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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Two

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The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a nine-day, five-city exhibition tour of The Netherlands, playing five games against a variety of competition in the most renowned field hockey country in the world. Through the student-athletes' own words and pictures, the #PSUFH2Holland daily blog chronicles their adventures on and off the field.

 Holland Trip Recaps: Day One

Days 2 & 3, May 8-9
Hattem - Zwolle

Carly Celkos, senior, Berlin, N.J.

 "Sunday night we played our first match against a Dutch team that included the brother (Gilles) of my teammate, Aurelia Meijer. We learned a lot of playing for the first time against the Dutch, who are known for their quick passing and decision making.

 "It seemed like everyone at the club arrived riding their bikes with their field hockey sticks attached.  It was amazing to see the passion and love for hockey the people of Holland have. Parents, grandparents, teenagers, and young children all came out to watch our game and stayed to socialize afterwards. Hockey here is a big part of their lifestyle for people of all generations. The people at the club were very friendly. It was great getting to meet people our age in Holland and seeing how much we have in common - we have similar tastes in things like music, clothing and movie.

 "After the game in Sunday night we had a little time to explore of Zwolle as a team. What really surprised us the most was how clean the downtown of Zwolle was for being a city. There was a beautiful moat also with little boats in the lake.

 "One of the advantages of going away is being able to have everyone on the team at the same place at the same time. Other than practice and games, that doesn't happen a great deal back on campus. Being able to really bond and be together off the field is special and I know it will help with team-building in the future, all of us sharing this great experience 24/7. We went to a cute little café in Zwolle, just a short walk from our hotel. We all sat down and talked about our amazing first day. It was a great way to end our day all together, just the 20 of us.

 "On Monday morning, we all gathered after breakfast for a team bike ride through Zwolle. We got to see the city close-up, going past old cathedrals and riding on cute brick streets, all the while joining hundreds of cyclists who riding to work and school. After a day off, on Tuesday we have our second match of the tour, against the Laren Girls U18 squad."


 Penn State teammates (left to right) Jenny Rizzo, Katie Dembrowski, Brooke Birosik and Carly Celkos prepare for a cycle ride in Holland.

Lisa Winters, sophomore, Hershey, Pa.

 "After we finished our bike ride, we had the rest of Monday as free time to explore the city of Zwolle. We walked toward the center of the city, where teammate Brooke Birosik and I stopped at a small cafe to get some sandwiches and lattes for lunch. The whole menu was in Dutch and we only understood a few words, but we made our best guesses and ended up with some pretty tasty meals.

 "After filling our stomachs with some food, we set out down the main shopping road. I recognized a couple of stores that we have at home, like H&M, but most of the time we just looked in the windows and tried to guess which stores we would like. The best part was that whenever we started to get a little tired or wanted to get out of the sun for a little bit, there was always a cafe around to grab some coffee or a snack and sit down until we were ready to go again. I don't think a vanilla latte in the United States will ever taste the same to me again after having some of the most amazing ones I've ever had over here.

 "It was a pretty hot day, so after a few hours of walking around and shopping we all headed back to the hotel to chill out on the porch and rehydrate a little bit. We stayed there until dinnertime, when a whole bunch of us walked back into the city, planning on finding a restaurant that had been recommended by our hotel staff. Even with the help of Google Maps, we hadn't found the place after walking around awhile, so once we got tired of looking we just sat down at the closest place. Nearly everyone in the group wanted a burger, but apparently our 'refined' American love for burgers was a bit confusing to our waiter; he was pretty confused about our exact specifications for toppings and condiments and none of them came out exactly as planned, but we all thought it was pretty funny and made it work.

 "My sleep schedule is still pretty messed up from the six-hour time difference, so at this point a few other teammates and I decided to grab some ice cream and head back to the hotel. It's good to have some time now to rest up for another fun day and our second game tomorrow!"

Many of the Penn State student-athletes spent their leisure time in Zwolle dining out and shopping. 


Carly Celkos and teammate Gina Bramley pose outside of Sassenpoort, one of the old city gates in Zwolle, which is the capital city of 125,000 residents of the province of Overjssel, Netherlands.


One of the team's two cycling tours took its riders past a quintessential Holland windmill on their way to the town of Kampen.

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day One

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The Penn State women's field hockey team has embarked on a nine-day, five-city exhibition tour of The Netherlands, playing five games against a variety of competition in the most renowned field hockey country in the world. Through the student-athletes' own words and pictures, the #PSUFH2Holland daily blog chronicles their adventures on and off the field, from bike tours and canal cruises and to traditional post-game meals with their hosts.

Days 1 & 2, May 7-8:
Philadelphia - Amsterdam - Zwolle - Hattem

Cassie Kline, sophomore, Millersville, Pa. 
"Hey everyone! This is Cassie Kline and as I writing this it is exactly noon on Sunday in sunny Zwolle, Netherlands. It is a fantastic day to play some field hockey! Hard to believe, but my day actually began yesterday at my home near Lancaster, Pa. -- over 3,000 miles from where I am right now.

"The entire team, our coaching and support staff, plus several parents met on Saturday afternoon at the Philadelphia airport for the field hockey trip of a lifetime. We checked our bags and stood in a long line - longer than what we even see back on campus -- waiting to go through security. Once that mission was accomplished, we had an hour-and-a-half until we started boarding, so the team broke up to grab some dinner. Some team members and I went to Chickie's & Pete's, where I got a grilled chicken salad before we took off for Holland.

"As we boarded the plane, I took my seat, which was closest to the aisle, and prepared myself for a long six-hour ride. Most of the team slept, listened to music and watched movies on the plane. We knew we needed to get some rest, since are scheduled to a play later his afternoon.

"We arrived at 2:45 a.m. American time -- which is 8:45 a.m. in the Netherlands, which meant no naps before the game. We got off the plane and went to the baggage claim to pick up our luggage. From there, we took a coach bus that delivered us to our hotel after a very scenic drive. When we arrived at the hotel, which is very gorgeous, we were met by the warm greetings of family of our teammate Aurelia Meyer, who lives in the Netherlands. After everyone dropped their bags off in their rooms, we sat down for lunch at the hotel and had tomato soup and sandwiches. We are all excited for our first game later today against a U16 boys team at Aurelia's hometown field hockey club."


Sophomore Cassie Kline on day one in Holland.

Aurelia Meijer, sophomore, Hattem, The Netherlands

"What an exciting and memorable day Sunday has been! My Penn State field hockey family met my own family - my parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents -- as well as the close friends and neighbors who make up the Hattem Mixed Hockley Club. I am proud of them all.


"Since I was 10 years old, my family has lived in our house in Hattem, a small town not far from Zwolle. My parents' home is a very short walk to the HMHC field and clubhouse. Field hockey is the No. 1 sport in Holland, and clubs like ours are a central gathering place for training, competition and post-game celebrations enjoyed by players and supporters of all ages. It was great to show by Penn State friends and teammates this great hockey tradition.


"It's where I honed my skills for five years as a hockey player, from age 10 to 14. It is also where my father Xander, sister Sanderyn, and brothers Ijsbrand and Gilles still play today. And by today, with my brothers I mean Sunday! My Penn State team competed against the Hattem U16 team, which included Gilles, as well as a guest appearance by Ijsbrand. He's a tough player - I am so glad he didn't score.


"I have so many good memories of playing on that field, so it was great to have a chance to play there while representing Penn State. It was a chance for my teammates to absorb what hockey in The Netherlands is all about. Sometimes I tell the team that I miss my home, and I'm not sure they always understand. After my family hosted everyone for pre-game cakes and pies and juice and fruit- and herb-flavored water, they toured our house and nearby woods. Afterwards, so many of them told me, `Now we know what you mean!'


"It was a hard-fought game and although we lost, it meant a lot that several of my friends and club members came up to afterwards and said how impressed they were by my Penn State teammates and how we played just hours after flying here from the U.S.A. We gave our hosts T-shirts and pins. As is our Dutch custom, my club hosted my Penn State teammates for a big meal of pasta, salad, pastry (like our native soejes) and beverages - and lots of laughs and conversation. Our club is like Penn State...everyone is as close as family.


"My family really loves Penn State - and now, so does my club as well. And I know my teammates have a new appreciation for my hometown and country as well.


Aurelia Meijer with her brothers Ijsbrand (age 12, left) and Gilles (age 14, right), who competed for the Hattem Boys U16 team against Penn State on Sunday.

#PSUFH2Holland Snapshots - Day One

Day one in Holland following the team's first game.

The Nittany Lion flag flew over the playing field.

Goaltenders Colleen Conway (21) and Jenny Rizzo (5) watch a men's game prior to their contest on Sunday.

The Penn State FH team and the family of Aurelia Meijer enjoyed a pre-game get-together at the Meijer house in Hattem, The Netherlands, located adjacent to the Hattem Mixed Hockey Club (HMHC) field and clubhouse.

The Nittany Lions enjoy a bit of down time after arriving in The Netherlands.

Penn State Athletics THON 2016 Coverage

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IMG_9032.JPGUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Athletics was heavily involved with the 44th IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) held at the Bryce Jordan Center over the weekend.

THON's 708 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. To date, more than $136 million has been raised by THON. THON revealed a fundraising total of more than $9.7 million for 2016 with 96 percent of THON's all-time funds being donated directly to Four Diamonds. 

Each year, more than 15,000 Penn State student volunteers dedicate their time to THON, making it the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.

Members of Penn State's Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) were active participants in THON, and led run several fund-raising activities once again this year including sending solicitation letters to friends and family and a lip sync competition. In addition to generating financial support for THON, SAAB also provides emotional support to its THON children, Isabella Messina and Colton Buckley, and their families throughout the year.

Four Penn State student-athletes are represented SAAB as dancers in THON 2016: Liisi Vink-Lainas (Wynantskill, N.Y.) and Angela Widlacki (Naperville, Ill.) of women's soccer, Emily Rivers (Washington, D.C.) from women's tennis and Matt Zanellato (Burke, Va.) from football.

"This means the world to us. As athletes you are given a platform that a normal student might not have," said Zanellato. "It's one of those things that when you come in as a freshman, you know that you will have that platform for a few years. I wanted to make the most of it. I realized that THON was something special to me when I came to Penn State. I wanted to use my platform as best I could."

Additionally, Angela Connors and Jessica Spellman from the Lionettes squad and from Penn State cheerleading Kenny Fuhrman, Paige Gentry, Jordan Hinkle, Kylie Tobasco and Mike White danced in THON.

Within Penn State Athletics, strategic communications student assistants Emily Hesidence and Kate Brandell were also among the dancers at THON, as well.

Check out the extensive coverage from THON 2016 weekend.

Friday - 6 p.m. - THON 2016 Begins
The 46-hour dance marathon kicked off at 6 p.m. on Friday evening when the 708 dancers stood. They will remain on their feet until Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.


Saturday - 9:30 a.m. - Student-Athlete Interviews
With Bryce Jordan Center buzzing with energy during the 16th hour of THON 2016, spent some time with student-athletes and THON dancers Liisi Vink-Lainas  and Angela Widlacki of women's soccer, Emily Rivers, from women's tennis and Matt Zanellato from football. Representing Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB), the group is thrilled to carry the Penn State Athletics banner as dancers in the 2016 THON. Take a look at some of their remarks from the floor at the BJC.

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Saturday - 2 p.m. - Football Hosts THON Explorers Event
Approximately 40 members of the Nittany Lion football team welcomed approximately 30 THON Four Diamonds children and their families to a special event inside the Lasch Football Building on Saturday afternoon as part of the THON Explorers program.

The THON event in Lasch 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, participate in athletic stations, tour the facility with the Nittany Lions, eat ice cream from the Penn State Creamery and take a group photo.

The Nittany Lions formed a high-five tunnel for the families upon entry into the building before the student-athletes took the families around the football facility. Take a look at the THON Explorers event at the Lasch Football Complex on Saturday.

Football THON Explorers Event

Saturday - 6 p.m. - Student-Athletes Participate in Athlete Hour
Athletes from several teams on campus spent times with the THON Four Diamonds children inside the IM during athlete hour on Saturday.  Here are a few snapshots and video highlights from the event.

Athlete Hour Photo Gallery

Saturday - 11 p.m. - Football Wins Pep Rally Dance Competition
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, 12 different teams competed in the 2016 version of the dance-off.

The pep rally included a speech from former Nittany Lion football great Devon Still and his daughter Leah.

As for the dance competition, the football team claimed top honors in the men's side of the action, while the reigning national champion women's soccer team took top honors on the women's side. The two teams then battled in a dance off, with the football team earning the bragging rights as the 2016 THON Pep Rally dancing champion.

We have highlights of every team dancing on Saturday night at THON. 

THON 2016 Pep Rally Photo Gallery

9185732.jpegTHON 2016 Pep Rally Full Dances
Football (Men's & Overall Champion) 
Women's Soccer (Women's Champion)
Men's Fencing
Men's Golf
Men's Gymnastics
Men's Hockey
Men's Rugby
Men's Soccer
Men's Tennis
Men's Volleyball
Field Hockey
Women's Golf
Women's Gymnastics
Women's Hockey
Women's Rugby
Women's Volleyball

Sunday - 11:30 a.m. - VIDEO: Coach Franklin Addresses THON 2016
Head coach James Franklin took the stage of THON 2016 on Sunday morning to urge the dancers on in the final hours of the 46-hour dance marathon.  Franklin's message epitomized what THON's mission has been since it started in 1977.

"This is special. What you guys do is what Penn State is ultimately all about," said Coach Franklin.

Take a look at his full remarks.

James Franklin at THON 2016 Photo Gallery

4:14 p.m. - THON 2016 Raises $9.7 Million
For the second-straight year, THON's fundraising efforts raised more than $9.7 million. The grand total for THON in 2016 was  $9,770,332.32 for fight against pediatric cancer.  Congratulations to everyone involved in THON 2016.  Here is a look at the reveal from Rec Hall prior to Penn State wrestling's bout against Oklahoma State. The Nittany Lion faithful in Rec Hall let out a big cheer as the total was unveiled.


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VIDEO: THON 2016 Pep Rally - Field Hockey

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By Mike Gilbert, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Finishing the season with a win against the 16th ranked Northwestern Wildcats was a nice way for Penn State to build some momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament.  But the real test begins Thursday, with a match against third-seeded Indiana, who happens to be the host school for the whole tournament. 


Indiana, being the host school, has chosen to play in the last time slot on Thursday, at 5:30 p.m.  The winner of the game will advance to face the winner of the Michigan vs. Iowa contest. 

Michigan is certainly a daunting team to have to face in the second round, but coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss and her staff are only focusing on Indiana right now, and only watching tape on Indiana. 

"I think we can put pressure on the host school just by being aggressive," said Morett-Curtiss. 

Being the sixth-seeded team, the Nittany Lions are in a position where they find themselves as underdogs.  But lately, the term underdog could not be more opposite of how the team has been playing.  The squad has won three of its last four games including an overtime win against Rutgers, a win on national television as time expired against Iowa and the win at Northwestern.  It's safe to say the team is finding itself and playing its best field hockey of the year.

"With the inexperience of this team it just took us a while to figure out which positions the girls play better and how they can play better together," said Morett-Curtiss. 

It can be dangerous when a lower-seeded team flies under the radar and comes in hot.  Morett-Curtiss believes the team isn't playing with house money, but is still an underdog capable of making some noise.   

"We've sort of gotten over that nervousness and fear; we're the underdog so let's be aggressive., said Morett-Curtiss" 

Morett-Curtiss has won six Big Ten tournaments over her career, and that experience will no doubt be helpful in this year's games.  This year especially, there are a lot of tough teams and a lot of chances for upsets.

"I think it's a tournament where there's a lot of parity," added Morett Curtiss.

The Nittany Lions will face Indiana on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. All games in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final rounds can be seen live on the Big Ten Network.

By Mike Gilbert, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There was nothing more perfect than Aurelia Meijer's interview on the Big Ten Network after her dramatic game-winning goal with no time left against Iowa over the weekend.  Meijer's positive attitude and passion for the game shone through in the interview, and her coach thought it was a special moment as well.


"I think her interview was just so priceless; it was so spontaneous.  Just all the interactions just even from some friends of mine that send out [things] on our alumni page and people contacting me about it I think that was priceless," said head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss. 

Meijer has improved so much throughout the season that she has become the main go-to option even as a freshman.  She has been taking all the practice reps on penalty corners in practice this week.

There are still critical games to be played this weekend in the Big Ten, including at Northwestern.  There is a big mess in the middle of the standings in the Big Ten Conference, with Northwestern, Ohio State and Indiana at 4-3, and Penn State at 3-4.  With a win this weekend, the Nittany Lions would be tied with the Wildcats and could move up from the six seed all the way to the three seed.  But the team is not concerned about seeding at this time because of the importance of playing well going in.

"We're not worried [about seeding].  Not at all.  I think what's most important for us is a win against Northwestern because, for us, that's good confidence and good momentum going into the tournament," said Morett-Curtiss. 

For Penn State, coming out of Evanston with a win will have to be because of great corner defense.  Northwestern is leading the nation in penalty corners and they have a great success rate of scoring goals on corners. 

"Their corners are very dangerous.  They look to go to the close post and far post for tips and bring a lot of people in to tip the ball.  Our focus needs to be on not giving up corners and corner defense," said Morett-Curtiss. 

After the Northwestern game, the team will try and get as much rest in as possible before heading back to Illinois for the Big Ten tournament.

"The two most important things about the Big Ten tournament are you have to believe you can win the tournament and you have to be rested," said Morett-Curtiss.

The team will just watch video on Sunday upon their return from Northwestern, and then they leave Wednesday for the tournament, which will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

By Mike Gilbert, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With no time left in regulation, and Penn State with one more opportunity in a tie game on a penalty corner, Aurelia Meijer took control.


"The only thing I was thinking was we are not going to overtime.  I don't want overtime," said Meijer.

On the second penalty corner in a row with zero ticks on the clock, Meijer took the feed and rocketed a shot that blew past the Iowa keeper and nailed the bottom right of the goal.  It was the first time all season that State was able to control the end of the game and come out with a last second victory.

"I was proud of my team, I was proud of us and I knew we could do this because we have never done this and now we did it," said Meijer.

Not only did Meijer net the game winner, but she also scored Penn State's two other goals.  The first came with 24:45 left in the first half that trickled in to the net.  She was in good position to nab the rebounded shot.  The second goal came with 2:20 left in the first half, which was also a rebounded shot, and the net actually fell down because so many players were around the net hitting into it.  Meijer has shown an ability to be in good position even in traffic.  Her head coach, Charlene Morett-Curtiss put it best.

"What a fantastic day for her," said Morett-Curtiss.

When Iowa scored twice in the second half, Morett-Curtiss saw her team start to get down on themselves, so she called a timeout with eight minutes remaining and got the team back on track.  From there, they didn't look back. 

"It's huge, we've just been here too many times and we haven't closed the game out and to see them at this point of the season dig deep and get that victory, that gives us a great surge of confidence going to Northwestern next weekend and hopefully into the Big Ten tournament the following weekend," said Morett-Curtiss.

Meijer stole the show Friday, and this game certainly can help Penn State with seeding heading into the all important conference tournament.  

By Mike Gilbert, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head field hockey coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss and head men's basketball coach Pat Chambers go way back. In fact, they both hail from Delaware County, Pennsylvania. 

"He's my homeboy and I'm his homegirl," Morett-Curtiss joked.

"When we first did the coaches caravan with Bill O'Brien, the one stop was in Delaware County. So we'd be going by the Tower Theater and Upper Darby and pointing out different things, so we really have a good relationship.  I was really excited when he was hired, I love his high energy and I love the way his team plays."

What else do Coach Morett-Curtiss and coach Chambers also have in common?

They both coach a hard fighting team that is determined to go far in postseason.

Last season, Penn State basketball became a national rooting interest for many in its battle in the Big Ten Tournament, fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Penn State field hockey also has one chance to get invited to the NCAA tournament.  The team must win the Big Ten tournament to get in.  They also have a very talented senior in Steph Hussey, who is the de facto leader of a young squad and wants to make the most out of her time left in Happy Valley.  Sound Familiar?

Hussey just hit the game-winning goal over the weekend against Rutgers that was described perfectly by Morett-Curtiss.

"It reminded me of Jose Bautista with the bat flip, and you know what's ironic is in our overtimes, Hussey plays back, so to be up there, she just snuck right in front of the six Rutgers players on that side of the field."

Hussey was out of position, and the coaching staff was wondering why she was sneaking up the field as the play developed.  But it's that same experience and will to win that D.J. Newbill had here that Hussey shares. 

Hussey will play her last game at home on senior day against Iowa, and that game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.  She and Haley Kerstetter will be taking their home field for the last time, but coach Morett-Curtiss likes to focus on the seniors more during the winter banquet in January.  There are still a lot of crucial field hockey games to be played in the mean time. 

Iowa is currently tied with Penn State in the Big Ten Standings, and the Nittany Lions want the best possible seed going into the Big Ten tournament.  The Rutgers win eliminated the Scarlet Knights from playing in the Big Ten tournament, as only the top eight teams in the conference advance, so that helps the Lions.

"That took a lot of pressure off of us [moving forward]," said Morett-Curtiss.

If Penn State can get past Iowa and beat Northwestern in Chicago, they can slide into the fifth spot in the Big Ten.  Also, Michigan still plays Michigan State, so the conference standings are very up in the air. 

 "Any team in our conference is capable of winning the tournament.  I think there's a lot of parity amongst all of us.  The way it's seeded right now, it could be all flipped up [by the end]," said Morett-Curtiss. 

When asked what the team's mentality is going into the all-important Big Ten Tournament, Morett-Curtiss made sure not to look past the game against Iowa first.

"It's the same mentality we're taking into Iowa.  It's not a nothing-to-lose attitude, but for us it's something to prove; it's to prove to ourselves how hard we've been working and how much we've improved, and we're a team that plays with a lot of pride and we want to improve our record.  So I think that's our mentality Friday; it'll certainly be out mentality for the rest of our season." 

Morett-Curtiss said the key to the rest of the games is simple.

"We can play so much faster.  We need to play an accelerated style."

They do that by getting good transition numbers, and by getting all the girls up-field attacking.

Morett-Curtiss is also using coach Franklin's football team as motivation.  The coaching staff put Carl Nassib's quote after the loss to Ohio State on the players' practice sheets, Tuesday.  The quote was simply 'Losses stink.  You learn from them and you get better.'

With only a few games remaining, the goal is simple: win the next few for seeding, then it's show time in the Big Ten tournament. 

"We're going to keep working hard to improve our chances," said Morett-Curtiss.

With a combination of Steph Hussey, an experienced coaching staff, and maybe some luck with how the dominos fall in the rest of the conference, we could be seeing a deep run in the Big Ten tournament like Pat Chambers' team last March. 

By Mike Gilbert, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Aurelia Meijer is someone that lights up the room, and coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss raves about her positive attitude and energy.  As a freshman from Holland, Meijer certainly deserves the praise for her statistics on the field, but she also is making an impression with her teammates and the coaching staff.


"[Meijer] contacted us by sending a video through an international recruiting service and we just loved her speed with the ball, we loved her feistiness and her skills and when we got to meet her we just fell in love with her personality," said Morett-Curtiss.

Meijer is fitting right in with American culture, and jumped at the chance to play her college hockey in the United States.

"I wanted to speak English, I wanted to experience a new culture and I love the United States.  Penn State is a really cool and well-known university, and everyone in Holland loves it," said Meijer.

The one thing she probably cannot get in the U.S. is her favorite food, hagelslag; a chocolate sprinkle that is put on toast or bread.  She did say she has a good substitute, as waffles are her favorite food in America.

On the field, she is putting up great numbers, with three goals and ten points.  Obviously Meijer loves to play the game, but she also enjoys other parts of being on the team.

"I love the spirit and the fans, there are so many people that care about the sport it's just a lot of fun."

Morett-Curtiss loves her competitive streak, which one wouldn't detect in her cheerful off-field demeanor.

"She is really our go-to player to get the ball in scoring position...She tackles back when she loses the ball right away and that's just instinctive for her.  She brings that great competitive spirit to the team," said Morett-Curtiss.

"When we brought her and her father in for a visit it was everything we saw on Skype; just very positive and very upbeat.  She just exudes energy and positivity and is very supporting and caring for her teammates."

Meijer has made an instant impact in a foreign place and is beloved by her coaches and teammates.  That is hard to do, but Meijer made it easy and will continue to be a go-to player for the Nittany Lions going forward.  

By Mike Gilbert, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State field hockey demonstrated its growth and improvement in Friday night's matchup. Maryland entered the game ranked ninth in the nation in goals per game.  Against Penn State, they only scored one goal.  That is a testament to The Lions' defense, something head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss and her staff wanted to work on during the week.

"We've been working this week on doing a better job getting the ball out of the backfield.  This week, we need to concentrate on improving our defense, that's been sort of an inconsistency," said Morett-Curtiss.

Of course, Morett-Curtiss said this before the game.  Once she saw the product her team put out against one of the top teams in the country, she was happy with the result.

"They fought hard all game long, I'm proud of them...I thought that every kid on that field competed today."

One of the reasons Penn State was so stout on defense was goalie Jenny Rizzo's solid play.  She saved seven shots, including what easily could have been a goal with nothing separating Maryland's Sarah Sprink and the net except for the freshman.  She made the save to keep her team in the game.

"Jenny Rizzo had some great saves," said Morett-Curtiss.

In addition, the defense, led by Steph Hussey in the backfield, limited Maryland to just 15 shots on goal, a number the Terrapins are used to surpassing.  Hussey is new to the position, as she usually plays near the net, but Morett-Curtiss wanted more power in the backfield. 

It was certainly a much cleaner game on Friday from a defensive standpoint, and with the defense stepping up at the right time, it should set shots up offensively down the stretch.  There are still plenty of opportunities to right the ship in the Big Ten before the Big Ten Tournament rolls around.  Charlene Morett-Curtiss knows that her team performed much better than in the previous game against Princeton.

"We have to get back on track, but (Maryland) is sitting at the top of the conference and I'd say we were right there with them today."

Penn State will travel to Lock Haven on Sunday, followed by another road with Rutgers next Friday.