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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Welcome to GoPSUsports.com's live, interactive
coverage of the 2014 football season. Tune in for live blog coverage from all
12 games on the schedule. For the second-straight season, the Nittany Lions travel to Indiana.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Fit For Fritz event is back and ready for another record-breaking year in the fight against cancer.
The event, which originated in 2013 in support of track and field assistant coach Fritz Spence, is a Walk-A-Thon hosted at the Indoor Multi-Sport Complex and made possible by the collaboration of the coaching staff, the Penn State Athletics Department, and the track and field student-athletes.
In its inaugural year, the event raised just over $11,000. This year, the event returns with a few minor improvements.
"This year, we are incorporating a bone marrow drive where individuals can get swabbed and [added onto] the registry," said Spence. "[This year] we are having the community be a part of the Walk-A-Thon and be a part of the exercise stations and [they can] come in and compete with our student-athletes. I think that will be really exciting."
Last year, the Athletic Department and the Be The Match Program saw the incredible impact they could make when they joined together as one team for an important cause. However, Spence gained some knowledge and with the support of the Penn State community still remains a point of admiration for him and his family.
"I've learned how important it is to the community and how [supportive] the community is as a whole," Spence said. "I take strength and encouragement from everybody involved. The Penn State family comes in here and continues to support me [since] day one...it means a lot to me and my family."
Participants will have the opportunity to showcase their athletic abilities in exercise stations and around the track. However, the highlight of the weekend will probably be karaoke where volunteers will showcase their musical talents.
"My favorite [part] of the event is seeing everybody come in and walk around the track...and the karaoke. I can't sing to save my life but I might attempt. I'm not sure," he laughed.
In midst of the fun and games though, Spence wants the community to understand the importance of Fit For Fritz and that the affect it has lands far beyond the walls of Penn State.
"Every four minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer and the more we can do to support and help, the better," Spence said. "[The bone marrow registry] is really important to me because last year I was in need of someone and it was really hard for me to find a match. I want the community to come out and support."
Fit For Fritz has joined forces with Be The Match Foundation in hopes to raise $12,000 this year. The event is set for next Sunday, Nov. 16th beginning at 10 a.m.
For more information on the event and how to donate visit www.GoPSUSports.com and www.BeTheMatchFoundation.org.
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Penn State men's soccer team is approaching the Big Ten Tournament a little differently this year.
"I've been on different sides of this thing," head coach Bob Warming said. "We want to win the Big Ten. The statistics show that the team that loses in the conference tournament goes deeper in the NCAA tournament. That was with the old format ... with the new model, we might as well just go ahead and win it."
Although some teams are wary of going far in the conference tournament for fear of being too tired when the NCAA Tournament rolls around, that isn't Penn State's plan.
This year, the Lions will have four days in between games if they can get past the Spartans. Their second game won't take place until Friday, November 14.
"We're going right through," senior forward Mikey Minutillo said. "I think we're going to go all the way until the end and win the conference tournament. We're playing good and it's a bummer we didn't win the Big Ten outright but we've still got the tournament to fall back on."
Both Warming and the players aren't going to lie. They're disappointed they weren't able to capture their third straight conference title.
Last Sunday against Northwestern, the Lions were 100 seconds away from securing the tie needed to win the regular-season championship before a double overtime goal from Mike Roberge gave them a heartbreaking 2-1 loss.
Needing Rutgers to tie or beat Maryland on Wednesday in order to still pull out a conference championship, the Nittany Lions weren't so lucky. The Terrapins defeated the Scarlet Nights, 3-2, at the same time Penn State wrapped up its regular-season with a 1-0 win over Akron.
"We were a 100 seconds away from winning our third one," Warming said. "That was massively disappointing and because we played so well. It was just disappointing how we lost.
"But to their credit, guys are back playing hard tonight (against Akron) and we can't control [the Maryland game] and just move on to the next thing."
Penn State will also have plenty of motivation because of the first-round matchup they've drawn.
While the Spartans won their regular season finale against Indiana on Wednesday 3-2, they've recently endured a tough stretch of their own, having gone 0-2-2 in four games after their win over Penn State.
"I think our guys are always itching to win," Warming said. "I think it's going to be an incredible tournament. I told the [other Big Ten] coaches in the conference call the other day, 'we have the best collection of goalkeepers I've ever seen in the history of any conference I've ever been in.'"
The last time the Nittany Lions won the Big Ten Tournament was in 2005, five years before Warming took over the program.
The mindset of the team isn't necessarily focused on ending that drought as much as it is on proving to the Big Ten it can still play at the level it was at earlier in the season.
Beating Akron on Wednesday was a good first step. The next step is stringing together consecutive victories, like the streak of seven in a row they had between Sept.13 and Oct. 4.
"We talked about it right before the [Akron] game," Minutillo said. "We got to get this win so we can carry it right into the conference tournament."
Game Blog - Penn State at Indiana
Game Notes | Gameday Central | Indiana Scouting Report | Coach Franklin Wednesday
Press Conference Roundup | Coach Gattis Q&A | Player Q&A Video
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the second consecutive season, Penn State (4-4, 1-4) will travel to Bloomington for a matchup against Indiana (3-5, 0-4) inside Memorial Stadium. Kick is slated for noon on Saturday with television coverage on BTN.
The Nittany Lions and Hoosiers have met 17 times since Penn State first began Big Ten play in 1993, with the Lions taking 16 of the 17 on-field contests. The two teams have met in each season since 2007, with Indiana scoring its first victory in the series last year.
Penn State returns to action following a narrow 20-19 setback to Maryland last week. Senior kicker Sam Ficken nailed all four of his field goal attempts against the Terrapins, including three kicks from 45 or more yards. Ficken is the only Penn State player to make three field goals from at 45 or more yards since at least 1982. He is ranked 10th in the nation in accuracy (85.9 percent), having connected on 17 of his 19 attempts in 2014. That mark includes going 5-for-5 in the fourth quarter this season.
Penn State's defense again turned in a stellar performance against Maryland last week. The Lions are ranked No. 1 in the nation against the run (77.1 ypg). Additionally, the Nittany Lions are ranked No. 3 in the nation in total defense (273.4 ypg). Penn State is No. 9 in scoring defense at 17.8 points per game. Senior linebacker Mike Hull is ranked seventh in the nation with 11.5 tackles per game.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg continues to rank among the top signal callers in the Big Ten. He is leading the conference in passing with 254.8 passing yards per game. Hackenberg is leading the Big Ten in completions per game at 22.88. He is just seven yards shy of becoming the eighth Penn State quarterback with 5,000 career passing yards.
Indiana dropped to 3-5 overall last week with a 34-10 setback at Michigan. The Hoosiers are led by one of the nation's most dynamic rushers in junior Tevin Coleman. Coleman is leading the nation in rushing yards per game at 162.5 yards per contest. Indiana is averaging 274.5 rushing yards per game.
Welcome to the Gameday Preview for the week nine matchup against Indiana.
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. Junior defensive end Deion Barnes is putting together a superb season for the Nittany Lion defense in 2014. The Philadelphia native is third on the team in tackles with 34 stops. Barnes is leading the squad in tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (6.0). Above all, it is Barnes' work ethic that is separating him from most guys in the conference. Head coach James Franklin used clips of Barnes' relentless pursuit during a team meeting this week to illustrate the way he wants to see each player on the team compete. His numbers speak for themselves, but Barnes has been a tremendously disruptive player on a unit that is ranked No. 3 in the nation in total defense.
2. With the season-ending injury to Zach Zwinak, Akeel Lynch has embraced the opportunity to work alongside senior Bill Belton. Lynch has prepared for an increased role since he arrived on campus. Looking to become a complete back, Lynch has said that he is continuously working on all facets of his game. He carried the ball a career-high 21 times last week during his first career start against Maryland. With each passing week, keep an eye on Lynch as he continues to get more confident in an increased role on the Penn State offense.
3. Thanks to a red-hot start to the 2014 season, senior placekicker Sam Ficken is joining elite company in the Penn State record book. Ficken is third in the nation in field goals made per game at 2.13 per contest. With 17 made kicks (17-for-19) this season, Ficken now has 47 career makes. He is third on the all-time field goals made list, with Craig Fayak sitting second at 50 made kicks. On the scoring chart, Ficken has accounted for 239 points, which is sixth on the all-time Penn State list. Ficken has made nine-straight kicks in 2014.
What to Watch For - Indiana
1. Tevin Coleman's list of accolades in 2014 is impressive. In addition to leading the nation in rushing yards per game (162.5), Coleman is first nationally in yards per carry (8.02) and first in yards from scrimmage per game (180.0). The junior has reached 100 yards in 10-straight games, the longest streak in the nation. A semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, Coleman has game-changing speed with the ball in his hands. He has accounted for 15 plays of 20 or more yards, including six touchdowns. An explosive player, Coleman leads the nation in career touchdown runs of 30 yards or more (6) and 40 yards or more (5).
2. The trio of sophomore safety Antonio Allen, sophomore linebacker T.J. Simmons and senior cornerback Tim Bennett top the Indiana defense in tackles. Allen has made 46 stops from the free safety position. Simmons has 45 hits and 2.5 TFL from the middle linebacker position. Bennett has made 44 tackles, and he also ranks fourth in the Big Ten with nine pass breakups. The Hoosier defense has allowed 446.0 yards per game in 2014.
3. Senior wide receiver Shane Wynn is the lone Hoosier in school history and one of only eight active players with receiving, rushing, punt return and kick return touchdowns in his career. Wynn is leading Indiana with 29 receptions for 436 yards and two touchdowns this season. The speedy senior is the team's top return threat. He is averaging 22.2 yards per touch on kick returns this season.
The Final Word:
The Nittany Lions are set to play Indiana for the 18th time on Saturday afternoon. The Penn State-Indiana series is one that dates back to the first year the Nittany Lions were members of the Big Ten in 1993. Since 1993, the Lions have played Ohio State in every season. Outside of the Buckeyes, Indiana will tie Michigan State as the next opponent on the list that Penn State has played the most during its time in the conference. Saturday' will mark Penn State's seventh trip to Memorial Stadium. The Nittany Lions also collided in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis in 2000 and FedEx Field in 2010. Penn State has hosted Indiana eight times. Now members of the Big Ten East Division, the two schools will play annually. Kickoff is slated for 12:01 on Saturday with Eric Collins, Chuck Long and Lisa Byington on the BTN broadcast.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In week three of Penn State track and field preseason and the third chapter of season previews, GoPSUsports.com caught up with head coach John Gondak and the mid-distance and distance student-athletes on their preparations and goals for the upcoming year.
The Nittany Lions return three student-athletes, junior Za'Von Watkins, junior Brannon Kidder, and senior Robby Creese, as part of their distance medley relay group, which is the three-time defending champion at the Big Ten Championships. Last year's time of 9:26.59 broke Penn State's record and was just over a half of a second shy of the world record.
"The [distance medley relay] is a lot of fun and it combines the true aspect of middle distance," said Gondak. "The fun thing [about this year] is that we have three of [the] four legs coming back."
All-American student-athletes Watkins and Kidder are looking forward to the competition this year noting their team chemistry, depth, and experience.
"[The distance medley relay] is obviously one of our go-to [events]. We're really strong at that event and we have three of the same guys coming back," said Watkins. "We're looking forward to getting a record this time but as long as we run fast I'm happy with that, too."
Junior Tori Gerlach enters the 2015 season as the defending 3,000-meter run Big Ten Champion with her lifetime-best, 9:10.76. Gerlach is also a tough competitor in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal record time of 10:03:55. Both rank second in the all-time Penn State record books.
"It was really exciting last year because I wasn't expecting to win [the 3,000-meter run] so it was awesome and being just short of the school record is awesome so that's definitely something I'm aiming towards this year," said Gerlach.
This year's freshman class is ready to cause uproar.
After being named the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Elizabeth Chikotas joins the distance team after a phenomenal cross country season. Freshman Joey Logue recorded 13 state medals and two All-American titles during his high school career.
The student-athletes have been diligently training all preseason in the Ashenfelter III Indoor Facility, which features a six-lane, 65-foot-radius hydraulically banked Mondo track, one of five in the country.
The team is set to kick-off their season on Saturday, December 13th when they host a Blue vs. White Intrasquad meet.
For more information on Penn State track and field visit www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on Twitter @PennStateTFXC.
By Tyler Feldman, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Left winger Amy Petersen may don the number nine on the back of her Blue and White jersey, but it's the number eight that stands out through ten games played this season.
The sophomore from Minnetonka, Minn., has already netted eight goals (three power play goals) on the year to lead Penn State's offensive attack.
"Our team as a whole puts a lot of work in the weight room and work really hard on conditioning and getting stronger," said Petersen. "A lot of that has helped me score more goals."
Prior to Penn State
Prior to Penn State, at Minnetonka High School, Petersen accumulated 70 goals and 118 assists over the course of four years playing on a team that earned four straight Lake Conference titles and won three straight Minnesota High School AA championships.
Despite scoring all of those goals in high school, Petersen says that she has never really been considered a goal scorer.
"I actually haven't really [been known as a goal scorer]," said Petersen. "A lot of high school and even freshman year I was more of a playmaker, getting more assists and trying to set up my teammates."
Development of Goal-Scoring Mentality
As a freshman last year, Petersen assisted on ten Nittany Lion goals, but scored just five of her own.
The five-foot-four forward has already surpassed her freshman goal total by three. She's not quite sure what has changed over the past year, noting that some luck has certainly been involved, but that the coaching staff has helped immensely.
"Well, I wasn't scoring at the end of last season, so I was talking with the coaches and telling them that I wanted to stop in front of the net more because a lot of the times I'd just fly by and swing to the corner," said Petersen. "By stopping in front, there are a lot of rebounds and garbage goal opportunities."
When you watch Petersen orchestrate offensive chances on the ice, it is sometimes hard to believe that she is only a sophomore. Her vision, speed and performance make her appear as an upperclassman.
"She's got a tremendous number of reps under her belt," said head coach Josh Brandwene. "She does a great job for us both with the puck and without it. She does great work on the power play and penalty kill. I'm really pleased with the effort that she puts in."
Line mate familiarity has certainly catapulted Petersen to the top of the scoring sheet. Sophomore center Laura Bowman has played alongside Petersen since the two were little and right winger Hannah Hoenshell has meshed comfortably on the top line alongside the two Minnetonkans.
"Hannah and Laura have made a lot of great passes to me and given me chances to score," said Petersen. "The three of us have worked well together the last two years. We have a lot of chemistry between each other, and so we know where each other is going to be, which helps a ton."
Bowman has tallied two goals and seven assists, while Hoenshelll has added two more assists to round out Penn State's number one line.
According to Brandwene, his top line possesses an additional form of communication that makes them so difficult to stop.
"They have a sixth sense, silent communication piece that makes them incredibly effective," said Brandwene.
With eight goals and three assists already, Petersen doesn't expect to slow down and neither does her head coach.
"She's a great competitor," said Brandwene. "She's a great teammate. She loves this school. She loves this program. She's a great student as well and that's a fabulous thing."
However, only one thing is on Petersen's mind as she and her teammates look forward to a two-game road series against Colgate this upcoming weekend.
"We're trying to get goals for our team," said Petersen. "If the pucks in the back of the net we are all happy."
By Jennifer Hudson, GoPSUsports.com Student Athlete Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Two new staff members have joined the Penn State
fencing team this season to help the program move forward in its quest for
another national championship. Alexei Sintchinov and Heather Nelson are eager
to help lead the team as assistant and volunteer coaches, respectively,
beginning this season.
Sintchinov joins the Nittany Lions as an assistant coach after being a coach at Ohio State for the past three years.
He has been a professional coach since 1976 and is a Master of Sport in Fencing. Sintchinov started his coaching career internationally and was the head coach of the Belarus, Egypt and Tunisia national teams. He was named Honored Coach of Belarus in 1991 and head coach of the 2000 Egypt Olympic Team.
He is excited to continue his coaching career with such a decorated program here at Penn State and to help the team compete for championships.
"I would like to help the team make a good result at the NCAA championship," said Sintchinov. " I want to improve all students in epee and everyone on the team. I am happy to help anyone who wants to learn. My heart is open to all weapons."
With the past 40 years overseeing different fencers, the newest Nittany Lion knows how to fix problems and improve athletes to their best ability.
He was even a part of the coaching staff who helped guide the Buckeyes to the 2012 NCAA Championship title.
"All fencers have a strong part and weak part," said Sintchinov, "I will help shrink the weaknesses and increase the strengths. Everyone has a different problem that they need to work with. It is very important to work on strengths and weaknesses."
One thing Coach Alexei has added to the championship teams work out is a stepladder to improve their footwork. He believes in fast and strong legs for every great fencer needs.
Team members who have been working with Sintchinov in lessons are excited to have him and love what he is bringing to the program.
"He is a strong addition to our family," said Jessica O'Neill Lyublinsky, a junior epee fencer. "He really puts his heart into his work and I can already see he really wants to repeat our NCAA title as much as we do, if not more."
Nelson, a former fencer who is a grad student at Penn State, comes back to the team as a volunteer assistant coach for the semester. She is helping improve everyone's strength with many conditioning drills she learned from the Air Force Academy.
Nelson, a Second Lieutenant, attended the USAF for her undergraduate work,, majoring in aerospace engineering. She was on the fencing team at the Academy for three years allowing her to fence her last year of eligibility with the Nittany Lions when she came for graduate school last fall.
"Heather's work outs are challenging," said Brianne Cavaliere, a junior saber fencer. "They force you to not only push yourself, but your teammates so we can be the best we can."
Nelson helps the team's workouts, which consist of many strength and conditioning skills that are challenging for the Nittany Lions. The drills are done in organized lines as if you were in the military. The team does reps of different strength exercises while counting out loud as one team. Everyone must stay in time or the team will start over.
"Military style training is working as a team," said Nelson. "If one can't compete the repetition, the team starts over."
Nelson helps the team do different strength stations in groups with time limits pushing each fencer to do multiple strength activities as fast as they can in groups. If a group fails to complete a station, the team will do a great deal of push ups to make up the difference.
"The drills as a team is the same as fencing as a team," said Nelson. "You send 12 to NCAAs who are your best fencers but if one falls, it can lose you the championship. The exercises show that the team is only as strong as the weakest person you send."
From all the drills, Nelson hopes to help the team gain more endurance to help them get through the long tiring days at regionals and NCAAs to bring home another championship.
Doing her workouts twice a week, the team is very happy with how their strength and conditioning is improving this year.
"I love it here at Penn State," said Nelson. "I'm glad I'm back but I wish I could stay the whole season."
Nelson unfortunately is only here for one semester because she is graduating in December. She is off to Colorado Springs to work in an Air Force satellite lab after graduation. The Nittany Lions will be sad to see her go, but her assistance with conditioning will hopefully contribute to another successful season.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State offensive recruiting coordinator,
assistant special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis spoke
with the media on Thursday. The Nittany
Lions travel to Indiana on Saturday at noon (BTN). Take a look at a Q&A
Q: You started the season with a really young group of receivers. Can you talk about how they have developed this season?
Gattis: "I think they have done a really good job kind of developing themselves and understanding how we want them to play. They have stepped up and made some critical plays at times, but I think as the games continue to grow on, I think we will continue to grow. I don't think we are quite where we need to be. We are heading in the right direction. I'm really proud of the guys developing their confidence and stepping up and making plays. We are a very, very young group. I'm really excited about the future and the direction we are headed in to. I really feel like we are going to get better as opportunities continue to present themselves."
Q: What's the mindset of the group through eight games this season and how the unit is progressing?
Gattis: "I don't think there is any frustration. I think the kids are developing the right way. If you start off hot (like we did), people are going to try and gameplan against you and show different things to keep the plays in front of them. I think we still have one of the best passing offenses in the Big Ten. We've got DaeSean Hamilton who is in the top three in the Big Ten in receiving. He leads all freshmen in the country in catches and receiving yards. I don't think there is any frustration. The guys are continuing to develop. Sometimes opportunities present themselves in other ways. Teams have done some things differently. But I think we have continued to take steps forward each week. Each game is different depending on what teams are doing. But we need to continue to develop as an offense. We are such a young unit that each week is something new, and we have to continue to gain confidence to move forward."
Q: Are you pleased with how the group has continued to maintain its confidence level during the past few weeks?
Gattis: "One thing about these kids is that they want to win as bad as anybody else wants to win. I think a lot of people need to understand that. They want to win as bad as these coaches want to win and as bad as the fans want to win. It has weighed heavily on our kids these past couple weeks. But they continue to show up each day and work hard and continue to improve. We continue to focus on being the best that we can be and continue to work on the areas that need to be worked on. But our kids have handled it with the utmost respect."
Q: What is the next step for the young freshmen Saeed Blacknall and Chris Godwin as they progress into bigger roles?
Gattis: "I think those guys are really progressing. I'm really happy about Saeed and Chris. Those guys are playing really good ball. They are making some plays out there. It's hard sometimes when you have a bunch of guys rotating in. Some of the opportunities they aren't in for, they can't make. But as far as their attempts, their completions and their targets, I've really been pleased with how they are playing as they continue to develop. This is a young group. DaeSean still has room to develop, but he has been playing really good football. Geno (Lewis) is a young player who is playing good football, but he still has a lot more room to grow. I think as a group, we have to continue to find ways to get those guys more active as far as Saeed Blacknall and Chris Godwin. We need to continue to get those guys more and more reps."
Q: Blocking is such an important part of a receiver's job. Can you talk about the way your unit has blocked this season?
Gattis: "I think blocking is just an unselfish thing. There is really no way to coach it. You have to have it deep down on the inside. I've been pleased so far with our blocking. We've changed some things up as far as blocking on the perimeter. Our receivers have been very, very active as far as blocking on the perimeter in our screen game. We are going to get them more active in our run game. I think it's an unselfish mentality that you've got to develop as an offense. Our guys truly know, we say it all the time, 'no block, no rock,' so in order for us to get the ball we have to be unselfish and block for others. And that's how we create explosive plays, not only in the pass game but the run game."
Q: What type of challenges do you think the Indiana secondary will pose on Saturday?
Gattis: "Whenever you play a team that is, kind of like last week, that is a three-man rush team on a 3-4, some of the challenges would be that they drop eight men into coverage. They have an extra defender, whether that's in deep coverage or underneath. So, I think that is always a challenge when you are going against a 3-4 team is that they are going to drop eight. They have a little bit of history with us. Their defensive coordinator is a good friend of mine that I've known over time that was the defensive coordinator at Wake Forest. They are going to be ready. They are a well-coached team. They have good players in their secondary with a lot of starts. They are going to try and challenge us. And we are going to be prepared."
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Head coach Bob Warming had two words to describe goalie Andrew Wolverton's performance against Akron Wednesday night.
"Cheese and crackers," Warming said. "It was a really good night for him to do what he did."
Against the Zips, Wolverton registered five saves as the Nittany Lions won their regular season finale 1-0.
Although that may not seem like a huge number, the situations he made them in and the level of difficulty proved why the 6-foot-6 senior is considered the best goalie in the Big Ten.
With 2:30 remaining and the Lions trying to hold off a last-ditch Akron rally, Wolverton made an incredible lunging save off of a shot from Sean Sepe before recovering in time to block another attempt from Stuart Holthusen.
It was the second time Wolverton came up huge at the end of a half, as he also stopped a prime attempt from Adam Najem with 2:09 left in the first.
"It was awesome, he did a great job today," senior forward Mikey Minutillo, who scored the team's lone goal, said. "I told him after the game he's the reason we got the shutout. He made three or four big saves that I haven't seen any other goalie in the nation make."
Minutillo was perfectly calm as he praised his goaltender, and it's understandable why. After all, Wolverton is the reigning Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, and his teammates have become accustomed to such performances.
Still, the shutout was important for both Wolverton and the Nittany Lions in general.
After registering nine shutouts (Wolverton had eight) during their 10-0-1 start, the Lions gave up 11 goals in their next five games, which included four losses.
While the amount of goals a team allows doesn't fall completely on the shoulders of a goaltender, it felt good for Wolverton to get another shutout under his belt with the conference tournament beginning Sunday.
"Having a game like this always helps [your confidence] but it's better for the whole team," Wolverton said. "We got a goal and did well defensively and got a big win."
After four years of filled with highlight reel saves, it's no wonder that Wolverton takes a humble approach to his success.
The Nittany Lions all-time shutouts leader, Wolverton knows no goalie can perform well without a great team in front of him. However, it was his teammates that really needed him on Wednesday.
"That's just part of my job," Wolverton said. "Just like Mikey scoring goals, that's what I have to do to help the team win and I was fortunate to get a hold of a few tonight."
Grant and Gravatt Thrive Against Former Team
Riley Grant and Brett Gravatt both saw plenty of familiar faces Wednesday night.
That's because the two Nittany Lions were on the same field as their prior teammates in addition to their current ones, having both played for Akron as freshmen last season.
Though neither transfer has
been a regular starter for Penn State, both came up big on Wednesday against
their former team.
Gravatt started at midfield and got off three shots, while Grant came off the bench and assisted on Minutillo's goal with 9:16 remaining in the game.
"It was a weird feeling," Grant said. "I'm glad I was able to help the team, there's no hard feelings or anything."
Afterwards, both players spent a few minutes speaking with their former teammates and coaches.
"We're just wishing each other the best of luck," Gravatt said. "I think we left on good terms and we just want the best for each other."
For the two of them, the night was more about getting on the field in general and winning than getting on the field against their old team.
Gravatt earned his first start of the season after logging just 84 minutes of playing time in seven prior appearances while Grant spent the game against Northwestern on the bench.
"[Brett's] been playing better and better and been training and worked hard and he's been a good teammate," Warming said. "It was great that he got to play against his former school and he played very well.
"I'm just happy for Riley that he's playing better. He's got some talent and maybe the role we've had him in [at forward] is a little better than what we've tried with him in the midfield."
The performances come at a good time for the duo. With the postseason about to kick off, Grant and Gravatt are just happy to be contributing in any way possible.
"It felt great," Gravatt said. "I've been struggling with my knee all season and just trying to get fit and it just feels great to be on the field."