Field Hockey Opens Season with 3-1 Comeback Win Over ODU
Aug 30, 2013
NORFOLK, Va. - Penn State began its season with a tough road match against No. 8 Old Dominion on Friday evening. The Lions staged an impressive three-goal second half after trailing 1-0 at the break to grab the win in the season-opener.
The Nittany Lions came out aggressive in the first half and tried to put an early mark on the game. Penn State owned much of the first half possession and attempted more shots and penalty corners than the Monarchs.
However, despite the statistical advantages, Old Dominion was the first to get on the score sheet, as Kelsey Smither scored the game's opening goal in the 15th minute to give the hosts the early lead.
PSU tried to answer back when Casey Haegele (Warrington, Pa.) fired a shot from the left of the circle forcing the Old Dominion keeper into a fine save. The Lions were unable to level the score before half and went into the break trailing 1-0.
Head coach Charlene Morett was disappointed with the Nittany Lions' first half execution.
"I don't think we played a strong first half, but we made adjustments at halftime and stressed making smarter decisions in possession," said Morett.
The two sides came out and played even to start the second half, with both the Monarchs and the Lions enjoying scoring opportunities. ODU's Katy Fuhrman ripped a shot off the post just minutes into the second frame. The Blue and White's Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) responded with a close-range effort that was stymied by the Monarch keeper to preserve the host's 1-0 advantage.
After many threats, the Nittany Lions evened the score at 1-1 in the 56th minute off a magnificent run from Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.). The junior cut in from the left side of the box and wove her way through to the front of the goal and calmly finished past the keeper to level the game.
"Taylor came in and scored the first goal right after getting subbed on," said Morett. "That goal gave us a lot of confidence."
Herold's goal sparked the Nittany Lion attack, as Penn State scored the go-ahead goal just minutes later off a penalty corner. Senior Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.) sent the ball into Gebhart, who set up Grzywacz's strike that found the back of the net to put the Blue and White on top at 2-1 with just over 12 minutes remaining.
Six minutes later the Lions struck again. Gebhart sent a pass into the middle of the circle from the right side and found Ashtin Klingler (Selinsgrove, Pa.), who poked the ball past the keeper to cement the Penn State victory.
Morett was pleased with the way the Lions responded in the second stanza.
"I am proud of how our players kept fighting even while trailing," stated the head coach. "We played really smart in the second half controlling the play. I think this game was a learning experience and I am happy to get a victory against a tough Old Dominion team."
The win is PSU's 13th in program history against Old Dominion and the second-straight in a season-opener.
Penn State has a quick turnaround, as the team travels to No. 7 Virginia for a noon match on Sunday. The Nittany Lions then return home to begin their home schedule with a matchup against Temple on Fri., Sep. 6 at 6 p.m. followed by a contest vs. No. 4 UConn on Sun., Sep. 8 at noon. Both matches will be played at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.