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Morett-Curtiss' Legacy Leads to Hall of Fame Induction

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By Mandy Bell, Student Feature Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss has had a love for competition since she was a 2-year-old playing board games or having snowball fights against her siblings. As she got older, she played every sport her older brothers played.

Morett-Curtiss competed in basketball, ice hockey and swimming. She also played against her siblings in backyard games and street hockey. In seventh grade, she wanted to find a sport to play during the fall season since that was her only off season.

"My high school had a junior high tryout for field hockey," Morett-Curtiss said. "I had a tryout that day and I remember coming home and I had my hockey stick. I had never seen a hockey stick before. I remember running through the door saying, 'I want to play field hockey! I want to play field hockey!' My dad asked what field hockey was and I told him I didn't really know, but this is the stick you use to play it."

As Morett-Curtiss balanced all of the sports she played, she began to stand out in field hockey and lacrosse. When Morett-Curtiss graduated high school, she decided to come to Penn State to play for both programs. She became the first of six siblings to attend a four-year college.

At Penn State, Morett-Curtiss quickly became a field hockey standout. She was the program's only three-time first team All-American, scored 50 goals in four years and was the captain of the undefeated 1978 team. Whether she was on or off the field, Morett-Curtiss said it was impossible to have a bad day at Penn State.

"I think what I loved about my experience was that my best friends from Penn State are still my best friends today," Morett-Curtiss said. "They all played different sports. Kids are always amazed how we were always so social without having phones to figure out where everybody was meeting. We had a training table after practice every season with the football players, the soccer players and the lacrosse teams. We always had those conversations planning what was going on that weekend and always found time to have some fun."

Morett-Curtiss also became the first Nittany Lion to record five goals in a single game against Bucknell.

"Being a forward I think what helped my field hockey was street hockey," Morett-Curtiss said. "Because it was a lot of three on three or four on four you had a lot of touches with your stick. Always trying to put the ball in the net was something I grew up playing street hockey. That helped me find the goal in college."

After graduating college in 1979, Morett-Curtiss competed with the U.S.A Field Hockey team in hopes to compete at the 1980 Olympics. With a boycott of the Olympic Games, Morett-Curtiss was forced to wait until 1984 before she could officially compete in the games in Los Angeles, California.

"I was really fortunate that I was young enough to be able to stay in the program," Morett-Curtiss said. "Knowing that the games were going to take place in Los Angeles was something we could really focus on in training. To have the opportunity to have my parents and family come to Los Angeles to show that support was something that really meant a lot to me."

Morett-Curtiss and the U.S.A Field Hockey team earned bronze at the 1984 Olympic Games. After competing in the Olympics, Morett-Curtiss turned to coaching.

In 1984, Morett-Curtiss was named head field hockey and lacrosse coach at Boston College. After her previous coach Gillian Rattray retired from Penn State, Morett-Curtiss did not hesitate to apply for the job at her alma mater.

"It was a dream come true for me," Morett-Curtiss said. "To be able to recruit kids to Penn State University that come with the same values and commitment to academics and athletics that I once did is something that is natural to me being a Penn State coach."

Current Associate Head Coach Lisa Love was a member of the field hockey team in Morett-Curtiss' first two years on the job.

"She came in with this high energy and high intensity passion for the sport," Love said. "We were all intimidated by her at first. She really cared about the sport and had a passion for the game that was contagious. She made us better people, which made us better players. I remember we always left practice feeling like we accomplished more than we ever could."

Since the time Morett-Curtiss began her coaching career, field hockey has become a much quicker game.

"There were rules like turning your back and being offside which really slowed the game down when I played," Morett-Curtiss said. "You couldn't lift your stick above your hip, which was really bad. I was taking a golf class my senior year so I was just used to taking my club back and then I would go to practice and I would take my stick back and that was a foul. But, the biggest change is AstroTurf. It has really sped up the game."

In her 29th season as head coach at Penn State, Morett-Curtiss has a 440-170-8 record and in just the last seven years, she has led the Nittany Lions to three Big Ten regular season titles, two Big Ten Tournament championships and six NCAA Tournament appearances. 

With all of her success as both a player and coach, Morett-Curtiss will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame Saturday.

"I take a lot of pride in being a Pennsylvanian and growing up in Delaware County," Morett-Curtiss said. "The program from Delaware County nominated me for this. I am humbled and honored. There are so many people that I know inducted in there. I am just excited that my sister is coming up from Florida and [Love] and Stuart [Smith] will be there to support me along with my husband, Doug. That's what will make it special for me." 

Although Morett-Curtiss is not competing against her siblings in backyard games anymore, field hockey has given her that family-feeling for over 30 years. 

"I just love what I do," Morett-Curtiss said. "I am fortunate that I have [Love] and Stuart around me that makes this atmosphere, just like the Olympic team did for me in 1984, like a family atmosphere. You influence each other, trust each other and enjoy each other's company. I think that's what I love most about field hockey. It's really given me that family feel in my life."

Record Crowd as Penn State Comeback Falls Short

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By Zach Reagan, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The fifth-ranked Penn State field hockey team's comeback fell just short against sixth-ranked Maryland, 5-4, in front of the largest crowd ever at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex Sunday.

With nearly 12 minutes left in the game, the Nittany Lions (12-2, 4-2 Big Ten) found themselves down 5-2 to the Terrapins (12-3, 6-1 Big Ten). Penn State didn't give in. They remained hungry and competed until the final horn in front of a record crowd on an unseasonal October 72-degree day.

Penn State midfielder Katie Dembrowski blasted a long-distance goal which stood after an official review to cut the deficit to two with less than eight minutes to go. Dembrowski's goal gave the Penn State crowd something to get excited about. The packed stands and folks along the fence with shakers and posters gradually got louder and started to pick up energy as the team built momentum.

The Nittany Lions responded once again almost a minute and a half later to make it 5-4. A Penn State penalty corner was awarded and Aurelia Meijer capitalized with a shot that found the back of the cage.

"I thought Aurelia played really hard today," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "She kept the engine going for the team.

Meijer, a sophomore from The Netherlands, said she never played in front of a crowd like that and it definitely helped the team gain energy as the game grew on. In the end, she felt disappointed that the team couldn't get the Penn State fans in attendance a victory after starting the game slowly.

"I think we battled hard but we didn't start from the beginning and when all of the goals came we started to get a little bit angrier," Meijer said. "We played better but we didn't start like we're able to."

With less than a minute remaining, a Penn State penalty corner was awarded originally but then was reversed by an official review that ruled a Maryland defender didn't kick the ball in the circle. Maryland then proceeded to run the clock out with possession in their offensive end. Penn State's comeback effort just couldn't get over the deficit it faced late in the second half.

The Nittany Lions came out a bit flat and made a few costly errors offensively in the first half. Maryland played a possession style game and pressured in the Penn State defensive end much of the first half.

"I thought Maryland played a nice possession game," Morett-Curtiss said. "We were disconnected as forwards today. We made some really bad decisions in our attacking end in the first half. We can't throw those opportunities away against a team like Maryland."

The game was knotted 2-2 at halftime but Morett-Curtiss thought Penn State dodged a bullet. Penn State made adjustments to pressure the ball better but it just wasn't enough.

"We played a fall away press the first half and we gave them too much time to make passes," Morett-Curtiss said. "We probably should have gone into a full press earlier. I thought 2-2 at halftime, we just survived a bad half. Let's come out and play a little bit more aggressively with our press in the second half which we did but we gave up goals off of counterattacks."

Maryland clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title with a solid 70 minutes of play. The loss for Penn State marked its first home setback of the season. 

Moira Putsch Finds Home at Penn State

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By Mandy Bell, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - In a sea of the same blue and white uniforms, it is hard to identify a specific Penn State field hockey Nittany Lion from the stands. However, for Moira Putsch, all one needs to look for is the bright yellow headband.

"When I ran track in grade school I always wore the same headband," Putsch said. "I guess I am just weird with stuff like that. My hair is too crazy not to wear a headband, so I guess that's where it all started. It's totally superstitious. I wore the headband when I was at Maryland. I coincidentally put it on for the first game and I just felt like I had to put it on for any other game. I was debating whether I should do something new when I came here, but I liked it too much and had to stay with it."

Through elementary and middle school, Putsch experimented with almost every sport she could. When it came to high school, she decided to focus on just field hockey and lacrosse.

Putsch's freshman year field hockey season was complete and spring was around the corner. The freshman at the time was excited to start her first high school lacrosse season and was ready for the team's first scrimmage.

During the scrimmage, Putsch cut left, but ended up going to her right causing a pop in her knee that no athlete ever wants to feel.

Putsch tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and suddenly her future in field hockey seemed to be in jeopardy.

When most would be out for a year from an ACL tear and surgery, Putsch was back and ready for her sophomore field hockey season just a few months after the injury.

"I remember being so annoying at first," Putsch said. "They let me play like five minutes each half because I was still coming back from surgery. I remember I was dying for just a minute each half. I was definitely being a little pest about it, but I think I only missed one or two real games that season."

All of her dedication to the sport despite any injury paid off for the high school sophomore when she was selected to the U21 National Field Hockey team entering her junior season.                                                           
"I have been playing USA Hockey since eighth grade," Putsch said. "I was named on the U21 team going into my junior year of high school. I did a tour with them and it was awesome. We went to Holland. So I went to Holland with Penn State and two other times with USA Hockey. It's definitely different to play international teams. The tempo is faster. I also feel like my game knowledge increases every time I play an international team. Teams like Holland and Australia are very poised and it is very pretty hockey. It's really fun to play against them because you learn so much at the same time." 

Playing at an international level is not something that every high school field hockey player being recruited by big colleges get to experience.

"Playing USA Hockey prepared me so much for the collegiate level," Putsch said. "I think I would've been really overwhelmed going right into the collegiate level without US Hockey."

While balancing high school field hockey and her national team, Putsch also had to find a home for after high school. 

"Penn State, Maryland and Virginia were recruiting me." Putsch said. "It was a lot of pressure, especially someone like me who is really indecisive. I can be easily persuaded because I am so indecisive. At the time it was just a lot of pressure. They could contact us August 1st of my junior year and I couldn't make my decision until May. I am just so indecisive." 

In May of her junior year, Putsch decided to attend the University of Maryland despite the long line of Penn Staters in her family. Putsch had seven cousins, her brother, her sister and her father all attend Penn State University, but still decided to go to Maryland.

As a freshman, Putsch was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and to the NFHCA All-Region First Team. She tied for third on her Maryland team with 33 points on 12 goals and nine assists. Despite all of her success, something was missing.

Putsch needed family and the only place she could find a family was at Penn State. 

"Nothing bad about Maryland, I just think here is more for me," Putsch said. "The transition was definitely tough, but the support I have here in every aspect with field hockey, family and friends really helped. [Penn State] is just in our family. It's in our blood. When I was at Maryland I felt out of the loop with family things. I am really close with my family. It was them, plus the family atmosphere Penn State has itself is why I am here. My family always gave me a hard time when I was at Maryland."

After Putsch finally felt settled in her new home, it seemed as if nothing could go wrong. There was a week of pure bliss before another challenge presented itself.

"I just had gotten here," Putsch said. "It was a week after being here and I re-tore my ACL that morning at the end of practice. I was taking a shot at the top of the circle. I remember we wore heart rate monitors and Bobby Lucas was monitoring the monitors and he said my heart rate spiked higher than when we ran our run tests that morning. I knew as soon as I did it. 

As quickly as Putsch got here, her first Penn State season was taken away from her.

"I was very devastated just because I was so excited to be here," Putsch said. "At the time I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get that year of eligibility back, but then I petitioned to the Big Ten and found out that I was going to have that year. So it's bittersweet to me because now I get to be here at Penn State for another year and I would've already missed a year."

Putsch had yet another surgery on the same knee that had been operated on early in high school. This time, the doctor used Putsch's own ligament to repair her knee and, so far, it seems to have done the trick.

After surgery, Putsch had to undergo rehabilitation in order to get her knee back in field hockey shape. At the beginning, she struggled to even lift her leg straight off the ground. But, after many hours with Penn State trainer Renee Messina, Putsch got herself back in shape for the 2016 season and has been a standout thus far.

"She's like a little rag doll sometimes the way she flies around the field and bounces off the turf," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "She just reminds me sometimes of a Gilda Radner, she's a comedian. I just remember her having that energy on Saturday Night Live and just being upbeat. That's what makes me laugh when I look at Moira. She's just that person."

"We are always amazed when we see her on the left side of the field and in five seconds she's on the right side of the field. You just don't know how she got there so fast. She really knows the game well and she has really enhanced our offense."

Putsch has scored 12 goals in the team's first 13 games and has registered a point in each game so far this season. 

When watching the Nittany Lions play, just look for the girl in the bright yellow headband.

Offense Stands Strong To Stay Unbeaten At Home

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By Mandy Bell, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 2-0 Thursday afternoon, but it did not come easily. 

The Nittany Lions had 19 shots on goal against Ohio State goalkeeper Liz Tamburro in Thursday's matchup. Tamburro only allowed two shots by Moira Putsch and Shay Cannon to sneak into the back of the cage, as she recorded 17 saves on the day.

"I thought Ohio State really came to play today," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "It was a really competitive game. We had some beautiful goals. It would've been nice to show a little more poise in the circle but their goalie played really well today."

"I played with Lizzie [Tamburro] on a club team in high school for like three years," Putsch said. "I have to give her a ton of credit because she is an amazing goalie and I knew that going into it. I knew it was going to be a challenge. I think the goals we did have were so quick and direct that not many people would have enough time to think when they were shot." 

Cannon had a connection with the Buckeyes as well as she played with Ohio State's defensive back Caroline Rath in high school.

"If it's playing against people like Lizzie [Tamburro] it kind of stinks because she's so good," Putsch said. "But it's a lot of fun to play people you know because it's a kind of sport where people are really friendly."

"It's competitive on the field, but then you are friends after," Cannon said. "It was funny because Caroline Rath, their center back, played with me at home. So it was fun playing center forward against her. She's a great athlete so it's nice to go head-to-head with her."

The Nittany Lions suffered a double overtime loss to the Buckeyes last year, but Morett-Curtiss said that played no part in the team's preparation for the matchup this year. 

"We really put that season in the rearview mirror," Morett-Curtiss said. "The one thing that was in the back of my mind was that we had a two goal lead against them last year and they just came on strong. So we just tried to keep our backs deeper a little bit, be more steady and be more poised as we were bringing the ball out. I thought we accomplished that." 

"We wanted to come out strong," Cannon said. "Last year we had an unfortunate finish and we knew what we had to do to get it done and win it." 

With Thursday's win the Nittany Lions extend their unblemished home record to 7-0. 

"I think we have the best fans in the whole NCAA, all of the Big Ten, just everything," Putsch said. "I think they are huge. Having all of them there and hearing them when I am dying out there, they make me keep going, so I think that's huge."

Penn State avoided focusing on any sort of rivalry and treated the game like any other Big Ten Conference game.

"Any time it's a Big Ten contest there's going to be a little bit more on the line," Morett-Curtiss said. "Everyone is fighting for standings in the conference, which could always impact the tournament. We love our field and we love our fans. It's always nice to be home."

Penn State recorded its fewest amount of goals so far this season, scoring two against the Buckeyes. Although a win is still a win, the Nittany Lions found multiple lessons from the game that will hopefully enhance their play for the rest of the season. 

"[Not scoring as many goals] was frustrating, but I think for me, I had like six shots that didn't go in," Putsch said. "I think it was a really good learning point. I am going to take what I didn't do from the game and hopefully that will help in the future."

"I had a couple opportunities where I should've taken the shot, but I was a second too late and didn't get the shot off," Cannon said. "That's definitely something I need to take into the next game of taking the shot no matter if it's off my back foot or back hand and not waiting."

Penn State will travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina to take on Wake Forrest at noon Saturday.

Rizzo, Gochnauer Shine Against Princeton

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By Mandy Bell, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - No. 5 Penn State defeated the No. 11 Princeton Tigers 4-2 Sunday afternoon at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, but Nittany Lions were not satisfied. 

The Nittany Lions (11-1) got off to a slow start when the Tigers' Krista Hoffman snuck Princeton's (6-4) only shot on goal of the first half past Penn State goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo into the back of the cage.

"Once you start getting into the grove of things blocking shots gets pretty easy," Rizzo said. "I think that once you make that first save, you just keep it rolling. Even if you do let a goal in, I just kind of have to reset. In other positions you can get mad at yourself and it doesn't really matter, but I am the last line. You got to push it to the side." 

Despite the fact that Penn State answered with three well-set-up goals before the end of the first half, the Nittany Lions' head coach Char Morett-Curtiss was looking for more.

"I just thought we were really flat," Morett-Curtiss said. "I thought giving up that goal early is obviously an issue that we have. I don't think we played with a lot of inspiration today, which is disappointing as a coach. The goals were beautiful. Some of the goals were absolutely perfect. But at the same time I think we missed a lot of opportunities to score more goals."

Princeton came out much stronger offensively in the second half. The Tigers were forcing themselves into the circle to get more looks on goal, meaning the Nittany Lions had to place their trust in Rizzo to stay in the game.

"Jenny having to work so hard was because of the defense," Morett-Curtiss said. "Our defense just let them walk into the circle and take shots. I think that's obviously an issue that we have right now and that's something we have to continue to work on. We thought we had these things ironed out but we don't. We need a stronger presence. Jenny was brilliant. I think she really kept the lead for us in that second half."

After allowing Princeton's only shot on goal to find the cage in the first half, Rizzo came back in the second half blocking any ball that was shot her way. The sophomore goalkeeper recorded eight saves and only allowed one goal in Princeton's 10 shots on goal in the second half.

"I just was not ready for the first goal," Rizzo said. "I realized that I really need to be in this game and the only way we were going to win it is if my defense and I were working together. Once my defense started talking and we were communicating a little bit more, it got a little bit easier."

Although the Penn State squad may not have been clicking the way it has been for the majority of its 2016 season, senior forward Kirsten Gochnauer has been someone Morett-Curtiss can constantly rely on.

"I think Kirsten is the most consistent player that we have," Morett-Curtiss said. "She is just one end to the other. You see her put some strong block tackles down in the defensive end and she's right there in the offensive end either helping set things up or finishing." 

Gochnauer scored her second goal of the season halfway through the second half securing the Nittany Lions' fourth and final goal of the game. Her last goal of the season came against Old Dominion in the first game of Penn State's season.

"It was great to score," Gochnauer said. "I missed the same shot in the exact same position about five minutes earlier in the game, so you kind of beat yourself up. It was awesome to have another opportunity at that one and kind of put it away."

The Nittany Lions have already put this game behind them and began looking ahead to their next matchup.

"I think we just have to realize that you have to keep chipping away," Gochnauer said. "Maybe you're not playing your best game or you're not as connected as you think you should be, but taking it one game at a time and taking it into practice this week will help. You just have to keep going. Ohio State is next. They are always a great opponent. Each game is different. You can always learn something from each game."

The Penn State Nittany Lions will host the Buckeyes at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex. 

Putsch Leads Penn State Past Michigan State

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By Mandy Bell, Student Writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Nittany Lions faced off against the Michigan State Spartans Friday evening at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex despite the unfriendly weather.

The two teams competed in a brisk 53 degrees as a steady light rain fell for almost the entire duration of the game. 

No matter how cold or how wet it got on the field, it did not bother the Nittany Lions.

"I think it's kind of fun playing in this weather," Moira Putsch said. "Especially in this atmosphere. When we have such a big crowd, it totally doesn't seem cold. We are working so hard that it doesn't affect us. I really like the rain. It makes it feel intense."

Penn State (10-1) got off to a slow start falling early to Michigan State (5-5) 1-0 in the first half. About six minutes after the Nittany Lions found themselves in a deficit, they turned to their most consistent leader.

Putsch retrieved the ball to the left of the Michigan State goal right before it trickled out of bounds. With three defenders in front of her, Putsch fixated on the goal. She passed the ball underneath the stick of the first defender and was able to catch back up with it before it reached her second defender.

Then, Putsch juked toward the goal making her defender move in the same direction. As the second defender stepped to her right, Putsch crossed her over and passed the defender on her left. 

Putsch was then in the center of the action with the defense collapsing in on her. She overran her ball just slightly, but was still in control.  She knew at this point that she had to attack quickly. Putsch then did a full spin, turning her back to the goal, to shoot the ball from her weak side. The shot went through a handful of defenders, passed the goalkeeper and landed right in the unreachable right corner of the cage.

"There's a lot of adrenaline on a play like that," Putsch said. "Right after it happens I am never out of breath. Then 10 seconds after the whistle starts again, that's when I am out of breath. It's just a lot of adrenaline going through and a lot of focus just to keep it up because I know it's really important for us the next few minutes to not let up and not let them come back."

"She really had to work for that one and she needs to be like that more often," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "She just really set that up for herself and it was just a great shot. I also thought she gave Shay [Cannon] a couple good passes. She was just really working hard tonight which is good to see."

With Friday evening's goal, Putsch has successfully put at least one goal on the board in all 11 games of the 2016 season.

"It feels great, but I feel like every single time I have scored, afterward so many people on our team also have," Putsch said. "It says so much that so many people on our team score. It feels great, but I am just thinking of the bigger picture and everyone always comes up big right after. So it's awesome." 

Once Putsch got the first point on the board for the Nittany Lions, her teammates followed her lead. Just under five minutes after Putsch's goal, Aurelia Meijer scored to give the Nittany Lions a 2-1 lead at the half.

Midway through the second half, Putsch set up teammate Gini Bramley for a perfect look at the back of the cage. Bramley came back a few minutes later to tack on the fourth and final goal of the game giving Penn State a 4-1 victory.

Penn State will take on Princeton Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.

Sister, Sister for Morano's

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By Mandy Bell, Student Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - In 2014, Penn State junior forward Kasey Morano finished her high school career taking the New Jersey title home to Eastern Regional High School. In the middle of smiles and celebration, her younger sister and teammate Maddie Morano had other feelings.

"It was one of the happiest days of my life and she just starts crying," Kasey said. "She told me she would miss me and we thought we'd never play together again. That was definitely my favorite memory of us because it was a mixture of happy and sad emotions. I have a picture of her crying and me holding her and it is my favorite picture." 

Little did the Morano sisters know that in two years, they would be together again at Penn State. 

Growing up, both Kasey and Maddie started playing field hockey early in elementary school. Kasey began when she was in second grade and Maddie started in kindergarten. Both wanted to be exactly like their mom, who played collegiate field hockey at Lock Haven University.

"In our hometown, we didn't have field hockey," Maddie said. "[Our mom] started the program. That's why we played in camps with a bunch of older girls because there wasn't a program for us. She got us really involved and taught us how much you can love the sport."

At ages five and seven, the Morano sisters were taking part in camps with the local high school coach competing with girls who were much older than they were.

"We were the youngest ones at the camps," Kasey said. "We weren't very good obviously, but we did our best. It was just fun. We played a lot of kid games. We actually did a middle school league when we were younger, so we always were playing more competitive leagues against older kids."

Playing against higher-level competition paid off when Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss showed interest in both of the Morano sisters when they reached high school.

"We had eyes on both of them," Morett-Curtiss said. "They couldn't make the full week of our camp, so we had them up here for two days and I think they just really loved Penn State at that point. Their brother was here, so I think that made it a little more comfortable for them. Kasey was a little unsure with her decision, but Maddie always new she wanted a big time athletic program, wanted the big school and wanted the school spirit."

"Before I even came here, Penn State was never in my mind," Kasey said. "For some reason, not sure if it was because my older brother went here and I didn't want to go to the same school as he did, but I just didn't want to go to Penn State. Then my dad made me visit here and I just knew it was the school for me. I didn't want to like it, but I loved it. There was something about it. I was definitely fighting it, but I just couldn't help it."

Both girls approached colleges separately and picked the schools that they wanted to go to without discussing it with each other. It just so happened to be the same school.

 With Maddie just beginning her freshman year, it is the first season that Morett-Curtiss has the Morano sisters on her Penn State squad. 

"I don't even think about them being sisters," Morett-Curtiss said. "I've coached so many. I think I've coached seven sets of sisters since I've been here. Because they play two different positions, I don't think of them as sisters so much, but when you see them together there's no doubt about it."

Off the field, Kasey and Maddie are nearly inseparable. During preseason, Maddie went to Kasey's apartment every day after practice and even during the season the two are together for the majority of the time off of the field.

At the beginning of the season against Bucknell, the Morano sisters shared a special moment on the field when Maddie assisted Kasey for a goal.

"It was funny because I had the ball and Kasey was wide open," Maddie said. "There was a girl right in front of me, so if I didn't pass it to [Kasey] it would've been really bad. I was trying to trick the defenders so it didn't look like I was going to pass it to her and it apparently fooled Kasey because she told me she was freaking out thinking I wasn't going to pass it to her."

"I thought she wasn't going to pass it to me and that would've started some problems," Kasey said. "That would've looked so bad, like we are sisters."

After that goal, Kasey and Maddie's parents were able to have a special moment in the crowd watching their two daughters work together on the field.

"I feel like I owe a lot to my mom because she really wanted the dream for us just as much as we did," Kasey said. "Don't get me wrong, we wanted to kill her sometimes. We would be playing and she would take us off the field if we were being fresh. But, she just really pushed and she would always say, 'You'll thank me one day' and we'd just be like 'Alright, Mom,' and roll our eyes. But she was so right. 

After this week's homestand, the Nittany Lions will be back on the road again. The sisters just found out that they will be rooming together on the next road trip and they couldn't be more excited. 

Penn State will host Michigan State on Friday at 5 p.m. at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.

Myers Preps for Return to Midwest

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By Mandy Bell, Student Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - The Penn State Nittany Lions will be traveling to the Midwest for their matchup against Northwestern on Friday.  

Although field hockey is not a popular sport in the Midwest region, Penn State has landed a few Nittany Lions from the Midwest territory, including freshman Abby Myers.

In Myer's junior year of high school, she and her travel field hockey team competed in a recruiting event at the Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. Her team, from Milwaukee, was competing against New Jersey's club team. Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss, associate head coach Lisa Love and assistant coach Stuart Smith went down to the event to watch some of the girls on the New Jersey team who had already committed to Penn State.

"There was this girl, number 41, on the other team and I turn to Lisa and Stuart and ask, 'Did anyone from Wisconsin write to us?' and they said, 'No'" Morett-Curtiss said. "I said how good that number 41 was and we saw that she was a junior at that point. We were not really looking to fill the class, but when I got home and came to the office on Monday, there was an email from Abby. 

"It was not planned to reach out to Penn State," Myers said. "My dad went to Penn State and my brother is now a junior. I grew up going to Penn State. I went to all the football games, volleyball games and all the sporting events. My family definitely has that bias toward Penn State, but I didn't want that to be a factor when I was picking schools and it wasn't. They never pressured me at all."

In her email to Morett-Curtiss, Myers explained that she saw the three coaches at her game and that she also had a long history of Penn State alumni in her family including her brother who was enrolled at the University during this process. At the end of the message, Myers attached her recruitment video and said that she had hoped the spots for the 2016 class were not already filled.

"When she included the video clip I remember thinking, 'Wow, she's legit,'" Morett-Curtiss said. "I knew what I saw, but it's nice to back it up with video. So, we contacted her and it just so happened that she was coming to State College that upcoming weekend for her brother's birthday. What are the chances of that?"

Right after Myers' official visit that weekend, she visited two other schools, but it did not take long for her to know she wanted to be a Nittany Lion. Within a week or two of her visit, Myers committed to Penn State.

Committing to one of the top-ranked field hockey schools in the country was never something that Myers believed was possible after growing up in an area where the game of field hockey was sparse and the competition level was low.

"There are only about nine high schools with field hockey in Wisconsin," Myers said. "It's a really small sport. It's nothing like soccer. My high school was one of the nine teams that actually had a field hockey program and we dominated. We won the State Championship two out of my four years there." 

Myers had played soccer through elementary school but when she reached middle school, she wanted to try something different.

"I went to a very small middle school and they had a field hockey team," Myers said. "I played it just for something new. The team wasn't very good so it was hard to really learn the game or the fundamentals, but then I got into it more. 

Going into her eighth-grade season, Myers met a man from Wales named Tom Carter who recruited her to play club field hockey for his team in Milwaukee.

"I would go every Friday night and play. That is where I really developed my skills," Myers said. "He was coaching a select team at the time and I think I met him through my parents. A group of girls from my area would go as well and we would go 45 minutes to Milwaukee to play. He played in Wales and in college. He was also on the national team." 

Recruiting players from the Midwest is not common for Penn State. The former Penn State players from the Midwest area were all found through alumni connections, so for Penn State to find Abby was a rarity. 

I never thought I would be coming to Penn State because they were ranked fifth in the country," Myers said. "I was one of the best in Wisconsin. There were about two other girls who went Division one in Wisconsin. Then you come here and everyone is at that standard, even high school players. It's almost a slap in the face when you come here and really need to step up your game. It's definitely a good challenge to have."

"I think, for [Myers], the challenge is that she didn't compete against a high level of kids consistently like kids from New Jersey and Pennsylvania do throughout their club and high school careers," Morett-Curtiss said. "She's come a long way in just a month where she's competing against these kids. She's more confident and less tentative."

The freshman has been working on stepping up her game since she arrived at Penn State throughtout the summer to be ready to compete at an East Coast level for the reminder of her career. 

"I think that Abby brings a lot of versatility to the team," Morett-Curtiss said. "The other thing is she is a great person, a great student, she's easy going and she is feisty on the field. She's the total package."

Penn State will travel to Evanston, Illinois to take on Northwestern Friday.  

Rizzo Prepares for USA Junior National Team Debut

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By Mandy Bell, Student Staff Writer

Penn State goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo has been selected to the United States U21 junior national team and the one person she has to thank is her fourth grade gym teacher.

"I actually never knew what field hockey was until I came to Pennsylvania." Rizzo said. "I grew up in Long Island, New York and they didn't have much of that out there. My gym teacher in fourth grade was the coach at the high school level.  We used to play in gym class and she really thought I had potential.  She told me to come out to their camps, so I started going to camp. There was just something about hitting the ball with the stick that was just really fun for me." 

Rizzo decided to join a local field hockey team and played all the way through high school, but it was not until her sophomore year that she became a goalie.

She had been a right midfielder since she began playing the sport, but her high school team needed a goalkeeper and Rizzo was the answer.

"My coach told me they needed a goalie and she thought I was pretty athletic and that I would be able to do it," Rizzo said. "I was definitely nervous to transition into the goalie position because I didn't know if it was the right decision since I knew I wanted to play at a college level. I never had a desire to have balls hit at me, but I started playing and I really enjoyed being in the cage." 

It is safe to say that she made the right decision. 

Because of her switch in positions, Rizzo has now secured her spot to compete in the 2016 Field Hockey World Cup in Chile at the end of November, but the process was not easy. 

"USA Field Hockey has a program called 'High Performance' so every year around May, any college student who is under 21 years old can try out for the team," Rizzo said. "You go to High Performance locations throughout the country and there's East Coast, West Coast, Midwest and some down south.  You just train with the people in your area."

Rizzo started in May at Drexel University. After spending some time there, her Drexel coach selected multiple athletes who stood out and sent them to a young women's High Performance tournament at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim, Pennsylvania at the end of June. From there, the U21 junior national team head coach, Janneke Schopman, watches each game and chooses the girls she thinks are the best to go to a junior national camp to then be selected for the national team.

"There's definitely more pressure with [Schopman watching] than a collegiate game," Rizzo said. "I know she saw a lot of my clips through video, so I didn't even know she was watching for some of them. So, I am kind of glad about that, but at the same time the added pressure kind of makes me play better."

After being selected by Schopman to attend the junior national camp, Rizzo had the opportunity to compete against India's Olympic field hockey team before they left for Rio this past July.

"It was really cool. They were phenomenal," Rizzo said. "We just went into it just thinking we are going to grow from this no matter what happens.  It was really cool to be put under that much pressure and we really played well against them considering they were an Olympic team.  We followed them in the Olympics the whole way." 

At the conclusion of her final training camp, Rizzo still did not know if she had landed a spot on her dream team. 

"I got an email from Janneke before [Rizzo] knew," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "So I called [Rizzo] and asked how it was going and she said everything was good and I just told her that I knew she made the team. She was so excited. I think they selected 12 and then were going to select another six, but she was in the top group right from the start. "

"It's pretty awesome to be selected," Rizzo said. "It's always been an aspiration of mine to play at an international level, so it was pretty rewarding."

With her Penn State season underway, Rizzo had one final training camp with her national team two weekends ago. She left after a game to go to Spooky Nook that evening and missed class on Monday and Tuesday. But, this balancing act has never been a problem for the sophomore.

"She just does a great job getting ahead in classes. She's always prepared," Morett-Curtiss said. "She went away last year to Trinidad and Tobago for a tournament and she had to miss a week of classes, she had to submit reports to our faculty advisor who wasn't really keen on her going because it was a lot of missed class time, but she checks in with her professors and stays on top of her academics. She's the prototype of being a student athlete." 

Rizzo leaves for Chile with the U21 junior national team November 21, but until then, her focus is winning a national championship with her fellow Nittany Lions.


By: Ryan Berti, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- At the age of 17, most American student-athletes are searching for the next place to go in life. The decision on whether to go to a nearby college in their home state, or to travel across state lines in order to explore somewhere new, can seem like a challenging one.  The move away from home and into intercollegiate sports appear as starting anew in a foreign place.

Most student-athletes do not truly face those fears, however. Wherever they go inside the U.S., their accents, cuisine and customs might be slightly different, but these are all just small disparities in a place where the language and overall style of living largely remain the same.

For Penn State Field Hockey's Aurelia Meijer and Bes Bovelander, their experiences have been far from familiar to the average American student-athlete.

Raised in the Netherlands, both Meijer and Bovelander came to University Park to join the field hockey squad. For the latter, this is her first semester on campus, while the former became the first international player in program history last season.

Missing out on Christmas and her father's 50th birthday, all the while adjusting to an entirely new culture, the move to the U.S. for Meijer last year was full of challenges the majority of student-athletes never have to face.

"Last year was a bit of a culture shock," Meijer said. "Everything is different; including the field hockey. You don't have your family anymore and you don't have your old friends or your old habits. They're all gone, and you have to start all over again."

While English is taught and spoke in Holland, the current sophomore says she had a difficult time in her first few weeks holding conversations.

Finding a way to transition between her new home and where she grew up was something that would not come easy, but one thing that helped bridge the gap between the two was her involvement in athletics.

Meijer was instantly in a group she could call herself a part of with the field hockey team, and being able to make those immediate bonds are what helped her find a place she felt she belonged.

"[The transition] was pretty hard, but you have your whole team," she said. "You already have a lot of people that you know that are friends and they always say that they are your family, and it's kind of true because you're always with them and they'll always be there for you, so it helps a lot."

After a freshman season that saw her start all 19 games and record six goals, she solidified herself as one of the most outstanding players on the field and most outgoing players off of it.

Now in her sophomore year, Meijer continues to play with ease. A goal in Tuesday's game against Bucknell accounted for her sixth point in the season's first five games.

With the arrival of Bovelander, Meijer has found more comfort off the field, as well by finding someone who understands what it's like coming here from the Netherlands.

The two have in common the things they find odd; including the American's overly positive energy, the students driving oversized cars instead of riding bikes, and then of course - there's the food.

"In the Netherlands, I will eat cookies and chocolate, but here it's like everywhere. There's junk food everywhere," Meijer said. Other foods Americans see as every day consumptions, like bagels with cream cheese, waffles and the large amounts of pizza, are seen more so as sweets rather than actual meals in Holland.

Bovelander, whose mother also played field hockey in the United States at the University of North Carolina, has been able to use her connection with Meijer to better understand Penn State since she already had a years experience under her belt.

"It's good to have someone who experience the same, like if I have a question I can go to her," Bovelander says. "It's fun to have somebody who is experiencing the exact same thing," Meijer added.

In practice, the two agree the language barrier can be a bit hard to break through at first. But when in doubt, their teammates guide them through examples so they can follow along.

Through all the hardships of their move to America, the two have found bliss in not only the company of each other, but the company of their teammates and the overall community.

"The people here are so nice and everybody just wants to help you," Bovelander said. "It makes it a whole lot easier."

The girls noted one of their favorite aspects about campus is the overall proud nature of the students as they support the school through their apparel and overall spirit.

"It's so cool to see how proud people are for Penn State," Meijer said. "We didn't have cultures like this in Holland at all, so it's really good experience."

As the two continue on through the season on the turf they share a passion for, their skills will grow side-by-side with the friendships between themselves and others, giving them a sense of home away from home.

Although they have lived just a short time in America, they do have one thing they definitely recommend for all other international students trying to make the same move to a college in the States.

"Join a sports team," Bovelander said. "If you're on a team you'll have friends like immediately, and if I wasn't on a team, it would be so much harder."

"Yeah," Meijer agreed. "And just be excited for it and enjoy your time."


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