions, 26-22, overall. Additionally,
Northwestern won the draw control battle, 16-10, which resulted in more
possession time for the Wildcats.
Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions did not let these numbers effect the outcome of
the game. The team's defense was sure to cleanly clear the ball in each of its
12 attempts, and goalie Emi Smith made important saves, 10 in total, to keep
the Blue and White ahead.
Following halftime, the Wildcats came out much stronger and pressured Penn
State's squad. At one point, the Lions allowed four unanswered goals, but it
did not take long for the team to fend off the attack.
"We knew Northwestern would go on a run," Doherty said. "They're a really tough
team and have some great scorers. They did a great job on the draw in the
second. They really out-drew us and had a lot more possessions than we did. So,
it was a great testament to the girls, losing that possession, to come up with
some key stops. Emi did a great job in the cage, making key saves. Then we just
came up with some good, defensive plays to stop the other team."
On the other side, each time the team's offense controlled the ball, it was
sure to make those moments count. In all the team saw six different goal
scorers, emphasizing its depth and talent.
Captain Kelly Lechner dominated, scoring four goals throughout the match, and
captain Maggie McCormick led in assists with five. Steph Lazo added a hat trick
and an assist of her own, and Tatum Coffey had a three-point day with two goals
and an assist. Madison Cyr and Katie O'Donnell each tacked on two more goals,
and Jess Loizeaux notched a tally and a helper.
Lechner specifically played on a different level, determined to make help her
team in any way possible. In addition to her four goals, she secured three draw
controls and a ground ball. In the final minutes of play, however, Lechner was
helped off the field after sustaining an injury.
"She was awesome," Doherty said of Lechner's play. "She just came out on fire.
We challenged our experienced players today to come out and make some big
plays. She definitely did that. Unfortunately, she did get injured at the end
of the game. We'll have to wait and see what happens with that when we get back
With this victory, Penn State not only extended its winning streak to seven
games, but it also secured a first-round bye in the upcoming Big Ten
Tournament. The Nittany Lions' seed in the tournament will be determined
following the results of their game against Maryland this week as the two
compete for the first place finish in the conference.
"That's awesome," said Doherty of the bye. "It saves our legs a little bit from
playing three games in a row. It's always tough to go back-to-back and play.
It'll be nice to be rested for the first Big Ten game."
With their biggest test of the season just days away, the Blue and White will
continue to work on improving in their week areas. Nevertheless, this win over
Northwestern is huge for their confidence and shows that Penn State lacrosse
will never back down in big games.
The Nittany Lions will continue to fight and compete to the best of their
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Behind a complete team effort, the Nittany Lion
men's lacrosse team powered past Rutgers, 11-6, on Senior Night in Happy Valley
Looking to snap a skid, the Nittany Lions came out with their strongest
first quarter of the year against the Scarlet Knights. Although Rutgers got on
the board first, Penn State quickly answered, and never looked back. The Nittany
Lions dominating performance gave them a convincing win after weeks of hard
"I feel really good for our seniors," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "You
know they've worked so hard and fought through a very difficult stretch and
when you're losing over a four or five week period it's not easy to keep coming
back every day like these guys have."
Although several players had multi-goal games, the performance of senior
Pat Manley stood out to those in attendance and those watching on TV. His five
points, three of which came in the first half, helped rocket the Nittany Lions
past the Scarlet Knights.
"I think all year we've kind of had trouble with initiating the offense
and too much one and done, taking the ball to the goal, so I kind of took it on
myself to look for the open guy today," said Manley.
Four of Manley's points came from assists, a contribution that didn't go
unnoticed. Earlier in the season, the Nittany Lions had difficulty in creating
opportunities in front of the net. Against Rutgers, the story changed.
Manley was one of nine seniors honored prior to the opening face off
against Rutgers. A win on home turf during Senior Night meant the world to the
oldest players on the team.
"It's great to get a win," said Manley. "It's been a tough year so far.
To get our first Big Ten win on Senior Day is just awesome, it's been such a
relief. All the stuff we've been through this season, just having our families
here [for the game] and seeing them all day today it's just been a great moment
Tambroni was pleased with his players' performance against Rutgers and
thought the team had worked hard all season, deserving the win. Tambroni has
admired the senior class and how they have led the team the whole season,
during a time of significant transition for the Nittany Lions' program.
Tambroni believed it was the seniors who set the tone for the Sunday night win.
"I think it was a culmination of their belief and their hard work and
their persistence that really pushed us over the edge today," said Tambroni. "I
just feel for that group. They're a wonderful group of young men who earned
this victory here today."
Now having a fourth win under their belts, the Nittany Lions look
forward to their final game of the regular season. A win against Michigan would
be enough to place Penn State in Big Ten tournament contention. The Nittany
Lions will take their newfound confidence from a long awaited win and channel
it to improve every day during practice this week.
"We just want to keep playing," said Manley. "If we win this next game it's just another
chance for us to keep playing and I know us seniors and all these guys want to
keep playing after the season that we've had so we're just gonna have to take it
one day at a time next week. Michigan is a great team, up and coming program so
we're gonna have our work cut out for us."
Penn State travels to Ann Arbor for their final game of the regular
season at Michigan this Saturday.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sunny skies and 68,000 fans greeted the Nittany
Lions inside Beaver Stadium during the final day of spring practice for the
After a practice period marked by superb progress, the Nittany Lions will head
into the final few weeks of the spring academic semester and summer with a
great deal of confidence. The Blue topped the White, 17-7, during a productive
Saturday for the Lions.
"We got what we wanted to get out of it," said head coach James Franklin. "We
stayed healthy, which is the most important thing, especially in our situation.
We were able to mix the run and the pass. Obviously, our defensive line still
holds an advantage over our offensive line. That's going to be a work in
progress and a focus in the offseason. It was great to see some of the running
backs like Nick Scott and Akeel Lynch make some plays, but we had great work.
We had two real teams. We didn't end up having to run guys from one side to the
other, so guys got a bunch of reps."
Penn State practiced 15 times between March 20 and April 17 before the spring
season culminated with the four quarters of action inside Beaver Stadium on a
sun-splashed day with a terrific crowd.
The fan support Penn State Football receives throughout a year is unique, and
Saturday was no exception. From the autograph session to the spring game
festivities, the Nittany Lions truly embraced the opportunity to spend a day
with so many loyal supporters of the program.
"The guys worked really hard this spring, and to be able to come out today and
play in front of such a great crowd was huge for us," Hackenberg said. "It was
great to meet so many fans today because they are such a big part of what we
do. It was a great day."
"It's a pretty cool experience to be out there in front of 68,000 fans for a
spring practice," said running back Akeel Lynch. "
In his first spring as a the featured back, Lynch excelled for the Nittany Lion
offense. He finished with nine carries for 50 yards, including a 22-yard
touchdown run for the Blue team. Lynch and the Penn State offense took full
advantage of this being year two in the offensive scheme. The unit's increased
comfort level led to a greater degree of execution.
"I think we did a lot of great things as a unit," Hackenberg said. "I think as
a unit we also have a lot of things we need to work on for next season. I try
to execute everything I am asked to do to the best of my abilities."
A big piece of the offense's growth is the line's progression since the season
ended at the Pinstripe Bowl. The growth process will continue through the
summer, but the Nittany Lions have taken a big step forward along the offensive
"I think we are way ahead of where we were at this point last year," said
Franklin. "As a group, we still have a situation now where we still have guys
trying to learn left tackle, which I think showed up at times today. But as a
group, four out of the five in totality of it, we still have a lot of work to
do. I am confident that between now and the start of camp, we can take another
step and then continue to grow during camp and be ready to go."
Defensively, the Nittany Lion front four headlined a strong set of practices
for coordinator Bob Shoop's unit. Sure, the defense entered the spring without starters
Mike Hull, Adrian Amos, Deion Barnes and C.J. Olaniyan, but the Lions didn't
skip a beat.
"We're a deeper unit. Garrett Sickels and [Carl] Nassib have had an excellent
spring," defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said. "They played very, very well.
You saw Evan Schwan wreak havoc and was pretty dominant today at times. Curtis
Cothran's a good player and Torrence Brown's a very good player. So I feel like
we have a really, really, really good situation at those positions right there.
Those guys are playing exceptionally well."
Penn State will look to finish the semester strong in the classroom before the
summer conditioning program begins. With a spring marked by positive growth,
the Nittany Lions have a great deal to look forward to when fall camp begins in
Saturday's spring game was the final time the fans will see the team before
action commences in Lincoln Financial Field against Temple on Sept. 5. The window
of opportunity for growth between now and the opener is a big one for the
Nittany Lions, but with the foundation laid this spring, the Lions are well on
their way to a strong start for 2015.
"We made great strides on offense and on defense, and it was great for the fans
to come out in such big numbers to see us," said Trevor Williams. "Now, we need
to take the next step and get even better."
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin talks with GoPSUsports.com following the 2015 Blue-White Game Presented by AAA. The Blue squad topped the White team, 17-7, before 68,000 fans inside Beaver Stadium on a sun-splashed Saturday.
PARK, Pa. - The Blue team topped the White squad, 17-7, before 68,000 fans inside Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Hear from several Nittany Lions following the culmination of spring drills for 2015.