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After a tough start to the season, the No. 11 Penn State field hockey team looks to get on track when it hosts a pair of home games this weekend, vs. local rival Lock Haven (Friday at 6 p.m.) and fifth nationally ranked Connecticut (Sunday at 12 p.m.). Admission to the Penn State Field Hockey Complex is FREE to all!
The schedule continues to be challenging as the squad faces a Lock Haven team predicted to win the Northeast Conference while Connecticut was predicted second in the BIG EAST preseason poll, only trailing Syracuse.
Also on Friday, the Nittany Lions will be looking for their 30th consecutive win against an in-state opponent.
Fans can follow action both days through Twitter.
Morett Scheduled To Appear On ESPN Radio Saturday At 9 AM
Head coach Charlene Morett is scheduled for a live interview on Saturday at approximately 9 a.m. on Northeast PA's ESPN Radio.
She will talk with John Mendola at the beginning of the Saturday Morning Show.
If you're in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market, be sure to tune in (630/1240 AM & 96.1 FM).
To check out the radio station's website, visit
http://www.nepasespnradio.com/. Or click here.
Welcome Home Mallory!
Former Penn State field hockey standout Mallory Weisen returns to Happy Valley Friday as an assistant coach for Lock Haven.
Weisen lettered from 2004-07 and played with 11 current Nittany Lions - Lauren Alloway, Gina Bartolacci, Amy Bonenberger, Laura Cahill, Christine Dudek, Brooke Hoffsmith, Bethany Marvel, Ali Meves, Jen Miller, Jenny Purvis and Daneen Zug. Weisen's senior season was 2007 when the Lions went on a magical postseason run all the way to the National Championship Game.
Both Lock Haven and Connecticut signify two of the most commonly played opponents in program history.
The Lions have faced Connecticut 32 times, the sixth most-played opponent in their history. Penn State has faced West Chester the most (47) followed by Ohio State (40), Temple (36), Bucknell (35) and Michigan (33).
Penn State and Lock Haven have squared off 28 times which is tied for the 10th most common foe. The Lions have also faced North Carolina and Northwestern 28 times.
Starting Her 'Starting' Career With A Bang
Junior goalkeeper Ali Meves stood tall last weekend in the first starts of her career.
On Friday, she made three big saves while only allowing two goals at No. 16 Old Dominion.
Then on Sunday, she made a career-high nine saves on 10 shots to keep the Nittany Lions close against No. 6 Virginia.
Meves and redshirt freshman Ayla Halus look to fill the hole left by departed All-American goalkeeper Jen Beaumont.
Coaches Who Know How To Win
Three of the nine winningest coaches in NCAA history will patrol the sideline this weekend.
Penn State head coach Charlene Morett is only 11 wins shy of her 400th career victory, as she enters the season with a 389-145-16 career record which includes her three years at Boston College.
With 11 more wins, she would become only the fourth coach in NCAA Division I history with 400+ wins, joining Beth Anders of Old Dominion (503 wins entering the season), Connecticut's Nancy Stevens (481) and North Carolina's Karen Shelton (462).
Lock Haven's Pat Rudy had 459 wins entering the year, but she isn't yet eligible as a DI coach since Lock Haven recently moved to Division I.
Among all divisions, UConn's Stevens is currently the fourth winningest coach while Rudy is sixth and Morett is ninth.
The Series With Lock Haven
Lock Haven is one of the most storied rivals in Penn State field hockey history with the all-time series dating back to the Lions' first season in 1964.
Overall, Penn State owns a 13-14-1 record against the Lady Eagles, but the Lions have impressed recently with seven straight victories.
Morett is 6-0 all-time against Lock Haven as Penn State's coach. She faced the Lady Eagles in her first two seasons at the helm in 1987 and `88, but didn't play again until 2005. The two schools have faced each other every season since.
After Penn State won the first-ever meeting in 1964, Lock Haven bounced back with nine straight victories.
The teams faced off in 24 of the first 25 years that the Lions fielded a team. Then they didn't play from 1988 until 2005, when the rivalry was renewed with a 4-1 Penn State win.
Lock Haven has served as Penn State's home opener two others times - Sept. 2, 2005 (4-1 win) and Sept. 8, 1988 (5-0 win).
Scouting Lock Haven
Lock Haven's field hockey program has enjoyed tremendous success, both historically and recently.
The Lady Eagles were 19-4 last season and reached the NCAA Play-In Game where they lost to No. 18 American, 2-0.
The three-time Northeast Conference Champions were unanimous choices to repeat as champions in 2009. It was the fifth straight year that they were atop the preseason coaches poll.
Amazingly, the Lady Eagles haven't lost a conference game since 2006. They were 7-0 both last season and in 2007, and 7-1 in 2006.
The squad lost last season's top scorer Blair Wynee, but return four of its top five point-getters, including 46-point scorer Amy Hordenforf. She tied Wynee for the team lead with 20 goals. Suzann Hobart (34 pts: 10g, 14a), Alanna Lews (19 pts: 3g, 13a) and Kristi Shepps (15 pts: 6g, 3a) all return as well. Erin Terreson, who saw the majority of time in goal is also back in 2009. Last year, she was 18-4 with a 1.52 GAA and .755 save percentage.
Through two games this season, the Lady Eagles are 2-0 with wins over Georgetown and Longwood. Shepps leads the way with five points (2g, 1a) while Hobart has four (2g). Terreson has a 2.57 GAA and .667 save percentage, allowing four goals while making eight saves.
The Series With Connecticut
Penn State owns an impressive 16-12-4 all-time record against the Huskies. The four ties are the most the Lions have ever had against an opponent.
This marks the 32nd consecutive season that the Lions and Huskies have squared off. They also played for a second time in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Nov. 11, 1983, a 1-0 UConn victory.
The Lions have lost two consecutive, but did win two straight in 2005 (3-1 victory) and `06 (1-0).
Ironically, this marks the second consecutive season (and third overall) that the teams have faced each other on Sept. 6.
Head coach Charlene Morett does own a 13-8-1 record against UConn while at Penn State.
Last season, the sixth ranked Lions hung tough with No. 4 Connecticut on its own field, but lost by a 1-0 final.
A strong BIG EAST conference saw Connecticut predicted second in the preseason poll, only trailing Syracuse.
The Huskies are coming off a 17-4 season which included an NCAA First-Round appearance. Early in 2009, the team is 2-0 with home wins over Temple (2-0) and Fairfield (8-1). In the Fairfield game, Connecticut outshot the Stags, 37-8 and had seven different goal-scorers. Ali Blankmeyer led the way with a pair of tallies.
The year before, the Huskies made it all the way to the National Semifinals, its ninth all-time appearance which ranks fifth in NCAA history. They only trail Old Dominion (16), North Carolina (13), Maryland (12) and Iowa (11). Connecticut is also right in front of Penn State with 24 all-time NCAA Tournament wins, good for sixth. The Lions are seventh with 18.
The Huskies have taken a hit, graduating a plethora of talented seniors, but they did bring in talented freshmen to fill in the holes. UConn lost senior Lauren Aird who dominated with 47 points (20g, 7a) last year while second-leading scorer Lindsey Leck (25 pts: 8g, 9a) was also lost. The top returning scorer is Melissa Gonzalez, who had 24 points with 10 goals and four assists. Cara Silverman (11 pts: 5g, 1a) also returns. In total, only two of last season's six double-digit scorers are back in 2009.
Returning in goal is grad student Andrea Mainiero, who posted a 1.30 GAA and .792 save percentage while posting an impressive 17-2 record with six shutouts.
Lions Ranked 11th In Preseason NFHCA Poll
Following a Big Ten Championship season, the Penn State field hockey began 2009 ranked No. 11 in the preseason Kookaburra/NFHCA Coaches Poll as announced on Tuesday. The Nittany Lions, who concluded last season in the same position, have 10 opponents ranked in the top-20.
In total, 10 of the Lions' 2009 opponents garnered a preseason national ranking, including six of the top nine: Maryland (1), Connecticut (5), Virginia (6), Princeton (7), Michigan State (8), Iowa (9), American (14), Old Dominion (16), Ohio State (18) and Michigan (19). Other opponents, Northwestern, Indiana, Lock Haven, Bucknell and Stanford all received votes as well.
Five of the seven Big Ten squads were ranked in the top-20, second most of any conference behind the ACC. The other two teams - Indiana and Northwestern - received votes, effectively ranked 26th and 27th, respectively.
Head coach Charlene Morett is only eleven wins shy of her 400th career win.
Entering the season, she owned a 389-145-16 career record, which included her three seasons at Boston College, where she posted a 34-16-8 mark.
She would become only the fourth Division I coach in NCAA history (ninth overall) to reach the 400-win plateau, joining three others, who are still active: Old Dominion's Beth Anders (503 wins entering the season), Connecticut's Nancy Stevens (481) and North Carolina's Karen Shelton (462).
Tough Schedule On Tap
The Penn State field hockey team is set to face eight NCAA Tournament teams from 2008, including National Champion Maryland and National Semifinalist Iowa.
Among the teams ranked in the final NFHCA Coaches Poll are: Maryland (1), Connecticut (5), Iowa (6), Princeton (9), Michigan State (10), Virginia (12), Ohio State (14) and American (18). Lock Haven, Old Dominion, Stanford and Indiana all finished among "Also Receiving Votes."
The squad will also face 10 from the preseason top-20 and five more who are receiving votes. Only three teams - Lafayette, Pacific and West Chester - didn't receive votes.
Facing Defending National Champions
As part of the challenging schedule, the Lions are also set to face a defending national champion for the 21st time when they play at Maryland on Sept. 12.
Overall, Penn State is 5-15 against defending champs, including a 1-0 NCAA Tournament win over Maryland on Nov. 11, 2007. This came one season after the Terrapins were National Champions in 2006.
Only The Best...
Along with facing the defending national champion and a number of ranked foes, the Nittany Lions also face four preseason conference favorites.
In total, they face four who were predicted to win their respective conferences in their preseason polls: Old Dominion (CAA), Virginia (ACC), Lock Haven (NEC) and American (Patriot League).
The Big Ten, NorPac and Ivy League don't have preseason polls. Otherwise, the number could be even more with Big Ten powers along with teams like Stanford, Pacific and Princeton on the slate.
Streaks To Greatness
The field hockey program has put together a number of impressive streaks both recently and looking back to its storied history. The Lions look to extend these streaks in 2009.
With Penn State's nine game winning streak in 2008, the squad put together streaks of nine games or more in three of the previous four seasons (also 10 in 2006 and a school-record 17 in 2005). Ironically, the one season that it didn't put together a streak of that magnitude was in the National Finalist season in 2007 when the longest win streak "only" reached five.
Entering 2009, the Nittany Lions have picked up double-figures in wins in an incredible 31 consecutive seasons, a streak that is still alive.
Additionally, the Lions have never had a losing record under Morett. The worst season came in 2004 when they finished 10-10. Every other season of her storied career has consisted of a winning record.
Owning The Keystone State
Penn State field hockey has dominated state foes, winning 29 consecutive games against teams from Pennsylvania.
The Lions look to extend the streak this year as they face intrastate rivals Lock Haven, Lafayette, West Chester, and Bucknell. The first chance is in the home opener on Sept. 4 vs. Lock Haven at 6 p.m.
The 2008 edition of the Penn State Nittany Lions proved to be one of the more dominant defensive teams in recent memory, and perhaps program history.
The combination of goalkeepers Jen Beaumont and Ali Meves finished the season fourth nationally in goals against average (1.05) and second in shutouts per game (0.45).
Opponents only found the back of the cage 21 times on the season which is the fewest a Penn State team has allowed in 10 years (20 goals in 1999).
PSU In The Polls
The Nittany Lions held steady in the polls each and every week last year, finding themselves anywhere from sixth to 14th. The squad concluded the season at No. 11.
That kept the streak alive of being ranked in every final STX/NFHCA National Top 20 Poll since the poll's inception in 1998.
Get Out To A Lead, Hold Them In The Second
Penn State's formula for success last season usually included a number of first half goals while clamping down defensively in the final 35 minutes for the win.
The Lions scored almost 66 percent of their goals (27 of 41) in the first half of games, while 13 came in the second half and one in overtime.
The margin of difference in the first half was 15 (27-12) while the second was only five (13-8).
In fact, the team's GAA in the second half proved to be less than one at 0.80 while the second half was 50 percent more at 1.20.
Home Sweet Home
Penn State impressed at home in 2008, posting a 7-2 record while only giving up five goals all year at the friendly confines.
Not looking at the Princeton game, the Lion defense allowed only two goals in the other eight home contests (0.25/game).
The defense held its opponent scoreless in the final 223:34 at home and in the process shut out Virginia, Indiana, and Michigan. The squad looks to extend that scoreless streak early in 2009.
The team outscored its opponent by a whopping margin of 22-5 at home while holding a 19-16 scoring edge at road or neutral sites.
Penn State improves to 29-8 all-time at the new Penn State Field Hockey Complex, which opened in 2005.
Racking Up The Hardware
Penn State racked up a fair share of postseason hardware for success on the field and in the classroom, highlighted by three All-American selections.
Jen Long was named NFHCA First Team All-American to extend the Nittany Lions' streak to 24 straight seasons with at least one member on the first team.
The Nittany Lions also swept the end-of-year Big Ten awards as Charlene Morett was named Coach of the Year, Jen Long was named Defensive Player of the Year, Allison Scola was Co Offensive Player of the Year and Jessica Longstreth was tabbed Freshman of the Year.
2009 Media Guide Now Available!
The 2009 media guide is now available! In it, you can find everything you need to know about Penn State field hockey including stats, player bios, a complete history section and much more!
Copies are available for only $5. They will be available at every home game and can also be purchased through the publications store on GoPSUsports.com. Click here to order!
Sign Up For Penn State Field Hockey News
Fans, want to stay up to date on the Penn State field hockey team? Sign up today by contacting Justin Lafleur (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Penn State Athletic Communications Department. You will receive game previews, game recaps, news releases and more, straight to your inbox!
Follow Penn State Field Hockey On Twitter!
Penn State field hockey is now on Twitter! You can find exclusive notes and features to help you stay one step ahead when following the Nittany Lions.
Included will be live in-game scoring updates, so if you can't make it to Happy Valley, you'll still be able to follow all the action. Go to www.twitter.com and search for the username PennStateFH. Click here for a direct link.