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Oct. 14, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 7 Penn State field hockey team topped No. 11 Iowa on Sunday afternoon, recording a decisive 5-1 victory on Senior Day. The Nittany Lions improve to a 12-3 record with a 3-1 mark in the Big Ten, while the Hawkeyes move to 10-4 and 3-1 with their first Big Ten loss. Junior Asthin Klingler (Selinsgrove, Pa.) scored her fourth game-winning goal of the season just under 10 minutes into the game.
"I was just so proud of our seniors today and the team overall," said head coach Charlene Morett. "They were very aggressive from the start. Kelsey Amy had a great game for Senior Day, as did Lauren Alwine and Hannah Allison. And Ayla [Halus] made some great saves in the second half. The seniors really led the team today."
The Big Ten matchup marked one of the most physical contests of the season, with Iowa boasting the top defense in the conference. Accepting the challenge against the Hawkeyes, Penn State met the squad head-on with feisty midfield-play and a relentless offense to take a commanding lead early on in the game.
After gaining momentum with the first two penalty corners of the day, the Lions racked up four shots in the opening nine minutes. With senior Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.) driving down the field, the forward sent a backhand pass from the right of the net to center the ball in front of Iowa's Kathleen McGraw. Klingler was there waiting, and fired the ball behind the netminder to take a 1-0 lead at the 9:53 mark. It was the forward's 10th goal of the season and Amy's eighth assist for her 40th point.
The Lions continued to push the Hawkeyes' defense, earning their third penalty corner of the contest at the 13:30 mark. Setting up a trick play, sophomore Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) made the stop and redshirt senior Hannah Allison (Mifflinburg, Pa.) faked a shot at McGraw. Gebhart then fed to Amy at the left corner of the box, and the senior sent the ball flying into the back of the cage for her 17th goal of the season. It was Gebhart's 11th assist of the year.
Just one minute later, Amy charged down the far right wing to beat several Iowa defensemen. Taking a strong shot from a sharp angle, the forward beat McGraw to tally her 70th career goal and her 160th career point. Penn State now had a 3-0 lead.
The Lions continued to dominate the Hawkeyes, outshooting the squad 14-2 in the opening half. Penn State's defense played outstandingly, with junior Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.) playing strong at both the midfield and back positions. Grzywacz continuously stepped up for her team, keeping the ball inbounds to maintain possession and stealing away opportunities from the Hawkeyes. Junior Abby Fuhrman (Bainbridge, Pa.) and sophomore Kate Breneman (Washington Boro, Pa.) also played tremendously, protecting goalkeeper Ayla Halus (Hershey, Pa.) from any offensive attacks generated in the first period.
Heading into the second half, the Penn State offense did not let up, earning another penalty corner at the 40:50 mark. With junior Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.) sending a strong pass up to Amy at the top of the box, the forward was able to beat McGraw for her third goal of the game. Amy now has 19 goals on the season and 46 points.
Despite Iowa picking up the pace in the second half, Penn State would score its fifth unanswered goal of the game at the 59:54 mark. With Amy taking an initial shot at McGraw, Klingler swooped in to snag the rebound directly in front of the netminder. Finding the back of the net from left, the junior tallied her second of the game for her 20th career goal.
With time expiring, Iowa's Jessica Barnett drove the ball into Penn State's defensive zone at the 68:00 mark. Taking a quick shot from the right of the net, the senior beat Halus to notch the Hawkeyes' first goal of the contest. It was Barnett's seventh of the season.
Iowa's late offensive surge proved too little, too late, as time ran out to give Penn State a 5-1 victory. The Lions outshot the Hawkeyes 25-8 and held a 12-0 penalty corner advantage. Halus had an excellent game, making four saves in the second half, including two back-to-back shots from Iowa's Natalie Cafone. The Penn State goalkeeper had a total of five saves, while McGraw tallied 13.
The Lions head back out on the road on Friday, Oct. 19, to face No. 18 Ohio State for a 3 p.m. Big Ten contest. The game will be aired by the Big Ten Network, with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m., as well as available via GameTracker. Penn State's final home game will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m. against Bucknell.
Check back to GoPSUSports.com for continued updates during the 2012 season. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/PennStateFH and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/pennstatefieldhockey.
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