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From My View - Penn Relays

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By Bernard Bennett-Green, Student Athlete Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This weekend, I was able to participate in one of the greatest and oldest track meets in the world that is known as the Penn Relay Carnival. The meet started on Thursday and lasted all the way until Saturday but I didn't run until Friday and Saturday. Traveling to Philadelphia for a track meet is always a special moment for me since I'm from Cheltenham High School, which is a small suburb right outside of Philadelphia.

It's always special because of all of the love and admiration that Penn State receives when we attend Penn Relays. From our performances in the field events and on the track we also receive positive praise and attention. Even though we are not the hometown team, many people look out for our performances around the country and expect nothing but the best from us.

I'll never forget Penn Relays this year because of all of the special moments that my teammates helped to create. From Darrell Hill winning shot put to actually being on the in field and watching Steve Waithe jump 53 feet to win triple jump. Another special moment that I thought was pretty cool was that I happened to be sitting next to a Penn State alum as I was watching our men's sprint medley relay win, and I didn't even know it until we began to talk. It's great to know that alums still follow the program and enjoy seeing your success on and off the track.

Race day was Friday and Saturday, and I got the opportunity to run the 4x400 meter relay. Friday's prelim heat didn't go as we expected it but we ran and made the IC4A final heat that took place on Saturday. On Saturday, we ran our season's best time of the year of 3:07.94 for our second consecutive IC4A title.

Penn Relays was a great meet because our team performed well as a unit. I'm looking forward to our upcoming meet in Maryland this weekend because we can punch a few more tickets to first rounds, which will be held in Florida. The next few weeks will fly by with graduation and my final home meet approaching rapidly. I plan on enjoying everyone moment that comes my way because many people have told me that my college years will be some of my best memories.

Lions Take EIVA Title and Advance to NCAA Tournament

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Nittany Lions took the court for the EIVA championship match in Rec Hall for the last time this season, the team was playing for far more than any other match this year.


With the EIVA Championship title on the line along with securing the automatic qualification into the NCAA Tournament, the coaches and players fought hard to walk away with two wins against one of the most competitive fields the EIVA conference has seen. 


On Thursday night, Penn State knocked off George Mason, 3-1 (25-27, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22). As the match continued, the players built on their momentum and gained confidence knowing they would advance to the EIVA final on Saturday night. With a strong back and forth battle, head coach Mark Pavlik noticed a shift in the amount of competition the EIVA conference is facing. 


"George Mason came in and they were ready to compete," Pavlik said. "There was enough of a competitive level on both sides of the net. Before, there have been some semi-finals that felt more like a sacrificial lamb being led to slaughter as opposed to a competition. Mason came and wanted to compete."


Penn State had a day off before they faced Princeton in the EIVA final. As the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams of the EIVA conference took their sides of the net, both teams knew it was going to be a competitive match where every point counted. The Nittany Lions walked away with a 3-0 victory (25-23, 25-19, 25-18).


"As the year went on, they became more and more visible," Pavlik said.  "This was not a match that we took lightly. We gutted out the win in game one. That's just a testament to the way these guys compete. In game two we were starting to hit our stride and in game three our serving picked up."


The lead between the Tigers and Nittany Lions went back and forth before Penn State closed out the set securing their first win of the match. The energy in Rec Hall was electric and the players knew they could build off of a strong start.


"It felt like we were in control a lot of the match. A lot of the points that they scored early were from our errors," Nick Goodell said. "I felt like if we start good, we were going to end good every time. We just went from there until we got to the end of the third set."


This EIVA tournament marked the third time Penn State and Princeton matched up this season and the second time they played each other in Rec Hall. The loss earlier in the season that the Nittany Lions faced fueled their motivation to win 3-0 at home twice.


"As a team, it was big. It brought us together especially after that heartbreaking loss at their place. I thought we handled them really well back at our place and then we see them in the finals and we knew they were going to play hard. We knew they were going to be shaken by the last match we played against them. It also gave us the opportunity to improve," Aaron Russell said.


This win marked Penn State's 16th-consecutive EIVA Championship title. Reaching this level of excellence takes a true commitment and focus to keep getting better from the coaches and players.


"It means we have had a lot of great players and a lot of great coaching staffs. They make it their mission to make sure they are pursing the excellence that this program has set the bar for. This team has certainly upheld that bar and may have even raised it," Pavlik said. 


Winning the EIVA final also means the Nittany Lions will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championship, which gives a sense of relief to the team. The team has been given the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.


"It's big for us. It's one more step. We got this far so there's no reason why we should turn back. We're going to Chicago and it doesn't matter if we play Tuesday or Thursday, we're going to go out and compete against any team that we play and look to bring home the national championship," Russell said.


As the Nittany Lions look ahead to playing at Loyola Chicago, the players competed on this court in the beginning of March and already have an idea of what to expect.


"It's pretty important we got a chance to feel what it's like to play in there. It's a small arena, but other than that it's pretty standard. It's important we got to play them because we had the chance to see what worked and what didn't work," Taylor Hammond said. 

Nittany Lions Get Hard-Fought Win on Senior Day

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By Michael Renahan, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the day they were honoring their senior class, the Penn State Nittany Lions held off a late push from the Princeton Tigers to secure their 10th win of the season.

Prior to the game, 10 seniors received their blankets and flowers to celebrate their outstanding careers. It was no surprise that one of those seniors, attacker Mackenzie Cyr, was the driving force behind the Nittany Lions' win. She finished her day with six points, scoring a hat trick and assisting on three other goals.

From the opening draw, the energy in the air at the Penn State Lacrosse Field was high. Penn State was in need of a win to gain momentum heading into the American Lacrosse Conference tournament next week, and the Nittany Lions had lost their last five meetings against the Tigers.

That would all change in front of 1,621 fans, the largest crowd of the season. 

With 14:50 left, the two teams were tied, 3-3. It had been a close game, and each time the Nittany Lions made a move to gain momentum, the Tigers responded and vice versa. Then, the Penn State offense got rolling and outscored Princeton 4-1 over the last 12:44 to take an 8-4 lead into halftime.

"Yeah, I mean I think it's just an exciting game," head coach Missy Doherty said after the win. "All season long, I think we really challenged ourselves with our schedule. I think Princeton is a really great team. I think they're probably ranked a little lower than they should be. We saw that battle today.

"Our offense came up with some great transition goals today and our [defense] came up with some huge stops and it was great to come out with a win."

The Nittany Lions seemed to find the same groove they had against Cornell and Johns Hopkins. The offense, spearheaded by Cyr, was very crisp and effective, while senior defenders Lauren Purvis and Evan Foulsham kept the Princeton offense off the scoreboard. Purvis had a team-high four caused turnovers.

As the second half got started, the NIttany Lions were caught on their heels early allowing two goals from the Tigers, but again the offense put together a fantastic run of their own to widen their lead to 13-7.

Now, it was time for the defense and freshman goalkeeper Cat Rainone to shine. Time and time again, the Tigers threatened to score, but each time the Penn State defense held its ground. The hustle displayed by the girls in blue and white was extraordinary as they continued to feed their attackers and generate offensive chances while limiting the Princeton offense.

The Tigers brought their deficit to within two with 3:10 left, but they never would gain the lead because of a hard-working defense and some timely saves from Rainone.

"I think they just went on a run with the draw controls, and that is something that we just really needed to pick up," midfielder Jenna Mosketti said. "But it was a little exciting; we just made it exciting. But you know, defense stuck it out and came up with big plays."

Mosketti was another Nittany Lion with a strong afternoon. She finished with four goals and a game-high four draw controls.

At the end of the day, however, this game was huge for the senior class. The underclassmen helped lead the rally to get a win for the 10 Nittany Lions playing their last home game.

"Before the game we had all the senior day traditions," Mosketti said, "so we were just really excited to win it for them. They deserve it."

Penn State will now prepare for the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament in Chicago, Ill. The Nittany Lions open tournament play on Thursday when they take on the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.  Game time is set for 3 p.m.

Lady Lions Prepare Student-Athletes For Next Phase

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By Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With 15 Lady Lions reaching the WNBA since 1997 - four in the past two seasons - it is clear that Penn State's women's basketball program, led by head coach Coquese Washington, has become a developmental pit stop for players with professional aspirations.

Last year it was seniors Alex Bentley and Nikki Greene who were drafted into the WNBA. This year, senior guard Maggie Lucas was selected by the Phoenix Mercury with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft, and senior guard/forward Ariel Edwards signed a free agent contract with the Tulsa Shock.

"You want to see them grow. You want to see them mature. You want to see them develop," said Washington. "By the time they're seniors they're already itching to get out the door because they're ready for new challenges...It's really gratifying to know that they're ready for the next phase."

For Lucas and Edwards, each has taken a unique path to reaching identical dreams: the WNBA.

Maggie Lucas

They call her "Machine Gun" Maggie for her quick and accurate jumper. The senior guard, who finished her career second on the Penn State scoring charts with 2,510 points, traveled back home to Philadelphia to experience the draft with her family and closest friends.

Once her name was called by the Phoenix Mercury with the 21st pick in the draft, Lucas and those with her were finally able to take a deep sigh of relief.

"It was a great moment to hear my name called in the WNBA draft," said Lucas. "It's been something I've been dreaming about my whole life. I'm super excited, but I have a lot more work to do. I have to go out there [Phoenix] for training camp and there's still a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm very excited at this moment."

In her senior campaign, Lucas finished second in the Big Ten in scoring at 21.0 points per game. The star guard also shot an incredible 94.9 percent from the charity stripe, good enough for second in all of NCAA Division I women's basketball and the second highest free throw percentage in school history.

Over four years donning the blue and white, Lucas achieved the Big Ten and Penn State record with 365 career three-pointers.  Moreover, Lucas is the lone player in Penn State history to accumulate 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists and 200 steals.

"It's going to be hard to leave this place," said Lucas. "I'm going to miss it a lot."

Ariel Edwards

The versatile Edwards really came into her own during her senior campaign, achieving personal bests in nearly every statistical category, while also becoming the 36th player in Penn State history to become a member of the 1,000-point club.

Despite her name not being called during the 2014 WNBA Draft, on Tuesday Edwards signed a free agent contract with the Tulsa Shock.

"I was extremely excited," said Edwards. "I was at the point where I wasn't sure if I was going to get a call at all, and I was thinking more towards playing overseas. Then I got that call, and I was really, really excited because it has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl."

During her senior season, Edwards had her most prolific year on the hardwood. She averaged 15.7 points per game en route to a first team All-Big Ten selection.

Edwards has the ability to score anywhere on the court, inside or on the perimeter. Scoring aside, she was also a force on the boards, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game. Such a versatile presence has the Tulsa Shock excited about her signing.

"Ariel has had a great career at Penn State and I look forward to seeing her in camp," said Fred Williams, head coach of the Tulsa Shock. "Ariel had a terrific senior year at Penn State. She's a powerful presence in the post and can help us in our interior area."

Building 'Elite' Program

Since arriving in Happy Valley back in 2007, Washington has turned the Penn State women's basketball program into a national contender.

Relationship building and player development speak volumes as to why Washington and her players have been able to achieve so much success both on and off the court.

"Coquese takes great individual players and puts them together to make a great team," said Edwards. "It speaks to the fact that she is great at developing players."

For Washington, this past year's senior class is one to remember, not just because two reached the WNBA, but because of their impact on the future of the program.

"Their [the senior class] impact on the underclassmen is undeniable," said Washington. "They showed them the way. They showed them what it takes and how hard you have to work to be a great team. Their impact on our recent history was helping us elevate a program that was invisible nationally just prior to their arrival into one of the nation's elite. That's a pretty cool legacy to have left."



Nittany Lions Push Forward Despite Setbacks

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- In his first season as the head coach of the Penn State baseball team, Rob Cooper has continuously preached to his players about the process of becoming a winning team.

Part of that process is being able to stay focused and determined when things aren't going your way, and not just when things are rolling for you.

After a stretch in which they won 11 of 13 games from March 18 to April 8, the Nittany Lions rough spell against their Big Ten opponents continued this weekend against Minnesota, dropping three games by the scores of 2-1, 4-0, and 12-0.

"Winning is hard and it can seem easy when things are going good," Cooper said. "When things get hard a winning player will keep grinding away and I wouldn't change anything about our approach right now."

Going against the fourth ranked team in the Big Ten, Penn State found itself facing three of the Gophers four best starting pitchers, taking on Alec Crawford (4-1, 3.69 ERA) on Friday and then Ben Meyer (4-2, 2.42 ERA) and Neal Kunik (2-0, 1.27 ERA) in a Saturday doubleheader.

In the three games, the Nittany Lions registered 20 hits and had a few standout performances, with shortstop Jim Haley going 2-for-4 in the first and third games, and second baseman Taylor Skerpon going 3-for-4 in the second, yet they could only muster one run the entire weekend.

According to Cooper, the Nittany Lions struggle at the plate was due to them trying to do too much and pressing in pressure situations.

"I give Minnesota credit for pitching well but we have to find a way to score runs," Cooper said.  "When guys aren't mentally focused and believing in their approach they're going to guess and swing at pitches out of the zone. At some point we've got to face our fears."

For the second straight weekend, a disappointing series was highlighted by the performances of starting pitchers Tim Dunn and T.J. Jann, who each went eight innings to register the first completes games on their careers.

Dunn was particularly masterful on Friday night, giving up just two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out three in his third consecutive quality start.

For a guy who entered his senior year expecting to come out of the bullpen after only starting three times during his first three seasons, the lefthander has arguably been Cooper's most reliable starter as of late, with his ERA currently a dazzling 1.40.

Jann, who started for a team high 11th time on Saturday, continued to establish himself as one of the mentally toughest players on the Penn State roster, battling through a three-run second inning before going the distance. While he gave up four runs on 11 hits, the junior gutted out a 123-pitch performance that helped save the Penn State bullpen for their upcoming five game week.

"Both [Tim and T.J.] did what was asked of them and helped save our bullpen," Cooper said. "Tim really comes at you and commands his fastball which keeps guys off balance and T.J. is just really competitive. [Pitching complete games] is what our pitchers take pride in and it was great to see from those two."

With their record now at 17-23, the Nittany Lions may not be in the same position they were in two weeks ago, but if you ask Cooper, that means absolutely nothing.

Not only does Penn State still have 12 regular season games remaining, it also has three upcoming Big Ten series, starting at Nebraska before hosting No. 18/24 Indiana and Michigan State. At this point, there is still plenty of time for a turnaround.

As determined as Cooper is to see his team make the Big Ten Tournament, his main focus is making sure the players continue to approach each practice and each game with the same intensity that they had at the beginning of the season. Worrying about the past is useless, and the Nittany Lions still have much to play for.

"The past is the past, and we can still do everything we want to do this year," Cooper said. "We can't think that because we're struggling means we're going to lose...we can't feel sorry for ourselves, because no one else is going to. I'm still going to come to the park the same way every day and so are our players."



Nittany Lions Learn from Road Trip

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Laubach_9967393.jpegBy Tyler Feldman, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Road trips are never easy, especially ones that last nearly a week. Such was the case for Penn State (14-31, 5-15 Big Ten) who began its time away from home at Ohio State in a doubleheader back on Wednesday and then traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., to take on the No. 12 Golden Gophers (36-8, 14-5 Big Ten) in a weekend series.

Despite losing both games to the Buckeyes and all three games versus the Golden Gophers, there were positive learning points to take away from playing two competitive conference foes.

On Friday, the Nittany Lions, backed by another impressive start from pitcher Marlaina Laubach, fell to Minnesota, 1-0. The freshman hurler fell to 9-14 on the season but was terrific, giving up just one earned run on four hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

"She [Laubach] wasn't missing her spots," said head coach Amanda Lehotak after Friday's game. "She was crisp. She was attacking. She only had two or three misses that they [Minnesota] did not capitalize on."

The Nittany Lions faced a tough task at the plate against star senior Golden Gopher pitcher Sara Moulton, who went the distance while holding the Blue and White scoreless. Penn State managed just four hits off of the ace, but according to Lehotak, her team is hitting the ball well, but just needs a little luck.

"It's not like we aren't putting the ball in play," said Lehotak. "We've had some shots, but everyone has had ESPN catches against us all year. We just need a little luck. We have no luck. We have to earn everything right now."

Friday's loss was the Nittany Lions best-played game of the three-game series. If you look at the box score, it would seem as if Penn State won the game, but such is a learning experience for the young squad.

"The positives on Friday were that we kept the game really simple and competed every pitch," said Lehotak. "We can play with anybody. We beat them [Minnesota] in every category - that's just the crazy game about softball - we just had one costly error."

On Saturday, the story was a little different as the Nittany Lions lacked pitching depth and dropped both games of the doubleheader, 9-0 and 16-2, respectively.

"Saturday was a tough day obviously, but we did some great things," said Lehotak. "We stuck around their All-American pitcher a little bit, which was good to see. We just didn't have the pitching to go the distance for two [games] on Saturday."

The Golden Gophers chased sophomore Macy Jones in Game One of the doubleheader, scoring five earned runs off of Jones in four innings of play en route to the win. Offensively, the Nittany Lions stuck to the game plan but failed to register a hit off of Minnesota's ace, Sara Groenewegen.

"We just try to make them stick to the game plan of keep it simple, hit the ball hard and put the ball in play," said Lehotak. "There are quite a few at bats we're doing that, and it's just - I call it 'at 'ems' disease - where we hit the ball right at them."

In Game two of the doubleheader, Laubach took the hill for the second time in the series to try and quite the Minnesota bats again. Unfortunately, the Golden Gophers figured out Laubach and chased the freshman for six earned runs in just two innings pitched.

"Going into a second game where the opponent has already seen me once, it's important to really focus on spots of pitches rather than trying to get strikeouts or trying to get groundouts," said Laubach. "It's more of a spot issue just because the teams are very competitive, so you want to try to paint the corners as much as possible.

Being swept on the road is not part of the game plan, but Minnesota is a strong team with great pitching. For Penn State such an experience is one to learn from.

"This time of year we're still learning, and I want to see us get better every day," said Lehotak. "Defensively, pitching and offensively; there is still a lot to learn. I just want to keep getting better. We're never going to stop learning and never going to stop trying to get better each day."

Next up for the Nittany Lions is a home doubleheader against instate rival Pittsburgh (15-25, 6-15 ACC) on Wednesday with the first pitch at Beard Field set for 5 p.m.


Cyr Leaves Lasting Legacy

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Michael Renahan, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Putting your name in the history books at Penn State is no easy feat. It takes hard work, dedication, desire and a work ethic that goes above and beyond what is expected of college athletes. 

To leave behind an impression as powerful as the one Mackenzie Cyr leaves Penn State Lacrosse, well, that takes a work ethic very few have had. 

Cyr will play her last game in front of the home crowd on Saturday.
  She will receive her blanket, her flowers, and a big hug from the coaching staff. It will be a highly-emotional moment for everyone involved, but it's just a singular moment from an amazing career. 

"It's going to be bittersweet," Cyr said. "It's going to be sad that it's ending, but I'm ready to go out with a bang and beat Princeton because we haven't beat them yet. So I'm ready to do that."

For the last four years, No. 15 has been solid, to say the least. She has been as reliable as any attacker in the country and she has grown into one of the best attackers in the country. Her sense for her teammates and the game is terrific, and her ability to see a play develop steps ahead of the girls defending her has always given her an edge. 

She has finished second on the team in points in each of the last three years, including 2010 when she lead the team as a freshman in assists. The Westminster, Md., native has seen it all over her career, and she has been successful in her own style.

It is no surprise she was named a captain this season, because Cyr is constantly setting a tone for her teammates. She works tremendously hard at practice, and has always sought more from her fellow Nittany Lions in all aspects of their game. You never see her complaining about a call, or getting frustrated on the field. She just lowers her head, and keeps moving forward, as she has done her whole career. 

After putting together a three-assist performance against Johns Hopkins, Cyr currently ranks third in program-history with 102 career assists, an ode to that work ethic. It seems as if every time she has the ball in her stick, she just seems to know where she wants it to go and she is going to do everything in her power to get it there. 

"I had no idea I even had that many until they announced it at the game," she said with a laugh, "but it's pretty exciting, good accomplishment. It's just exciting. It's a great accolade to have."

Cyr's successes on the lacrosse field are sure to continue. Against the Princeton Tigers, the senior has five career points and always plays them well. This season, her 21 assists are tied for the team-high and rank her third in the American Lacrosse Conference. Her 34 points on the season are the third highest on the team, and she has done it only 29 shots, the lowest of any player with 24 points or more. 

Cyr has been the example for players like her younger sister, Madison, and Maggie McCormick. She has helped countless Nittany Lions develop into stellar players, and she has helped Missy Doherty build this program into a national championship contender.

As she prepared to take the practice field, in a humbled voice she spoke of her legacy: "I just hope to leave some sort of impact on the program."

Well, Mackenzie Cyr has done just that.

For one last time, after a fantastic career, Cyr will take the Penn State Lacrosse Field. Game time is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Lions Knock Off George Mason and Advance to EIVA Final

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By Chelsea Howard, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the players, coaches, and all followers of Penn State men's volleyball, the most exciting time of the year is finally here as the EIVA championship begins. The coaches and players have spent countless hours training for and thinking about the end of the season.

Starting with the semifinals of the EIVA Tournament on Thursday, the Nittany Lions played in four matches to win against George Mason 3-1 (25-27, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22). Although the team got off to a slow start losing the first set, it did not let that determine the outcome of the rest of the night as they relied on their competitive edge.

"We were getting in our own way," head coach Mark Pavlik said. "The toughest match to win is the one you are supposed to. The good news is the league is getting more and more competitive. That was a fun match to play, it was a great competitive match. The emotions were high because there were some things on the line that Mason wanted to take away from us. I had great faith that these guys would settle into their game and that's exactly what happened."

Late in the second set, the Nittany Lions broke away from the Patriots and jumped out to a 9-3 lead. The experience of the Nittany Lion starters allowed the team to come together as one unit and walk away with a win in the semi-final round of the EIVA Championships. 

"It's just been there, done that kind of thing," senior Peter Russell said. "It's hard to step on a college court with all eyes on you when it actually counts for something.  Sometimes guys can get a little flustered with that. Having that experience and getting to go out these past few years definitely helps. Six of our seven starters were here last year. The experience was saying let's just play our game and we're going to be okay," Peter Russell said.

The match came down to the fourth set where it was a back and forth battle. The set was tied up 23-23 before Penn State closed out the night. It wasn't until Aaron Russell made the final kill that the Nittany Lions knew they were going to advance to the EIVA final.

The Nittany Lions will play against No. 2 Princeton on Saturday. The battle between the two Ivy league schools left Princeton defeating Harvard winning 3-1. Going into Saturday night, the Penn State vs. Princeton record is 1-1 for regular season matches this year. 

"Princeton came in and took advantage of Harvard being off two and a half weeks. It looked like they were a little rusty in games two and three. We're going to see the two best liberos in the league battling it out. It's going to be a fun match. I know Princeton is going to be ready to play and if I know these guys, they're going to be ready," Pavlik said.

The Nittany Lions lost on the road 3-2 at the end of February against Princeton, but won a month later at home 3-0. The two teams will compete in Rec Hall at 7 p.m. this Saturday in the EIVA title match. 

VIDEO: Series Preview - at Minnesota

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State baseball team travels to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota in an important three-game series in the Big Ten standings. We caught up with head coach Rob Cooper and senior outfielder Steve Snyder to talk about the upcoming series against the Gophers at Siebert Field.



Snyder Continues Monster Year in Final Season

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By Mike Esse, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State baseball is 37 games into the season and outfielder Steve Snyder doesn't want to change anything about his final season in the blue and white. And why would he?

The Westchester, Pa. native is hitting .350 with an on-base percentage of .433. Along with those stats, his 49 hits and 13 steals all sit among the top 10 in the Big Ten.

Snyder said prior to the 2014 season he and the new Penn State coaches established an approach for him at the top of the Nittany Lion lineup and to date, it's safe to say it has worked. Now, as he and his Penn State team are chasing a Big Ten playoff berth, Snyder is working to stay on the hot streak he has been on all season long.

"It's was just establishing an approach, sticking to it and not trying to do too much at the plate," he said. "Sometimes when you are having success you try to do too much and I think right now I'm trying to just stick to what I've been doing."

Head coach Rob Cooper told Snyder before the season started the key for him to have a productive senior campaign at the dish was to simplify his at bats.

That simple tip has helped Snyder to his monster numbers with just four weeks remaining in the regular season.

"Sometimes you put too much pressure on yourself and I feel like with his [Cooper's] mindset he takes away the pressure and I'm just trying to do what I know I can do," Synder said.

As the leadoff hitter in the Penn State lineup, Snyder's approach and ability to get on base has carried over to his teammates who have moved him over exceptionally when leading off innings.

Snyder has reached base 13 times in his last eight games and fellow outfielder James Coates said that sets the tone for him and the rest of the Nittany Lion lineup.

"He's been a table setter all season for us," Coates said. "We have so much confidence in him when he's at bat hitting first every game. You have a lot of confidence that he is going to get on no matter what and if he doesn't he will pick us up in the field or in his next at bat.

We feel comfortable with him [Synder] leading off and starting the innings off."

Additionally, Snyder's overall approach to the game has been noticed by Coates and the younger Penn State players throughout the 2014 season, as Snyder has established himself as a leader of the Nittany Lions.

"The biggest thing for me with Steve is his entire approach to the game this season," Coates said. "He does a great job at taking it one bat at a time and since I hit behind him I learn a lot from him watching his at bats."

For Snyder, it's a satisfying fifth season wearing the blue and white - he lost the 2011 season due to injury - and he has become a leader both in the dugout and on the stat sheet.

"It's feels great," he said. "It's my last year so you always want to go out with a good year. It's a good feeling and I just want to help us to continue and have success."

However, at the end of the day, he doesn't pay much attention to the numbers, outside of the number of wins and losses.

"I'm old," Snyder said. "I don't really look at conference statistics or where I am ranking in the Big Ten that much. It's my last year so I just want to win. That's about it."