Recently in Field Hockey Category
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Scoring early is one of the most vital weapons in
any sport. From a touchdown on the opening drive to a quick pin, the percentage
of teams who win due to an early score is significantly higher than those who
come from behind.
The New York Times conducted
a study [http://slapshot.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/23/teams-that-score-first-in-playoff-games-are-tough-to-beat/]
on this statistic while looking at the NHL playoffs. The study found that teams who score first have
an 83% chance of winning.
The Penn State field hockey team proved that statistic wrong this
weekend, as they came from behind to beat both the No. 14 Princeton Tigers and
the Lafayette Leopards.
After early goals were scored in each game, offensive leadership from
Taylor Herold and Jenna Chrismer helped the Nittany Lions earn a pair of wins
First Half Tiger Goal Ignites Second Half Nittany Lion Offense
From the sound of the first whistle, any spectator could see that this
matchup was going to be a hard fight. Most of the play between the No. 6
Nittany Lions and the No. 14 Tigers was centered at the middle of the field.
Heading into the final minutes of the first half, Princeton's Ryan McCarthy
received a pass in the center of Penn State's circle and fired a shot into the
back of the net. While the Nittany Lions outshot the Tigers 6-3 in the first
half, they were unable to answer and headed to the locker room trailing 1-0.
"It's always disappointing to give up an early goal like that," coach
Char Morett-Curtiss said. "In the locker room I just kept telling them that
they needed to get hungry and put the press on."
At the start of the second half, you could hear Coach Morett-Curtiss
chanting from the sideline, "play smart!" Her Nittany Lions listened.
The first of five goals came from Chrismer. After taking two shots on
the cage in just one minute, Chrismer finally found the back of the net, tying
the score. The Nittany Lions found the back of the cage just two minutes later
when Herold blasted a corner drive from the top of the circle. No coach could
draw up a corner play that was better executed than Herold's shot. It was
"I practice that shot constantly," Herold said. "I have been working on
that shot a lot lately. That was the first time I was able to put one of those
in this season. It was such a relief. I was so happy to finally hit the back of
Two minutes later, the Nittany Lions notched another score when Carly Celkos
tapped in a pass from Chrismer. The Nittany Lions were up 3-1 with 27 minutes
left to play.
"During the second half Coach [Morett-Curtiss] was telling us we needed
to be more hungry in the circle," Herold said. "All I was thinking is that we
needed to get a shot off as quick as possible. It doesn't matter what kind of a
shot it is."
What Herold did next was almost unbelievable.
The next Nittany Lion goal deserves a spot on the list of "how did that
go in" shots. Chrismer brought the ball into the circle. She dribbled in front
of the cage and managed to pull Princeton's keeper out to the stroke mark.
Chrismer's shot was deflected, but Herold intercepted the ball and reversed
chipped it, while on her knees, into the top corner of the cage. As the crowd
erupted and her fellow Nittany Lions jumped on her in celebration, Herold
lifted the score to 4-1.
Herold's speed is one of the many weapons of the Nittany Lion offense.
Whenever she receives a ball in open space, it is almost guaranteed that she
will either make it into the circle or gain enough yardage for the Lions to
make it into the circle on the next play.
"When I see open space I am just going as fast as I can," Herold said.
"My favorite moment of a game is when I have open space."
The Tigers managed to score another goal, but Herold found the back of
the net again, after receiving another pass from Chrismer. The duo pulled the
goalie out again, and was able to lift the ball over her pads into the back of
the net. Herold's shot lifted Penn State to a 5-2 victory over Princeton and
her first hat-tick of her career.
"We wanted to put a strong press on." Morett-Curtiss said. "Jenna
[Chrismer] and Taylor [Herold] are just great goal scorers and they took
advantage of those opportunities. It was just a great second half."
Nittany Lions Come From Behind, Again
The Nittany Lions were trailing 1-0 after five minutes of play in Sunday's
contest against the Lafayette Leopards.
But, the Nittany Lions had been in that position before.
"We knew that we needed to get down in the other end," Chrimser said.
"We needed to put pressure on and take shots on goal."
The Leopards held onto their 1-0 lead for the next 10 minutes. But
after a string of Penn State shots and corners, Emilee Ehret successfully
knocked in a rebound shot, tying the score. Just over a minute later, Chrismer
found the back of the cage, tapping in another goal off of a rebound shot.
Five minutes later, Chrismer received a pass from Laura Gebhart at the
far end of the circle. Again, this was one of those shots that rarely make it
to the back of the cage but Chrismer fired off a drive and lifted the Nittany
Lions over the Leopards 3-1 before the half.
For twenty minutes after the half, the Nittany Lions pressed the
Leopard's defense. The Nittany Lions took nine shots on goal, but were unable
to capitalize off of their scoring opportunities. Gebhart lifted the score to
4-1 when she dribbled into the circle and fired off a shot. The Leopard's
keeper blocked the shot, but Gebhart successfully tapped in a shot off a
rebound. Three minutes later, Kirsten Gochnauer found the back of the net for
the first time in her career, lifting the Nittany Lions to a final score of
The Dynamic Scoring Duo
Over the course of four seasons, Chrismer and Herold have aided the
Nittany Lions' offense with both speed and play making. Just this weekend, the
duo contributed to eight of Penn State's ten goals. In the game against
Princeton, Chrismer assisted each of Herold's scores, a trend we will likely
see for the rest of the season.
"Taylor [Herold] and I have been connected since freshman year,"
Chrismer said. "We are always looking for each other. It's great."
"We know where each other is going to be," Herold said. "Since our
freshman year we have scored tons of goals together; we plan on continuing that
The Nittany Lions open their Big Ten schedule next weekend, at home,
against longtime rival Michigan. The Wolverines are 4-2 heading into this
"Michigan is a tough, tough team," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "When two
Big Ten teams go at it, you never know what is going to happen. It's going to
come down to the wire. We are looking forward to it."
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-
Leadership isn't always something you can learn in a classroom; it's something
you have to experience. For Penn State field hockey team, choosing seniors
Katie Andrews and Laura Gebhart as team captains was an easy choice.
Between the two seniors they have shared the field together 58 times in their
four years at Penn State. Andrews, who plays defense, and Gebhart, who shifts
between the forward and mid position, have helped lead their team to two Big
"It's a huge honor to know
that our teammates respect us and think highly enough of us to put us in this
position," Andrews said. "It's exciting to know that we get to lead
the team this year to all of our success."
Their team is off to a great
start. With a record of 3-1 and a No.6 ranking heading into this week's
matchups against Princeton and Lafayette, the Nittany Lions are on the right
track to make this one of the best seasons yet.
The Nittany Lions' only loss
came to defending NCAA Champions, University of Connecticut. They lost in
overtime off of a corner shot bringing the final score to 1-0.
"Everyone knows what that
devastating loss feels like," Andrews said. "We are just focusing on
taking that mentality and that excitement we had during that game into the rest
of the season."
"It was amazing to see
everyone on the field gut it out," Gebhart said. "At that point we
[as captains] don't really need to say anything. We just feed off our teammates
and work together."
Gebhart's success on the field
is unprecedented; she has represented Penn State and her country on the U.S.
National Team and the Junior World Cup Team. Big Ten Freshman of the Year,
All-American and U.S. Team Captain are just a few titles that follow her name.
"Going into this season
with Laura and someone of her caliber is really exciting," Andrews said.
Andrews, an agriculture major
and business minor, and Gebhart, a community and environmental development
major, are not only a leaders on the field, but in the classroom. Since 2012,
Andrews and Gebhart have made the Academic All-Big Ten list (2012, 2013) and
the NFHCA National Academic Squad (2012, 2013).
But when all is said and done
after this season and Gebhart and Andrews turn their tassels at graduation,
they will miss their teammates the most.
"It has been such a
learning experience over the years," Gebhart said. "Its heartwarming
to know that these girls will be there for me and I will be there for them, no
The captains understand that
their success on the field and in the classroom wouldn't be possible without
the help of their coaching, academic and support staff.
"The relationships we have
with our teammates are amazing," Andrews said. "But our support
staff, academic advisors at the Morgan Center, the Varsity 'S' Club...those are
priceless relationships we have been able to build together."
The Nittany Lions take on No.
14 Princeton (Friday) and Lafayette (Sunday) this weekend at the Penn State
Field Hockey Complex.
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa.- Eight thousand four hundred and forty seven minutes equals 352 days,
217 road trips from Pennsylvania to California, and the amount of time it would
take to earn 56 Bachelor's Degrees from Penn State. Eight thousand four hundred
and forty seven minutes also equals the amount of time Nittany Lions Kylie
Licata and Jenna Chrismer have spent on the field together. But, if we were to
calculate the amount of time that Kylie and Jenna have known each other, the
total would be 7,884,000 minutes or 15 years.
became "Big Ten Athletes of the Week," "Big Ten Champions," and "leading
scorers," Kylie and Jenna were just a couple of kids who grew up across the
street from one another. From the late night kick-ball games to the backyard
barbeques, the duo has been inseparable since 1999.
[Chrismer] moved into the neighborhood when I was seven years old," Kylie said.
"I was one of the first friends she made."
grew up in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, a small, rural area two hours north of
State College. Mountain Top is home to one of Pennsylvania's premier high
school field hockey programs, the Crestwood High School Comets. Field hockey
wasn't always the common denominator between these two, as Kylie is responsible
for Jenna joining Crestwood's junior high team.
"It was the
day before junior high sports tryouts," Kylie said. "Jenna came over my house
and told me she wanted to try out for the cross-country team. I laughed at her.
I said 'no, no, no, come play field hockey.'"
minutes later, Jenna was in Kylie's backyard with a field hockey stick in her
"I never in
a million years thought that I would play this sport," Jenna said. "But, then I
really liked it."
rest was history.
following summer, Jenna's dad built them a field hockey cage. The duo would
often be out all hours of the night, using only a spotlight to see the ball,
pushing and working each other. The
challenge of the back yard one-on-one field hockey sessions didn't stop there,
they continued at practice as well.
care about someone, you want to give them your very best," Jenna said. "I
always made sure I tried my most difficult shots or my fastest plays on Kylie
at practice. That way I knew I helped her as best I could for game situations."
constant support system off the field translated just as well on the field. In
the time that Jenna and Kylie wore their red and white Comet uniforms, they won
two Wyoming Valley Conference Championships, appeared in two semifinal rounds
in the PIAA championships and graduated with a near perfect record. Kylie
graduated in 2010 with a .850 save percentage. Jenna graduated in 2011 with 229
career points and a spot in the Crestwood record books as the fourth highest
scorer in the program's history.
without Kylie my senior year was difficult," Jenna said. "We talked on the
phone every day."
separation wouldn't last long.
visit to Penn State was the last on her list before the high school standout
had to make her decision.
felt like home," Jenna said. "Having Kylie here added to that feeling."
The duo has
truly made Penn State their home, especially on the field. Kylie and Jenna are
major contributors to the Nittany Lions' offensive and defensive strategy.
Jenna, one of the leading scorers heading into this season and Kylie, who has
played every minute of every game since the 2013 season started, will leave
their mark when they graduate this year.
joked about going to the same college when we were in high school," Kylie said.
"Who would have thought that we would be ending our careers together?"
and Jenna are the nucleus of their friendship, their parents are best friends,
too. The duo might have been on the field together for 8,447 minutes, but their
parents have been on the sidelines cheering for each of those minutes as well.
comforting to look over my shoulder during a game and see our parents standing
with one another," Jenna said. "They have always been there for us, no matter
"I knew we
were family long before we started playing [field hockey]," Kylie said. "One
summer, Jenna's mom bought a membership to the local pool; she got me a pass
too. The pass read 'Kylie Chrismer.'"
past four seasons at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, Jenna and Kylie's
names have been announced over the loudspeaker during the pre-game
announcements. Their names are always followed by "Mountain Top, Pa." While
their collegiate careers might end this November, the duo will never forget how
their 'team' of two started.
7,884,000 minutes ago when a young Kylie saw a moving van pull into the house
across the street.
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
PARK, Pa.- This past weekend was a great one for Penn State. With victories
coming from Croke Park [Football], Rec Hall [Women's Volleyball] and Jeffery
Field [Men's Soccer], it was only fitting that Penn State's field hockey team
earned a pair of victories this weekend, too.
Win Over Old Dominion Shines Light
on Nittany Lions' Offensive System
weekend's matchup against Old Dominion was a familiar one, as the Nittany Lions
have opened their regular-season against the Monarchs for the past ten years.
This contest was evenly matched for the better portion of the first half; most
of the play occurred between each of the 25-yard lines.
that they played a lot in the middle because that is where their strength
really is," head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss said. "They [Old Dominion] have
a lot of strong international kids who you see just have that flare with the ball
so we knew we had to protect the middle."
By the half
way mark of the first half the Nittany Lions and the Monarchs were even in shot
total with each team having four shots on goal. Twenty-three minutes into the
first half, Old Dominion capitalized off of a deflected shot that Monarch Katy Fuhrman
played in the air. The ball went over Kylie Licata's head, giving Old Dominion
a 1-0 lead with 12 minutes left to play in the first half.
scored we were like 'let's go, lets rally' and we got really pumped up," said senior
forward Jenna Chrismer. "We knew we had to play our game."
State's offensive strategy has always capitalized off of their corner
execution, which came in handy in Friday's contest. Three minutes after the
Monarch goal, the Nittany Lions forced a corner giving them an opportunity to
even the score before halftime. Chrismer inserted, the pass found Bethany Mink
and in a scramble in front of the cage, Chrismer tipped it in. With two minutes
left to play in the first half, Chrismer capitalized on another scoring
opportunity with an unassisted goal, putting the Nittany Lions ahead 2-1.
[Chrismer] had an awesome goal," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "That is just great
effort and guts. A lot of positive things came out of this game."
There was a
change of pace in the second half as most of the play occurred inside the
circle. Old Dominion outshot Penn State 12-5 but the shots went unanswered
thanks to keeper Kylie Licata. The Nittany Lions were able to force more corner
play, earning six corners.
Lions walked away with a 2-1 victory. Licata made nine saves, a career best for
the fifth-year senior.
Shutout Against Virginia Proves Penn
State's Defensive Strategy
A pair of
season and career firsts took place for Penn State in Sunday's matchup against
No. 6 Virginia. Red shirt senior Natalie Buttinger scored her first career goal
just four minutes into the game, giving Penn State an early lead. Six minutes
later, Buttinger scored her second goal off a pass from Chrismer, putting the
Nittany Lions a head 2-0.
really excited to start off the game with a high tempo," Buttinger said. "We
really attacked the net."
State's offense dominated the first half of the game, forcing five penalty
corners and earning eight shots on net. Following the half, senior and State
College native Amanda Dinunzio scored off of a deflected corner shot from
senior Taylor Herold, giving the Nittany Lions a 3-0 lead.
scoring effort of Penn State's offense was a major contribution to Sunday's win
over a higher seeded Virginia, the Nittany Lion defense earned its first
shutout of the season.
defense was really strong today, especially the entire second half," coach
Morett-Curtiss said. "We really just couldn't find a way out [of our circle].
We told them they needed to have guts and that they had to double team and that
is what they did."
Morett-Curtiss made the decision to move Penn State's leading scorer and shot
taker Laura Gebhart back to the center defensive position. This decision not
only highlighted the versatility of Gebhart's play, but also spoke to the
leadership and experience of the fifth-year senior captain, who is just
returning from playing with the US World Team.
[Gebhart] experience and understanding of the tempo of the game is why we chose
to do this," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "Her leadership qualities and being
able to organize the team is why we made this decision. She just gives a lot of
confidence to those on the field."
shining star in Sunday's contest was the goal keeping of Licata. In the second
half, Virginia took eight shots on net and earned six late corners. Licata's
versatility in the cage, especially during corner play, helped the Nittany
Lions earn their first shutout of the season.
this shutout is the first of many more to come," Licata said. "But it wasn't
just me. The forwards and defense did outstanding today. They deserve so much
Lions will make their way to Connecticut this weekend to take on defending
National Champions, University of Connecticut, on Saturday and Quinnipiac on
"We need to
have more team attack next weekend," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "We just need
to keep stepping up early and pressing the net."
By Gabrielle Richards,
GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Twenty-eight
years ago, head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss opened her playbook for the first
time as the head coach for the Nittany Lion field hockey team. Since then, her
teams have won three Big Ten Championships and have made an appearance in the
NCAA Tournament each year. This year, Coach Morett-Curtis and the team are
eager to work hard for another successful season.
In a press conference on Monday, Morett-Curtiss
used the words "chemistry" and "experienced" to describe this year's squad.
"We have a lot of talented
players, but we need to make sure that we're getting them in the right
positions," Morett-Curtiss said. "I'm excited about the senior class that we
have coming back."
With seven seniors and a pair of
fifth-year seniors, the Nittany Lions will bring a level of maturity to the
field unparalleled by younger squads in the conference.
Heading into this weekend's home
opener, the Nittany Lions are ranked No. 8 by the NFHCA (National Field Hockey
Coaches Association), putting them ahead of Old Dominion but just behind
For the past ten years, Penn State
has opened the season against Old Dominion but 2014 brings new additions to the
schedule. Maryland, Quinnipiac, Drexel and Lock Haven are new to the schedule
this year. Maryland is not only a new addition to Penn State's schedule, but a
new addition to the Big Ten Conference.
"I think it makes it more
challenging, but at the same time it's a welcomed addition to the conference," coach
Morett-Curtiss said of the schedule additions. "You look at some of the
conferences, where the ACC, they have a lot of strong teams. So, a win or a
loss against them really only helps strengthen your schedule. That's what I
think is going to be positive for us."
Much like any sport, the longer a
team plays together, the more familiar they become with one another.
Familiarity doesn't even begin to describe the 2014 roster. With two Big Ten
Championships and three NCAA Tournaments between them, this senior class is
prepared for a challenging schedule.
Seniors Jenna Chrismer, Laura
Gebhart, and Taylor Herold have been major contributors to the Penn State offense
since the trio first came to Penn State. Katie Breneman and Katie Andrews have
been a constant force in the backfield, as they started in all 19 contests last
season. Fifth-year senior Kylie Licata will be returning to the cage, also
starting every game last season.
Casey Haegele, Amanda Dinunzio and
Natalie Buttinger also return to the Nittany Lion roster, all of whom saw
action in 13 games last season.
The forward line is one of the
strongest dynamics that the Nittany Lions will field this season. Chrismer,
Gebhart and Herold have been major assets to the forward line since their
freshman seasons. The trio combined for 21 goals, 20 assists and 145 shots on
goal last season, ranking them as the top contributors of last year's squad.
Licata, who was the Nittany Lions
only goalie last season, will return to the field with her 0.683% save
Aside from the seniors experience
in conference play, Gebhart recently returned from playing on the U.S. National
Team this summer.
"It was a huge learning
experience," Gebhart said in Monday's press conference. "It's really great that
I can come back to Char (coach Morett-Curtiss) and we can talk about things
that I learned, how we can implement them at Penn State and how we can pick up
our level and just really take the whole program to the next level."
This leadership and experience
will help mold the incoming freshman class, as this group of seniors will be
leaving behind big shoes to fill.
"I'm always excited to get
the fall season started," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "We were really fortunate
this year that we were able to schedule two scrimmages. As a coach, you're
always trying to find the perfect fit. We have a lot of talented players, but
we need to make sure that we're getting them in the right positions."
The Nittany Lions open their regular-season
this Friday against Old Dominion at 5 p.m. and Virginia on Sunday at 12 p.m..
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- Having won at least a share of the last two Big Ten regular season titles,
the Nittany Lion field hockey team returns six starters from last season's
Head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss and the Nittany Lions tallied a 13-6 overall
mark in 2013, which included a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Midfielder Laura Gebhart
and goalkeeper Kylie Licata return as 2013 first-team All-Big Ten honorees. Senior
forward Taylor Herold led the Nittany Lions with 30 points last season. In all,
Penn State will field nine seniors in 2014.
The Nittany Lions open the season on Aug. 29 against Old Dominion on the
sparkling new turf at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
GoPSUsports.com spent a morning with the Lions during preseason practice to
provide an inside look at preparations for the season.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
The 18th of August cannot come soon enough for Sandy Barbour.
Introduced as Penn State Director of Athletics on Saturday afternoon, Barbour
is thrilled to begin her tenure as the leader of an athletic program that
aspires to continue its long history of excellence on and off the field of
"When you spend a professional lifetime serving institutions and most
importantly students, you dream about coming to a place like Penn State,"
Barbour said. "You dream about the opportunity to lead a program like Penn
State athletics. Why? Because it represents the opportunity to have it all: Athletic
excellence, academic achievement, community engagement and fiscal
responsibility. So thank you, Eric [Barron]. I am absolutely thrilled, over the
top excited about this opportunity and about being the athletic director at
A graduate of Wake Forest where she was field hockey team captain, Barbour grew
up on the East Coast and has always had a deep passion for Penn State
University and its athletic department. That's what drew her to the position
when she originally spoke with President Barron about the opportunity.
Immediately, Barbour felt a connection with the people, pride and remarkable
accomplishments of Penn State University and its athletic department.
"I love the 'We Are Penn State.' I particularly love what it stands for. It
stands for family," Barbour said.
Barbour desires to see national titles in all 31 sports on campus. But first
and foremost, she will strive to lead a department with student-athletes who
are elite performers in the classroom.
"We are athletic programs again that are all part of a university," Barbour
said. "Our student-athletes will be students first, Penn State is incredibly
proud of the academic performance of their students and we will continue to
Eager to hit the ground running when she begins her duties as athletic director
in 23 days, Barbour wants to learn from everyone in the department, especially
the head coaches leading Penn State's 31 athletic teams.
"Unity doesn't mean one opinion, and I actually embrace that, embrace the
diversity of opinion, diversity in a variety of different ways, and I actually
think that will make us stronger in our ability to move forward," Barbour said.
"As I said before, I have something to learn from everybody, and I'll be doing
a lot of listening."
Numerous head coaches were in attendance at Saturday's introductory press
conference. The coaches and athletic department staff then had a chance to
mingle with Barbour at a private reception before she boarded a flight to
Chicago for Big Ten meetings. The head coaches in attendance exuded great
confidence in the future direction of the athletic department.
"There is a culture, history and tradition of
tremendous academic achievement at Penn State and that will continue," said
head football coach James Franklin. "I know it's important to our president,
athletic director and all of our coaches. That will continue. I know we'll
spend as much time as we need to so we can start building."
"I am truly thrilled that Sandy Barbour will serve as
the next athletic director for Penn State," Lady Lions head coach Coquese
Washington said. "Sandy is a strong, dynamic and passionate leader. She is also
an incredibly smart visionary and strategic thinker. It is exciting to imagine
all the ways Penn State University, and Penn State athletics in particular,
will be positively impacted by her leadership."
"I loved everything I heard today," head women's hockey coach Josh Brandwene
said. "She has passion, vision and just a great understanding of the Penn State
community. Both as a head coach and as an alumnus, I am really excited to start
working with her."
Barbour will return to California in the coming days to prepare for her
full-time return to Happy Valley on Aug. 18, and the new leader of Penn State Athletics
is fired up to get started.
"We are Penn State. I'm
all in. I'm ready to get going," said Barbour.
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
VIDEO: Coaches Caravan Day IV Roundup
Philadelphia Photo Gallery | Scranton Photo Gallery | Coaches Caravan Registration
PECKVILLE, Pa. -
The second day of leg
two on the road with the Penn State Coaches Caravan featured a trip through
downtown Philadelphia and a packed house in Scranton on Wednesday.
Philly natives James Franklin, field hockey's Charlene Morett and women's
soccer's Erica Walsh highlighted Wednesday's lunch stop. Additionally, four-time defending NCAA
wrestling champion head coach Cael Sanderson joined the cast of coaches for
Wednesday's event. Take a look at some
Stop No. 9 - Philadelphia (The
took place in the heart of downtown Philadelphia at The Rittenhouse Hotel. More than 250 fans filled the ballroom to
greet the four coaches during an excellent lunch event. Franklin, Morett and Walsh had a little extra
bounce in their step after the Philly natives took a drive down Broad Street en
route to Center City for the lunch.
Wednesday's crowd was superb, and the group gave all four coaches a standing
ovation after they spoke. Like the
gathering in King of Prussia on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia supporters of
Penn State Athletics are a diehard group of fans.
Walsh has been a tough act to follow during her two weeks on the Caravan. Her campus tour speech is filled with details
and beaming with pride. Whether it was
Bob Warming, Morett or Sanderson, every coach who has stepped to the podium
following Walsh has remarked about her tremendous description of the Penn State
campus. Sanderson had his first crack at
following the leader of Penn State women's soccer for the first time on
"That's tough to follow. I just want to
have lunch," Sanderson joked.
Fresh off the program's fourth-straight NCAA title, Sanderson has an endless
supply of things to talk about. But
that's not his style. Sanderson deflects
the attention off of himself to talk about the positive energy surrounding the
football program and how the football program serves as the engine for the
health of the athletic department.
"They have the vision, the passion and the pride. We are in very good hands," Sanderson said of
Franklin and the football staff.
He went on to urge the crowd to buy football season tickets now.
"Get your tickets now because when they get going, you're not going to be able
to get them in a few years," Sanderson said.
Franklin talks about the state of pride in Penn State each time he addresses a
caravan crowd. That could not be more
apparent during the first nine stops during the past couple weeks. The fan base is excited for what's
ahead. And the fellow coaches in the
department are just as excited.
"There are so many things to be excited about," Morett said.
Morett finished off her stint on the Coaches Caravan in Philly. She will now hit the recruiting trail. From Philly, the Fullington bus rolled north
Stop No. 10 - Scranton (Fiorelli
Day two of the second
week wrapped up in front of the Caravan's largest crowd in Peckville, Pa. (Outside
of Scranton). Nearly 900 Penn State fans
crammed into the ballroom at Fiorelli Catering to welcome a great group from
the Penn State Athletics family during the local alumni chapter's 36th annual
event. The list of attendees included
Northeast Pennsylvania products and current Nittany Lions Eugene Lewis, Nyeem
Wartman, Gary Wooten and Brian Tomasetti and the voice of the Nittany Lions,
Prior to dinner, Coach Franklin met a throng of fans that lined up more than 90
minutes prior to when the program began at 7:30 p.m. Fan after fan walked up to Franklin for an
opportunity to shake hands and take photos for nearly an hour. Some offered advice. Some told stories. Some even offered gifts.
Walsh and Sanderson both spoke prior to Franklin, energizing the room packed
with Nittany Lion supporters. But it was
Franklin who got the room buzzing during an informal auction for game tickets
to select Nittany Lion games in the fall and season tickets. Franklin triggered a bidding war with the
microphone that led to two fans battling up to $8,000 for a pair of season
tickets. When the final bid was
announced as the winner, the room erupted with approval and rose to its feet.
"In this room, I feel like I'm already in Beaver Stadium. You can't move for all of the people,"
Sanderson said when describing the atmosphere.
Franklin's remarks were passionate and filled with energy as he closed out the
evening's lineup of speakers. While
highlighting his vision for the football program, Franklin reminded the
Scranton crowd of what is important in the quest to become the top program.
"Success is about doing all of the little things better than everybody else in
the country," Franklin said.
Throughout all three speeches, the crowd of nearly 900 was glued to the speaker
at the podium. Walsh, Sanderson and
Franklin all deserve a great deal of credit for their delivery on Wednesday
Simply put, the Scranton crowd was again tremendous for the third-straight year
during the Caravan.
Before boarding the bus bound for the next stop in New Jersey, the Coaches
Caravan crew paid a visit to 2012 Nittany Lion alum Eric Shrive's new
restaurant - The Vault Tap Room & Restaurant - located in West Scranton.
Thursday's events will take place in Northern New Jersey and New York City
before the Caravan heads back to State College.
Day I - 165 miles
Day II - 130 miles
Day III - 387 miles
Day IV - 175 miles
Day V - 245 miles
Total - 1,102 miles
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King of Prussia Photo Gallery | Coaches Caravan
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.
- Leg two of the 2014 Coaches Caravan kicked off on Tuesday evening with a stop
outside of Philadelphia.
The eighth stop of the 17-event caravan featured James Franklin, four-time
defending NCAA national champion wrestling head coach Cael Sanderson, field
hockey's Charlene Morett and women's soccer's Erica Walsh. More than 700 Penn State enthusiasts greeted
the coaches inside the event room at Valley Forge Casino Resort. Take a look at some highlights from Tuesday's
Stop No. 8 - King of Prussia (Valley
Forge Casino Resort)
More than 100,000
Penn State alums call the Philadelphia area home, and three of the four coaches
on stage treated Tuesday night's Coaches Caravan event as a homecoming. Hailing from Montgomery County, Walsh was
just minutes where she grew up in Huntingdon Valley.
"I tried to get the whole caravan moved to the Phillies game (tonight)," Walsh
Morett, who is on the Caravan for the Philly swing, is a proud product of
Delaware County. Like Walsh, she was
thrilled to be in front of the home crowd on Tuesday night.
"I'm just a Philly girl coming back home," Morett said.
Morett spent a portion of her speech giving Walsh a hard time for not attending
Penn State. Walsh has spent the past two
weeks on the Coaches Caravan delivering a superb visualization speech of the
University Park campus. Morett's
"After listening to your speech, how did you not go to Penn State?"
As a 27-year veteran as a head coach of the Nittany Lion field hockey program
and Penn State alum, Morett is among the most passionate individuals you will
find when it comes to her love for the University. She genuinely appreciates the support fans
and alums give to the school that means so much to her, and it's always evident
when she speaks in front of a crowd.
The third Philly product in King of Prussia on Tuesday evening was the
headliner of the event. Franklin grew up
in Langhorne, Pa., which is roughly 30 miles from the site of the stop. As he has said from day one, Franklin is a
Pennsylvania boy with a Penn State heart.
He's thrilled to be the head coach of the Nittany Lions, and he could
not have been happier to be close to home.
"It's unbelievable to be here tonight," Franklin said. "...The sense of pride in Penn State is
Joining the trio of Philly natives this week on the Caravan is the leader of
the nation's premier collegiate wrestling program. Always entertaining, Sanderson has a knack
for keeping the crowd light every time he speaks in front of a group. He was clad in a "Dominate The State" T-shirt
under his suit jacket to show his support of Coach Franklin.
Sanderson's introduction included a small snippet of his unmatched wrestling
and coaching career. After receiving a
standing ovation following the introduction, Sanderson stepped to the microphone
and noted that the intro had left off his fourth-grade all-star baseball
achievement. The room erupted in
Sanderson likes to have fun with the crowd, but when it comes to his
appreciation for the position he holds, his feelings are clear.
"It's an awesome opportunity to be a part of Penn State, and it's because of
you guys," Sanderson said.
The Coaches Caravan travels downtown Philadelphia for a lunch stop on Wednesday
before moving north to Scranton for a dinner event.
Day I - 165 miles
Day II - 130 miles
Day III - 387 miles
Day IV - 175 miles
Total - 857 miles
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By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In the midst of spring conditioning, the Penn State
field hockey team is focused on the competition ahead and they are motivated by
the desire to out work the competitors in the fall.
The Nittany Lions have incredible leaders on their roster this upcoming
season like junior captain Laura Gebhart, who has been busy as of late.
The Nittany Lion midfielder earned her first international cap in the U.S.
National Team's competition against the Canadian National Team on March 10.
Team USA went undefeated against the Canadian National Team during the four-day
This past summer, U.S. head coach Craig Parnham named Gebhart to one of
30 positions on the 2013-'14 U.S. National Field Hockey Team roster, a feat
that many student-athletes strive for their entire careers. Since then,
Gebhart's student-athlete life has been a balancing act.
"It's been awesome and manageable, but it's been a bit of a struggle to
find a balance with U.S. field hockey and the commitments and goals for that
along with Penn State and our program and my academics," she said. "Sometimes
having to return to why I'm here and why I'm doing it... I love field hockey. I
get frustrated and it's overwhelming but [I remind myself] these are my goals."
However, Gebhart has an evident passion for life and all things field
hockey that shines through and speaks for itself.
"Honestly, if it wasn't my passion, I wouldn't be able to do this
because it is a huge time commitment but to be able to be on the field and play
is awesome," Gebhart said. "I get so much enjoyment out of it."
Her coaches and teammates have been an incredible support system and she
comes from a long history of athleticism in her family. Gebhart's mother and
sister played at American University and Lock Haven University, respectively. During
her impressive career in field hockey, Gebhart's mother had the opportunity to
meet some important figures in the sport like Penn State's head coach Charlene
Morett, who works everyday with Gebhart to improve her game not only for Penn
State but also for competition all over the country. The Gebhart family ties to
the sport have been a crucial part of her experience.
"[U.S. head coach] Craig Parnham and [Penn State head coach Charlene
Morett] have been phenomenal. They've been working with me to try and find a
plan and my teammates have been so supportive," said Gebhart.
Even though she spends only four of seven days at The Spooky Nook (the
Nook) in Lancaster, the official training ground for U.S. Field Hockey, she
says training has been exceptional and her support system is already growing
"I'm still getting to know [the girls] better but I have been fortunate
to have play almost with all of them at some point before this. I know the
girls and now it's just getting to know how to play with them," she said.
"[But] training has been phenomenal. This is an awesome, awesome opportunity."
She admits that going into these endeavors has taken her on an
unexpected journey. She's grown incredibly as a person and an athlete and she
hopes that her teammates are able to rely on her in all aspects of their game.
She's confident that her training at the Nook will help her lead the Lions to
As for what the future holds for Gebhart? The connection between her and her
Penn State teammates and Coach Morett is as strong as it has ever been and she
looks forward to spring tournaments.
This summer, she will train full-time with the national team and she
will try-out for the World Cup team. Following those efforts, Gebhart will go
to the Women's National Championship where she will pursue a position on the
2014-'15 U.S. National Team roster.
She will also continue her career with the Penn State in late summer
when the Nittany Lions begin their preseason training.
"The [ultimate] plan, or the goal, is to play with the U.S. [team]
full-time out of college," Gebhart said.