Check Twitter For In-Game Scoring Updates
The Penn State field hockey team looks to get on track when it heads to Lafayette for a Wednesday night matchup against its Pennsylvania rival. Please note: the original start time was 6 p.m. but has been changed to 7 p.m.
Penn State is the first team in "others receiving votes" with 86 points in the NFHCA Coaches Poll released on Tuesday. Lafayette is also receiving votes (three points).
The Nittany Lions look for their 31st consecutive win against an in-state opponent. Its last loss to a team from the Keystone State came on Sept. 13, 2003, a 2-1 overtime defeat at Lafayette.
No live stats will be available for the contest, but check the Penn State field hockey Twitter page for updates. Also, check GoPSUsports.com following the game for a complete recap of the action.
Owning The Keystone State
One storyline that came out of the home-opening win over Lock Haven was the continued success over intrastate rivals. Penn State field hockey has now won 30 consecutive games against teams from Pennsylvania.
The Lions look to extend the streak against Lafayette. They also face West Chester and Bucknell this year.
Wednesday marks Penn State's second straight game against a Patriot League opponent.
The Lions lost to the league's preseason favorite, American University, 3-1 on Sunday. The Eagles were selected as preseason favorites for a seventh straight season.
Penn State plays the preseason Nos. 1, 2 and 4 as Lafayette was predicted second and Bucknell, who the Lions face on Oct. 13, was picked to finish fourth.
All-time, Penn State is an incredible 54-5-2 against the Patriot League.
The Lions have faced Bucknell the most (31-2-2 record) followed by Lafayette (14-1), Lehigh (8-0) and American (1-2).
Stroke of Excellence
Sophomore Jessica Longstreth found herself in a familiar position on Sunday when she took a second half penalty stroke.
It was her second of the season (and career). She found the back of the cage for the first time after a failed attempt vs. Lock Haven (Sept. 4).
Penn State had two penalty strokes all of last season, both from Allison Scola, and both goals.
The most penalty stroke attempts this century was four in 2004, a mark that the Lions can realistically surpass this season.
A Big Draw
Penn State field hockey has been a big draw early in 2009, averaging 416 fans (including road and neutral site games). In total, 2,494 have already seen the Lions in the first six games.
Last season, the cumulative attendance at Penn State's 20 games was 5,223. At this pace, the Lions would surpass that figure right around Game 14 (Bucknell on Oct. 13) with four more regular season contests and the postseason still to follow.
At home, the Nittany Lions have averaged 582 fans which is on pace to easily top last year's average of 372, fourth best in the nation.
The 582 fans for home games would shatter last season's national leader in attendance average. For perspective, last season's leader was North Carolina (431).
Many stopped by the home opener vs. Lock Haven (Sept. 4) on their way to football eve, creating a buzz of an atmosphere.
Then on Sunday (vs. No. 5 Connecticut), the third largest crowd in the history of the Penn State Field Hockey Complex (694) witnessed a thrilling game.
The 694 fans only trail the 794 on Sept. 1, 2008 against Maryland and 770 on Sept. 2, 2007 versus Connecticut. Four of the top five crowds in the facility's history have come against the Huskies.
The attendance total of 694 also stands as the 23rd largest crowd in NCAA Regular Season history and 32nd largest in NCAA history.
Fans can continue these attendance figures with six home games still remaining. With a strong showing the rest of the way, Penn State has a chance to lead the nation in attendance. Come be a part of it!
The Lions return home on Sept. 20 vs. West Chester. Gametime is set for 12 p.m.
Redshirt Senior Christine Dudek has tallied two assists through six games this season after having none in the first three years of her playing career.
After a scoreless freshman and sophomore year, she broke out with 10 points (five goals) last season.
This year, she assisted on Hannah Allison's second goal Friday while setting up fellow senior Amy Bonenberger in the season-opener at then-No. 16 Old Dominion.
Dudek then scored a goal at defending national champion and No. 1 Maryland on Saturday. It came on only her second shot of the season with both coming in a span of nine seconds. The second shot found the back of the cage after a scramble in front of the goal.
Her two assists lead the team while she is second on the team (to only Allison) with four points.
There's A First Time For Everything
The Terrapin Invitational consisted of some notable firsts for a pair of Nittany Lions.
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Ayla Halus made her first collegiate appearance in relief of Ali Meves on Saturday. She was strong, making seven saves in the final 45:46.
Halus then made her first-career start on Sunday against American. She made six saves in that contest.
In addition, fellow redshirt freshman Kristen Schaefer made her first-career start on Sunday. She was one of six Lions to play all 70 minutes.
Sharing The Workload
Halus and Meves have shared time in goal, with Halus recording 115:46 while Meves has played 304:14.
It marks the first time that two Penn State goalies have eclipsed 100 minutes since 2000 when Heidi Leuchte played 488 and current assistant coach Annie Zinkavich played 1,150.
Second Half Bunch
The Lions have impressed in second half action this season with six of their seven goals coming in the final 35 minutes.
Penn State's last six goals have come in the second half after senior Amy Bonenberger scored in the first half in the season opener at No. 16 Old Dominion.
Ironically, the trend was opposite last season, with nearly 66 percent of their goals (27 of 41) in the first half with 13 in the second half and one in overtime.
The Series With Lafayette
Penn State has controlled the all-time series, winning 14 of 15 meetings.
Ironically, the only loss was also the Lions' last defeat at the hands of an intrastate team.
The Nittany Lions have outscored Lafayette by a whopping 57-7 margin all-time. In addition, Penn State has pitched a shutout in 11 of the 14 wins, including five straight.
The last Leopards goal came in their last win (2003). Penn State has shut-out Lafayette the last 350 minutes of the all-time series.
The teams first met in 1990 and played every season until '97. Then, the squad didn't play again until 2002 and they've played every season since.
Following a strong 12-7 season in 2008, the Leopards were selected to finish second in the preseason Patriot League poll, only trailing American.
Lafayette finished second in the league last year, but was upset by third seeded Bucknell in the Patriot League semifinals.
The team took a hit, losing the league's top scorer and three-time first team All-League member Maggie Condon who had 15 goals and five assists last year. Jaclyn DiSanti, who had 12 assists, also graduated.
Eight starters do return though, highlighted by Meghan Cicchi, Kelly Hilovsky and Carolyn Cabrey. Cicchi was a first team All-League performer while Hilovsky made the second team.
Hilovsky is the top returning scorer with 19 points (7g, 5a) in 2008.
Goalkeeper Kelsey Anderson returns with a league-leading 1.38 GAA and six shutouts, second in the league.
Lafayette has only played four games thus far in 2009, posting a 3-1 record. It has beaten Longwood (3-2), Radford (1-0) and Georgetown (2-0) while losing to Temple (1-0).
Hilvosky leads the way in scoring with four points (2g) followed by Lindsay Majno with three (1g, 1a) and Deanna DiCroce and Meghan Cloonan with a goal apiece. Bridget Hilbig has two assists while Amanda Saber has one.
Anderson has been stellar with a 0.87 GAA and .769 save percentage, playing every minute thus far.
Why Does My Shirt Have To Be "Red?"
The Penn State field hockey team has a number of redshirts on its 2009 roster, led by four redshirt freshmen (Hannah Allison, Ayla Halus, Kristen Schaefer, Alex Schlener), a redshirt sophomore (Lauren Alloway) and two redshirt seniors (Christine Dudek, Jen Miller).
The squad only includes two true freshmen, but when you add the redshirts, the freshmen become 38 percent of the team.
In total, 7 of the 19 players have redshirted.
Speaking of freshmen, one of those redshirts, Hannah Allison, had a game to remember in the home opener vs. Lock Haven on Sept. 4.
She had a hand in all of Penn State's goals, finishing with five points, the most by a Nittany Lion freshman since Brittney Long had that many on Sept. 18, 2005 vs. West Chester.
Another freshman, Shaun Banta, also had five (2g, 1a) on Sept. 17, 2004 vs. Lafayette.
Allison was the first Nittany Lion with five points in a half since another freshman, Kristen Miller, had two goals and an assist in the second half of a 12-1 home win over Saint Joseph's (Sept. 21, 2003). Current assistant coach Annie Zinkavich was the starting goalkeeper in that game.
The five points were also the most for any Lion since Allison Scola last Oct. 19 at Northwestern.
The last player to have more than five was current senior Bethany Marvel when she recorded a hat trick (six points) on Oct. 23, 2007 at Bucknell. In that game, her sixth point came only 1:50 into the second half.
The performance earned her Penn State Student Athlete of the Week on Sept. 7, an honor she shared with senior football quarterback Daryll Clark.
Coaches Who Know How To Win
Penn State is playing some of the greatest coaches in NCAA history this season.
The squad has already faced three of the top five winningest active coaches (all win totals as of the beginning of the season): Beth Anders (Old Dominion, 554), Nancy Stevens (Connecticut, 462) and Missy Meharg (367, Maryland).
Current Lion coach Charlene Morett is fourth on that list with 389 career wins entering the season.
All-time, Anders is first in NCAA Division I history with her 554 wins while Stevens is second, Morett is fourth, Meharg is fifth, Virginia's Michele Madison is 18th (250 wins) and West Chester's Kathy Krannebitter is 24th (212).
In addition, 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.
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.
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 and Princeton on the slate.
Facing Defending National Champions
As part of their challenging schedule, the Lions faced a defending national champion for the 21st time, last Saturday at Maryland.
With the loss, Penn State is now 5-16 against defending champs, with the last win being a 1-0 NCAA Tournament victory over Maryland on Nov. 11, 2007.
Starting Her 'Starting' Career With A Bang
Junior goalkeeper Ali Meves had a strong first four starts of her career.
Meves recorded her first-career win in the home opener vs. Lock Haven. She finished with eight big saves, including a number in the first half to keep the Lions close, allowing them to take a second half lead behind an offensive outburst.
On Aug. 30, Meves 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.
The "Big" CC?
Penn State could make a case to be an honorary member of the ACC due to the number of nonconference games against one of the top conferences in the country.
This season is no different, with Virginia and Maryland, arguably the ACC's two best teams, on the slate.
Over the previous two years (2007 and '08), Penn State played nine games against ACC squads, posting a 5-4 record. That included four straight games in 2007 as part of its magical run to the National Championship Game.
All-time, Penn State has faced - Maryland (31 times), North Carolina (28), Virginia (16), Duke (5), Wake Forest (4) and Boston College (1).
Ironically, Penn State head coach Charlene Morett began her head coaching career with a current ACC school, Boston College.
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.
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.
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 (email@example.com) 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.