By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Feature Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK - After a slow start against Lock Haven Sunday afternoon, Penn State forward Shay Cannon said her team wanted to do the exact opposite against Bucknell Tuesday evening.
"For Bucknell, we want to dominate the first five minutes," Cannon said. "We want to keep bringing it up as the game goes on."
Penn State did just that.
Before fans even had a chance to get settled into their seats, the Penn State offense was already forcing the ball into the circle to set up Gini Bramley for a goal just 59 seconds into the game.
"It's really important for us to get off to a really good start and get our momentum up so everyone can get in and get a really good team effort," Bramley said.
Only one minute and nine seconds went by after the first goal before Cannon got a perfect look at the cage to put the Nittany Lions up 2-0.
With just under three minutes remaining in Penn State's crucial first five minutes of play, the Nittany Lion offense wanted to produce more. The ball found it's way back into Cannon's hands four minutes and 41 seconds into the game as she sent the ball into the back of the cage for the second time of the night.
"I think we've spent a lot of time at practice working on preparing and being ready to take any shot," Cannon said. "Plays that I'm not expecting, I have been really preparing myself for any situation and lately it's been really successful. It's a testament to my other strikers and midfielders."
With Cannon's two quick goals, she has extended her scoring to five goals in the last three games.
"Shay is just always around the cage," Penn State head coach Morett-Curtiss said. "She has quick hands and sometimes you don't even see the ball go from her stick into the cage. She is just a natural goal scorer, so I am just proud she has been able to finish."
Kasey Morano and Carly Celkos each added goals before the end of the first half followed by a goal by Aurelia Meijer in the first five minutes of the second half. Brooke Birosik joined Penn State's scoring party later in the second half.
With a 5-0 lead at half time, Penn State was able to rotate in the majority of its players to get a lot of playing time.
"That was the difficult thing against Lock Haven because we couldn't get more kids in," Morett-Curtiss said. "We need to see how they perform as well at this level and get some starters some rest because in three days we will be going to Iowa."
The Nittany Lions (6-0) defeated the Bison (2-3) 9-1 Tuesday evening at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
"I just was really proud of the speed of play. I was really proud of the way they came out to start this game," Morett-Curtiss said. "One thing we talked about was just getting pressure in the first five minutes, getting shots on goal and if we can knock one in that's awesome. For them to get three goals in the first five minutes of the game, it's just a great start."
With Tuesday night's win, Penn State extends its record to 6-0 on the season for the third time in program history and the first time since 2002.
"This is something we have been working on since each of us got here," Colleen Conway said. "Seeing our team have this kind of start has been our dream since we first got here."
On top of keeping a perfect season, the Nittany Lions jumped one spot to No. 4 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll released Tuesday afternoon.
"It's only giving us motivation to continue this success," Cannon said. "We know we can't take it for granted. It's just making us work harder because we know what we want the outcome to be at the end of the season."
The Penn State Nittany Lions will travel to Iowa City on Friday to take on the Hawkeyes.