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Oct. 5, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 8 Penn State recorded its fifth shutout of the season in a crucial 2-0 victory over No. 10 Northwestern on Saturday afternoon. The win extends the Nittany Lions' winning streak to seven matches and keeps its perfect Big Ten record intact at 2-0.
PSU did all of its offensive damage in the first 30 minutes of the contest. Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.) and Amanda Dinunzio (State College, Pa.) each scored a goal, while the defense had another great showing to secure the 2-0 win.
Northwestern generated the first scoring opportunity of the afternoon, firing a shot off the first penalty corner of the match but the Penn State defense was up to the challenge did not allow an early score . The Wildcats enjoyed much of the possession in the opening minutes but Penn State quickly settled into the contest.
On the Nittany Lions 3rd penalty corner of the match, PSU earned a penalty stroke off a Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.) shot. Grzywacz stepped up to the spot and laced a shot into the bottom left of the cage to give the Lions a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. The goal was the senior's seventh of the season, tying her with Taylor Herold (Fredeericksburg, Va.) and Ashtin Klingler (Selinsgrove, Pa.) for the team lead.
Just 10 minutes later Penn State doubled its lead off a fantastic run and even better strike from Dinunzio. The junior picked up the ball just within Northwestern's half and darted into the right side of the circle and unleashed an off-balance blast into the left side of the cage in the 27th minute. The goal was the State College native's first of her Penn State career.
Dinunzio's goal gave the Blue and White a two goal cushion heading into the halftime break. After 35 minutes of play, Penn State narrowly led the Wildcats in the stats, outshooting the visitors 5-2 and attempting three penalty corners to NU's two.
Northwestern came out of the break pressing to score and desperately trying to get back in the match. The visitors attempted six penalty corners in the second stanza and fired eight shots but were unable to crack the Penn State defense, as Kylie Licata (Mountain Top, Pa.) played a great game between the posts and earned her fifth shutout of the season. The goalkeeper made five saves in the match, four coming in the last 35 minutes.
With the win, Penn State is now tied atop the Big Ten standings with Michigan State, as both teams have records of 2-0. The Lions gave No. 10 Northwestern its first Big Ten loss of the season, after the Wildcats were the only team to defeat the Nittany Lions a season ago.
The Lions have a week to prepare for Ohio State, as the Buckeyes come to Penn State on Friday, October 11 at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex. The match begins at 3 p.m. and will kick off the busy homecoming weekend. After Friday's Big Ten clash, Penn State will go on the road to face intrastate rival Bucknell on Sunday, October 13 in a match that is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
MATCH NOTES: Penn State improves its record to 28-5-1 against Northwestern in the all-time series ... The Nittany Lions now have a 13-2 record against the Wildcats at home ... The Blue and White is 13-1 in Big Ten home openers since 2000, winning its last 12-straight matches ... The win pushes Penn State's winning streak to seven consecutive matches ... The Lions are now 4-2 vs. ranked opponents this season, including a 3-2 mark vs. teams in the top-10 ... PSU is now 2-0 on Saturday's this season ... Grzywacz's penalty stroke goal was her second from the spot this season ... With Dinunzio scoring, the Lions have now had eight different athletes score a goal this season ... Licata's five shutouts this season rank first in the Big Ten, breaking a previous tie with Northwestern ... The Blue and White has now recorded five shutouts in its last seven matches, allowing just one goal in the last five contests ... The two first half goals match Penn State's most in a first half this year.