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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - 'Tis the season for giving thanks, and the Penn
State Athletics would like to take an opportunity to say thank you to the loyal
fans on Thanksgiving.
As you sit down with family and friends to eat your traditional meal while the
Lions and Cowboys host their annual Thanksgiving day home games, Penn State
Athletics would like to thank you, the fans, for the unrivaled support you give
every team on campus. Penn State's teams
would not be the same without the greatest fans in college sports.
As a token of their appreciation, several student-athletes from teams on campus
would like to say thank you and Happy Thanksgiving for the support you give
them throughout the athletic season.
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- A captain is someone that leads by example. Someone who
digs deep in order to do whatever they can to help the team. A captain puts the
team on their back. Senior captain Laura Gebhart displayed remarkable
leadership in Friday's game against No. 8 Northwestern with her poise and
The Big Ten Network televised game was slated to be one of the toughest for the
Nittany Lions. The Wildcats have been successful and consistent over the past
few years, making a true impact on Big Ten competition. This was the last home
and regular-season matchup for the senior Nittany Lions and they weren't going
to settle for anything less than a 'W'.
From the sound of the first whistle, spectators in the stands and those
watching from home could tell this was going to be a 70-minute battle. The
tenacity of both teams inside the 25-yard line was infectious as well as a
great display of athleticism and sportsmanship. There was a lot on the line in
this game: Northwestern had a Big Ten Title on the line and the Nittany Lions
were focused on earning their right to play in the NCAA Tournament.
"Northwestern is a strong team, they are physical in a good way," head coach
Charlene Morett-Curtiss said. "This was a display of great hockey."
First Half Passing Game
Penn State's passing game in the first half was textbook. Short, crisp,
controlled passes inside the mid field helped them control the game early on. Precision
passing and speed gave them several scoring opportunities in the first half.
Penn State was able to fire off 10 shots on goal, compared to Northwestern's
four; each team forced three corners. Senior keeper Kylie Licata was a brick
house in goal, taking the initiative and making stellar saves.
"I thought we had a really great first half," Gebhart said. "Our passing game
was great and we really took control. We were all feeling really positive after
the first half."
The first score didn't come until the 21 minute mark of the first half. Gebhart
fired off a shot from the hash mark outside of the Wildcats' circle and found
Taylor Herold at the stroke mark. Herold tipped it in, giving the Nittany Lions
a buffer for the next 14 minutes before half time.
With seven seconds left on the clock, Northwestern was awarded a corner. With
zero seconds on the clock off a direct shot, the Wildcats tied the score before
Now, it was anyone's game.
Second Half...a Defensive Battle
The second half of Friday's contest was controlled by the defense. Seniors
Katie Breneman and Katie Andrews stepped up by switching gears into "attack
defense" mode, where they were making plays at the 50-yard line.
"Katie B and Katie A really stepped up their physical game in the second half,"
coach Morett-Curtiss said. "That's the Big Ten Conference, its physical. I
think we need to step up how physical we are."
Amanda Dinunzio recorded the only shot from inside the circle in the first 10
minutes of the second half. Despite it being the second half, it appeared as
though the game had moved faster.
With a tied score and ample time on the clock, any team that took control of
the passing game inside of the 25-yard lines would have the best opportunity to
change the scoreboard.
Enter Laura Gebhart.
Putting The Team On Your Back
For anyone watching in the stands or at home, overtime seemed almost inevitable
with a tied score and seven minutes left of regulation. Then, Gebhart picked
off a pass at the 50-yard line.
You could tell she was going to find the back of the net; you could see her
determination. As she weaved and bobbed through the Northwestern defense, the
ball never left her stick. She didn't falter, nor lose focus as she approached
the outline of the circle.
Gebhart ripped off a beautiful, controlled drive into the back corner of the
cage. Her shot was so powerful, the sound of the ball hitting the back of the cage
echoed as loud as the Nittany Lion roar on the sound system.
"That goal was beautiful; she put the team on her back on this one," coach
Morett-Curtiss. "She is a determined competitor, that's all her."
Looking Ahead to the Big Ten Tournament
The Nittany Lions head to Ann Arbor, Mich. on Thursday to face off against
Michigan State in their first round of tournament play. The last time they met
was over a month ago in which Penn State won, 2-1.
Heading into the postseason, Penn State's poise and control are the key weapons
that will help them in their pursuit of the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
These weapons have evolved since their exhibition games early on in the season
and they came full circle against Northwestern.
"Our possession in this game was phenomenal," Gebhart said. We have really been
working on that. Our defense really stepped up today, too. We are in good
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Sixty-two days ago, head coach Charlene
Morett-Curtiss took the mic at fall sports media day. With senior captain Laura
Gebhart at her side, she told audience members that her team's chemistry would
prevail this season. She was right. The Nittany Lions have had a fantastic
regular season, with one conference game remaining. Despite some tough losses,
including an overtime loss to 2013 NCAA champion UConn, team chemistry and
leadership has always prevailed.
New Year, New Turf, New Schedule
The Nittany Lions opened up the regular season with two exhibition games
against Pacific and Delaware. With a pair of wins under its belt heading into
the regular season, Penn State was able to work out the little things before
starting the Big Ten schedule.
The Nittany Lions' home record is nearly perfect. With only one loss at
home, coming in overtime against Michigan, Penn State has owned its new turf.
Coach Morett-Curtiss said at the beginning of the season that the turf would be
a smoother surface than the one before. Since Penn State is arguably one of the
fastest teams in the Big Ten, a flatter surface allows for them to play quicker
hockey. The Nittany Lions have been able to score in the first six minutes of
play, at home, nine times this season. Aside from averaging three goals a game,
the Nittany Lions have been able to draw a total of 130 corners this season,
which speaks volumes to their offensive strategy inside the circle.
Maryland and Rutgers were new additions to the schedule this year. The
Nittany Lions shut out Rutgers 3-0, but lost to Maryland 4-3.
During the game against Maryland, it was clear that senior leadership
guides this team. The Nittany Lions were able to narrow the loss margin to just
one goal with a strong second half effort from the senior class.
Offensively, the Nittany Lions have benefited from experience, along with
the play-making of Jenna Chrismer, the finesse of Taylor Herold, the post play
of Amanda Dinunzio and the speed of Natalie Buttinger and Casey Haegele.
Defensively, Penn State is consistent because of senior captain Katie
Andrews and fellow senior Katie Breneman. Fifth-year senior keeper Kylie Licata
has been solid in net this year.
Senior captain Laura Gebhart will be leaving behind big shoes to fill, as
she controls the field from the center mid position. Her versatility on both
offense and defense is unmatched by most players in the Big Ten and NCAA in
general. Her poise on the field has helped guide the Nittany Lions to many
victories this season.
Coming Full Circle
Needless to say Morett-Curtiss's predictions about her team were right. She
predicted that Maryland and Rutgers would be tough additions to the schedule.
She knew that her senior leadership would lift her team to many victories. She
understood that this year had the potential to be a big year for the program.
With one conference game left on Friday against Northwestern, the Nittany
Lions will prepare for the Big Ten Tournament and hopefully berth into the NCAA
The sky is the limit for this team.
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- With Sports Center Top 10 worthy goals and Big Ten coverage, this
weekend not only proved that Penn State is at the top of their game, but that
their nine seniors are integral to their success.
Prior to Sunday's game
against the Hoosiers, nine Nittany Lions were honored at Senior Day. They have
played in the NCAA quarterfinals twice and won two Big Ten regular season
titles and two Big Ten tournaments.
After discussing her team's
success this weekend, coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss reminisced on her time
coaching this group of seniors.
"I can't believe four years
have gone by with this group," said coach Morett-Curtiss. "They are a bunch of
different characters and they embrace the team. They each bring so much to this
It was obvious in this
weekend's victories that from the offense and the mid-field to the defense and
the goal line, senior leadership is the driving force behind Penn State's
success. Coach Morett-Curtiss described what each senior has brought to this
program over the past four years.
"Amanda is diligent."
Amanda Dinunzio, a product of
State College High School, has been a key contributor for the Nittany Lions on
the forward line. Her "diligence" is obvious in her circle play. Dinunzio
doesn't lift her stick off the ground while near the goal and is consistent in
Penn State's offensive pressure. In this weekend's match-ups against Rutgers
and Indiana, Dinunzio helped dish off passes inside the circle and the 25-yard
line. One of those passes was to Jenna Chrismer, who found Taylor Herold
seconds later, putting the Nittany Lions up on the board.
"Jenna has a great work ethic."
Jenna Chrismer is one of the most
consistent players on Penn State's forward line. She never falters inside the
circle and always does whatever she can to force a scoring opportunity. This
past weekend, Chrismer contributed to two of the five goals scored for Penn
State. Her work ethic is clear in her ability to pull the defense and make the
goalie move. Chrismer's stick work is unparalleled inside the circle; it's
almost as if she is thinking three steps ahead of the play.
"Nat brings enthusiasm."
Natalie Buttinger is never
afraid to commit to a defensive attack from the forward line. The former track
star uses her speed to aid the Nittany Lion defense and quickly switch gears
into scoring mode. She might not always earn an assist or score, but Buttinger
is solid in her passing game. She is able to trap the ball on her stick and
accurately place wherever she wants to on the field, a skill the Nittany Lions
benefit from inside the 25-yard line.
"Taylor is determined"
Taylor Herold is almost
indescribable; she is the entire package. From her speed to her stick handling
and her ability to work the ball in open space, Herold always delivers a
stellar performance. Performance is often the only word to describe her
contributions on the field because more often than not, her goals are unbelievable.
In Friday's game against Rutgers, Herold's unassisted goal made ESPN Sports
Center's Top 10. She carried the ball on her stick from the end line to the
post of the net, where she reverse-shot the ball into the cage. If you blinked,
you missed it. Goals like this aren't uncommon for the senior, as she is
notorious for making jaw-dropping plays.
"Casey steps up."
Casey Haegele is an asset to the Nittany Lions inside the circle. She always
finds a way to find a foot in the circle and force a corner. Her speed is a
weapon on the forward line. Coach Morett-Curtiss says that Heagele is one of
the most coachable players on the team. Much like in baseball, Haegele is the
equivalent of a relief pitcher, offering a fresh set of legs for the Nittany
Lions; she always helps Penn State close on a win.
"Laura brings passion."
Laura Gebhart is one of the
most seasoned members of the Penn State field hockey team. She has not only
played in every game of her career, but has fostered her craft on the U.S.
National Team, as well. Gebhart is the backbone of the Nittany Lions offensive
and defensive strategy, as she is always in control from the center mid
position. Gebhart is as versatile as they come and plays wherever her team
needs her. When she isn't scoring from the top of the circle while laying flat
on her stomach, Gebhart is in constant communication with her teammates on the
field. Her passion for the game shines with every pass and every pre-game pep
"Katie B. is confident."
Katie Breneman floats between
the mid and defensive position for the Nittany Lions. One of her biggest
contributions is her confidence, as she is never afraid to commit. Breneman is
solid from the attack position of defense and takes risks with her block
tackle. There are times when Breneman is almost parallel to the ground while
trying to steal the ball from the opposing team; more often than not, she is
"Katie A. is tenacious."
Katie Andrews has been solid
for the Nittany Lions in the center back position. Her tenacity shined this
weekend and against Bucknell last Tuesday when she assisted on the scoring
drive. She always looks for an opportunity to spread the field, often calling
for the back pass to help reposition the offense. When she sees an opportunity
to take the ball up the field, she does. Andrews is solid for the Nittany
Lions' defense inside the circle and a key contributor in this season's five
"Kylie has a competitive spirit."
As a red shirt senior, her
experience inside the cage has prepared her for pretty much anything. The most
unique quality about Licata is her trust in her defense. She is a versatile
goalie who can make the save from above the stroke mark. This season she has
managed to earn five shut outs and only allowed one goal in this weekend's
These nine seniors are
leaving behind big shoes to fill, but their story is not finished yet. With
their leadership, there is no question that Penn State will have a successful
post-season as they currently have its 13-3 record on their side. The Nittany
Lions three losses this season were incredibly close; two of them came from
over-time play and the other was a one-goal deficit.
Penn State heads to Iowa this
Saturday, before returning home the following week to take on Northwestern at
home on Oct. 31.
"Everyone from the seniors to
our coaching staff played a part in our wins this weekend," Andrews said. "It
doesn't get much better than winning on senior day."
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- For the past four seasons, there hasn't been a game
that senior captain Laura Gebhart didn't played in. She is known as the
"opportunity creator" and contributes to both offense and defense for the
Nittany Lions. Tuesday's game shined a light on Gebhart's skill that she has
crafted here at Penn State as well as playing for the
U.S. National Team.
Coming off of a tough loss on the road to new Big Ten foe Maryland, the
Nittany Lions made sure to use this non-conference game against Bucknell to
work on the "little things" that contributed to their 4-3 loss. The biggest
issue for the Nittany Lions during their matchup against the Terrapins was
their shot turnover; Penn State was awarded 12 corners and took 19 shots, but
were only able to find the net three times.
"The game was a little frantic," Gebhart said. "We are going to work hard
to refocus for these next few games."
Gebhart's Hat Trick Performance
When the game clock started counting down in Tuesday night's contest, the
rain began falling as well. Typically, stick control and stability are two
techniques that falter in these playing conditions, but not for Gebhart.
Gebhart was in complete control from the sound of the first whistle. After a
few touch-and-go passes, Jenna Chrismer received the ball and took off down the
field; Natalie Buttinger and Gebhart trailed behind her. Chrismer found
Buttinger on the endline of the Bison circle, who quickly fired off a pass to
Gebhart at the top. Gebhart drove the ball into the back of the net just three
minutes into the contest.
Gebhart found the back of the net six minutes later when she intercepted a
Bison pass from inside the circle. Her stick handling contributed to a flawless
attack as she pulled the Bucknell goalie out to the stroke mark, firing off a
shot into the opposite corner, lifting the score to 2-0.
"It was a great night for Laura [Gebhart]," coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss
said. "She is just so dangerous around the cage. She put herself in an
attacking position tonight, which was very helpful to the team."
The senior sealed the deal on her first career hat trick when she
double-teamed the goalie with fellow captain Katie Andrews. Andrews dodged the
Bison defense before tipping the ball to Gebhart who directed the pass over the
"Its great to see someone who plays defense attack the cage," coach
Morett-Curtiss said. "When you can get numbers into their circle, it puts a lot
of pressure on them. It was a great combination between two captains."
A Corner-less First Half
Penn State is known for their speed of play and their ability to force
corner play. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, they were unable to draw a
corner in the first half. However, they also didn't give up a corner in the
first half, which speaks to the hard work put in by both team's defenses. Penn
State keeper Kylie Licata saved six shots in the contest, five of which coming
in the second half.
In the second half, the corner tally evened out, as both teams were awarded
two. While the Bison fell short on their pair of scoring opportunities, the
Nittany Lions were able to convert one. Taylor Herold scored off her infamous
drive from the top of the circle, lifting the final score to 4-1.
"I felt like we weren't aggressive enough on our press," coach
Morett-Curtiss said. "When we are aggressive on the press we are able to force
corners and create counter attacks. We weren't really diligent about drawing
the corner [tonight]."
All Roads Lead To The Big Ten
The Nittany Lions have four games left in their regular season schedule and
all four are conference games. Penn State will take on Rutgers and Indiana this
Friday and Sunday before traveling to Iowa on Oct. 25. Their last game of the
regular season schedule will be against Northwestern, who is undefeated in the
"Its crazy to think that this was my last non-conference game," Gebhart
said. "We are ready to continue to put in the work for our Big Ten schedule
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- From the Pac 12 and the ACC to the American League
and the Big Ten, the Buttinger family has made the roster on 4 District I
teams. Natalie Buttinger, one of seven siblings, is heading into her final
stretch in her senior season with the Penn State field hockey team.
"We are all over, doing what we love," Buttinger said. "It's always great
to call my sister at Duke and ask her how her field hockey team is. We talk
game strategy all the time."
Buttinger, a native of Ontario, Canada, didn't pick up a field hockey stick
until her freshman year of high school. An avid runner and ice hockey player,
Buttinger never thought she could use her speed to her advantage in another
sport. However, her older sister, who plays for the Candian National Women's
Indoor Field Hockey Team, told her to try-out for the field hockey team.
After securing a spot on the varsity team, Buttinger's speed set her apart
from others. Her varsity coach convinced her to try out for Team Ontario, a
club team based out of Canada.
"I made Team Ontario simply out of luck," Buttinger said. "I had no skill,
but I had my speed. I worked really hard with my coaches to built a skill set
that matched my speed."
Hard Work Pays Off
Buttinger was a member of multiple championship field hockey programs
including her four-time district championship high school team. She was named
to the All-Star team all four years.
In her senior year alone, the captain netted 53 points (includes
assists/goals). Buttinger's senior team was the first in school history to take
home the Central Western Ontario Secondary School Association Championship,
after posting a 17-2 record including 16 shutouts.
"We are a big ice hockey and running family so getting into field hockey
was all luck," Buttinger said.
Coming to the States...and the Big Ten
"In Ontario, we don't play on astro turf," Buttinger said. "We play on more
of a grass surface. "The hardest transition for me from playing in Canada to
playing in America was how fast the game is."
Buttinger started her Penn State career in 2010, but due to a knee injury, she
was forced to redshirt the following season.
"It was hard from playing non stop to not being able to pick up a stick,"
Buttinger said. "One of my proudest was coming back from that injury."
Since returning, Buttinger's play has only gotten better. After appearing in
a combined 20 games in her sophomore and junior seasons, she has solidified her
spot on the Nittany Lion roster. While her name is often attached to assists or
goals, Buttinger is a huge contributor on both offense and defense. She is
always around the ball, setting up scoring drives and serving as an option for
the defensive pass.
"I think my biggest contribution or my purpose on the team is passing,"
Buttinger said. "I never measure a game based off my goals or assists, its all
about the wins and losses for me."
The Nittany Lions head to College Park, Md. Friday to take on Big Ten
"It's going to be a great game," Buttinger said. "We are ready to welcome
Maryland to the Big Ten."
Fans can watch Buttinger and her fellow Nittany Lions on the Big Ten
Network at 3:30 p.m. this Friday.
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The Nittany Lion offense made themselves
comfortable in the Lady Eagles' circle in Tuesday night's contest. Aside from a
5-1 win, Penn State was able to notch a season high 16 corners, scoring off
four of them.
The Importance of the Corner...
A field hockey corner is much like earning a corner kick in soccer or a
free throw in basketball: it's a scoring opportunity that doesn't come along
often. For a field hockey corner to be earned, the offense must force the ball
into the defense's feet or cause an obstruction of play inside the circle. If
successful, the offense will be given an opportunity to take a direct shot on
the cage, with only four opposing defensive players and a keeper attempting to
stop the goal. Teams often come up "trick plays" to lure the defense to the
ball, then dishing it to a player at the post. Penn State has been most
successful with a direct shot coming from senior Taylor Herold.
"Lock Haven did a great job in the first half triple teaming in the
circle," coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss said. "But, we were diligent about
drawing the corner."
Turning on the 'Scoring Switch'
In Tuesday's contest, the first Nittany Lion goal was scored off a
corner. Herold received the ball from Emilee Ehret and took a direct drive from
the top of the circle. Amanda Dinunzio was then able to tip it in, giving Penn
State an early lead. Ehret notched her third goal of the season off another
corner, lifting Penn State to a 2-0 lead.
"I just need to make sure I send the ball into the circle quickly and
accurately," Ehret said. "The flyers we face are super fast, so the quicker the
insert gets the ball off the more time the hitter has time to get a shot off."
Before halftime, Lock Haven received a penalty stoke (another rarity in
the game of field hockey). A penalty stroke, much a like a penalty shot in ice
hockey, is a one-on-one chance to earn a goal. The Lady Eagles were able to
score off the stroke, when Taylor Kennedy flicked the ball into the top left
corner of the cage. The Nittany Lions were lead 2-1 at halftime.
"During halftime, our coaches told us we needed to get more results,"
Herold said. "We needed to draw more corners and get more shots on goal. We
tried to force the corner play."
Penn State opened the second half with three back-to-back corner
opportunities. Like the saying goes, "third time's a charm," Herold fired off a
direct shot on the cage on the third corner. Just a few minutes later, the
Nittany Lions earned another corner and Herold found the back of the net off of
her direct drive. With just over 10 minutes left to play, Dinunzio found the
back of the net off of another Penn State corner, lifting the Nittany Lions to
a 5-1 lead.
Penn State has successfully been able to force corner play in each game
this season. In the past eight games, the Nittany Lions have capitalized off
one or more corners in all but two games, posting 69 corners thus far.
The Nittany Lions are on the road for the next five games, three of
which are Big Ten Contests. This weekend they will visit Michigan State and
Ohio State for two Big Ten contests, followed by a weekend in Philadelphia, Pa.
taking on Drexel and Temple. The Nittany Lions will round out their travel
schedule with a matchup against new Big Ten matchup, Maryland.
"The energy that we had in the second half against Lock Haven is
something we need to keep up, especially with our Big Ten play," Herold said.
"We need to keep making things happen."
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Within the first few minutes of play vs. Michigan, it
was obvious that it was going to be a hard-fought fight.
end of last Sunday's win against Lafayette, coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss
fielded some questions about playing Michigan. In response to whether or not she
was "excited" to start the Big Ten schedule, she replied, "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."
She was right.
contest between the two Big Ten rivals was unpredictable. Any sports fan would
have been on the edge of their seat for the 74 minutes the two teams were on
the field. After two halves and a few minutes of overtime play, the Nittany
Lions fell short of a victory, falling to the Wolverines 3-2.
it is never easy to lose, losing allows for a team to go back to the drawing
board and to fix the little things.
could have done a better job of boxing them in the corner," coach
Morett-Curtiss said. "We let them get to the circle and when you do that you're
First Half Notables
the Nittany Lions came right out of the gate and put the ball in the back of
the cage. Four minutes into the first half, Taylor Herold received a pass from
Emilee Ehret on a penalty corner, putting the Nittany Lions on the board first.
next Nittany Lion goal wouldn't come for another 15 minutes. Penn State was
awarded a corner and Ehret found the back of the net, propelling the Nittany
Lions to a 2-0 leading heading into halftime.
though Penn State was leading 2-0, the Wolverines outshot the Nittany Lions in
the first half, 5-4. Each team was awarded the same amount of corners, along
with a pair of penalty cards.
to the girls at half time that it was going to be a physical game," coach
Morett-Curtiss said. "It's aggressive hockey, its Big Ten hockey."
Second Half Notables
momentum shifted in the second half. It was more physical and much faster.
There was an obvious shift in the Michigan offense, as they were playing with a
girl inside the Penn State circle, looking for a long pass, for most of the
found the back of the net just three minutes into the second half. The next 32
minutes of regulation play would be the most physical yet. With the 2-1 score,
it was anyone's game. Three penalty cards were issued between the first and
second Michigan goal: one to the Wolverines, a pair to the Nittany Lions. With
15 minutes left in the second half, the Wolverines found the back of the net,
again to tie the score.
one more card was given out before the end of regulation play. Penn State
received a five-minute penalty card with just 30 seconds before the over-time
half would begin. The Nittany Lions played the entire overtime period down a
seconds before Penn State would be able to field another player, Michigan found
the back of the net, making the score 3-2.
Michigan credit," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "They came back being down 2-0.
Its really unfortunate for us to start overtime down a player. We have chances
the last two minutes. Their goalie came up with some saves, but we just
couldn't connect on a couple of those corner opportunities. We just couldn't
put one in."
Preparing for Lock Haven
Nittany Lions will host Lock Haven on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Penn State has won the
last 12 games of the series.
Haven is always a tough game," senior Laura Gebhart said. "We need to learn
from our loss to Michigan and come out ready to play on Tuesday."
By Gabrielle Richards, GoPSUsports
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Women's intercollegiate athletics have come along
way over the last 50 years. The first women's intercollegiate athletic contest
took place at Pollock Field, home of the Nittany Lion field hockey team. Over
the past 50 years, the Penn State field hockey program has grown in both
success and prowess in the NCAA and Big Ten. Here's a look back over the past
50 years of one of Penn State's first women's sports team.
1960s: intercollegiate athletics are
no longer just played by men...
-1964: Penn State's field hockey team began its first
season. Pat Seni coached the team.
-The Nittany Lions went 4-0 that season.
-The Nittany Lions appeared in four
USFHA field hockey tournaments.
1970s: Building A Program
-1970-1973: Tonya Toole coached the Nittany Lions for four
seasons. Under Toole's direction, Penn State won 13 games.
-1972: Title IX is passed and gender equality is now required in
education and athletics.
-1974: Coach Gillian Rattray took over the helm as the head coach of
Penn State's field hockey program. The Nittany Lions closed out the 70s with a
record of 59-21.
-Five different Nittany Lions were named NFHCA All-Americans (starting
in 1977), including current head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss three times.
1980s: The Nittany Lions Gain A
Foothold in Collegiate Field Hockey
-Coach Rattray led the Nittany Lions for seven more seasons and
celebrated the only undefeated season in 1980 (22-0-2), and the first AIAW national
championship. Penn State also won the 1981 AIAW National Championship.
-1980: Broderick Award given to Jeannie Fissinger.
-1981: Broderick Award given Candy Finn.
hockey player Brenda Stauffer was named National Player
of the Year. Penn State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance.
-1984: Stauffer, Chris Larson and Charlene Morett earned the bronze
medal at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Ca.
-1987: Former Nittany Lion and Olympian, Morett, took over the helm as
Penn State's head coach.
-Penn State had nine different first team All-Americans in the 80s.
1990s: Dominating the A-10, the Big
Ten and the NCAA
-1990: The Nittany Lions won the A-10 Conference and represented Penn
State in the NCAA semi-finals.
-1992: Penn State joins the Big Ten conference and finish with an 8-2
-1993: Morett-Curtiss' Nittany Lions won Penn State's first Big Ten Championship
and made another appearance in the NCAA semi-finals.
-1995-1998: Penn State is crowned either Big Ten Conference regular
season or tournament champion each year.
-Penn State had 16 NFHCA first team All-Americans in the 90s and made
the NCAA Tournament each season.
2000s: Making It To The Finals...
-2002: The Nittany Lions make it to the final round of the NCAA
Championships for the first time.
-2005: The Nittany Lions win another Big Ten Championship
-2007: Morett-Curtiss' Nittany Lions make it to the final round of the
NCAA Championships again.
-2008: Another Big Ten Championship is added to the list.
-Eight different individuals were named first team All-Americans in the
2010s: WE ARE...not finished yet
-2011-2013: The Nittany Lions have successfully won either the Big Ten
regular season or tournament championship, each year. In 2012, they won both.
-One NFHCA All-American.
-As of 2014, there have been 15 different former Nittany Lions
represented on the U.S. National Team.
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."