No. 7 Field Hockey Downs California 6-2 in Pink Zone Game
Oct. 7, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 7 Penn State field hockey team came up with a big win on Sunday afternoon, downing California 6-2 in the annual Pink Zone game. The Nittany Lions move to 11-3 overall, while the Golden Bears fall to 4-7 on the season. Sophomore Jenna Chrismer (Mountain Top, Pa.) recorded the game-winning goal less than six minutes into the game for her fourth of the season.
"I said to the team, `It's a way to come back'," said head coach Charlene Morett. "To have that big win and to make a statement today...What's really important right now is to focus back on Big Ten competition with Iowa on Sunday. They're sitting at the top of the conference right now. They're undefeated and they've had a lot of success. I think for us, we know if we're going to try and vie for that Big Ten Championship, it's going to go through Iowa."
The Lions came out hungry, battling back after a tough loss from No. 9 Northwestern. Earning three consecutive penalty corners in the opening six minutes, Chrismer took advantage of a scramble in front of California's van Hoorn. After two back-to-back shots by junior Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.) and junior Ashtin Klingler (Selinsgrove, Pa.), the sophomore found a rebound and sent the ball into the back of the net to give Penn State a 1-0 lead.
Klingler had a tremendous game for the Lions, playing with conviction and creating several scoring opportunities for the squad. The junior would add to Penn State's lead at the nine minute mark, after a beautiful set up from junior Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.). Redding drove the ball down the left wing after stealing the ball away from California's offense at center field. Receiving the feed, Klingler caught van Hoorn out of position, moved in and shot the ball into the right corner of the net. It was her ninth of the season.
Penn State continued to control the game in the first half, holding the Golden Bears to only three shots in the opening 35 minutes. Klingler continued to play a gritty style of offense, applying the press even after taking a ball to the face. Sophomore Katie Breneman stayed strong at back, with sophomore Laura Gebhart and Grzywacz proving resilient in the midfield.
"I thought that our defense played a great first half," said Morett. "They really did not give much up inside the circle. I thought that they played with a lot of confidence. And Ayla [Halus] played a great game."
The Lions' offense continued their attack, as well, with senior Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.) netting her 16th of the season with less than 10 minutes to play in the half. The forward ran the ball down the right wing, breaking away from the Golden Bears' defense. Drawing van Hoorn out of net, Amy was able to maneuver her way around the netminder and find the back left corner of the cage. Penn State ended the first period with a 3-0 lead.
As the second half began, sophomore Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.) came out blazing. The forward, who played an outstanding offensive game, was a force to be reckoned with, battling her way to the front of the net at just over the 36 minute mark. With a pass from Amy from the right, Herold surprised van Hoorn and sent a quick shot into a wide open net for her fourth goal of the season.
Penn State continued to pull advantages from penalty corners, earning its 10th of the game at the 41:31 mark. Grzywacz sent a hard shot towards the net after Reddig kicked off the play, but the junior was denied by California's Caroline Struijk. However, Reddig hustled her way to the front of the net to take possession of the rebound. Sending a swift shot past van Hoorn, the junior gave the Lions a 5-0 lead for her third goal of the season.
California finally answered Penn State at the 47:30 mark, after earning three consecutive penalty corners. Goalkeeper Ayla Halus (Hershey, Pa.) remained composed in net, fending off the first two corners with two big saves before leading point-scorer Lara Kruggel stepped up for the Golden Bears. After receiving a feed from Deanna Kennedy, Kruggel sent a high shot from the top of the circle. Halus was there to make the block, but the ball deflected in to move the score to 5-1.
The Golden Bears seemed to have regained their confidence, producing more chances and another penalty corner just after their first goal. However, momentum swung back in Penn State's favor after Grzywacz came up with a huge defensive save on Struijk. It was her second of the game. The Lions fired off seven shots before Herold came off the bench at the 58:18 mark. Seconds later, the sophomore challenged van Hoorn with a hard shot, forcing the netminder to give up a rebound. Chrismer was there, and the sophomore blasted the ball past van Hoorn for her second of the game. The score now sat at 6-1 in favor of Penn State.
California, however, had not given up. With the Golden Bears' seventh penalty corner of the half, Kruggel was able to find Lauren Livingston in front of Penn State's net. The senior sent a shot sailing into the back of the net to beat Halus, settling the score to 6-2.
Despite two more scoring opportunities as time expired, California could not overcoming Penn State's commanding lead. The Lions outshot the Golden Bears 35-13 and held a 13-7 penalty corner advantage. Van Hoorn came up with 17 saves during the contest, facing 18 shots in the first period and 17 in the second. Halus had an excellent game, making seven saves after seeing 10 shots in the second half. The netminder faced seven penalty corners in the second period, as well.
The contest marked the annual Pink Zone game, with breast cancer survivor Tammy Miller serving as the Lions' honorary captain. The team donned pink t-shirts for warm-ups and played in white and pink jerseys to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During the game, the crowd purchased raffle tickets to raise funds to help fight the disease, with the Lady Lions basketball team showing support with their attendance.
"Obviously it affects every one of us in some way," said Morett. "It's a friend, it's a family member...for us, my former coach here is battling breast cancer. And she's doing well, so just to have the visibility, for us, is awesome. With the Pink Zone, what Coquese [Washington] has done is just outstanding. We just want to keep building from every athletic standpoint to make sure we're doing our best to try and find a cure."
The Lions return to Big Ten action on Sunday, Oct. 14, when Penn State hosts No. 11 Iowa at noon. The conference game also marks the 2012 Senior Day, where Halus, Amy and fifth-year senior Hannah Allison (Mifflinburg, Pa.) will be recognized.
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