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Offense Finds Momentum as Lions Blank Owls

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By Maria Evangelou, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a brisk 50-degree evening for Penn State's first home game of the season Despite the cool air, the Nittany Lions had nothing on their minds but christening their home field with a win to open the first weekend at home. 

Seemingly a trend after their past few games, Penn State got off to a slow start. Playing the ball all across the field, the Nittany Lions kept pushing Temple's defense, but the Owl defenders and fierce keeper held their ground. 

Forward Gini Bramley pushed on in the first quarter, with a blocked shot on goal. The midfielders also met some difficulty in the first half with some swift and aggressive competition coming from Temple.

"Temple has definitely improved their program," head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "I was really happy with how we played. There were some great plays all around."

Penn State was met with their first of many penalty corner opportunities around the 14th minute of the match, although a missed shot off of the goal post halted the opportunity, before a quick second shot by Penn State forward Shay Cannon was blocked yet again.

"We had two corner penalties off the goal post in the first half, so we told the corner shooters to really read the play, read the defense," Morett-Curtiss said. "They were changing up their corner defense, which threw us off a little bit, but I think we played off their defense really well then." 

After an opening half played predominantly in Penn State's half, the forward line began to find its stride. In the 29th minute, Penn State's Aurelia Meijer slammed the ball into the goal to end the half. 

The Owls showed no signs of backing down as the first half concluded, but they didn't seem to expect what was ahead as the Nittany Lions found their momentum. With another attempted shot off of a penalty corner at the end of the first half, the Nittany Lions were settling in.

"We just had to score," Meijer said. "I feel like we had that in the game against ODU, too, we're almost there, and we trust each other, but we just have to score."

As we've seen as a consistent trend throughout this season so far, Penn State came into the second half with fury and a whole new level of energy.

Within the first five minutes of the second half, junior forward Moira Putsch scored off a penalty corner assisted by sophomore midfielder Maddie Morano to commence the attack of the Nittany Lions. 

In just the fifth minute, the Nittany Lions pushed through for a goal on yet another penalty corner, when an assist from Meijer saw Murano finish for a goal. Penn State rocketed to a 2-0 lead with nearly 40 minutes to go.

"Normally we have to figure out what we have to do with those corners, we don't really know what to do, which can be a problem," Meijer said. "Tonight we really played as a team, we really played together and passed to each other and that resulted in scoring."

For the next 15 minutes, Penn State was able to sustain control over Temple's side of the field.

Temple, unable to generate chances, managed 11 saves from Penn State's peppering on goal at minute 52 of the match, with zero attempted shots of their own. 

The Nittany Lions didn't waste any time with their third goal as redshirt freshman Alexis Horst fired for an unassisted goal, her first of the season. Temple attempted to push back, but not for long, as Penn State kept control. 

"I thought where we improved in the second half was definitely our elimination skills. I thought our attack did a much better of pressuring the defense," Morett-Curtiss said.

Fueled by their first three goals, the Nittany Lions charged on. Murano scored off of a penalty corner, and was quickly followed by junior Cassie Kline, who scored her first goal of the season, and Penn State's fifth of the game to wrap up the match.

The Nittany Lions now look ahead with confidence and composure as they face Wake Forest Sunday.

"We saw them play against Indiana and it was a tough loss for them," Morett-Curtiss said. "They played well, they're a great opponent, and I think it's going to be a very exciting field hockey game."

Penn State will host Wake Forest Sunday at noon in the Penn State Field Hockey Complex. 

Tempo Fueling Lions Ahead of Home Opener

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By Maria Evangelou, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State field hockey has no hesitation kicking off the season with a strong start, with a 2-0 record after defeating Old Dominion University and University of Virginia on the road last weekend.

 

After a rigorous preseason and back-to-back games during week one, head coach Char Morett-Curtiss is continuing to focus on strategy and aggressive play on the field to keep the team on their toes, and keep up the winning streak.

 

"We're playing an up-tempo pace, which we really want to continue to impress upon at practices and into our games," Morett-Curtiss said. "We're putting great pressure on the ball to try to get our opponents out of their rhythm a little bit."

 

Penn State has certainly done just that, with three of the four goals in the game against Virginia scored within the first half.

 

Junior forward Gini Bramley was responsible for two of the goals, which she scored within a span of three minutes. After an impressive 2016 season and the skill she's shown so far this year, Bramley has been named a NFHCA Division I Award Winner and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the week following her performances across the weekend. Bramley led the team with three goals, with one against the Monarchs and back-to-back goals early in the win against No. 10 Virginia.

 

"The biggest part was moving off of my teammates," Bramley said. "I tried to find the spaces Virginia was giving us and my teammates made spaces for me to lead into. A big part of my goals were the passes I was given."

 

Junior forward Moira Putsch, is another key component of the Nittany Lion offense, with two remarkable seasons under her belt and a unique ability to dish the ball at just the right time for her teammates to finish. Aside from her knack for assists, Putsch came through in the clutch with the go-ahead goal against Old Dominion just minutes following Madison Morano's game-tying goal off a penalty stroke.

 

"My personal goal is to grow as a player, but really my main focus is the team's goals right now," Putsch said. "I want to be the best player for my teammates, by giving 100 percent at our practices, working on what Char and the coaching staff want us to do."

 

For Morett-Curtiss, she's proud of the team's progress this early in the season, but there's still areas for improvement moving foward.

 

"There's great team unity and cohesion," Morett-Curtiss said. "I would like to see a little bit quicker organization for better communication. I think they're really excited about playing at home, we have two tough opponents coming up against Temple and Wake Forest."

 

With solid returning talent and a record that reflects a promising open weekend, there's much to be excited about as the Nittany Lions prep for their first regular season home-opening weekend.

 

"We're really excited about this season," Putsch said. "There are lots of players who can step up and so much room to grow."

Pregame Check-In: Lions Open on the Road

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  For head coach Char Morett-Curtiss, an opening weekend against Old Dominion and Virginia gives a purpose to the preseason. With preseason out of the way, Penn State is set to kick off the 2017 season on the road this year, traveling to Norfolk to meet Monarchs Friday at 6 p.m.

"You can't glide into your season," Morett-Curtiss said. "You've got to be ready to hit the ground running and those two opponents really bring out the best in us so we know that it's going to be challenging because of the opponents we are facing, but also challenging being on the road and away from home."

Prior to the opener, we caught up with Nittany Lions Skyler Fretz and Cori Conley for a closer look at the team mentality ahead of a season where Penn State will look to build upon a Big Ten Tournament tile and a spot on the NCAA Tournament field of six for the seventh straight season.  

"We talked about the process and we've just been building off of what we started off last year during the season, which kind of gradually went into the spring so we're building off last season," Conley said. 

More from Conley and Fretz below. 

Field Hockey Fall Sports Media Day Five

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By Maria Evangelou, GoPSUSports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State field hockey head coach Char Morett-Curtiss took to the microphone for Fall Sports Media Day Wednesday morning to preview the upcoming season, which kicks off Friday on the road at Old Dominion.

Catch up with Morett-Curtiss for a closer look at five takeaways from the media session.

Preseason Strategies
To start the season off with a bang, Morett-Curtiss put in place a rigorous plan to ensure and encourage improvement from last year, focusing on building fitness levels and positive attitudes. 

"We had an outstanding preseason," Morett-Curtiss said. "I thought the players came back ready to get going, they were fit. It's nice that they kind of had a little bit of a head start on their conditioning factor."

Morett-Curtiss also noted that a main focus this year is increasing speed, with a consistent, high-tempo playing style as the result.

"We've implemented a little bit of a different format," Morett-Curtiss said. "We limited our time on the field, spent a lot of time in video, and just really working on an aggressive style of play to get the season started."

While planning preseason to focus on an assertive attack technique this season, Morett-Curtiss also keyed in on expectations for a few key returners. 

Juniors Moira Putsch and Aurelia Meijer, both forwards, had impressive seasons statistically at Penn State with goals and assists. For Morett-Curtiss, Putsch and Meijer will be key in 2017.

"Moira (Putsch) had a tremendous year, as did Aurelia last year, so we're really looking for those two to get the ball on goal."

As Morett-Curtiss strongly believes though, there's always plenty of room for improvement. 

"They did a nice job in the previous scrimmages putting the ball around the goal but not putting the ball in the goal," Morett-Curtiss said. "Fortunately, they've had some assists, but you know, we're going to work a little bit more this week on honing our corner."

The sunshine was also on Penn State's side, allowing for a smooth week of preseason while Morett-Curtiss and the staff put together final preparations ahead of the season opener.

"It was a great week, the weather was very cooperative, so you always appreciate that," Morett-Curtiss said. "We got a lot accomplished and I think it really reflected in our two scrimmages [against James Madison and Syracuse]." 

Facing the Challenges
With a successful season ending in with a disappointing loss in the first rounds of the NCAA tournament last year, Morett-Curtiss and the team knew there's still work to be done.
 

After an 11-3 record and high hopes going into the tournament, Penn State left feeling defeated. With those three losses against Princeton, Maryland, and Northwestern, all whom Penn State will face again this fall, Morett-Curtiss plans to use her strategies to prepare the team for whatever may come.

"We're still working on our defense to play as a unit, and then we really want our midfielders to be very aggressive getting in to the attacking line," Morett-Curtiss said.

Progress Points
Penn State recently traveled to Syracuse for a scrimmage, having already met James Madison earlier in preseason. Despite showing some nerves and uncertainty with the first scrimmage of the season, Morett-Curtiss had the team work with a sports psychologist to regroup, boosting the squad for a much improved showing at Syracuse. 

"I think what happened is they all crashed at once and they weren't really there to support their players on the field, so we didn't really have any options when it came to playing the ball out," Morett-Curtiss said. "So big, big improvements stretching the field, ball speed was something else we addressed, so I think that they made those changes and it was very clear against Syracuse."

Their strong points moving foward? The team has many, as Morett-Curtiss is proud to point out. "We always say build up our layers, get ahead of the ball, so we're trying to put our fitness into the game, which we think could be a big advantage for us."

Keeping the Big Picture in Mind
Although Penn State struggled with some challenging opponents and rough losses among last year's highlights, Morett-Curtiss likes to emphasize the importance of taking it one game at a time, and putting the past in the past. 

"As we say every year, it's 2017 now, just like last year it was 2016," Morett-Curtiss said. 

The focus now remains on the start of the season this coming weekend, against Old Dominion and Virginia.

Growing the Game
With the Big Ten Network broadcasting Penn State field hockey, Morett-Curtiss and the team appreciate the exposure it brings to both the school and the sport. From a recruiting standpoint, the elevated exposure brings new, excited potential summer campers , who are often enthusiastic about being amongst the Penn State student-athletes they were able to watch on TV. Morett-Curtiss also emphasized the importance of field hockey being on a national stage more frequently than just every four years for the Olympics, all helping to further expand the growing sport.

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By Lisa Winters, Field Hockey Student-Athlete
12724276.jpeg UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Seven weeks ago, I made my way from Hershey, Pennsylvania to my study abroad base city of Florence, Italy.  Since then, I visited 20 other Italian cities and towns, made incredible new friends and became closer with old ones, and fell in love with the culture that I got to experience and learn about through travel and class.  I lived in an apartment in a residential part of the city with 11 other girls from Penn State and UConn, and was lucky enough to have an amazing roommate whom I had already become acquainted with through the Sapphire Leadership Academic Program in the Smeal College of Business, Sam Schmitt.  We quickly became great friends and started going everywhere together. 

One of our first, and still one of my favorite, experiences during our first weekend in Florence was going to a Fiorentina soccer game against Lazio at the Artemio Franchi stadium (Photo 1).  Some of my other favorite moments were seeing Michelangelo's David in Florence, hiking between Vernazza and Monterosso in Cinque Terre, taking a boat into the Blue Grotto in the Amalfi Coast, shopping my way to the Duomo in Milan (Photo 2), and taking a gondola ride through the canals of Venice (Photo 3 - feat. Sam Schmitt).

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I spent all of my weekdays in Florence for class, but even the hours spent in my Marketing and Food & Culture classes were far from an average experience.  Learning about branding through visits to Italian companies was a much more engaging process than the typical classroom.  From the Carrara marble quarry that provided the marble for the Pantheon in Rome and Michelangelo's David to the Pitti Immagine men's fashion trade show, there were so many different types of businesses that we got to not only hear about, but see for ourselves.  And while we were constantly experiencing the food and culture of the country throughout our daily lives, having a professor who could take us around the food markets and to a beautiful sustainable garden was a great opportunity.

On our last night in Florence, a group of my new friends and I climbed to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sun set over the city (Photo 4).  My parents had come for the last week of class, so after finals we were able to take off on one last trip to see all the historic sites of Rome together (Photo 5).  So while I was sad to have the semester come to an end, I couldn't have asked for a better finale.  The past weeks have been a truly memorable adventure, and I look forward to any opportunity to continue exploring in the future. 

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Champions Visit State Capitol

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HARRISBURG, Pa. - Penn State hit the state capitol today for an afternoon of recognition, celebrating Nittany Lion conference champion student-athletes and head coaches following a record-setting 2016-17 season both in competition and in the classroom.

Joined by select head coaches and staff members as well as student-athletes, the group toured through the Pennsylvania House and Senate, stopping in for lunch with Sen. Jake Corman in his office. Penn State then made its way to the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate before remarks from Corman, welcoming the group to the state's capitol following a few early proceedings.

Penn State then made its way to the floor of the Pennsylvania House, which holds all 203 members, including Pennsylvania's Rep. Mike Hanna, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, Rep. Rich Irvin and Rep. Scott Conklin, who read a resolution to again welcome and congratulate the Nittany Lions on an all-around successful season, one that drew a standing ovation from the members on the floor. 

"I want to congratulate the teams for not only what they do on the field but what they do in the community, the outreach they give, the coaches who oversee them," Conklin said. 

Nittany Lion director of athletics Sandy Barbour only echoed the all-around success in her remarks in the main rotunda later in the afternoon, noting that the individuals surrounding her representing a combined 2016-17 total of nine conference titles, among a few other crowns, are only one part of the story.

Penn State was recently slated fourth in the first spring update of the Learfield Directors' Cup standings following a year that saw seven Nittany Lion squads earn Big Ten Championships or tournament titles in seven sports, the most of any league institution and the third-highest total in school history.

As head coach Cael Sanderson brought instantaneous cheers from the floor of the Pennsylvania house upon his introduction, the room was reminded of Nittany Lion wrestling team's stunning second consecutive NCAA Wrestling Championship, marking its sixth in the last seven years, with five individuals earning NCAA titles along the way.

As Barbour pointed out though, the impact of the Blue and White extends much further than excellence in competition.

Nearly a month ago, a school record 114 Penn State student-athletes graduated, bringing the 2016-17 total to 142, with more students on track to cross the stage in August. Penn State also revealed its 89 percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate this year, which stands just one point below its all-time program mark. 

"Penn State student-athletes, not unlike their student colleagues and their servant hearts, have dedicated themselves to service," Barbour said. "Our student-athletes served over 6,200 hours of community engagement this last year. This comprehensive excellence is embraced by our Penn State and Pennsylvania community. It's truly Penn State's point of difference. It has historically motivated a state and a community, connected passionately to each and every one of our programs and each and every one of our student-athletes who wear the Blue and White."

Representative of just a small piece of a variety of community engagement close to Penn State student-athletes is THON, a beloved annual event that encompasses the entire university and Happy Valley community.

Led by the efforts of the Penn State Student Athlete Advisory Board, SAAB raised $59,679.49 for THON in 2017, which ranked third among the 400-plus general organizations represented. Surging past a fundraising goal of $50,000, the 2017 figure is SAAB's second-largest total in the history of the organization, adding to a career total of $680,000, all for THON and the Four Diamonds Fund, with four Penn State student-athletes joining the 703 dancers on the floor this year.

Among those dancers this year was women's soccer's Megan Schafer, a Big Ten Champion from Langhorne, who joined the group today for her second trip to state capitol, but first as a Nittany Lion. 

"A couple of years ago I got recognized for winning a state championship, so I think it's pretty cool coming back at the collegiate level to get recognized for our hard work all season," Schafer said. "I think it's really cool everything that people put together just to recognize us today."

Prior to Penn State, Schafer scored the overtime game-winner to lead Neshaminy high school (also the alma mater of Penn State head football coach James Franklin) to a Pennsylvania state title.

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The entire group of Nittany Lion coaches and student-athletes were treated to a personal meeting with Gov. Tom Wolf, who stopped by the steps of the main rotunda to greet the champions before heading back to Happy Valley.

VIDEO: Field Hockey's THON 2017 Pep Rally Dance

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Another highly anticipated THON event, check out field hockey's full pep rally dance!
 

Celkos Representing Field Hockey at THON

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Feature Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  - Four years ago, as a freshman, Carly Celkos joined her field hockey team on stage at Penn State's 46-hour dance marathon, THON, to dance in the annual pep rally. As she looked out over the floor seeing the hundreds of dancers who chose to stand for the entire weekend, Celkos knew that is where she wanted to be before she graduated.

"In my freshman year, all the freshmen wore crazy outfits and I was in a banana suit," Celkos said. "We split into grades and did like a 30 second clip and danced and I did the jerk. It was just a lot of fun. Then I started doing committees my sophomore, junior and senior year and I knew I wanted to dance my senior year to come full circle."

Now, as a senior, Celkos will be dancing in THON 2017, as a Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) representative from the field hockey team. SAAB selects student-athletes each year from various programs to dance in THON based on the athlete's participation in fundraising for the event. Celkos is one of four athletes who will be representing SAAB throughout THON weekend.

"I am so proud and thankful," Celkos said. "The field hockey alumni have been great and they have helped me raise so much money for THON. It definitely makes me proud to be a Penn Stater. I get to represent athletics and Penn State for all the kids, so it's really great."

SAAB is paired with two THON families. Each athletic team shares its time with the two families, but Celkos and the field hockey team spend a lot more time with one family than any other athletic team on campus. 

The trainer for the field hockey team is Renee Messina. Messina's daughter, Isabella, had pediatric cancer. Growing up with a mom who was constantly with the Penn State field hockey team, Isabella has a close relationship with the field hockey team. Celkos said she will be using Isabella as her main motivation throughout THON weekend.

Isabella will be in attendance at THON between her field hockey games at a local tournament. Celkos said when those familiar faces are with her, the weekend will be much easier. 

"I was thinking there's definitely been times in games when you mentally think you can't do it anymore, but you have another five minutes and you just have to," Celkos said. "I definitely will hit those moments during THON where I am super tired, but I'll just have to get over the hump and cruise through."

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To help her during these tough moments, Celkos has a list of close family and friends who will be able to come visit her on the floor to give her that extra motivation to stay on her feet. Some of her pass list members include her parents, some teammates and her roommates. Celkos said that her parents have been the biggest help in preparation for THON and some of her family members have been preparing packages she will receive during the event. 

Other than seeing her family, friends and THON families, Celkos is looking forward to experiencing her two favorite THON events as a dancer on the floor.

"I am definitely biased. I love the pep rally," Celkos said. "I am really excited to watch it. I am not going to dance with my team this year, but I am going to go up after to get a picture with them. I know all the athletes so that will be so much fun. Also, the final four hours are always amazing."

Celkos found out that she would be dancing in THON this year on January 18. Since then, the senior has been preparing physically as if she were training for the field hockey season. Celkos has also worked on getting as much sleep as possible and avoiding all colds and stomach bugs that have been spreading on campus. Her biggest preparation has been eliminating coffee from her diet and drinking a lot of water to be ready to stand, without sleep, for 46 straight hours.

After years of fundraising, participating in committees and now dancing, Celkos encourages every Penn State student to get involved with THON. 

"It's definitely a great community outreach that reaches so many people," Celkos said. "Especially for athletes, we are really on a time constraint, but whatever time you can give to other things do it. THON has helped me have a more well-rounded experience at Penn State. Certain kids look up to certain athletic teams, so it's definitely great when they see us giving back too."

SAAB Hosts Lip Sync Battle to Benefit THON

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Filling the HUB-Robeson Center Freeman Auditorium with Penn State students and Nittany Lion student-athletes, the Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) hosted its second annual lip sync battle Wednesday evening.

In a full for the kids effort, the annual event benefits THON, Penn State's Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon to support pediatric cancer.

Featuring musical lip syncing acts from 11 different Penn State Athletics programs, months worth of planning and preparation finally came together in an energetic evening for a tremendous cause.

"I think it just bring out more of the sense of community that we really already have in athletics," track and field sophomore and lead event coordinator Tess Kearns said. "We're so strong all together but to be able to something for THON and see the impact that it's making every year - if we could just raise that number even a little bit on final reveal, that would be all the difference."

From lip sync covers ranging from Justin Beiber mixes to Beyoncé, Sia and School of Rock, the event, which was open to all to attend, brought laughs throughout the night with guest judges featuring director of student-athlete welfare and development Liz Johnson, director of Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, John Affleck and Penn State Blue Band drum major Jimmy Frisbie. 

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Penn State women's volleyball highlighted early with their Justin Beiber mix, followed up with women's soccer's rendition of Sia's "Chandelier" midway through the program. 

"SAAB THON is my favorite thing in the world," said SAAB THON chair Angela Widlacki, a member of the Nittany Lion women's soccer team. "Being able to come out here and see this huge crowd, it means so much to us and I know it meant a lot to our family the Messina's." 

Men's hockey and defending SAAB lip sync battle champion wrestling closed out the evening lip syncing to a pair of movie tunes featuring "Zach's song" from School of Rock and "Breaking Free" from High School Musical. 


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With the final scores tallied, the panel of judges voted Penn State women's soccer duo of Widlacki and Liisi Vink-Lainas in the top spot this year to earn the golden microphone. Men's hockey finished second, while wrestling claimed the third-place finish.

Penn State's Season Ends in NCAA Round One

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's Jenny Rizzo said last week that it is both good and bad to face a familiar face in the NCAA Tournament. It is good because the team knows what to expect, but bad because it is hard to beat a good team twice. 

On Saturday at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, the Nittany Lions proved how difficult it truly is to defeat a top 10 team twice in a 2-1 loss to the Princeton Tigers. 

"I think they definitely came out stronger than the last time we played them," Rizzo said. "I think their defense was phenomenal today. They read our corners a little bit more than they did the first time, so I think they did a good job of scouting us."

The Nittany Lions, who ranked first in the Big Ten and fourth in the NCAA standings for goals scored per game (4.05) were shut down in the first half by the Tigers' defense. None of Penn State's five shots in the first half were the quality looks at the cage that the offense had been used to getting all season.

"Princeton's defense was the best defense we have seen all year," Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said. "We have been preaching to our kids all year about being low and [Princeton] just did a phenomenal job of taking away lanes that we wanted to attack. I thought Princeton played a great defensive game today. We couldn't get into the circle and draw the corners to get the quality shots that we wanted to get." 

Princeton broke the 0-0 tie 10 minutes into the second half. Cat Caro sent a ball into the circle just ahead of Ryan McCarthy. McCarthy reached her stick in front of her to get the ball and started to fall to the ground. As she was falling, Rizzo got low to protect the cage, but McCarthy was able to get some air under her shot sending the ball into the top left corner of the cage.

The Tigers (11-7) tacked on another goal by Caro on a penalty corner with just 10 minutes remaining in the game.

The Nittany Lions (17-3) were finally able to get on the board with a little more than three minutes left in the second half when Moira Putsch assisted Aurelia Meijer on her 11th goal of the season.

Despite a late scramble by the Penn State offense, the Nittany Lions ended their season, losing the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

"In the NCAA Tournament, anything can happen," Morett-Curtiss said. "We sort of had a slow start. We had the right intentions, but we didn't give a good pass or we didn't receive the ball well. We had the right ideas. I just feel like we should have come out even stronger in the second half. It just took us too long to get the momentum built up."

Penn State will be losing its four seniors Carly Celkos, Kirsten Gochnauer, Emilee Ehret and Brooke Birosik. In her postgame press conference, Birosik struggled to control her emotions after playing her final game as a Nittany Lion.

"I am sorry I am just upset right now," Birosik said. "I wouldn't have wanted to go to any other school. I just love Penn State so much. It hasn't set in yet that that was my last game."

Without its four seniors, the Penn State field hockey team would not have had one of its most successful seasons in the program's history. The four seniors combined contributed 14 goals, 19 assists and 47 points in the 2016 season.

"This team would not have had the success that we had this year if it wasn't for the four seniors," Morett-Curtiss said. "When we started in the spring they were very committed. They were passionate about how hard they wanted to work. They wanted to turn this season around and get back to playing Penn State field hockey. They were incredible leaders throughout the entire year including today. I couldn't be more proud of the senior class. They really elevated this program in a short time."

Although Penn State struggled to accept this loss, the team already knows that they have to look forward.

"I know this team was capable of anything," Rizzo said. "We saw that last weekend with the Big Ten Championship. But looking forward, we just need to have a strong spring. We need to work on a lot of things I'm sure, but we just need to move on from this and look forward to next season. We grew so much from last season to this season, so I know we will just grow more for next season."

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