SCRANTON, Pa. - The Penn State Coaches Caravan rolled into Midtown
Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon for a lunch stop in New York City before
heading to Scranton for dinner.
Nittany Lion basketball coach re-joined the Caravan on Wednesday to make it a
four-coach lineup in New York. Chambers,
along with head coaches Bill O'Brien, Charlene Morett and Mark Pavilik all
spoke to a sold out crowd of 220 at the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan. Chambers, O'Brien and Pavlik then traveled
west for the Penn State Alumni Association Greater Scranton Chapter dinner in
Dickson City, Pa. Take a look through
some highlights on day five of the Caravan.
Stop IX - New York City (The Edison
Ballroom) Just down the block from Times Square on 47th Street in New York City, a
sold out crowd of 220 supporters packed The Edison Ballroom for the ninth stop
on the tour. Coach Morett joked as she
took the microphone that she felt like she was on Broadway performing and
thanked the crowd for coming to her debut show.
The stage in The Edison Ballroom featured leather, padded armchairs for all of
the coaches to sit in. With that in
mind, Coach Chambers opened up his speech by telling the crowd that he felt
like he was sitting on the set of Johnny Carson. The room erupted into laughter.
Chambers also shared his love for Madison Square Garden, what he called the
mecca of basketball. He coached in The
Garden as an assistant at Villanova.
O'Brien added some lighthearted jabbing with the New York fans about their
professional sports teams.
But all of the joking aside, the New York stop was another good reminder about
the way the athletic department at Penn State truly functions as One Team. All of the coaches support one another. They all get along. And they all understand that a united athletic
department is a strong athletic department.
"We truly support one another," Chambers said.
"That's what Penn State is all about."
And the One Team mantra goes deeper than just the head coaches supporting one
another. It stretches to the fans, like
the 220 in The Edison Ballroom at lunch hour in New York City. The Penn State fans are a big part of why
Penn State Athletics continues to grow together as One Team.
Following the lunch stop in New York, the Caravan bus made a quick stop at
MetLife Stadium for some photos and videos in preparation of Penn State's
season-opener against Syracuse on Aug. 31.
Call 1-800-NITTANY for tickets. VIDEO: New York Press Conference
with Coaches O'Brien and Chambers
Stop X: Scranton (Genetti Manor in Dickson City) Day two of the second week wrapped up in front of the Caravan's largest
crowd. More than 830 Penn State fans
seated at 80 tables crammed into the ballroom at Genetti Manor to welcome a
great group from the Penn State Athletics family. The list of attendees included Scranton
natives Matt McGloin, J.R. Refice and Eric Shrive, Wilkes-Barre product Eugene
Lewis, Director of Athletics Dave Joyner and the voice of the Nittany Lions
Prior to dinner, Coach O'Brien signed autographs for a throng of fans that
lined up more than 90 minutes prior to the program began. Fan after fan walked up to Coach O'Brien for
an opportunity to shake hands, take photos and obtain an autograph for more
than an hour. Some offered advice. Some told stories. Some even gave him gifts.
Pavlik and Chambers both spoke prior to O'Brien, energizing the room packed
with Nittany Lion supporters. Chambers
brought the crowd to its feet before he began his passionate speech. The room followed his command and stood up
"This is a very coachable group in Scranton," Chambers joked.
Coach O'Brien took the opportunity to recognize the current and former Nittany
Lions at the dinner before he delivered his Caravan message to the crowd. McGloin and O'Brien had a special
relationship during his time as the leader of the Penn State offense in
2013. Commending him on his dedication
and work ethic, O'Brien told the room that a great deal of Penn State's success
in 2012 was a direct product of McGloin.
"Thank you for everything you did for Penn State," O'Brien said to McGloin, who
was seated at the head table while the crowd cheered for the hometown hero.
Throughout all three speeches, the crowd of more than 800 was glued to the
podium. Chambers, Pavlik and O'Brien all
deserve a great deal of credit for their delivery on Wednesday night.
But simply put, the Scranton crowd was again tremendous for the second-straight
year during the Caravan.
The Coaches Caravan will wrap up on Thursday with men's hockey head coach Guy
Gadowsky joining O'Brien and Pavlik for a lunch stop in DuBois and dinner in Pittsburgh.
VIDEO: Scranton Press Conference with
Miles Covered on Day One - 203 miles Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Miles Covered on Day Three - 254 miles Miles Covered on Day Four - 188
miles Miles Covered on Day Five - 377
Caravan Total - 1,169 miles
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Week
two of the Penn State Coaches Caravan kicked off on Tuesday before a sold out
crowd of nearly 300 fans in Williamsport and 350 in the Lehigh Valley.
The modified Fullington Bus rolled out of the Bryce Jordan Center parking lot
shortly after 9:30 a.m. en route to the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus in
Williamsport. Head coaches Bill O'Brien,
Charlene Morett and Mark Pavlik delivered passionate speeches to an
enthusiastic group of Penn State fans and alums on Tuesday at lunch. Take a look through some highlights on day
Stop VII - Williamsport (Penn College of
Technology) Week two began with a great Coaches Caravan stop inside the auditorium
on the Penn College of Technology campus.
O'Brien, Morett and Pavlik headlined the event with speeches to thank
the Penn State fans for their support. Morett, who will enter her 27th season at the helm of the Nittany Lion field
hockey team in the fall, opened the panel of speakers at the luncheon. The 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year told the
crowd that she walked onto the Penn State campus in 1975 as a freshman, and
instantly, she knew what type of a special place it was. On the field of play, Morett has been a superb leader of the field hockey
program, leading the Nittany Lions to six Big Ten titles, six Big Ten
postseason titles and five of her teams have reached the NCAA semifinals. But off the field, the Philadelphia native has
been a tremendous ambassador for the University. "What makes an event like this special is to come out and see some great old
friends and to make some great new friends," Morett said. Pavlik, who just returned from Penn State's 28th trip (15th straight) the NCAA
men's volleyball semifinals, echoed Morett's comments about being in front of a
great group of enthusiastic Penn State supporters. Pavlik just finished his 19th season as a
head coach in Happy Valley. "When I go to work every morning, I have to pinch myself," Pavlik said of the
opportunity he has. The Western Pennsylvania native added that there is something special about
Penn State's support system everywhere he goes.
That being said, Pavlik noted how the fans play a direct, one-team role
when the department's teams are competing on the road. "To have a good crowd on the road,
there's no better feeling," Pavlik said. O'Brien was the final head coach to speak in Williamsport. He opened his speech by introducing
Williamsport native Jamie Van Fleet, who was a graduate of the Nittany Lion
football program. Van Fleet was unable
to play in 2012 due to injury, but played a key role for the Nittany Lions on
the sidelines, serving as a defensive mentor assisting the coaching staff. Heading into his second season as a head coach, O'Brien joked with Morett and
Pavlik that he only has 26 more seasons to catch up with the Lion field hockey
leader. As has been the case at every
stop, though, O'Brien's message focused on the support of the fans and how much
it means to the football program, athletic department and the University. "Every time you go to a speaking engagement (like this one), you know the room
will be filled with passionate fans," O'Brien said. VIDEO: Williamsport Press Conference
with Coaches O'Brien, Morett and Pavlik
Stop VIII: Allentown (Holiday Inn Conference
Lehigh Valley) Following the sold
out luncheon, the Caravan bus traveled south through Pennsylvania for an
evening stop on the western edge of the Lehigh Valley. O'Brien, Morett and Pavlik spoke to a dinner
crowd outside of Allentown.
Part of what makes the Coaches Caravan unique for the fans in attendance is how
each stop usually features a different story from the head coaches
speaking. The head coaches often tell
stories about their teams or time at Penn State.
On Tuesday night, O'Brien opened his speech by sharing about an event that took
place in Happy Valley shortly after the NCAA announced its sanctions against
the football program. Former Nittany
Lions Tom Donchez and Mike Guman, both former Nittany Lion greats from nearby
Bethlehem, were in the crowd. Seeing
those two prior to the evening event, it triggered O'Brien to talk about the
support from the Penn State Letterman's Club.
Just days after the announcement of the sanctions, O'Brien said that 500 lettermen
from all over the country attended a meeting in Holuba Hall on very short
notice to talk about what it meant to play football at Penn State. While it was a story O'Brien wanted to share
with the crowd about the lettermen, it provided a living, breathing example of
what he has talked about for the duration of the Caravan.
The support system surrounding Penn State is special.
Morett spoke about on Tuesday night. And
so did Pavlik.
"Char is right, you can feel the energy when you walk into a room like this," O'Brien
Penn Staters are a unique group with unwavering support, no matter what the
circumstances are. The head coaches feel
fortunate to have the type of network behind them.
"Don't underestimate the power you have to help mold our students and
student-athletes," Pavlik told the crowd.
"We have an amazing product we get to sell year in and year out at Penn State,"
Now more than ever, as O'Brien has said at each of the eight stops on the
Coaches Caravan, the Penn State support system needs to be strong as the
athletic programs continue to move forward in a positive direction.
Following a great evening program, all three coaches received a standing
ovation as the event closed. The Caravan
moves on to New York City on Wednesday for a lunch stop before traveling to
Scranton for a dinner event.
VIDEO: Allentown Press Conference with Coach
Miles Covered on Day One - 203 miles Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Miles Covered on Day Three - 254 miles Miles Covered on Day Four - 188
Caravan Total - 792 miles
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- Watch several members of the Nittany Lion field hockey team show off their
dance moves at the THON 2013 Pep Rally.
THON 2013 raised a record $12.34 million in the
fight against pediatric cancer. Congratulations to the more than 700
dancers who stood for 46-straight hours over the weekend and to all those
involved with the fundraising efforts.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Penn State Athletics was heavily involved with the 41st IFC/Panhellenic
Dance Marathon (THON) held at the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend.
More than 700 dancers began standing at 6 p.m. on Friday and did not sit down
or sleep until Sunday at 4 p.m. to raise awareness for the fight against
pediatric cancer in the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
Since 1977, THON has partnered with The Four Diamonds Fund
at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital with one goal in mind: conquering
childhood cancer. THON went to new heights on Sunday when a record
of more than $12.37 million was raised for 2013. To
date, more than $100 million has been raised by THON.
Several Penn State student-athletes spent 46 hours on their feet in the annual dance
marathon. Representing the Student
Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) were Kristin Carpenter from the women's
volleyball team and Annie Abdo from the field hockey squad. Katlyn Elliott from women's golf and Marika
Racibarskas from women's volleyball represented Penn State Hockey this
Hammershlag and Nicole Symeonides from the Lionetts squad and Paige McManus and
Nicole Camporeale from Penn State cheerleading danced in THON.
Several teams and coaches played an active role in THON events throughout
the weekend, in addition to squads participating in Saturday's annual pep rally
and team dance competition.
We would also like to
wish GoPSUsports.com student writers Matt Allibone and Kelsey Detweiler, along
with Penn State Athletic Communications student assistant Angelis Lau the best
of luck as they dance over the weekend, and the several student assistants
actively involved with THON.
From start to finish, take a look through the updates from the involvement Penn State Athletics had in THON over the weekend on GoPSUsports.com.
4:45 p.m. - VIDEO: Pre-Dancing Interviews with Student-Athletes Just over one hour from beginning the quest of spending 46-straight hours on their feet, we caught up with Marika Racibarskas from women's volleyball and Katlyn Elliott from women's golf for their final thoughts before the start of THON 2013.
5 p.m. - VIDEO: Coach Chambers Addresses Crowd, Donates $14,200 Head coach Patrick Chambers pledged to donate $10 to THON 2013 for every student in attendance at Penn State's clash against Iowa on Thursday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. On Friday evening, just before heading to the airport with the Nittany Lions for their trip to Michigan, Chambers addressed the crowd at THON and presented a check for $14,200. Take a look.
Saturday Coverage: 8 a.m. - VIDEO: Hour 14 Interviews from Penn State Athletics Dancers GoPSUsports.com caught up with women's volleyball student-athletes and 2013 dancers Marika Racibarskas and Kristin Carpenter just before 8 a.m. on Saturday morning for an update on how things were going 14 hours into the 46-hour dance marathon. Additionally, we talked with GoPSUsports.com student writer and broadcaster Kelsey Detweiler, who is also dancing, for an update. In addition to an interview, we asked all three what time they felt like it was. Dancers are normally asked to avoid looking at the clock, and they rarely know what time it is. Take a look at an hour 14 update from three Penn State Athletics representatives dancing in THON for the fight against pediatric cancer.
2 p.m. - VIDEO: Football Hosts THON Make-A-Wish Event Seventy members of the Nittany Lion football team welcomed 28 THON Make-A-Wish children and their families to a special tour of the Lasch Football Building on Saturday afternoon.
The Make-A-Wish event is circled on the calendar for the Nittany Lions every year. The THON families gathered inside the home of Penn State football to take photos, get autographs, tour the facility with the Nittany Lions, eat ice cream from the Penn State Creamery and take a photo in the locker room.
Head coach Bill O'Brien spoke to the group after it received the facility tour and signed autographs with the THON kids. Take a look at the Make-A-Wish event at the Lasch Football Complex on Saturday.
4:10 p.m. - PHOTO - Teams Participate in Athlete Hour Student-athletes from across Penn State Athletics spent time with THON families and children inside the practice gym of the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday afternoon for Athlete Hour.
10:10 p.m. - VIDEO: Pep Rally Dance Competition Highlights One of the THON highlights every year comes on Saturday night when the teams of Penn State Athletics hop on stage and compete in a dancing competition during the annual pep rally. In all, 11 different teams competed in the 2013 version of the dance-off.
With resounding approval from a packed house in the Bryce Jordan Center, the Nittany Lion men's swimming team was named champion of the team dancing competition, largely thanks to its use of a prop pool to create a swimming scene mid-dance. We have highlights of every team dancing on Saturday night at THON. Take a look.
Sunday Coverage: 12:55 p.m. - VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Addresses THON 2013 Head coach Bill O'Brien took the stage at THON on Sunday afternoon, urging the dancers to push through the "fourth quarter" of the 46-hour marathon. O'Brien spoke before a capacity crowd inside the Bryce Jordan Center. Take a look.
4:12 p.m. - VIDEO: THON 2013 Reveal - $12,374,034.46 THON 2013 reached new heights on Sunday afternoon when it was revealed that this year's efforts raised $12,374,034.46 for fight against pediatric cancer. Watch a truly inspiring moment in front of a capacity crowd in the Bryce Jordan Center during the revealing of this year's total. Congratulations to everyone involved in THON 2013.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2012 calendar year was one marked by
excellence and achievement from numerous Penn State teams.
As we close in on the final days of 2012, GoPSUsports.com wanted to take time
and reflect on a tremendous year for Penn State Athletics. The hiring of head coach Bill O'Brien on Jan.
6, in many ways, set a tone for the athletic department throughout the calendar
year. O'Brien's introductory press
conference highlighted a clear vision for how the football program would try to
do its part in helping the athletic department move forward as One Team.
The results speak for themselves, and all 31 Penn State teams across the
University Park campus should be recognized for their efforts in 2012. The list of achievements on the field of play,
including one national title and seven Big Ten titles, and in the classroom,
including more than 270 Academic All-Big Ten honorees, is tremendous.
The spring season included a Big Ten and NCAA title from the wrestling team for
second-straight season. Three Nittany
Lion wrestlers - Frank Molinaro, David Taylor and Ed Ruth - won individual
national titles. The Lady Lions, who
clinched a Big Ten title on the BJC hardwood in February, earned a spot in the
Sweet Sixteen for the 12th time in program history. The men's volleyball team earned a trip to
the NCAA National Semifinals for the 27th time.
The women's lacrosse team reached the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Additionally, 171 Penn State student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten
accolades during the winter and spring seasons.
Men's gymnastics' Miguel Pineda was named a first Academic All-American.
The fall campaign was one for the Penn State record books. Penn State won five Big Ten championships and
had five coaches selected conference coach of the year. The field hockey team (Char Morett) won the
Big Ten regular season and tournament titles, the men's soccer team (Bob
Warming), women's soccer (Erica Walsh) and women's volleyball (Russ Rose) teams
all won Big Ten championships.
Additionally, after leading the Nittany Lion football team to an 8-4
campaign, including six Big Ten wins, Bill O'Brien was named Big Ten Coach of
In postseason competition, the women's soccer team reached the NCAA College Cup
Final for the first time in program history.
The women's volleyball team played in the NCAA National Semifinals for
the 10th time in school history. The
women's cross country team captured the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional crown on its
The story was much of the same in the classroom. A fall record 100 Penn State student-athletes
achieved Academic All-Big Ten recognition this semester, including a trio of
4.0 students - football's John Urschel, women's volleyball's Maggie Harding and
women's cross country's Katie Rodden.
Football's Pete Massaro and Urschel earned first team Academic
All-America honors. Harding won the
Elite 89 Award for the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship for having the highest
cumulative grade point average of student-athletes participating in the
With so many events to choose from, narrowing down the list of outstanding Penn
State sporting events from 2012 to just 10 was a challenge, but here are your
10 nominees for the top sporting event of the outstanding 2012 calendar year
for Penn State Athletics.
From now until Dec. 28, cast your vote for the top event of the year.
Freshman phenom Robby Creese etched his place in Penn State history by becoming
just the third athlete in school history to break the four-minute barrier in
the mile run at the Flotrack Husky Classic at the University of Washington. Riding the wave of momentum following a
superb start to his first indoor track season in Happy Valley, Creese ran a
3:59.52 mile, which was the second fastest in Penn State indoor track
history. Creese joined Ryan Foster and
Larry Mangan as the only three Nittany Lions to crack four minutes.
Wrestling Clinches Second-Straight NCAA
Title March 17, 2012 - St. Louis, Mo. -
Penn State Clinches NCAA Championship
Head coach Cael Sanderson and the Penn State wrestling team reached the
mountain top of the wrestling world for the second-straight season with a truly
dominant performance at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis. The Nittany Lions mathematically clinched
their third all-time team national title during the morning session inside the
Scottrade Center on final day of competition at the three-day tournament. Penn State put icing on the cake with three
individual national champions, including senior Frank Molinaro (149), sophomore
David Taylor (165) and sophomore Ed Ruth (174), who finished the 2011-'12
season with a combined record of 88-0.
Penn State cleared second-place Minnesota by 26.5 points in the final
Women's Basketball Beats LSU for Sweet
Sixteen Berth March 21, 2012 - Baton Rouge, La. -
Penn State 90, LSU 80
When the 2012 NCAA Tournament draw was released, the fourth-seeded Lady
Lions knew their road to the Sweet Sixteen would likely include a clash against
fifth-seeded LSU on its home floor. The
Big Ten regular season champion Lions dispatched UTEP in the first round in
Baton Rouge, setting up a showdown with the host Tigers for a trip to the Sweet
Sixteen. LSU led 37-36 at halftime
before claiming a 50-44 edge in the second half. However scoring runs of 9-2 and 8-2 from Penn
State in in the second half, along with a 30-point night from Maggie Lucas
fueled the Lions for a 90-80 victory over LSU in a hostile Maravich
Center. The Lady Lion victory sent Penn
State into the Sweet Sixteen for the 12th time in program history.
Men's Volleyball Tops George Mason for
14th-Straight EIVA Crown April 28, 2012 - Rec Hall - Penn
State 3, George Mason 1
Penn State's string of success in the EIVA is unmatched. On the heels of the heels of claiming the
best record in the conference in 2012, Penn State earned the luxury of hosting
the championship match on its home floor.
The eighth-ranked Nittany Lions used 15 kills from Joe Sunder and 11
kills from freshman Aaron Russell to claim a 3-1 victory over George Mason in
the EIVA title match inside Rec Hall.
The Lions quickly built a 2-0 lead after a strong start to the match,
but George Mason answered by winning the third set. Nonetheless, Penn State erased a 12-9 Patriot
lead in the fourth set en route to the victory, automatic bid in the national
semifinals and its 27th appearance in the NCAA Championship.
Football Downs Navy for Bill O'Brien's
First Win September 15, 2012 - Beaver Stadium -
Penn State 34, Navy 7
Following an 0-2 start to the 2012 season, the Nittany Lion football team had
one of the best practices of its season on the Monday of Navy week. Penn State did not look back from there. Led by three touchdowns from standout
sophomore receiver Allen Robinson, the Nittany Lions rolled past Navy, 34-7, en
route to the first victory for head coach Bill O'Brien. The Lions led 20-0 at halftime following a
pair of Robinson scores and a third touchdown pass from Matt McGloin to Jesse
James. McGloin finished with four
touchdown passes, and sophomore Mike Hull put an exclamation point on the
victory with a 74-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second half. O'Brien received a shower of water when the
clock ticked to 0:00, and the win kick-started a string of five-straight
victories for the Nittany Lions.
Field Hockey Shuts Out Michigan for Big
Ten Title Sweep November 4, 2012 - Iowa City, Iowa -
Penn State 2, Michigan 0
On the heels of winning the Big Ten regular season title, the Nittany Lion
field hockey team capped off an impressive run through the postseason
tournament draw with a dominant defensive performance against third-seeded
Michigan. Standout senior forward Kelsey
Amy tallied both of Penn State's goals to lead the Nittany Lions to a 2-0
victory over the Wolverines and their second-straight Big Ten Tournament
championship. Senior goalkeeper Ayla
Halus notched three saves and earned her fourth shutout of the season. The victory boosted the Lions into hosting
NCAA Tournament competition for second time in three seasons.
Women's Cross Country Claims NCAA
Regional Title on Home Course November 9, 2012 - Blue/White Course
- Penn State Clinches NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional
There is no better motivation for a team to enter a season knowing it has an
opportunity to host postseason competition at home. When the Nittany Lion cross country team
began its formal preparations for 2012 at the end of the summer, it knew the
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals loomed on the Blue/White Course loomed in early
November. Penn State took full advantage
of the opportunity and unseasonably warm weather to edge No. 9 and defending
NCAA champion Georgetown (61-63) for a victory.
Junior Victoria Perri and senior Brooklyne Ridder led the way with
fourth and sixth-place finishes, respectively.
The Lions went on to finish 14th at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17.
Football Ousts Wisconsin on Senior Day
to Remember November 24, 2012 - Beaver Stadium -
Penn State 24, Wisconsin 21 OT
It would have been hard to script a better ending to the 2012 football
season. A senior class that will forever
be remembered for its commitment to Penn State had to earn ever ounce of
success it achieved, even on its special day.
After an emotional senior ceremony to honor the 31 members of the senior
class, the Nittany Lions quickly found themselves down 7-0 to Wisconsin. The Lions rallied back to take a 21-14 lead
until the final 18 seconds of the game when the Badgers sent the contest into
overtime with a late score. Sam Ficken's
leg put Penn State up 24-21 in OT before a missed field goal preserved the
Senior Day win. Defensive tackle Jordan
Hill was the star of the show. Hill was
simply not going to let the Lions be denied in his final game, notching 12 tackles
in dominant fashion.
Women's Soccer Edges Florida State in
Dramatic Fashion for first Trip to College Cup Final November 30, 2012 - San Diego, Calif.
- Penn State 2, Florida State 1 OT
After winning its 15th-straight Big Ten title, the Nittany Lion women's soccer
team etched its place in program history with a remarkable run through the NCAA
Tournament. But the string of postseason
victories will be trademarked by a soggy night in San Diego on the final day of
November. The Nittany Lions had been to
the College Cup three times before their trip to the West Coast, but never to
the College Cup Final. Senior midfielder
Christine Nairn changed that with an overtime goal that will live in Penn State
women's soccer lore forever. After
taking a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute, Penn State held on until the final 48
seconds when Florida State tied the contest in improbable fashion. Nevertheless, Penn State's senior class was
not going to let the season end. A long
pass from Maddy Evans on the right wing into the box set up Nairn's tap-in,
game-winner from six yards out, sending Nittany Lion women's soccer into the
College Cup Final for the first time in program history.
Women's Volleyball Punches Ticket to
10th NCAA Semifinal December 8, 2012 - West Lafayette,
Ind. - Penn State 3, Minnesota 1
Faced with the task of needing a third victory over the same team to earn a
spot in the NCAA National Semifinals, the top-seeded and Big Ten champion
Nittany Lion women's volleyball team entered its regional final match in
Purdue's Mackey Arena focused on the task at hand. Penn State built a 5-0 lead over
eighth-seeded Minnesota in set one en route to a 1-0 lead in the match. No strangers to adversity, though, the
Nittany Lions dropped set two and found themselves in a 23-21 deficit in the
third set. Just two points from going
down 2-1 in the match, Penn State answered.
Micha Hancock and Deja McClendon combined for four-straight tallies to
make it 25-24 before Big Ten Player of the Year Ariel Scott finished the match
with a kill, punching Penn State's ticket into the NCAA Semifinals for the
fifth time in six season and the 10th time in school history.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - "I didn't want the clock to run out. I didn't want
to leave the field knowing that we could have gone all the way," said redshirt
senior Hannah Allison, regarding the Nittany Lions' loss to Syracuse in the
NCAA Quarterfinals a month ago.
The 5-2 setback to the Orange in Happy Valley served as the final collegiate
field hockey game for Penn State's trio of seniors (Allison, Kelsey Amy and Ayla
Halus) and for Lauren Alwine, a graduate student who played soccer at Virginia
until using her final year of eligibility to suit up in blue and white.
"It didn't end the way we wanted it to," said Amy. "But I certainly don't have
any regrets about the season or about how we played all year."
Amy led the offensive charge all season for the Nittany Lions, accumulating 60
points (24 goals and 12 assists) in 22 games.
Her explosive style of play earned her Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year,
Big Ten Tournament MVP and NFHCA First Team All-American Honors.
The dominant senior season added to the already storied career for the forward,
and Amy now sits at third all-time in goals (76) and points (176) in Penn State
field hockey history.
Amy wasn't alone in saving her best season for last--Allison registered 18
points on the season (6 goals and 6 assists) and was a dominant force in the
midfield throughout the entire 2012 campaign. Her contributions extended beyond
offense, as she helped slow down opponents' attack and helped transition
defensive stops into an offensive push for Penn State.
"Individually, I just had a lot more confidence this season," said Allison. "It
helped being in a leadership position the previous season so I knew what to
Serving as the last line of defense for the Nittany Lions was redshirt senior
goalkeeper Ayla Halus, who posted yet another statistically-sound season in
The cage-minder registered 95 saves, allowing 33 goals and accumulated a 1.61
goals against average. She totaled 321 career saves in a Penn State uniform.
Each of the seniors posted impressive statistics throughout the season, but
they brought far more to the field than just goals, assists and saves.
"This group of seniors led with such maturity," said head coach Charlene
"They really understood the talent on this team and they gave a great sense of
confidence to the younger players."
Although these three veterans will be leaving campus, Morett feels as if their
leadership qualities have been instilled in the program, and the mark they left
on Penn State field hockey will remain for years to come.
When the 2013 season rolls around, the new senior class will be ready to lead
the team just as this year's did.
"They are going to lead as a class," said Morett. "It may not just be one or
two individuals that we are going to ask to fill those shoes. I see these
juniors as a close-knit group and they will lead as a group next season."
Although these seniors must bid farewell to their playing days in blue and
white, they insist that they will always exhibit the lessons they have learned
at Penn State--on and off the turf.
"Penn State is unlike anything I've ever been a part of," said Amy.
"I will always be proud to say that I am a Penn Stater."
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the same weekend that the Penn State field hockey
team set out on their NCAA Tournament journey, that journey came to an abrupt
halt at the hands of a swarming Syracuse defense.
The Big Ten regular season and tournament champion Nittany Lions opened the
weekend with a hard-fought first round victory over Albany on Saturday, but
eventually fell to Syracuse on Sunday afternoon in University Park by a score
On Saturday, it was a valiant effort from Penn State senior goalkeeper Ayla
Halus that helped guide the Nittany Lions past Albany into Sunday's
"Ayla was phenomenal," said head coach Charlene Morett following Saturday's 2-1
victory over the Great Danes. "Ayla was the MVP. With those saves at the end, I
thought that she was just outstanding."
Halus' phenomenal second half consisted of two clutch saves in the final five
minutes of play, which effectively held the Nittany Lions lead to one goal
until time expired.
While Halus' play was instrumental in holding off the Albany attack, it was
sophomore Taylor Herold that put the only two goals up on the board for the
Herold found the cage for the first time midway through the opening half and then
again with just 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
"We play defense together and we play offense together," said Halus. "That's
how we score our goals--we move the ball as a team."
The game consisted of numerous penalties that were issued to both teams, and
while it was emotionally taxing, Morett insisted that her team would have the
stamina to face their opponent in the quarterfinal less than 24 hours later.
After the narrow victory over Albany, the team grabbed a quick meal and swiftly
returned to the Penn State Field Hockey Complex to watch the matchup between
Syracuse and Massachusetts.
The fifth-ranked Orange earned a 4-2 win over the Minutemen, and at this
moment, the focus of the Nittany Lions shifted from an examination of their
first-round victory to their pending quarterfinal showdown with Syracuse.
The Nittany Lions walked onto their home turf on Sunday afternoon to sunny
60-degree weather and stands filled with fans in blue and white.
"Our crowd is awesome--they are great people," said Halus. "It's Penn State. We are one
team. I looked over during a timeout and saw so many other teams out here
supporting us--we will do the same thing for them too."
players and coaches alike knew what was at stake prior to the start of Sunday's
showdown between top-five teams.
Penn State--it was a berth in the NCAA Semifinals for the first time since 2007
and the continuation of their quest for a national championship.
first half of play against the Orange was strikingly similar to Penn State's
efforts against Albany just one day before. The Nittany Lions battled to maintain
possession of the ball and offensive opportunities were few and far between.
backed by a smothering defense and impressive goaltending, entered halftime
with a 2-0 lead over Penn State.
Nittany Lions had relied heavily on goal scoring chances from penalty corners
all season long, but the Orange held the hosts to just four penalty corners in
the opening half.
the break, it didn't take long for Penn State to force more opportunities in
the offensive zone via their bread and butter--penalty corners.
second half consisted of 11 total penalty corners for the Nittany Lions, nine of
which came in a 15-minute span that was characterized by a Penn State dominance
attempt warranted sighs and gasps from the crowd.
junior Whitney Reddig would inbound the ball; a teammate would fire a shot
towards the cage; and as if it was scripted--a Syracuse defender or goaltender
would deny the scoring opportunity.
ninth attempt was the charm for Penn State.
sense of urgency was evident, and just over 15 minutes into the second half,
Reddig redirected a pass from teammate Hannah Allison out of midair and into
the goal to bring the score to 2-1 in favor of the Orange.
the goal, Syracuse responded with a fury of scores and control over possession,
holding Penn State to just a single shot on goal in over 10 minutes of play.
was tough to get [the score] to 2-1," said Morett. "Then all of the sudden it
was 3-1, then 4-1...We had some opportunities at the beginning of the game, and
you have to score on those."
State found the back of the cage again in the contest by way of another Reddig
goal, but a three-goal deficit was simply too large with only a handful of minutes
left to play.
the clock dwindled down to zero, fans gave the Nittany Lions and the National
Semifinal-bound Orange a standing applause, and four Penn State seniors walked
off the field for the final time of their collegiate careers.
the seniors--I want to thank them for all of their years and the effort they
gave," said Morett.
State finished the season as outright Big Ten regular season and tournament
champions with an 18-4 overall record...but for Morett and the entire squad, the
2012 campaign would have had a sweeter ending if it had been in Norfolk,
Va.--the site of the NCAA Semifinals.
are fighters," said associate athletic director Charmelle Green after Sunday's
loss. "I know this loss hurts tremendously. But I know that they will be
back at it working hard and getting ready for next season because that's what
this program does. That's what Penn State does."
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - An ecstatic cheer, and for some--tears, erupted out
of a meeting room in the East Area Locker Room Building on Tuesday night as it
was announced that the Penn State field hockey team had earned the fourth
overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
"It is just so emotional for me," said head coach Charlene Morett as she wiped
away a tear. "I am so unbelievably proud of the team and what they have
The entire team gathered on Tuesday evening to view the selection show and
following the results, received some inspirational words from associate
athletic director and senior woman's administrator Charmelle Green.
"You brought the Big Ten championship home," Green said to the team. "But your
work isn't finished yet. Now bring home that national championship."
A No. 3 national ranking along with a Big Ten regular season and tournament
title earned the Nittany Lions the right to host the first two rounds of the
NCAA Tournament on their home turf.
"This is just what we wanted," said senior Hannah Allison. "Everything has sort
of fallen in place for us this season and being able to host is one more thing
that can help us get to that national championship."
The Nittany Lions will face Albany in the opening round of the tournament on
Saturday morning, and with a victory, would then again host the next round
against the winner of the Syracuse and Massachusetts matchup.
Penn State last hosted an NCAA Tournament game in 2010 against Syracuse, but
prior to that had not hosted since 2002--a year in which the Nittany Lions were
the national runner-up.
So just how important is it for the squad to play on their own turf?
"Going into last weekend (Big Ten Tournament weekend), we told ourselves that
being successful wasn't only about winning the tournament, but about earning
the right to host," said Big Ten Tournament MVP Kelsey Amy.
The Nittany Lions have been tremendously successful in Happy Valley this
season, posting a 10-1 home record as they have outscored opponents 44-16 at
the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
"We have the best crowd to play in front of," said Amy. "Having our home crowd
is going to be huge for us."
The team is entering the tournament hot, having finished the regular season on
a five-game winning streak and earned two momentous victories in the conference
tournament over Iowa and Michigan.
"We have so much momentum that there's no need for us to regroup our team,"
said Morett. "We just have to continue doing what we're doing--which is taking
our game to another level and improving every time we step on that field."
As for the opponent, the Great Danes are heading into Happy Valley fresh off an
America East Conference championship with regular season record of 13-7.
Albany has faced off against two Big Ten opponents this season, dropping games
to both Michigan and Iowa. Penn State defeated the Wolverines and the Hawkeyes
twice this season including conference tournament play.
Facing off against the Nittany Lions on Saturday will be Albany graduate
student Jessica Longstreth, who played at Penn State for three seasons.
Longstreth transferred from Penn State following the 2010 campaign. As a Nittany
Lion, she tallied 22 goals and 20 assists along with Big Ten first team and
third team All-America honors.
As for how Penn State can find success against the Great Danes, Coach Morett
and the team insist that they just need to continue to do what has propelled
them to this point.
"We have done a great job in transition," said Morett. "If we can push that
transition into the offensive attack, continue to play great defense and force
some penalty corners we will be alright."
Game time against Albany is slated for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Penn State
Field Hockey Complex. Should the Nittany
Lions advance, they would play either Syracuse or Massachusetts on Sunday at 2
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just before the Penn State field hockey team boarded its bus en route to the Big Ten Tournament in Iowa City, the recently crowned conference champions took some time to celebrate.
"We worked so hard to get here and it is just so exciting to be outright Big Ten champs," said senior Kelsey Amy, sporting her new conference tournament champion T-shirt and hat.
As the team filed into the locker room after Tuesday's practice, they were surprised by a heavy new piece of hardware in the lobby--The Big Ten Conference Championship trophy.
The Nittany Lions clinched at least a share of the title on Saturday following a 6-1 victory over Michigan State, but were named outright champions on Sunday afternoon after Iowa's upset win over Northwestern.
Penn State finished the regular season with an outstanding 15-3 overall record, a 5-1 conference record and is currently ranked fourth in the NFHCA Coaches Poll.
"It has been a goal of ours to not only win the conference championship, but also win the conference tournament," said Amy, as the team quickly switched gears from celebration to preparation for the weekend.
Although the Nittany Lions stand atop the Big Ten heading into the tournament, the seven-team field still poses a very difficult challenge for the defending 2011 tournament champions.
"In conference tournament play, every team is on a lifeline--and we happen to play in probably the toughest conference," said head coach Charlene Morett as her team loaded their bags onto the bus.
Of the 11 conferences eligible for selection in the NCAA Tournament, the Big Ten is the only conference in which every team holds a winning record.
"Every team that is going to be in Iowa City is going to be dangerous," said Morett.
Penn State outscored conference opponents 38-12 in six Big Ten matchups this season, claiming victories in all games except for one overtime loss at Northwestern.
"That was a very bitter loss for us," said Amy. "If we do get another chance to play them it will be a very different game."
A rematch with Northwestern isn't a guarantee, however, and Coach Morett has made it clear to her team that the Wildcats aren't the only force to be reckoned with.
"Right not our focus is really on the winner of the Iowa and Michigan State game," said Morett. "They will certainly be looking for the upset against us."
Michigan State and Iowa are slated to play in the first round of the tournament on Thursday morning, and because of the Nittany Lions' first round bye, Penn State will play the winner of the matchup in the second round on Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Being crowned Big Ten champions for the first time since 2008, Coach Morett insists that this team still has a lot to prove and play for.
"We need to improve every single time we step on the field," said Morett. "The only way we can continue to succeed is if we keep raising our standard of play."
Although the Nittany Lions are well on their way to a berth in the NCAA Tournament, winning this weekend's Big Ten Tournament could almost guarantee that they will also get to host a first round game at University Park.
"We play great on our field in front of our families and friends--especially with the way the community has bonded together around all of the athletic teams this year," said Amy.
"Hosting is huge," said Morett. "It would make a big difference for us in the tournament."
By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com
Student Staff Writer UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Outstanding goalkeeping and a swarming Bucknell
defense kept the Penn State field hockey team scoreless in the first half of
play for the first time in nearly two seasons on Tuesday night.
It had been 23 games since the Nittany Lions were held without a goal in the
first half, but a well-executed offensive attack in the final 35 minutes earned
two late scores for Penn State, propelling them to a 2-0 win over Bucknell.
"We weren't on the same page in the first half," said head coach Charlene
Morett regarding her team's offensive communication.
"But in the second half they honestly just put a clinic on and did a lot of
The Nittany Lions were able to tally 16 shots in the first half alone, but nine
Bucknell saves and a defense that swarmed around Penn State's most prolific
scorer kept the hosts off the board for an alarmingly long time.
Kelsey Amy, the team's leading scorer (51 points this season), was held without
a goal for just the third time this fall.
"They shut [Kelsey] down and that doesn't happen often," said Morett.
Amy's presence on the field didn't go unnoticed on Tuesday night, as the senior
registered an assist and brought intense physicality for the entire 70 minutes.
"We did a great job keeping our poise given the circumstances," Amy said in
reference to the gritty, physical play and to being held off the scoreboard for
nearly 60 minutes.
"We are going to experience physicality no matter who we play so I think just
having the poise to play through that is a good thing to have."
The Penn State sideline breathed a huge sigh of relief midway through the
second half after a steal in the offensive zone led to a beautiful set up and a
goal for sophomore Taylor Herold.
Herold's goal completely shifted the game's momentum in favor of the Nittany
Lions and allowed them to play with less of a frantic demeanor as time dwindled
Just five minutes after the first goal, Penn State took the ball into the
offensive zone again and forced a penalty stroke, which junior Brittany
Grzywacz and her 100 percent penalty stroke success rate capitalized on and
gave the Nittany Lions a 2-0 lead.
"We knew that it wasn't the end of the world that we hadn't scored yet so we
just kept our composure and played our game," said Grzywacz in reference to the
two late scores.
As for what kept the Nittany Lions scoreless for so long, players and coaches
alike referenced a tough Bucknell defense and a lack of offensive
"We need to work on our positioning around the goal," said Herold. "We need to
work on being in our spots and being ready."
The defensive battle served as the final regular season home game for the
Nittany Lions this season, but the team could potentially host an NCAA
Tournament game if they are a top four seed.
Penn State, now with a 14-3 overall record and a 4-1 Big Ten record, has just
one game remaining before entering tournament play.
The Nittany Lions will travel to East Lansing to square off against Michigan
State on Saturday and, with a Northwestern loss to Iowa, would secure the Big
Ten regular season championship with a victory over the Spartans.
Penn State lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Northwestern in September in
"We've been really dialed in on winning a Big Ten championship," said Morett.
"It is going to be really exciting that we have the opportunity for it to be in
Game time is slated for noon on Saturday in East Lansing while Iowa and
Northwestern will square off at noon on Sunday.