Nittany Lion Field Hockey Begins Preparation for 2011 Campaign
Aug. 11, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State field hockey team has officially begun its quest for a Big Ten Championship in 2011. The Nittany Lions reported to campus on Monday and opened up training with "The Program" on Tuesday afternoon, which continued through Wednesday morning. Penn State will have nearly two full weeks of practice leading up to the August 26th season opener at Old Dominion.
"The Program" was founded in 2008 with the mission of providing high schools, professional and collegiate teams, and corporate organizations, with leadership and team building skills. The Nittany Lions did everything from water treading to push-ups to tug of war and more, all while bonding as a team and developing leadership skills.
"The Program is great because of how tough it is and it makes us see how far we can push ourselves," said junior forward Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.). "It was really great to see us come together as team."
Head Coach Charlene Morett's teams have participated in this the last three seasons. It is under the leadership of CEO and Founder Eric Kapitulik. This year's activities were run under the direction of Sam Cila and Katie Brooks. Brooks is a 2009 graduate out of the University of North Carolina. She was a captain for the 2006 UNC Women's Soccer national championship team. Cila was in the United States Army where he was a Sargent SGT and earned a Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal.
"I learned a lot about being a good teammate," said junior goalkeeper Ayla Halus (Hershey, Pa.). "This program really pushed all of us beyond our limits."
Penn State is coming off a stellar 2010 season, where it finished 14-6 overall and a 4-2 mark in conference play. During the 2010 campaign, Morett helped Penn State reclaim its spot as one of the top programs in the nation. After an up-and-down 2009 season, the Lions rebounded in spectacular fashion, as they won seven more games, marking the second-largest improvement in the nation.
Last year was highlighted by four victories over ranked opponents, including a 1-0 shutout against No. 5 Princeton on October 24. A top-ranked unit on both sides of the ball, Penn State led the nation with an .816 save percentage and stood third in the Big Ten with a 2.68 scoring average. For their efforts, the Nittany Lions finished the season ranked ninth in the national RPI standings and 10th in the final NFHCA poll. Those were Penn State's highest end-of-season rankings since the squad's historic run to the National Championship Game in 2007.
Penn State has two scrimmages slated for next Thursday (Aug. 18) against James Madison and next Friday (Aug. 19) against Maryland. Both scrimmages will be played on the University Park campus. The first regular season contest will be Friday, Aug. 26 at Old Dominion. Four of the first five regular season games for the Nittany Lions will be played on the road.
A young squad features two seniors, five juniors, eight sophomores and seven freshmen. Leading the way for the Nittany Lions this season will be returning captains Lauren Alloway (Hummelstown, Pa.) and Hannah Allison (Mifflinburg, Pa.), along with new captain Alex Schlener (Bethlehem, Pa.).
Check back to GoPSUsports.com for continued updates leading into the 2011 season.
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