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Monday Notebook: Resiliency Powering Penn State

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9555267.jpegBy Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's road win on Saturday featured no shortage of resilient performances and gutsy plays as the Nittany Lions rallied past Indiana.

A quick glance at the score sheet from Saturday's win doesn't do Saquon Barkley's performance justice. With 58 yards on 33 carries and 98 all-purpose yards, one might argue that it was perhaps one of his least productive outings this year.

That's far from the case though, as Barkley opened the game grabbing a 32-yard catch from quarterback Trace McSorley on third-and-7 to set Penn State up for a touchdown on the opening drive.

While the Hoosier defense looked to bottle up his dynamic play, Barkley broke free for a 12-yard carry on the first attempt of Penn State's opening drive of the fourth quarter. Following McSorley's 54-yard pass to DaeSean Hamilton, Barkley was back at it. It didn't come easy though as he was pushed back for a loss of one before running in for the 4-yard touchdown.

With Indiana leading, 31-28, with nearly seven minutes to go, Barkley ran for 13 yards out to put Penn State on the Indiana 2-yard line before running in for the go-ahead touchdown.

"The only thing that kept going through my head was patience, patience and taking care of the ball and ball security," Barkley said. "As a running back not everything is going to go your way, they did a really good job with the game plan."

Barkley's 13 rushing touchdowns are the most for a Nittany Lions since Larry Johnson had 20 in 2002 and also rank eighth in Penn State program history. Barkley's 15 total touchdowns this year (13 rushing, 2 receiving) are ranked first in the Big Ten and ninth nationally, respectively. 

He's also atop the Big Ten standings averaging 142.10 all-purpose yards in addition to 1,113 rushing yards and 111.3 rushing yards per game.

Explosive Plays When It Matters
McSorley enters the week atop the FBS standings in passing yards per completion, averaging 15.93 ypc. On the year, McSorley has completed 40 passes for at least 20 yards, including six against the Hoosiers.

As Penn State struggled with its run game against the Hoosiers, Franklin noted postgame that he was pleased with the poise of the offense in long yardage situations.

"I thought the most important thing we did was, we didn't panic, our defense kept us in the game so we didn't have to get in a situation where we are chucking it every down," Franklin said. "It was a gutsy, gutsy win on the road."

Defense Does It Again
As Franklin noted, Penn State's defense remained calm and confident under pressure. Penn State's rejuvenated linebacker unit combined for 1.5 sacks, highlighted by Brandon Bell's fourth-quarter sack that led to Indiana's fifth fumble of the day before defensive end Torrence Brown scooped up the loose ball for the 9-yard touchdown.

Perhaps one of the most pivotal defensive plays came in the third quarter, where Indiana intercepted a McSorley pass before driving to the 1-yard line. With the Hoosiers leading 17-14 on fourth-and-goal, a diving Brandon Smith broke up Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow's pass intended for Nick Westbrook in the end zone. 

A Quick Look At Rutgers
Penn State travels to Rutgers for its second consecutive week on the road. The Nittany Lions square off against the Scarlet Knights in their third night game of the season, with kickoff set for 8 p.m. on BTN. With Penn State on a six-game winning streak, Rutgers enters the matchup looking to snap its seven-game skid. 


Nittany Lion Bios and U-20 WWC Schedule | U.S. Soccer Feature on E. Jean | FIFA Feature on E. Ogle | Nittany Lion U-20 History

Match Day 10

The U.S. closed out the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup with a 1-0 loss against Japan in the third-place match Saturday, Dec. 3.

For the sixth-straight match, four Nittany Lions started for the Red, White and Blue as Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio) started in the midfield, while Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.), Ellie Jean (Coventry, Conn.) and Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.) recorded starts on the backline. All four Nittany Lions played the full 90 minutes.

Match Day 9

The U.S. fell to Korea DPR, 2-1, in extra time in the semifinal round Tuesday, Nov. 29. With the loss, the U.S. will play in the third-place match against Japan on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 a.m. EST live on Fox Sports 1.

For the fifth-straight match, four Nittany Lions started for the Red, White and Blue as Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio) started in the midfield, while Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.), Ellie Jean (Coventry, Conn.) and Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.) recorded starts on the backline. Jean played 71 minutes of the match, while Elliston, Ogle and Riehl each played the full 120 minutes.

Match Day 8

The United States scored twice in the final 10 minutes, which included the game-winner during injury time, en route to a 2-1 victory over Mexico in the quarterfinal round Friday, Nov. 25. With the victory, the U.S. advances to take on Korea DPR in the semifinal round on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 1 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. The winner of Korea DPR and the U.S. will face the winner of Japan and France in the championship match on Dec. 3. 

For the fourth-straight match, four Nittany Lions started for the Red, White and Blue as Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio) started in the midfield, while Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.), Ellie Jean (Coventry, Conn.) and Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.) recorded starts on the backline. All four Nittany Lions played the full 90 minutes.

Germany, the defending FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup champions, was topped by France, 1-0, in the quarterfinal round.

Nittany Lion Laura Freigang (Oppenheim, Germany) started her fourth match in the German midfield and she played the full 90 minutes.

Match Day 6

Germany and the U.S. both clinched berths in the quarterfinals of the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Monday, Nov. 21.

Behind two goals within the first 25 minutes of play, Germany tallied a 2-0 victory over Korea Republic. For Germany, Laura Freigang (Oppenheim, Germany) recorded her third start in the midfield and she played the full 90 minutes.

With the win Monday, Germany clinched the top spot in Group D with a 3-0-0 record. In Group D play, Germany posted a goal differential of +7 after scoring eight goals and only allowing one goal.

The U.S. closed out Group C action with a 1-1 draw against Ghana.

Four Nittany Lions were featured in the United States Starting XI for the third-straight match as Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio) started in the midfield, while Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.), Ellie Jean (Coventry, Conn.) and Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.) recorded starts on the backline. All four Nittany Lions played the full 90 minutes.

The Red, White and Blue finished Group C play tied atop the standings with France with five points (1-0-2) apiece. The two teams were tied in points and goals sending the tie-breaker to Fair Play. The U.S. received zero yellow cards, while France received one yellow card, which gave the tie-breaker to the U.S.

Both Germany and the U.S. will play Friday, Nov. 25, in the quarterfinal round. The U.S. plays Group D runner-up, Mexico, at 1 a.m. EST and Germany takes on Group C runner-up, France, at 4:30 a.m. EST. Both matches will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1.

Match Day 4

Germany and the U.S. both tallied victories in their second match of group play at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Thursday, Nov. 17. Germany moved to 2-0-0 in Group D action with a 3-0 shutout victory over Mexico, while the United States picked up a 3-1 win over New Zealand to move to 1-0-1 in Group C.

Laura Freigang (Oppenheim, Germany) started her second match in the German midfield and played 87 minutes.

Similar to the opening match of the tournament, four Nittany Lions were featured in the United States Starting XI. Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio) started in the U.S. midfield, while Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.), Ellie Jean (Coventry, Conn.) and Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.) recorded starts on the U.S. backline. All four Nittany Lions played the full 90 minutes.

Following the second match of group play, both Germany and the U.S. lead their respective groups. Germany is 2-0-0 in Group D and the U.S. is 1-0-1 in Group C.

Group play concludes for Germany and the U.S. on Nov. 21. Germany takes on Korea Republic (1-1-0) at 4 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 2 and the U.S. plays Ghana (0-1-1) at 1 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1.

The winner of Group C takes on the runner-up of Group D on Nov. 25 at 1 a.m. EST and the winner of Group D takes on the runner-up of Group C on Nov. 25 at 4:30 a.m. EST in the quarterfinal round.

Match Day 2 

The German and United States U-20 Women's National Teams opened play Monday, Nov. 14, at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Five Nittany Lions started for their respective countries Monday.  

Defending champion Germany opened Group D play with a 3-1 win over Venezuela, while the United States began Group C action with a 0-0 tie against France.

Laura Freigang (Oppenheim, Germany) started, and played the full 90 minutes, in the German midfield in the tournament opener.   

For the United States, four Nittany Lions recorded starts, including three Nittany Lions on the backline.

Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio) started in the U.S. midfield, while Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.), Ellie Jean (Coventry, Conn.) and Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.) recorded starts on the U.S. backline. All four Nittany Lions played the 90 minutes.

Germany (1-0-0) plays Mexico (1-0-0) on Nov. 17 at 1 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. The United States (0-0-1) takes on New Zealand (1-0-0) on Nov. 17 at 4 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1.

BLOG: Nittany Lions Finding Ways to Win

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Following the win on the road at Indiana, Penn State football head coach James Franklin addressed the team in the locker room with one message - that the Nittany Lions had once again found a way to win.

"We're a young team who's growing every single week and we find ways to win. All different ways. You look at our entire season - each win has been different, but we found a way to do it."

Looking at Penn State's six-game winning streak, the Nittany Lions have battled back from double figures not once, not twice, but three times after the Indiana comeback. The Nittany Lions engineered a 10-point comeback with an overtime victory against Minnesota before rallying from behind by 14 points in the thrilling victory against then-No. 2 Ohio State. 

Sparked by wide receiver Chris Godwin's 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trace McSorley at the end of the third quarter, the Nittany Lions outscored the Hoosiers 31-7 in a span of 16:09 on the way to a third double figure comeback this season. No other Penn State squad has battled back three times from a double-digit deficit in a single season since at least 1970.

The will to win and the desire to persevere are all things McSorley said are simply engrained in the mindset of the team this year, as he also gave credit to the leaders on the team for their ability to set the tone for belief under pressure.

"Just that mentality that this team has, that never say die, never quit attitude that's the biggest thing," McSorley said. "Yeah we were down 10, we've been down by double-digits multiple times late in games, but there's never that feeling like we can't come back from this."

On a six-game winning streak, the Nittany Lions have tallied the most consecutive Big Ten victories in the same season since 1994.

Check out a few more takeaways from the 45-31 win on the road at Indiana. 

McSorley's Resilient Performance
Quarterback Trace McSorley turned in a gutsy performance Saturday completing 16-of-30 attempts for 332 passing yards, marking his third 300-yard passing performance, which ranks fourth in program history.

McSorley opened the game with a 10-yard rushing touchdown to give the Nittany Lions their third consecutive score on the opening drive. 

McSorley dazzled in the second half with a few long yardage plays through the air in the clutch, including a 43-yard pass to Saeed Blacknall to set up the 21-yard touchdown grab from Godwin in the third quarter.

McSorley has scored a rushing touchdown and a has thrown for a score in six games this season. Only Louisville quarterback and Heisman contender Lamar Jackson has accomplished the feat more frequently this season (8 times). 

"I wanted him to take a knee a couple of times so we could make a substitution and he kind of waved me off," Franklin said. "He hobbled down the field. He is tough, he is smart, he is resilient, he's a playmaker."

McSorley was at it again in the fourth quarter, targeting wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton on a perfect executed flea-flicker to set the Nittany Lions up for a 4-yard touchdown run from Saquon Barkley to bring Penn State ahead, 28-24.

Taking Advantage of Turnovers
Penn State took advantage of five Indiana turnovers, marking the most opponent miscues since last year's Maryland game. 

The Nittany Lions recovered all five Indiana fumbles, converting two into touchdowns. Adding to the comeback, defensive end Torrence Brown picked up his third career fumble in the fourth quarter, returning it nine yards for his first career touchdown.

BLOG: Nittany Lions Shine in Opener

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By Brandon Pelter, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A standing ovation was how the No. 4 Nittany Lions (2-0) were welcomed into Rec Hall for their first home dual meet of the season after beating Army on Friday 45-0. Moments before the match began, the Nittany Lions hoisted the 2015-16 NCAA national championship and Big Ten championship banners into the rafters.

The meet was highlighted by four pins for the Nittany Lions, who beat No. 12 Stanford (1-1) handily 36-6.  

"Anytime we're wrestling we want guys looking for bonus points," Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson said. "We have some guys that are great at pinning, but Stanford has a good team and they're solid all the way up and down their lineup."

After Vincenzo Joseph lost 18-12 to start the meet at 165 pounds, Geno Morelli knotted the score at three with a decision victory of his own, 6-3 over No. 13 Jim Wilson.

"That was the first time I've ever wrestled besides later in the match," Morelli said. "I kind of liked it. You don't think about it as much and I felt more relaxed today and anytime you can get the momentum rolling it's good. I feel good about where I'm headed. It's a process and I think being relaxed tonight helped me a little bit more."

Next, Bo Nickal took to the mat, wrestling Austin Flores at 184 pounds. Nickal dominated, recording nine takedowns and four near-fall points, capping it off with a pin 6:21 into the bout.

"Well I hate to say you expect [a pin]," Sanderson said. "But those guys have been there in those positions and those situations and are obviously very good and they have experience under their belts. So you kind of know what you have going out there and Bo is a guy that pins so I don't want to say we expected it, it's still exciting and it's a challenge for him."

At the intermission, Penn State held a 15-3 lead after Matt McCutcheon and Nick Nevills won by decision 3-2 and 3-1.

Nick Suriano led things off after the break at 125 pounds wrestling All-American Connor Schram. After a quiet first period, Suriano escaped to begin the second and the second stall called on Schram gave Suriano a 2-0 lead. In the third, Suriano rode out Schram to accumulate 1:56 of riding time to secure a 3-0 decision victory over a quality opponent.

 "I was just riding and sticking it to him and putting pressure on him," Suriano said. "I felt him tiring. He was a strong, big opponent, but I felt him weaken in the third and I was just going to keep him down there and wasn't going to let him out."

Suriano was excited for his first match in Rec Hall.

"It was an awesome experience," Suriano said. "The crowd was unbelievable like I expected. It was a tough opponent my first time here but it was awesome. To represent Penn State here is unbelievable, it's what I've dreamed of."

Next at 133 pounds, Jered Cortez continued his winning ways with a pin just 2:40 into the first period in his first official collegiate debut, having missed last year due to transfer eligibility rules. Cortez dominated with two takedowns and six near-fall points.

Penn State's Zain Retherford at 149 pounds and Jason Nolf at 157 pounds closed out the dual meet with two pins of their own as well. Retherford pinned Stanford junior Tommy Pawelski 2:16 into the first period. Nolf battled and was tied with Paul Fox at five after the first period, but Nolf then exploded totaling 10 takedowns before his second pin in as many matches with 44 seconds left in the third period.

"When our guys are wrestling for the team more than themselves they're going to wrestle better," Sanderson said. "That's something that we've been blessed with for the last couple of years and we need to keep that going."

The Nittany Lions are back in action at 9 a.m. Sunday Nov. 20 on the road at the Keystone Classic at the University of Pennsylvania.

"We have a lot to build off of," Sanderson said. "And it's a lot more fun and easier to build off of success than not."

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By ANNA PITINGOLO, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Led by redshirt junior Lindsey Spann's career-high 31 points, Penn State won its home opener on Sunday, 106-50 over Saint Peter's in a game that saw five Lady Lions reach double-digits in scoring.

After dropping the first game of the season to Drexel on Friday, the Lady Lions (1-1) came out with renewed energy, dropping 39 points in the first quarter. Head coach Coquese Washington was happy with how her team performed early. 

"It's fun and a little less stressful when you know that you can come out and put points on the board. One of the things we want to be doing is being aggressive and attacking," Washington said. "I think that our depth, when you add some of the players to the team that we have this year in terms of bringing Sierra Moore back, having Amari Carter on the floor, adding Jaida Travascio-Green and adding Siyeh Frazier, it gives us a few more options that we are able to stay fresh, sub in and keep the tempo going the way we want it to go."

Prior to the season, Washington wanted her team to play at a faster pace, and that was evident against Saint Peter's. The Lady Lions were able to move the ball up and down the court quickly, often getting to the basket before the Peacocks could transition.

"I just think as a team we had a lot more energy and were really focused," Spann said. "We played with a lot of intensity. We fed off of that and didn't let our opponents effect what we were doing. We were able to control the tempo of the game."

Spann went off for her second career 30-point game after being held to just four points against Drexel. After taking time to regroup and refocus between games, she started out fast, scoring 20 of her points in the first half, and never looked back. Spann also led the team with six steals in the game. 

"I was just focusing on the things we talked about coming into this game. We wanted to play a fast, up-tempo game," Spann said. "I just got out there and transitioned and my teammates found me so I was able to score a lot off of the passes."

Moore, Kaliyah Mitchell, Teniya Page and Peyton Whitted also reached double figures in the game. The five combined to score more than half of Penn State's points, helping the Lady Lions to reach 100 points for the first time since 2013.

Penn State held the Peacocks (0-1) to just four made 3-pointers, which was a significant decrease from the 11 they allowed on Friday night. Washington said her team was able to make the adjustments it needed to after such a short turnaround between games. 

"We had a little bit more energy on the defensive end and we had a lot more communication on the defensive end. In our game against Drexel we just had some miscommunications that led to some wide-open 3-pointers and Drexel is a team that will make you pay [for that]," Washington said. "It was good to have a game like this with a quick turnaround. Yesterday we didn't have a physical practice, it was more of a mental practice and to see them be able to transfer what we talked about to game day, I was very pleased." 

The win marks the 900th in Lady Lion program history, making them just the 16th Division I program to reach that mark. Spann is appreciative to be part of such a "dominant program" and Washington agrees. 

"It is humbling to be part of such a tremendous legacy," Washington said, "When you think about all of the coaches that have come before me and what they have done for this program and for women's sports at both Penn State and nationally, I am just thrilled that I can do my part to add to that legacy."

The Lady Lions are back in action at the Bryce Jordan Center on Wednesday when they host the Akron Zips. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

Men's Hoops Gameday Live - vs. Duquesne (11/13/16)

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Welcome back to our live coverage of the 2016-17 Penn State men's basketball season. The Nittany Lions are back in action this evening, hosting Duquesne at 6 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center. Playing their second of three games in a span of five days, the Nittany Lions will look to bounce back from a season opening loss to Albany Friday evening. 

Follow along with us for exclusive content and live updates!





Live Blog Men's Hoops Gameday 2016-17 vs. Duquesne (11/13/16)
 

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - After giving up a second goal early in Friday's game to fall behind 2-0, the Nittany Lions found themselves with their backs against the wall. Head coach Josh Brandwene decided to call a timeout to calm his players in the hopes that they still had a comeback left in them.

"[During the timeout] I asked them a question," Brandwene said. "I said, 'What haven't we done yet in the period?' And they knew the answer. They said we haven't shot the puck yet. And I said, 'Let's get some pucks to the net, shall we?' They did a good job with that and they did a good job simplifying."

Whatever Brandwene's message was, it seemed to inspire the Nittany Lions, as, a minute after the timeout, they were able to cut the lead in half on a goal from Meike Meilleur.

"It was definitely a harder first period getting down, and we had been playing well, working hard," defenseman Bella Sutton said. "So once we got [the goal], it was good and we got a jump in our step."

"We knew we had to find a way to bury those next couple of goals," defenseman Katie McMillan said. "I thought that after that timeout, we really came out with a lot of energy and it paid off."

With under two minutes to go in the second period, McMillan netted a goal off a beautiful centering pass from Amy Petersen to even the score at two goals apiece. 

"I saw my former teammates from high school, Amy and Laura [Bowman], go on a 2-on-2 and I decided to join the rush," McMillan said. "They went to the left side and I saw back door was open and Amy hit me. It was awesome."

Early in the third period, Sutton put the game away for good as she slammed home a power play goal, her second of the season, to give Penn State a 3-2 lead which they would not surrender.

"Our power play had been working on that, using the flanks," Sutton said. "They have a really good penalty kill so those were the shots they were giving us instead of letting us go across the ice, which other teams would do. I just knew the power play was ending so I tossed it on net and saw it go in. It was a good feeling."

After the game, Brandwene attributed the win to his team's ability to respond despite the slow start.

"I think one of the signs of a team that continues to grow is a team that, after a stretch where we admittedly didn't have our best hockey, is able to in the middle of the period hit the reset button," Brandwene said. "To come out and change the complexion of the game and continue to build on it and grow during the second half of the game says a lot about the student-athletes on this team. I'm really proud of them for the adjustments they made during the second half."

Penn State once again found themselves in a situation where they needed to make adjustments in the second game on Saturday afternoon, as they surrendered a shorthanded goal early in the second period to fall behind. 

"I think we have a lot to learn from the start we got off to today," Brandwene said. "I give Lindenwood a ton of credit for their effort, their work ethic, all that the coaching staff does with that team. They earned the result that they got today and it was a great battle through the second and third period and overtime."

Katie McMillan once again was responsible for the game-tying goal as she punched a rebound in off a deflection from the Lindenwood goaltender on the power play late in the second period.  That goal was enough for the Nittany Lions to walk away with a 1-1 tie in game two. 

"She just continues to work hard," Brandwene said. "She's so coachable and has such a great attitude. When you work hard and have a great attitude, you get rewarded for it." 

"I'm loving her play right now, she's doing great," forward Laura Bowman said. "She's always been such an awesome defender, solid both on offense and defense. She's been getting those back doors all day, every day, and it's been great."

Not to be forgotten was freshman Daniela Paniccia's performance in goal, allowing only three goals over the weekend and making a combined 42 saves. 

"She was terrific and she saw a lot of deflections, a lot of traffic," Brandwene said. "I'm really proud of her effort."

"It's a different game here [in college]," Paniccia said. "One thing I've been working on is having that short-term memory and forgetting what happened. Life happens and you just have to go on from there and just play your best and play in the present."

The Nittany Lions moved to 4-1-1 in conference play, currently trailing only Robert Morris in the CHA standings. They face a tough test next on the schedule as #4 St. Lawrence comes to town for a pair of games starting Nov. 21. 

Even with Changes, Lions Hold Off Seawolves

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 12 Penn State men's hockey (9-1-1) head coach Guy Gadowsky said last Monday that possible changes to the lineup against Alaska Anchorage (1-9-0) could be coming. Gadowsky followed through and switched up both the offense and defense. 

Freshman forward Nate Sucese, who has had success so far this season playing on a line with sophomores Andrew Sturtz and Chase Berger, was playing with some new faces this weekend. Sucese skated alongside the two tallest members of the team, freshman Nikita Pavlychev and senior Zach Saar Saturday night.

"I liked it a lot," Sucese said of playing with different line mates. "[Saar] creates space out there, being so big, and same with [Pavlychev]. They're just such hard nose players so they're easy to play with."

Sucese had two goals and an assist in Saturday night's career-high effort. 

Also on offense, Gadowsky was happy with the performance of the line consisting of Berger, freshman Brandon Biro, and senior David Goodwin.

"I don't think Berger ended up on the score sheet but he had a lot of shots and a lot of quality, grade-A opportunities," Gadowsky said. "I actually thought that line played very well."

Several other Nittany Lions got into the lineup on offense this weekend including sophomore forward Matt Mendelson. 

On defense, the pairing of sophomore Vince Pedrie and junior Erik Autio remained unchanged, but fans did see a new defensive set with sophomore Derian Hamilton playing alongside freshman James Gobetz.

The Nittany Lions played all weekend without star forward, sophomore Andrew Sturtz, who was out due to a lower body injury. Gadowsky was pleased with the team's performance without Sturtz, saying that it's a testament to their talent and work ethic that they can still be a powerful team without one of their most consistent forwards.

The Nittany Lions are now on a nine-game unbeaten streak after sweeping Alaska Anchorage this weekend at Pegula Ice Arena.

Penn State's Season Ends in NCAA Round One

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's Jenny Rizzo said last week that it is both good and bad to face a familiar face in the NCAA Tournament. It is good because the team knows what to expect, but bad because it is hard to beat a good team twice. 

On Saturday at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, the Nittany Lions proved how difficult it truly is to defeat a top 10 team twice in a 2-1 loss to the Princeton Tigers. 

"I think they definitely came out stronger than the last time we played them," Rizzo said. "I think their defense was phenomenal today. They read our corners a little bit more than they did the first time, so I think they did a good job of scouting us."

The Nittany Lions, who ranked first in the Big Ten and fourth in the NCAA standings for goals scored per game (4.05) were shut down in the first half by the Tigers' defense. None of Penn State's five shots in the first half were the quality looks at the cage that the offense had been used to getting all season.

"Princeton's defense was the best defense we have seen all year," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "We have been preaching to our kids all year about being low and [Princeton] just did a phenomenal job of taking away lanes that we wanted to attack. I thought Princeton played a great defensive game today. We couldn't get into the circle and draw the corners to get the quality shots that we wanted to get." 

Princeton broke the 0-0 tie 10 minutes into the second half. Cat Caro sent a ball into the circle just ahead of Ryan McCarthy. McCarthy reached her stick in front of her to get the ball and started to fall to the ground. As she was falling, Rizzo got low to protect the cage, but McCarthy was able to get some air under her shot sending the ball into the top left corner of the cage.

The Tigers (11-7) tacked on another goal by Caro on a penalty corner with just 10 minutes remaining in the game.

The Nittany Lions (17-3) were finally able to get on the board with a little more than three minutes left in the second half when Moira Putsch assisted Aurelia Meijer on her 11th goal of the season.

Despite a late scramble by the Penn State offense, the Nittany Lions ended their season, losing the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

"In the NCAA Tournament, anything can happen," Morett-Curtiss said. "We sort of had a slow start. We had the right intentions, but we didn't give a good pass or we didn't receive the ball well. We had the right ideas. I just feel like we should have come out even stronger in the second half. It just took us too long to get the momentum built up."

Penn State will be losing its four seniors Carly Celkos, Kirsten Gochnauer, Emilee Ehret and Brooke Birosik. In her postgame press conference, Birosik struggled to control her emotions after playing her final game as a Nittany Lion.

"I am sorry I am just upset right now," Birosik said. "I wouldn't have wanted to go to any other school. I just love Penn State so much. It hasn't set in yet that that was my last game."

Without its four seniors, the Penn State field hockey team would not have had one of its most successful seasons in the program's history. The four seniors combined contributed 14 goals, 19 assists and 47 points in the 2016 season.

"This team would not have had the success that we had this year if it wasn't for the four seniors," Morett-Curtiss said. "When we started in the spring they were very committed. They were passionate about how hard they wanted to work. They wanted to turn this season around and get back to playing Penn State field hockey. They were incredible leaders throughout the entire year including today. I couldn't be more proud of the senior class. They really elevated this program in a short time."

Although Penn State struggled to accept this loss, the team already knows that they have to look forward.

"I know this team was capable of anything," Rizzo said. "We saw that last weekend with the Big Ten Championship. But looking forward, we just need to have a strong spring. We need to work on a lot of things I'm sure, but we just need to move on from this and look forward to next season. We grew so much from last season to this season, so I know we will just grow more for next season."

VIDEO: Postgame Players - Indiana

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 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Nittany Lions Mike Gesicki, Saquon Barkley, Garrett Sickels, Brandon Bell, Marcus Allen, Chris Godwin and Trace McSorley met with members of the media following the road win at Indiana. 

Check in with the Nittany Lions for updates following the win. 


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