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Aug 28, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 6 Penn State field hockey opens up the 2013 campaign with two tough road tests against top-10 opponents. The season gets underway on Friday with a match against No. 8 Old Dominion at 5 p.m. The Nittany Lions then travel to Charlottesville, Va. to face No. 7 Virginia in a match that begins at 1 p.m.
Penn State returns 8-of-11 starters from a team that won both the Big Ten regular season and Big Ten Tournament championships, including five of its top six point producers in Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.), Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.), Ashtin Klingler (Selinsgrove, Pa.), Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) and Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.).
Friday's matchup will mark the 28th meeting between the Monarchs and the Nittany Lions. Old Dominion holds a slight series edge in the series, as Penn State is 12-15 against ODU. The Lions won last season's match by a final of 5-2. The last time PSU traveled to Old Dominion was in 2011 and the Monarchs claimed a 5-2 win in the contest.
The Monarchs are coming off a 15-6 2012 campaign that led to a trip to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. ODU boasted a strong defense last season, holding opponents to an average of fewer than two goals per game. The Monarchs return their top-two point and goal producers from a year ago in Rosario Villagra and Sarah Breen.
After the Friday opener, Penn State will travel to Charlottesville, Va. for a clash with No. 7 Virginia. The matchup will be the 21st meeting between the two sides. The Nittany Lions have enjoyed much success against the Cavaliers over the years, as PSU owns a 15-5 advantage in the series history. The Lions edged UVA in a 3-2 win last season. Scoring for the Nittany Lions in the match were returning starters Grzywacz, Reddig and Lauren Purvis (Maple Glen, Pa.).
Virginia enters the new season coming off an impressive 16-6 2012 campaign. The Cavaliers graduated only five players from last year's squad but lost a few crucial pieces. The 2012 US Field Hockey National Player of the Year Michelle Vittese and All-American Paige Selenski have graduated but Virginia still returns a key part of its potent attack in three-time All-American Elly Buckley, who enters 2013 with 133 career points, 53 career goals and 27 career assists.
After the two matches this weekend, the Nittany Lions begin their home schedule with a matchup against Temple on Fri., Sep. 6 at 6 p.m. followed by a contest vs. No. 4 UConn on Sun., Sep. 8 at noon. Both matches will be played at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.