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Offense Stands Strong To Stay Unbeaten At Home

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rizzo, Gochnauer Shine Against Princeton

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Putsch Leads Penn State Past Michigan State

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Writer 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sister, Sister for Morano's

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myers Preps for Return to Midwest

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rizzo Prepares for USA Junior National Team Debut

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Penn State's First Five Minutes Key To Bucknell Victory

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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.

Depth, Attitude lifts Penn State Past Lock Haven

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - For the first time since 2002, Penn State field hockey is 5-0 to start its season, following a 4-1 win against Lock Haven (3-1) Sunday afternoon.

Depth and attitude allowed the Nittany Lions to accomplish the feat that has only happened five other times in Penn State history.

Penn State's four goals were scored by four different Nittany Lions: Moira Putsch, Gini Bramley, Shay Cannon, and Kasey Morano.

"The strikers and forwards, it's their job to score. We've been hammering them all week" Penn State head coach Char Morrett-Curtiss said. "We've been working on scoring with them because, again, it goes back to it being their role. They just have that hunger to score and as you move through the season, you can't key on one person. They are very unselfish players. They pass the ball and sometimes we even want them to shoot a little bit more. But they did a really nice job around the goal today."

After 33 minutes of scoreless play, Putsch put the first goal on the board, followed by a quick goal by Bramley at the beginning of the second half. 

"I think [our depth] says a lot. A lot of our games where we score a lot of goals, the goals are so spread out," Putsch said. "I think that says a lot about us and who we are as a team and how strong we are. We don't rely on just one or two players. It's everyone coming together, which is really big for us. It's awesome to have this depth. It feels really good."

The Nittany Lions (5-0) proved they do not rely solely on one or two players to win games when 20 of the 27 players checked in to Sunday's game.  

"We talked before the game that we want to get a good lead so we can get everybody in. It's the goal we always have," Cannon said. "It's a testament to how hard everyone works because we all get in and it pays off."

During the first half, the Penn State offense could not find a way around Lock Haven's tightly packed defense.

"They played us really well by packing into our offensive 25, so it was definitely more challenging for us because we like to use the space," Putsch said. "We had to kind of change our game a little bit, but I think learning and adapting how we did that today was really good."

Despite the changes that the Nittany Lions had to make in the locker room at half time, the team's positive attitude is something that has held steady since the beginning of the 2016 season. 

"I think last year we would get down on ourselves and play frantically after they would score. But this year, we've come right back and dominated and scored. It hasn't stopped us yet," Cannon said. "If something were to happen where they score, we know not to get down on ourselves because we have the composure and confidence to score right away."

Penn State will try to extend its record to 6-0 for the third time in program history against Bucknell Tuesday before facing its first Big Ten opponent of the season on Friday.

"Tuesday night, it's a quick turnaround for us to play two Pennsylvania teams. I think our fitness level is very good," Morett-Curtiss said. "Fortunately it was cool today - it got a little hotter in the second half. Hopefully Tuesday night is a little bit cooler as well."

Penn State will host Bucknell at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex. 

Field Hockey Hosts Two In-State Rivalries

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By Mandy Bell, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK - The stands at the Penn State field hockey complex will be more crowded than normal when opponents from Lock Haven and Bucknell come to town.  With the added pressure of the big crowd and in-state rivalries, the Penn State Nittany Lions will be calming their nerves the only way they know how: a dance party.

"It started last year when we weren't doing very well and we knew we needed something to change," senior Emilee Ehret said. "We started to play that song before every game and it gets us going."  "Once we started doing it last year, we started to do pretty well and we would look forward to going crazy in the locker room."

The Lock Haven Bald Eagles (2-0) will travel a mere 38 miles to take on the No. 5 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0) Sunday.  Then, on Tuesday, Bucknell (1-2) will make its 70-mile trek to Happy Valley.  

"Bucknell and Lock Haven are always tough because they are both Pennsylvania teams," Ehret said. "It's always a big rivalry when we play a Pennsylvania team because we want to be the best in the state. It's always super close when we play against them."

For Ehret, the rivalry is a little more intense. Ehret's stepmother played field hockey for Lock Haven during her collegiate years and even competed against Penn State head coach Char Morett-Curtiss.  

"[My stepmom] will definitely show up wearing a Penn State shirt," Ehret said. "My dad would be pretty angry if she didn't." 

Morett-Curtiss has been coaching against Lock Haven and Bucknell since she joined the Nittany Lions' coaching staff in 1987. Because of the long history, Morett-Curtiss feels as though she knows the teams extremely well.  

"I would say there was more a rivalry feel in years past. We have great respect for both of them," Morett-Curtiss said. "Lock Haven beat us last year. Bucknell always gives us a great game. Both teams, I would say, are very athletic and very well-coached. They are not games that we can overlook before we head out to Iowa."

In its first two games of the season, Lock Haven scored eight goals in each game leading the team to two easy victories. With both Penn State and Lock Haven being undefeated to start this 2016 season, Morett-Curtiss is focused on having a better outcome than last year. 

"Just looking at tape they are very well organized. They have five seniors that are very solid on the field. They have three girls from Trinidad and Tobago that are very talented," Morett-Curtiss said. "We know they can control the game and can score. Scoring 16 goals in two games is very impressive.  Our defenders are just going to have to be on their mark." 

Since 2001, the Nittany Lions have never played Lock Haven and Bucknell in back-to-back games. Sophomore Jenny Rizzo believes that this will bring two straight games of large crowds. 

"There's a little bit of pressure, but I think it's good pressure. It lifts us up a lot. It always helps having people show up and cheer for us," Rizzo said. "There's no better feeling than getting a win in front of a big crowd." 

Fifteen of the 27 girls on the team are Pennsylvania natives. When playing a Pennsylvania team, the players have a slightly different mindset entering a game than they would against an out-of-state team. 

"It's kind of cool because a lot of girls from our team are from Pennsylvania, so it's that 'dominate the state' mentality.  Each week at practice we will focus on how we need to dominate the state," Rizzo said.  "It was our mindset for Temple and that's going to be the same mindset with Lock Haven and Bucknell.  We just want to make sure we are the best in the state."

The 27 girls will fill the Penn State locker room before the games on Sunday and Tuesday dancing to "Turbulence" by Laidback Luke. The song builds up at the beginning, increasing the girls' energies and anticipation. Then, when the beat drops, the team sprays water all over each other to let loose before the big game starts.    

"With close-distance games, we try to keep the energy very positive.  It can get really intense, but the more light-hearted we feel, the better we play," Ehret said.  "We know we love playing field hockey, so we just try to have the best time we possibly can.  

The Nittany Lions will host the Bald Eagles at noon on Sunday at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.

@GOPSUSPORTS

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