UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the calendar begins to shift towards the start
of the 2014-'15 athletic season, GoPSUsports.com wanted to take a look back at
a tremendous campaign for Penn State Athletics.
Fueled by national championships from women's volleyball, wrestling and fencing,
Penn State accumulated a record point total in the Learfield Sports Directors'
Cup in 2013-'14.
Penn State's three NCAA Championships are its most since winning three in
1999-2000. Penn State student-athletes, who have an 88 percent graduation rate,
won a school record-tying and conference-best eight Big Ten titles in 2013-'14
and 16 over the past two years, easily topping second place Michigan (9) in
combined titles the last two years.
Take a look back at some of the top events from a stellar Penn State sports
Men's Hockey: Oct.
11, 2013 - Penn State 4, Army 1 (First Game in Pegula)
It was a night fans in Hockey Valley had been dreaming of
for years. The Nittany Lion men's hockey team christened the state-of-the-art
Pegula Ice Arena with a dominant performance before a boisterous sold out crowd
on opening night for the 2013-'14 season.
At 8:14 p.m., the puck dropped in the first game inside Penn State's sparkling
new home for hockey.
Nate Jenson owns the honor of tallying the first goal for the Nittany Lions in
Pegula. He took a feed from Taylor Holstrom early in the first period and beat
Army goalie Rob Tadazak to the high corner, glove side. Just as Jensen scored,
the crowd of 6,370 exploded and Zombie Nation blared through the speakers.
An early third-period two-on-one shorthanded goal from Curtis Loik and a
breakaway goal from David Goodwin would spark the same reaction. Leading 3-1,
Eric Scheid notched a last-second empty net goal to seal the first win in their
inaugural game in Pegula.
Hockey Valley could
not have any been prouder of its team following the 4-1 victory, and the
student section made that very clear. The Roar Zone was full song from the
moment it walked into the building 90 minutes before faceoff.
The Nittany Lions went on to win four games inside Pegula Ice Arena during
their first Big Ten season. The list of victories included a thrilling 4-0 win
over Michigan and a 4-2 triumph over Ohio State during conference play.
Football: Oct. 12,
2013 - Penn State 43, Michigan 40 (Beaver Stadium)
Down by 34-27 at its own 20-yard line with 50 seconds on the clock and no
timeouts, Penn State found itself in a difficult situation in sold out Beaver
Stadium against rival Michigan.
The stakes were simple. Drive down the field and score a touchdown or the game
True freshman and 18-year old signal-caller Christian Hackenberg jogged onto
the field to lead the offense during the 2-minute drill with the game on the
On first down at the 20, Hackenberg connected with Robinson, who dragged his
toe just inside the sideline paint in front of the Penn State bench for a
One play later, it was Brandon Felder's turn.
Hackenberg's toss to Felder in front of the Michigan bench covered 29 yards and
set up another first down at the Michigan 37-yard line.
Two plays later, Robinson returned to the spotlight with the play of the game.
Hackenberg fielded Ty Howle's snap and looked to Robinson, who was lined up
wide on the left side of the formation. Robinson stuttered in the first 10
yards of his route, attempting to freeze the Michigan defensive back. As he
regained full speed, Hackenberg's pass was in the air.
Robinson skied over the Michigan defender and plucked the ball at the highest
point in his jump before falling to a rest at the 1-yard line.
Hackenberg finished the drive off with a plunge into the end zone, capping off
a five-play, 80-yard game-tying touchdown drive that covered just 23 seconds on
The teams exchanged blows in the overtime frames before Bill Belton became the
hero. Belton trotted into the north end zone of Beaver Stadium for a game-winning
touchdown in the fourth OT, capping off an epic comeback and a victory that
will live in Penn State history for decades.
Women's Volleyball: Dec.
21, 2013 - Penn State 3, Wisconsin 1 (Championship Match)
Penn State's road to the national semifinals in Seattle was not an easy one
in 2013. After knocking off LIU Brooklyn and Utah inside Rec Hall to open the
NCAA Tournament, the Nittany Lions traveled to Kentucky for the regional round
of the 64-team tournament.
Penn State rallied from 1-0 down to defeat Michigan State in the regional
semifinals, which set up a showdown against seventh-seeded Stanford for a trip
to the national semifinals.
The Lions and Cardinal battled to a fifth set in what evolved into an epic
clash among two of volleyball's heavyweights. Penn State trailed Stanford 9-6
in the fifth before head coach Russ Rose used a timeout. Out of the break, the
Lions were not going to be denied.
Penn State scored the next six points in the decisive set on the way to
punching a ticket to the national semifinals in Seattle.
Playing in the NCAA semis for the 11th time in program history, Penn State
rolled over Washington (3-0), which was playing just four miles from its
campus, with a truly dominant performance.
The national title match, the Lions' ninth all-time appearance, was next.
Facing off against Wisconsin in the first all Big Ten national final, Penn
State jumped out to a hard-fought 2-0 lead before the Badgers rallied to make
Wisconsin took a 23-20 lead in the fourth and was just two points from forcing
a fifth set, but the Lions were not done. A service error from the Badgers made
it 23-21. With ice water in her veins, ESPY nominee Micha Hancock stepped to
the service line. The junior delivered four potent jump serves, two of which
dropped for aces, before senior Deja McClendon's kill clinched the program's
sixth national title and fifth in the last seven years.
In six NCAA Tournament matches this season, the Nittany Lions dropped just four
Men's Basketball: Jan.
29, 2014 - Penn State 71, Ohio State 70 (Value City Arena)
The Nittany Lion basketball team trailed Ohio State, 59-48, with 7:58 to play
in Columbus after Buckeyes capped off a 10-2 scoring run.
Penn State never panicked, largely thanks to a dominant performance from D.J.
Newbill down the stretch.
A pair of buckets from Jordan Dickerson and two free throws from Newbill set
the score at 62-59, Buckeyes, with 2:20 to play.
Newbill then fielded a long pass moving right to left across the floor from
Frazier before burying a corner three, which tied the game at 62-62 with 1:08 to
go. Ohio State scored the next three points to make it 65-62.
Newbill answered in the form of a second clutch 3-pointer with 11.0 seconds to
After Ohio State's final possession in regulation came up empty, the game
headed into overtime.
The Buckeyes took a 70-67 lead on a pair of Lenzelle Smith Jr. free throws in
the extra frame, but Newbill was not done.
The Philly product snaked through the Ohio State defense for a lay-in with 45
seconds to play, pulling the Lions to within one (70-69). The Buckeyes turned
the ball over on the next possession, setting up an inbounds play with 13.2
Tim Frazier inbounded to Jordan Dickerson, who handed the ball off to
D.J. Newbill in front of the scorer's table. Down one with 11 seconds to play
in overtime as he crossed halfcourt, Newbill raced to the right side of the
The Philly native wanted the ball in his dominant hand. With one of the Big
Ten's top defenders an arm's length away, Newbill began his move with 5.4
seconds on the clock.
After one power dribble to his right, he sent the ball to his left hand under
Aaron Craft's extended right arm. Newbill took one more power dribble with his
left hand before elevating at the right elbow with 3.5 seconds on the clock.
The ball never touched the rim as it sailed through the cylinder to give the
Lions a 71-70 victory. Penn State's win at Ohio State was its first since 2001.
Women's Basketball: March
1, 2014 - Penn State 77, Michigan 62 (Bryce Jordan Center)
To put it simply, Senior Day couldn't have gone any better for Penn State's
four seniors in 2014.
Maggie Lucas, Talia East, Dara Taylor and Ariel Edwards all
were double figure scorers on a day where they were honored with friends and
family in attendance as the team claimed its third consecutive Big Ten title
with a 77-62 over Michigan.
Edwards led the Lady Lions with 21 points on 8-for-12
shooting from the field while Lucas, East and Taylor added 17, 16 and 11 points
Penn State had control of the game from start to finish as
they shot 54 percent from the field, missed just one free throw on 19 attempts
and collected seven blocks and 11 steals.
The group of seniors combined for 65 of the team's 77
points; epitomizing their leadership during their time at Penn State in their
last regular season home game.
That was expected from a group of four leaders who ensured a
team of seven freshmen didn't miss a beat coming off of two-straight conference
titles heading into the season.
Edwards, Lucas and East left Penn State as one of the winningest classes ever.
They finished with 101 wins, good for second in program history. Taylor was at
Penn State for 75 of the 101 wins after transferring from Maryland.
With all of the championships, accolades and wins, it was a
perfect way for Lucas, East and Taylor to complete their Penn State careers.
Penn State's third-straight Big Ten title put the Lady Lions in elite company
with Iowa and Ohio State as the only programs in the conference to win three or
more consecutive conference crowns. The title also fueled the Lady Lions'
second run to the Sweet 16 in past three years.
Wrestling: March 22,
2013 - Nittany Lions Clinch Fourth-Straight NCAA Title
Penn State's reign over the college wrestling world continued in March
when the Nittany Lions captured their unprecedented fourth-straight NCAA team
title in Oklahoma City.
Fueled by NCAA individual crowns from seniors Ed Ruth at 184 pounds and David
Taylor at 165 pounds, the Lions celebrated on the sport's grandest stage inside
Chesapeake Energy Arena as the 2014 national champions.
By no means was the fourth title an easy one for the Nittany Lions, who edged
Minnesota by 5.5 points in the final team standings. Following a victory from
Ruth at 184 pounds, the Lions pulled ahead of the Gophers by 1.5 points after
two championship bouts.
Minnesota suffered setbacks in its two national title bouts, with the second
coming in the ninth match of the evening. As the 157-pound bout ticked to zero
on the clock, the white-clad Penn State fans rose to their feet to celebrate
the program's fifth national championship.
But the work was not quite done for the Nittany Lions, as Taylor was on deck in
the final championship match of night against Oklahoma State's Chris Perry.
You could not have scripted a better way for Taylor's career to end in a Penn
State singlet than the way it did on Saturday night. The epitome of a team
player, Taylor's imprint on the program goes far beyond his stellar accolades. He
didn't miss a match at the national tournament because he wanted to support his
fellow teammates. On Saturday morning, he did not need to be at the arena, but
he was the first to greet fellow senior James English as he came off the mat
after his critical win in the seventh-place match at 149 pounds.
Thanks to another dominant performance, Taylor finished off his collegiate
career with a victory in the final match of the national tournament, an individual
national title and a team title.
Taylor and Ruth played a paramount role in Penn State's fourth-straight title,
but the Nittany Lions will remain atop the NCAA wrestling mountain because of a
hard-fought team effort in the 2014 NCAA Championships.
Fencing: March 23,
2014 - Nittany Lions Clinch 13th NCAA Title
No program in Penn State's illustrious sports history has won more national
titles than the fencing team. Under the direction of interim head coach Wes
Glon, Penn State mounted a furious charge on the final day of the NCAA
Championships in Columbus to clinch its 13th national championship.
As a team, Penn State finished the competition with 180 bout victories,
toppling Princeton in second-place (159 victories), and St. John's in third
Individually, sophomore Kaito Streets claimed the 2014 men's
saber NCAA title. Streets became the 13th individual champion for the Nittany
Lions in program history.
In the team race, the Nittany Lions were neck and neck with
Princeton throughout much of the competition. The Lions began pulling away from
the Tigers on day three of the competition. Penn State clinched the program's
third title in the past six seasons on day four.
Streets held the number one spot in the men's saber event
heading into the final competition. He knocked off Ferenc Valkai from St.
John's to become an individual champion.
Glon has been with
the Nittany Lions for 29 seasons, and he has seen all 13 national titles. But
the 2014 crown marked his first as the leader of the program.
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony