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Penn State's First Five Minutes Key To Bucknell Victory

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By Mandy Bell, 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


By Mandy Bell, 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, 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.

Composure Key in 2-0 Opening Weekend

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By Arielle Sargent,

  It was less than a week ago that Penn State field hockey head coach Char Morett-Curtiss met with the media during fall sports media day, answering one reporter's question regarding what changes would be coming in 2016.

Her response was composure.

"We lost five games in the last five minutes just giving up goals," Morett-Curtiss said. "I think that's something that we have definitely been talking about and working on, is just that composure out of the back field a little more."

Opening the 2016 season at home with traditional opponent Old Dominion, No. 18 Penn State saw an early deficit as the No. 20 Monarchs scored in the second minute of play. A goal from junior Moira Putsch tied the score, but ODU's Danielle Grega scored again to make it 2-1. The Nittany Lions scored once more to even it up 2-2, heading to halftime with the score locked.

"I think we were really nervous," Morrett-Curtiss said. "It's the home opener, there are a lot of fresh faces out there and I think we just needed to settle down and just play our game."

Finding composure, the Nittany Lions came out of the break with four unanswered goals, including another from Putsch and one apiece from seniors Brooke Birosik and Kirsten Gochnauer.

With a 6-2 win in the season-opener under their belt, the Nittany Lions entered Sunday's mid-afternoon matchup looking to sustain the same composure against fifth-ranked Virginia.

The Nittany Lions struck first in the opening half as sophomore Aurelia Meijer fired high from the top of the circle to give Penn State a 1-0 lead.

Penn State continued to control possession throughout the remainder of the first half, with junior Skyler Fretz leading the back field and helping to limit the Cavaliers to just one first half corner opportunity.

"I was just thriving off of everyone's energy and I felt like we were all here and everyone be on and ready pumped everyone up," Fretz said.

The Nittany Lion attack started clicking in the second half as junior Shay Cannon made it a 2-0 advantage off a feed from Putsch. Sophomore Gini Bramley found the back of the cage less than five minutes later - on her birthday, widening the margin to three.  

Without surrendering a single goal and allowing just one more corner opportunity, Penn State held on for its first home victory against a top-five team since topping No. 3 Old Dominion 5-3 in 2012.

"I think just getting that first game under your belt is real important," Morrett-Curtiss sad. "We just talked about how we felt when that game started and those jitters are gone now and we grew as that game went on, but we need to make sure that we start at the beginning of the game and plan on playing hard for 70 minutes."

Sophomore goalie Jenny Rizzo also earned her second career shutout, while also closing out the day with four saves.

"Obliviously the shut out is on me, but I think my defense did a great job with Skyler [Fretz] and the rest of us back there just to keep them [Virginia] outside the circle, keep the shots low and if it wasn't for them - they had one defensive save so they really helped me out there," Rizzo said.

Morett-Curtiss was also quick to give recognition to the Nittany Lion defense.

"I thought Skyler Fretz played the best she's played in a Penn State field hockey game. She just played with such composure. So I think Skyler really set the tone for our back field and I think Jenny [Rizzo] was there and she had an answer for every shot."

At 2-0, Penn State will hit the road for its first road trip of the 2016 campaign next week, traveling first to Temple before traveling to Albany to square off against its second 2015 NCAA Tournament team of the season.

But for this weekend, Morett-Curtiss sees the progress her team has made in taking a big step toward full composure.

"With such a high quality opponent like Virginia, we didn't get frazzled and we really stuck to the game plan as we brought the ball out of our backfield," Morett-Curtiss said.

By Arielle Sargent,
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off a pair of early exhibition matches, Penn State field hockey is ready to officially open its 2016 season.  Ranked No. 18 in the latest National Field Hockey Coaches Association Poll (NFHCA), the Nittany Lion schedule features matchups against eight teams ranked within the top 20 this season.

Prior to preseason, Penn State took some time to travel overseas as a team, heading to Holland for a nine day trip, spanning five cities to train and tour. Having spent some time bonding, the Nittany Lions are back and determined to continue building team comradery heading into a challenging 2016 campaign.

We caught up with head coach Char Morett-Curtiss, senior Brooke Birosik and sophomore Aurelia Meijer to talk 2016, the trip to Holland and the season opener.

Here are five things you need to know before heading out to the season opener Friday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. vs. Old Dominion in the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.

1.     Season Opening Tradition.

Since her days as an assistant under former Old Dominion head coach Beth Anders, head coach Char Morett-Curtiss noticed that Penn State had not really played ODU in program history and decided to make a change. The Nittany Lions have opened with a matchup against the Monarchs every year dating back to 2003.

2.     Senior Class.

Morett-Curtiss praised seniors Emilee Ehret, Carly Celkos, Kirsten Gochnauer and Brook Birosik for their leadership, while also mentioning how each individual holds an important role on the team this year.

3.     World Travelers.

Penn State's trip to Holland featured a stop Aurelia Meijer's home in Hattem, Netherlands. The Nittany Lions were able to train with Meijer's club team and of course, enjoy a family meal together.

4.    Tough slate.

      In her 30th season at the helm of the program, Morett-Curtiss has once again put together a tough schedule for the Nittany Lions. The 2016 campaign features seven NCAA Tournament teams that made the field in 2015.

5.    Hall of Fame. 

      Morett-Curtiss and former football kicker Craig Fayak are both set to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in late October. The two are part of the organization's 54th annual ceremony. Originally from Aldan, Pennsylvania, Morett-Curtiss is also a member of the Delaware County Hall of Fame. 

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year.

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event.

Penn State field hockey head coach Char Morett-Curtiss was impressed with her team's camaraderie following preseason. With two scrimmages out of the way, the Nittany Lions topped Kent State 6-1 and Drexel 4-2 in a pair of exhibition matches. 

The Nittany Lions will look to transfer a successful preseason into their home opening weekend beginning with Old Dominion Friday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. and Virginia Sunday, Aug. 28 at noon. Where's all the camaraderie coming from? This summer Penn State field hockey too a trip to Holland to compete and tour as part of their foreign tour. 

 "I think our trip to Holland was really a great team building experience and it really brought us together off the field as well so I think that's really showing on the field this year, especially during pre-season and our two scrimmages," said senior Brooke Birosik. 

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Nine

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Nine

Day Nine in Holland and lesson learned as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Gini Bramley and Lauren McNally

May 16, 2016

The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a ten-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.

Days 9 & 10, May 14-15

The Hague - Amsterdam - Philadelphia - State College


Lauren McNally, sophomore, Marmora, N.J., and Gini Bramley, sophomore, Elizabethtown

"Hi everyone, Lauren McNally and Gini Bramley here, as we reflect back on the nine days we've all spent exploring Holland, we learned multiple things to improve our field hockey game and our knowledge about the Dutch culture. Throughout the days, we grew as a team on and off the field due to some amazing competition and rotating roommates from hotel to hotel.

"Every one of us learned something to improve our own game and to take back home to have a successful season in the fall. For example, taking the ball on the move and using simple passes to eliminate defenders. Playing field hockey teams from a country that has field hockey as its main sport really helps you grow your field hockey IQ. They have speed, great small passing, and find each other and use smart passes to get up the field in order to set up great scoring opportunities.

"Not only playing against the Holland teams was fun -- yet challenging -- talking to them after the games was interesting and fun too. We talked about what their everyday lives were like in Holland and what girls our age do. It is interesting how the club field hockey teams don't practice as much as we do. They practice two times a week for about four hours, with an hour break in the middle. Also, girls don't play for their school teams because they don't have one. In the U.S., we play field hockey for our club and school teams.

"We also learned the history of the Netherlands, like the seven canal bridges in Amsterdam that align perfectly, as well as the sizes of the houses there and how the residents have to transport their belongings through windows because of thin staircases. We saw many old churches and in Utrecht went up the Dom Tower, which was built in the 1300s and contained old bells that were rung on special celebrations.

"Fun memories that we look back on are the Escape Room, strolling through the streets of Utrecht, biking through the beautiful city of Zwolle, kayaking through the canals, exploring Amsterdam and meeting all the wonderful people through all of it. One person that helped us immensely with directing us toward the right stores, helping us get to places on time, and being our guide was Judith. She showed us around in her home country and more specifically in her home city, Utrecht.

"This was definitely an experience of a lifetime, from experiencing the huge sense of community from the field hockey culture to the Dutch culture in general. We all have gained new perspectives on life and the different things out in the world. I think I can speak for the team in that we are headed home with many learning experiences. After every game, Coach Char (Morett-Curtiss) asked us what we learned from the Dutch and how we could improve our game. Off the field, we noticed how the Dutch rarely use their phones and ride a bike everywhere. Living more simply like the Dutch is something I'm definitely going to try when we get back in the States."


Gini Bramley and Skyler Fretz explore the Dutch city of Utrecht by kayak.
The team gathered at a restaurant in The Hague on the final night of their tour of Holland.

Coaches, staff, parents and supporters were part of the final night celebration.


The airport in stop, the U.S.A.!

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Eight

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Eight

Day Eight in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Cori Conley and Emily Klingler

May 15, 2016

The Penn State women's field hockey team, under the direction of head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss, has embarked on a ten-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.

Days 8 & 9, May 14-15

The Hague - Harleem - Bloemendaal - Amsterdam

Cori Conley, junior, Oak Park, Illinois

The final match of our tour of Holland was scheduled for late Saturday afternoon, against hockey club Bloemendaal. Before the match we went to Haarlem, where we enjoyed a hardy lunch, followed by a little bit of shopping, and then a few sweets from a local sweets shop that had Belgian waffles with various toppings and different flavors of ice cream!

Once we finished our sightseeing in Haarlem, we hopped on the bus and headed over to Bloemendaal for our final match of hockey. Bloemendaal is known for being a highly-skilled hockey club here in Holland. Playing against them was a chance to only make us better. The style of play was almost similar to that of a Big Ten Conference game. Bloemendaal was really physical when it came to winning 50/50 balls as the game was played at a very high tempo -- as all our games in Holland were! Colleen Conway was strong for us in goal, while both Aurelia Meijer and Cassie Kline scored goals for us. After regulation, we got in some extra pressure-packed practice by participating in a shootout with Bloemendaal.

When the match and shootout were over, we joined the members of the hockey club for dinner and social hour, when we talked about hockey, our countries and our cultures. We devoured a pasta and salad dinner (which was very tasty, BTW). Afterwards, we returned to the hotel and then experienced a bit more of The Hague. Tomorrow is the final full day of the trip and we are all excited to visit Amsterdam.


(Clockwise from lower right): At Club Bloemendaal, among the shootout stars for Penn State were Aurelia Meijer, Colleen Conway and Gini Bramley.

Emily Klingler, sophomore, Selinsgrove, Pa.

Hallo (Dutch for "hello") from Emily Klingler in Amsterdam. Sunday is our final day in Holland before we board our eight-hour flight home. For me, today is bittersweet. Bitter because I have had such an amazing time with my teammates and it has come to an end. Sweet because I get to go share my stories and my experiences at home with my friends and family.

Today we got to cruise the canals of Amsterdam and had the chance to see many parts of the city. We passed many houseboats -- some legal and some illegal. The legal houseboats had electricity water, and sewer, and were permitted to be parked in the canal of the Amsel River. The houses along the canal are narrow because when they were first constructed centuries ago they were taxed depending on the width of the house. They have large, wide windows so they can move furniture in and out of the house on higher floors using a pulley at the top of the house.

Two more fun facts about Amsterdam's canals: There are small fences along the canal used to keep cars from going in the water. However, one car a week still ends up in the canal. Yikes! More than 1,000 bikes are removed from the canal each year. My favorite sites along the cruise were the "weepers" tower, where many tears were shed by wives were who gathered there to see their husbands off to sea. Only one in four men returned! I also liked the point on the canal where you could look through and see seven arched bridges all lined up. After the cruise, we went in search of the Anne Frank House. We did see the location the house - now part of a museum that envelopes it - where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

I then had a nice warm lunch at a small café with a few of my teammates. It was great to get out of the cold and sit down after walking around the different parts of the city, including the red light district. Just like New York City, Amsterdam is a huge city filled with people traveling by bikes, cars, buses and trams coming and going in every direction. The city is filled with museums and different shops you can explore. It's impossible to see everything in just one day.


 (Left to right): Lauren McNally, Mary Nell Smith, Gini Bramley and Emily Klingler.

The shoe fits for (left to right) Colleen Conway, Emilee Ehret, Brooke Birosik and Aurelia Meijer.
A Penn State goal by Cassie Kline against Bloemendaal was a present for her parents' anniversary, just as she promised.
Reunited again, at Bloemendaal clubhouse: Penn State trainer Renee Messina (right) and Amanda Dinunzio, former Nittany Lion who just finished up the year playing for Hockey Club Rotterdam in overgangsklasse.
First-half highlights against Bloemendaal on Saturday night included (clockwise, from upper left): fine ball handling by Brooke Birosik, great Penn State team spirit and tight play, and key stops by keeper Colleen Conway.

A cruise of Amsterdam's canals produced lots of great views!


A cruise of Amsterdam's canals produced lots of great views!


Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Seven

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Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Seven

Day Seven in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Jenny Rizzo, Colleen Conway and Mary Nell Smith

May 14, 2016
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.

Days 7 & 8, May 13-14
The Hague - Harleem

Colleen Conway, sophomore, Franklin Lakes, N.J., and Jenny Rizzo, sophomore, Hershey, Pa.
"Greetings from your PSU goalkeepers! On Friday night we played against the HDM ladies, who are The Hague's hometown team. We knew coming into the match that they would be a tough opponent because they are in the top league and they practice every day as a cohesive unit. However, we psyched ourselves up really well for the game by playing old school sing-alongs on the bus ride over -- the parents on the bus especially loved hearing Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel!"

Colleen: "This was a homecoming of sorts. I had already been to HDM for a tournament last year, so it was awesome getting to play against some of the same girls at this wonderful venue."

Jenny: "HDM was one of the best clubs we've seen so far. Their clubhouse is beautiful and they had five top quality pitches for their players. The game itself was the toughest any of us have ever played in -- the goalkeepers really didn't get a break the whole game."

Colleen: "Jenny started the first half and had some of the nicest goalkeeping I have ever seen!"

Jenny: "Colleen went in during the second half and held them off with a great stick save and multiple crotch shots. Good thing she was wearing her pelvic protector!  Even though we lost in an incredibly fast-paced game, we loved all the action we saw. It gave us ample opportunity to practice and learn from some of the best players in the world."

Colleen & Jenny: "After the game, we ate dinner in the clubhouse and socialized with the other team. The salad and yogurt they served were good, but really different than anything we have had in the United States. The best part of the whole night, though, was when the other goalkeeper came up to us after dinner and gave us her glove and a playing jersey! We gave her one of our practice jerseys in return, and each keeper walked away with a nice souvenir to cap off a great night."



Penn State goalies Colleen Conway (left) and Jenny Rizzo (right) with their HDM counterpart.

Mary Nell Smith, sophomore, Dauphin, Pa.
"Before I recap our Saturday morning in Den Hauge all I can say is, 'Make the trip!' Waking up early in Holland has been a breeze -- and trust me, at home you can catch me in bed until 1 or 2 p.m. Around every corner is something my teammates and I have never experienced before. For example, with the language barrier and the diverse and different food choices, we have been taken out of our comfort zones. It has been nothing but an astounding learning experience. I would highly recommend to anyone I meet or to anyone who reads this that you get out and see something new - be it in Holland or down the straat.

"On our first brisk morning in Den Hague, Netherlands, I awoke to the sound of horseshoes on brick. A little bit of a culture shock... am I right? The street below my window was bustling, so I figured I might as well start my day too. Together as a team we started off with now our 'normal' Dutch breakfast tradition. Everyone meets in the breakfast room to enjoy an assortment of meats, cheeses, eggs, fruit and sprinkles. Yes, sprinkles! Here in Holland hagelslag - also known as sprinkles -- are found literally everywhere. You could probably find hagelslag in a church if you truly looked hard enough. The breakfast way to eat hagelslag, taught to me by none other than my roommate Jenny Rizzo, is to butter wheat bread and place the pure fruit, milk or dark chocolate sprinkles on top and just eat away. Sounds very different from what we would eat at home. I can't seem to wrap my head around it yet, but Jenny embracing culture like she does, is in love with it.

"The next adventure at breakfast laid within an orange juicer. Together of course, Jenny and I tackled yet a new experience. We had to cut around six oranges in half and place them on the juicer, just like we watched the man before us do. When we tried to juice the oranges it didn't work as well as it did for him. A nice woman promptly came up and told us there was a pedal we hadn't been pushing that would make the machine work. After we pushed that pedal there was no stopping us. In no time we had a glass of orange juice that the whole team wanted to sample. It was gone quicker than it was made, but it was undoubtably the best O.J. I have ever tasted.

"Saturday was the first time we actually had to put on our heavy clothes. We have been blessed with beautiful weather ... until today. A group of us walked around Den Hauge looking for souvenirs and gelato. At home I am a fan of hard ice cream, but here in Holland the gelato is amazing. I so far have tried flavors like cookie, Kinder bar (a Dutch candy here), stroopwafel, Oreo and cinnamon. With one taste of this cinnamon gelato all I could think about was Christmas. The Dutch have managed to put an entire holiday season into one flavor of gelato. Like a lot of the foods here, it is to die for!

"Later in the day, we took a bus to Haarlem, a city just as or even more beautiful as the ones we had already seen. We didn't have much time, but a few of us ate at Dessert Bar, where they say life is sweet but they are sweeter. As our pre-game meal - we play at nearby Bloemendaal Saturday night - we ordered eggs with ham, bacon, tomatoes, and bread underneath. Not quite something I would eat at home, but here it was better than I could have ever imagined. Next stop: Bloemendaal, to face one of the Holland's top teams!"


Action in Friday night's game (clockwise, from upper left): Shay Cannon, goalie Jenny Rizzo (5) and associate head coach Lisa Love with Mary Nell Smith.


The Nittany Lions enter the gates of the HDM field hockey club for their game Friday night in The Hague.


Shoe shopping in Haarlam on Saturday morning (left to right): Doug and Char Morett-Curtiss; Skyler Fretz and Shay Cannon; and Stuart Smith and Lisa Love.


Posing along the canals of Harleem are (left to right): Emily Klingler, Jenny Rizzo, Lauren McNally, Katie Dembrowski and Cori Conway.

Penn State Field Hockey Holland Trip: Day Six

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Day Six in Holland as told by Field Hockey student-athletes Kirsten Gochnauer and Skyler Fretz
May 13, 2016

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.

Days 6 & 7, May 12-13
Utrecht - The Hague

Kirsten Gochnauer, senior, Mount Joy, Pa.
On Thursday night we had the opportunity to play a very talented Leiden team. They are currently in the playoffs to move up a level in competition and were excited to get us on their schedule to help prepare for their games next week. I'm always amazed by the hockey culture here. When we pull up to each of the clubs before the game, I've never seen so many hockey fields in one place. Simply seeing the support that each team has for their program pumps me up for each game before my feet even touch the ground.
After some throwback music on the bus and a quick pre-game talk with Char and LB (head coach Char Morett-Curtiss and associate head coach Lisa Bervinchak-Love), we hit the ground running. I'm really starting to like these 15-minute warm-ups! As soon as the whistle blew, another fast-paced match began. We were a bit frantic at first, but soon settled into our usual play. I am always impressed by the Dutch teams' ability to interchange and counterattack; they are always quick to capitalize on an interception or missed touch.
The match remained even at halftime, with both teams having many opportunities to score. We lost a touch or two in the second half, leading to a three-goal deficit, but continued to fight until the bitter end. We had many successful passing patterns and certainly learned a lot from the Dutch players again today. It was another successful day on the pitch.
After the match, we headed into the clubhouse for dinner with the other players. The post-game meals have become one of my favorite parts of the game days: great food and new friends! Tonight's dinner was their version of Chinese, another amazing meal. I got to eat with one of the older players on the team, a 26-year-old native of The Hague who spends her days teaching outdoor education. As always, the players were all so sweet, and it was another bittersweet good-bye.
An extra special shout out to Carrie Sensenig, a junior at ODU and a Cocalico High School alum, who was visiting her freshman year roommate. Always a small world when you run into a fellow Lancaster County native in the middle of the Netherlands.

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High school foes Kirsten Gochnauer of Penn State and Donegal High School (right) and Carrie Sensenig, a junior at ODU and a Cocalico High School alum, share a moment after the Leiden contest. Sensenig, who is visiting Holland, stopped by to see the Nittany Lions play.
Skyler Fretz, junior, Oley, Pa.
It's Friday in Holland, which means we switched hotels from Utrecht to Den Haag (The Hague). The new hotel is very nice and has a modern look to it. Along with switching hotels, we also changed our roommates, which is a unique experience because we get to spend time with different girls on the team and have the opportunity to know them better.
The Hague is a beautiful city! While walking to lunch we went through Het Binnenhof Den Haag, when the Dutch parliament is located, and took a picture in front of it as a group. From there, we had lunch at an outdoor café in the center square. The food here is wonderful -- everything is always fresh. After lunch we had free time to walk around the city in smaller groups and shop for souvenirs. The Hague has many shops filled with clothing, shoes, souvenirs, bakeries and, of course, all different kinds of candies. The streets are very busy with people walking or riding on bikes.
Along with the hustle and bustle on the streets I have noticed it is a clean environment and some of the buildings in The Hague are different than the other cities we have visited thus far on the trip. We have seen taller buildings and big businesses that resemble the United States more than the previous cities. This is because The Hague is like the Washington, D.C., of the Netherlands.
Next stop, our game tonight against HDM!

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Skyler Fretz (left) and Katie Dembrowski
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The team catches its wind(mill) after a Friday morning "regeneration run" along the canals of Utrecht prior to heading to their next step, The Hague.
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(collage) The Nittany Lions faced off against Leiden on Thursday night.
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Penn State arrives in The Hague, where they pose for a group shot in Het Binnehof.
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Assistant coach Stuart Smith is a big fan of H&M, which has a big presence in Holland, including here in The Hague.
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The wooden shoe fits and wearing it are (left to right) Gini Bramley, Skyler Fretz, Katie Dembrowski, Jenny Rizzo and Mary Nell Smith.
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Much of the Penn State team enjoyed their pre-game lunch on Friday at a large outdoor café that served as the hub for several restaurants and pubs.


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