|Follow PSU Field Hockey:||Follow @PennStateFH|
By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off a pair of early exhibition matches, Penn State field hockey is ready to officially open its 2016 season. Ranked No. 18 in the latest National Field Hockey Coaches Association Poll (NFHCA), the Nittany Lion schedule features matchups against eight teams ranked within the top 20 this season.
Prior to preseason, Penn State took some time to travel overseas as a team, heading to Holland for a nine day trip, spanning five cities to train and tour. Having spent some time bonding, the Nittany Lions are back and determined to continue building team comradery heading into a challenging 2016 campaign.
Here are five things you need to know before heading out to the season opener Friday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. vs. Old Dominion in the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
1. Season Opening Tradition.
Since her days as an assistant under former Old Dominion head coach Beth Anders, head coach Char Morett-Curtiss noticed that Penn State had not really played ODU in program history and decided to make a change. The Nittany Lions have opened with a matchup against the Monarchs every year dating back to 2003.
2. Senior Class.
Morett-Curtiss praised seniors Emilee Ehret, Carly Celkos, Kirsten Gochnauer and Brook Birosik for their leadership, while also mentioning how each individual holds an important role on the team this year.
3. World Travelers.
Penn State's trip to Holland featured a stop Aurelia Meijer's home in Hattem, Netherlands. The Nittany Lions were able to train with Meijer's club team and of course, enjoy a family meal together.
4. Tough slate.
In her 30th season at the helm of the program, Morett-Curtiss has once again put together a tough schedule for the Nittany Lions. The 2016 campaign features seven NCAA Tournament teams that made the field in 2015.
5. Hall of Fame.
Morett-Curtiss and former football kicker Craig Fayak are both set to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in late October. The two are part of the organization's 54th annual ceremony. Originally from Aldan, Pennsylvania, Morett-Curtiss is also a member of the Delaware County Hall of Fame.