By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore forward Laura Bowman netted three goals and added an assist to lead Penn State (15-11-4, 9-5-2 CHA) to a weekend road split versus CHA conference foe Lindenwood (9-17-1, 6-9-1).
The Penn State women's hockey team traveled over 750 miles to faceoff against the Lions in their home of Wentzville, MO. In Friday's contest, the Blue and White triumphed, 3-2, but fell, 4-2, in Saturday's matinee.
"I'm proud of the comeback effort [Saturday]," said head coach Josh Brandwene. "They stuck with the game plan. They kept believing. It was a heck of a hockey game on both sides."
Laura Bowman and her top line mates Amy Petersen and Micayla Catanzariti are a big reason why Brandwene's team continues to excel, especially down the home stretch of the regular season.
"Everyday is an opportunity to get better regardless of the result from the game before," said Brandwene. "Our mindset has been the same. Looking forward to getting back to work."
Bowman was a part of all three goals in Friday's 3-2 victory.
The scoring opened up 44 seconds into the second period when Catanzariti used apples from Petersen and Bowman to put the Nittany Lions ahead, 1-0. Then Bowman put Penn State ahead by two goals while on the power play with 11:42 left in the second frame after Bella Sutton and Kelly Seward assisted on the score. Bowman tallied her second goal of the period with 2:36 left in the second frame to put the Blue and White up, 3-1. Petersen and Jeanette Bateman recorded the helpers on the eventual game-winning score.
Celine Whitlinger swatted away 29 Lindenwood shots to preserve the team's 15th win of the season, 11th when she's between the pipes.
"Really proud of [Celine Whitlinger]," said Brandwene. "Just continues to battle and give a great effort."
In Saturday afternoon's 4-2 defeat, Bowman managed to score yet again, her 16th goal of the season. Her line mates Petersen and Catanzariti tallied the assists.
"[Bowman] had herself a monster weekend," said Brandwene. "Just had her feet moving. Really good shot selection. Great vision. Really high compete level."
Junior forward Shannon Yoxheimer, who has been with the program since its inception, not only played in her 100th game donning the Blue and White over the weekend, but she also scored in Saturday's contest. Emily Laurenzi and Remi Martin recorded the assists on her goal.
"Everybody does a great job with their responsibilities," said Brandwene. "Amy had a heck of an outlet pass on our early goal in the third period, and we just gave a really good effort."
Penn State will complete its four-game road trip this upcoming weekend in northwest Pennsylvania with a two-game series against conference foe Mercyhurst.
Sitting in second place in the CHA conference standings behind Mercyhurst (20-7-3, 11-4-1 CHA), Penn State continues to pressure the first place Lakers. In fact, the Nittany Lions are an impressive 5-2-1 in their last eight games and have already beaten the Lakers twice this season.
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By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The old saying goes, "practice makes perfect," and if you practice hard, performing in a game or a competition will be easier. While no performance is ever perfect, some come pretty close.
Gymnastics is a sport where the performance on individual can impact the team; it is just as much mental as it is physical. Penn State women's gymnastics head coach Jeff Thompson and his staff preach, "compete how you practice," and "perform like you do in the gym." This coaching tactic remained steadfast in Saturday's meet against Michigan State, as the Nittany Lions won each event and earned an impressive team score of 197.025.
"It was en exciting night; we finally did what we do in practice," Thompson said. "As a coach of a top collegiate team, you always want to score a 197 [team score]. We accomplished that and more tonight."
Vault: Sibson, Sanabria-Robles and Tsang Set Personal Bests
Penn State started its rotation on vault, a card they have drawn in almost every meet this year. What has changed as the season has progressed is their ability to attack this event, using that adrenaline and momentum for the rest of the meet.
"When you start a vault rotation off with one of the hardest, most challenging vaults in the NCAA, it is hard to gauge the judges reaction," Thompson said, speaking to freshman Oni Timothy's one and a half twist. "Tonight she didn't score as high as she normally does, but we put her first and the judges had nothing to compare it to."
Freshman Briannah Tsang and senior Sidney Sanabria-Robles were later in the lineup. The two gymnasts set personal bests with a matching score of 9.875, contributing to the team's overall event score of 49.175. But, sophomore Emma Sibson's vault stuck out the most. Not only did she stick it, she set a new season- best with her score of a 9.900.
"I have really focused on cleaning up my form," Sibson said. "I don't focus so much on sticking as I do my technique. I struggled the first few meets where I was ending with my chest too low. I have worked really hard over the past few weeks to get comfortable enough that I end on a solid note."
Welsh Recovers to Win Bars and Floor
For the first time in her collegiate career, senior Krystal Welsh missed her vault landing. But she finished with grace, knowing she needed to perform her best in the next three events.
"I obviously did not like what I did," Welsh said. "But, it is what it is. I will learn from it. It is always hard to let that feeling go during a meet, but I knew I had to. I know I will never do that again."
Despite starting off on an unfamiliar note, Welsh bounced back with a stellar performance. The all-around competitor walked away with a first place finish on bars with a score of 9.875 and tied for first on floor with a score of 9.900.
"From the moment we come to campus we learn to recover from a missed landing," Welsh said. "The team learns how to lean on each other and not let the performance of one person bring them down. We rally and we push through. It is all about trust."
Team Rallies For Fifth Highest Score in School History
The Nittany Lions not only managed to outscore their goal of 197 team points with a finish of 197.025, but their performance was one of the highest in school history. The team was able to recover from a missed landing on vault and still score above the 49 point mark in each event.
"It was fun for everyone," Thompson said. "This team is special."
Penn State takes on Big Ten rival Ohio State on Saturday in Rec Hall at 4 p.m.
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was the type of atmosphere that Penn State wrestler Garett Hammond had never experienced before.
In front of 15,967 fans and under the bright lights of the Bryce Jordan Center, the redshirt freshman came out after halftime of the team's dual against Iowa hoping to give his team a spark. With the Lions trailing 12-3, Hammond's bout at 165 against seventh ranked Nick Moore was a chance to for Penn State to regain some momentum.
In a match that came down to the wire, Hammond delivered, taking Moore to the mat with six seconds left to give himself a 4-2 win that produced one of the loudest ovations of the afternoon, which ended in a close 18-12 loss for the Lions.
"I was hoping to give us a chance to win the dual and we were in a position to make it happen against a team that's pretty talented," Hammond said. "I like that big environment. It gives you a little extra push. It's exciting wrestling in front of all these fans."
In a dual stocked with 17 ranked wrestlers, Hammond came in as a clear underdog. Still, he started out tough, trading shots with the Hawkeye senior during a scoreless first period.
Despite falling behind 2-0 following a Moore reversal in the second, Hammond escaped to set up a vital third period showdown. After another escape, the first-year wrestler won the match with a dominant move, lifting Moore over his head before finishing off the takedown on the mat.
"I was just focusing on finishing hard," Hammond said. "I knew that might be my last opportunity to get a takedown and I just used all my strength. Fans are pretty loud helping you out and I just finished off on a double. I just wanted to make sure when I returned [shots], I returned them hard and I was able to finish it."
The win improved Hammond to 20-8 on the season and 8-5 in duals. More importantly, though, it gave him his first dual win over a ranked wrestler.
With the Big Ten Championships a month away, the victory gives the Chambersville, Pennsylvania, native confidence that he can succeed in pressure filled situations.
"I've been close against some of these top guys, I was just focused on winning and not being happy because no one cares if you lose close, you want to go out there and win," Hammond said. "I'm only [from] about two hours away from here so I know a lot of people back home are watching."
Although the Nittany Lions weren't able to pull out a victory against the No. 1 team in the country, Hammond's win did start a second half rally that led to the dual not being decided until the heavyweight bout.
Both senior 174-pounder Matt Brown and junior 197-pounder Morgan McIntosh followed Hammond and both brought their A-game. Brown used a dominant 1:52 of riding time to beat second ranked Mike Evans 2-0 (the pair's seventh career matchup), and McIntosh used a first period reversal and near fall to beat No. 6 Nathan Burak 7-1.
Still, the focus of both captains afterwards was on what the team needs to do to continue improving. At the same time, Brown praised Hammond for his performance.
"I think we're all happy for him, we see that he works hard and he's a great wrestler," Brown said. "A lot of the atmosphere and how fun it is, is seeing your teammates go out and do well."
Gulibon Scores Victory With Big Finish
For a wrestler who's never been about the spotlight, Jimmy Gulibon certainly thrived under it on Sunday.
The sophomore 133-pounder and seventh ranked wrestler at his weight produced Penn State's biggest highlight of the first half, beating No. 3 Cory Clark 8-5.
Similar to Hammond's match, the second bout of the afternoon wasn't decided until the final moments. Tied 4-4 but without the edge in riding time, Gulibon brought Clark to his back for a four-point move with under 10 seconds remaining to secure the win.
"He stopped my shot earlier in the match," Gulibon said. "It was more of a mental thing there, that I was going to get in on that shot and get the takedown."
The win continued what has been an impressive season for the second year wrestler. After going 18-15 and just 5-8 in duals as a redshirt freshman last season, Gulibon is now 18-4 and 11-2 in duals.
Impressive as his record is, the real change with Gulibon has been the confidence and determination he has developed. If the Lions are going to be contenders in the postseason, they will need him to continue to beat ranked opponents.
"I think Jimmy has always been very committed," head coach Cael Sanderson said. "He's a guy we have to say, 'hey. you've got to go home,' in the summer. Otherwise he wants to stay and train the whole time.
"I still think the sky's the limit with him. We're seeing some great things there. You saw at the end of that match if he's determined to score a point, he's going to score a point. He's just got the ability and the speed and the strength, and I think he's just getting started."
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When the Nittany Lion men's basketball team needed a lift Saturday afternoon against Nebraska, it came courtesy of two of the youngest players on the team.
Geno Thorpe and Shep Garner have less than three years of Division I experience between them, yet it was the guard duo provided that clutch play throughout the second half as the Nittany Lions overcame multiple Cornhusker rallies to win 56-43.
Despite not registering a point in the first half, Garner nailed three 3-pointers for nine points in the second, while Thorpe finished the game as Penn State's leading scorer with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
"This is what you get out of it, we can respond, we can punch back." head coach Patrick Chambers said. "Shep Garner hit huge threes, huge threes. There's a freshman who stepped up and hit big time shots. I thought D.J. Newbill's dives, just laying it all out there. He was not going to let his team lose and he responded really well. I thought Geno Thorpe did some good things...there's so much we can learn from that experience and show how much we are growing."
After 25 minutes of basketball, it didn't look the Nittany Lions would need anyone to step up down the stretch. Their defense had stifled Nebraska to just 13 points in the first half and an early 15-4 run in the second gave the Lions a 37-17 lead with 15 minutes to play.
It was then that the Huskers began to heat up, implementing a tight press that kept Penn State in check and generated chances that led to 14-0 run of their own. With 9:40 left, the Nittany Lions' lead had been cut down to 37-31.
Just as it seemed Nebraska had completely seized momentum, Garner delivered, nailing his second 3-pointer of the half to reignite the Nittany Lion faithful. Nearly seven minutes later, with Penn State's lead at 48-41, the freshman guard hit another triple for a 10-point lead that proved to be insurmountable.
"Shep, he's one of those guys with unlimited heart," Newbill said. "He's not afraid of a big moment and that's what you love about him. He'll miss five and come down and shoot the next one. He's fearless. For us, we all had confidence in him. When it left his hand, we were like, 'oh, this is good.' Shep is a great shooter so we have a lot of confidence in him."
Thorpe on the other hand, was his usual firecracker self, diving after loose balls, zipping into passing lanes and slamming home crowd-pleasing dunks. The sophomore scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and had three dunks, the final one coming off a steal with 1:02 remaining for a 53-43 lead that officially put the game away.
It was the guard's 10th double-digit scoring performance of the season and his second highest total (he scored 19 against Duquense on Dec. 12), yet it still might have taken a backseat to his defensive performance.
Not only did Thorpe grab three steals, he also spent much of the evening hounding Nebraska's Terran Petteway, the conference's third leading scorer at 19 points-per-game. Though the Husker guard has three inches and 35 pounds on Thorpe, he managed to score just 13 points on 4-12 shooting.
"We just stick to our game plan, the game plan that coach Chambers comes up with," Thorpe said. "We just try to play solid defense and that's what we did [today]. We've been practicing Nebraska's cuts for a few days. We fall back on defending and rebounding. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary for us."
"It's not one guy versus Terran Petteway, it's Penn State basketball against Terran Petteway," Newbill added. "It takes a team to stop a player like that who can score at will, one of the best player's in this league. We just defended, rebounded, talked. That's what that was."
Overall, it was one of the Nittany Lions' best defensive performances of the season, as they held the Huskers to an astounding 17 percent percentage in the first half and 29 percent overall.
Having scored just 53 points, the Nittany Lions know they need to be sharper on offense moving forward. Still, Big Ten basketball games have the potential to turn into old-school slugfests, and on Saturday, it was Penn State that came out on top.
"It was positive because it was an ugly fist-fight, it was a rock fight." Chambers said. "I'm okay with ugly as long as you get the win. I felt like they came out of halftime and did some good things."
By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion men's lacrosse team used four early goals as motivation in its season opener against Vermont. Capitalizing on Vermont's defense, the Lions got on the board out of the gate and never looked back.
Junior TJ Sanders attributed the momentum of the first half to the team's ability to communicate and work together. The team had been working to improve their on-field communication during the week leading up to the game.
"There were times we were moving the ball well, and that worked out well," Sanders said. "I think we moved the ball pretty well in transition."
Not only did the offense start strong, but the defense made an early impact as well. In his first game starting in net, redshirt sophomore Connor Darcey settled in as the quarters went by. With several shots in the first half dangerously close to the net, Darcey made sure his defensemen were in constant communication to prevent possible goals. With a sore throat, Darcey relied heavily on the veteran defense to help with communication in the backfield.
"Having them be able to command especially on days like today where I can't even talk was huge," Darcey said.
Head coach Jeff Tambroni emphasized that although the team started strong, it is important to keep the momentum consistent throughout all 60 minutes of play. Tambroni attributed the win to strong individual performances in all positions as well as slight improvements in overall teamwork.
"We did play as a team at times and did get away from it at times and Vermont took advantage of it," said Tambroni. "I thought there was a stretch in that game where we weren't playing really well offensively and I didn't think we were playing very well defensively and had Connor not stepped up and played the way he did, that game probably would've been a lot closer."
Coach Tambroni had defined the goals of the season opener as going in with a positive attitude and to just play the game the team grew up loving; no complications. Tambroni didn't want the team getting too distracted by going overboard on what was expected of them.
"We stressed simplicity today, play like a team offensively and defensively and try to play with the basics," said Tambroni. "I feel like we got away from it a little bit, we tried to do a little too much after building the first quarter lead and I thought the game got away from us a little bit."
Once the team got back to playing as a unit, the final pieces fell into place for them to pull away and win. Although a win is the ideal start to the season, no matter the final score there is always room for improvement.
"I think we need to be a little more aggressive in our attack," said Tambroni. I thought we were looking a little bit passive, a little bit timid at the attack with TJ [Sanders] and Michael [Sutton]. Those guys are going to have to be more aggressive in the future if we're going to have a sound starting three at the attack."
Small improvements to the Lions' game plan could mean the difference between wins and losses later in the season as their schedule increases in difficulty. For now, Tambroni and his team focus one game at a time.
"It was nice to get off with a win and just kind of move on," said Tambroni. "So hopefully we'll have a chance to reflect on what we did here and give our guys a chance to celebrate for a day and then start to make some changes and adjustments as we head into Loyola."
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's volleyball team is starting to get accustomed to quick matches.
Against Erskine on Friday night, the Nittany Lions didn't lose a set, winning three straight by scores of 25-17, 25-14, and 25-19. The victory marked the third straight sweep for the Blue and White, who defeated Saint Francis and Mount Olive in similar matches last weekend.
The Flying Fleet entered the match 7-1 on the year and played tough throughout the match, but the Nittany Lions refused to allow them to develop any rhythm. According to head coach Penn State head coach Mark Pavlik, the goal for his team was to force their opponent to play "big-boy volleyball."
"This match was really won by our physicality behind the line," Pavlik said. "We ended up serving the ball really well and it gave them trouble. There were balls being binged off of people and not great passes. The best description of it was a workman-like approach. They punched the clock, came in and we did what we had to do and got out of there."
While Erskine managed to score the first point of each set and even led 3-0 to open up the first, the Lions were able to stay focused and took control of the match every time the Fleet seemed close to starting a run.
In the first, the two teams went back and forth for the first 29 points, with Penn State holding on to a 16-13 lead. At that point, the Lions began to heat up, going on a 6-0 run in which they forced Erskine to commit four errors.
That would be a theme throughout the three sets. While the Nittany Lions played a clean, disciplined game and only committed four attack errors, Erskine had 20 and hit just .118 overall.
"I thought the last seven or eight points [of the first set], all of a sudden we started to get really on-track with our serving," Pavlik said. "Any ball that came over we were putting back, we were literally running our offense at a pretty high efficiency in transition. We eventually wore them down in game one and they made their spurts in [sets] two and three early and we just settled into a, if not exciting level, a good level."
The Lions were certainly at a good level in the second, registering a .652 hitting percentage that helped them finish the match with an excellent .500 mark, high above their season mark of .254.
It was also in the second that the team's most reliable offensive player, senior Aaron Russell, began to heat up. After not finishing any kills in the first period, the outside hitter completed eight of 11 attempts in the second on his way to a team-high 12 and a .435 percentage.
"It was just kind of [junior setter] Taylor [Hammond] letting me settle in," Russell said. "I think I only had a few attempts (three) in the first too. In he next few sets I ended up with 23 total, so obviously I got settled a lot more."
Russell may have been reliable as usual, but he was not the only Nittany Lion to perform strongly on Friday. Senior Nick Goodell had seven kills, including six in the first set, Hammond was his steady self with 32 assists and sophomore outside hitter Chris Nugent tied Russell with 12 kills to go with a .526 hitting percentage.
Nugent's performance was especially pleasing for Pavlik to see, as it was the sophomore's second straight strong game, after he finished the Saint Francis match with six kills and seven aces.
"He's passing the ball," Pavlik. "And that's what we're looking for. If we can get Chris's offense and his passing can settle down and allow our offense to run as it needs to that's a bonus. We know he has a great arm, it's if his platform can keep up with it."
Having now won three straight matches (and nine straight sets) the Nittany Lions are beginning to establish some momentum after starting the season 0-6.
"I think it boost's [our confidence]," Russell said. "We've improved a lot, we're playing some good-level ball, and we're playing with some intensity so we're excited."