LIVE GAME UPDATES THROUGH TWITTER
Following a slim 1-0 overtime loss at Lafayette, the Penn State field hockey team returns home for the first time in two weeks as it hosts long-time rival West Chester on Sunday at 12 p.m.
The Golden Rams are the Lions' most common opponent, with Sunday being the 48th all-time meeting. Penn State, who has won 21 straight games against West Chester, leads the all-time series, 31-15-1.
Wednesday's loss snapped Penn State's incredible 30-game win streak against Pennsylvania foes. The Nittany Lions look to start another streak on Sunday against another team from the Keystone State.
Penn State is averaging 582 fans per home games and have a chance to lead the nation in home attendance. Come out to the Penn State Field Hockey Complex on Sunday to support the Nittany Lions!
If you can't make it out to Happy Valley, be sure to check out the Penn State field hockey Twitter page for live in-game updates.
Stay For A Postgame Autograph Session Following The Game
The Nittany Lions are also holding a 30-minute autograph session following the game.
It is a great chance to meet and get autographs from your favorite Penn State players!
Bonenberger, Hoffsmith Featured On Big Ten Website
Seniors Amy Bonenberger and Brooke Hoffsmith were recently featured on the Big Ten official website. The two have been teammates for eight consecutive years after suiting up together in high school. To read the article, please click here
Tidbits From Lafayette Game
Wednesday was the Lions' first overtime game since last Nov. 7, a 2-1 defeat to Ohio State in the Big Ten Semifinals. The team's last overtime victory came on Oct. 24, 2008 vs. Indiana.
Junior Jenny Purvis made her second start of the season (and third of her career).
Redshirt freshman Kristen Schaefer made her second consecutive start.
The attendance of 168 was by far the fewest to see a Penn State field hockey game this year. Damp weather likely played a part.
Hannah Allison and Amy Bonenberger had five of the team's eight shots (63%). For the season, they now have 35 of the squad's 60 shots (58%).
A Big Draw ... Overall...
Penn State field hockey has been a big draw early in 2009, averaging 380 fans (including road and neutral site games). In total, 2,662 have already seen the Lions in their first seven 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 15 (at Iowa on Oct. 18) with three more regular season contests and the postseason still to follow.
But Especially At Home
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.
They're also well on their way to Penn State's largest home attendance in program history. For comparison, the Lions averaged: 372 (2008), 406 (2007), 364 (2006), 318 (2005), 390 (2004), 293 (2003), 413 (2002) and 302 (2001).
The 582 fans for home games would shatter last season's national leader in average attendance. Last season's leader was North Carolina (431).
Many fans 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 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!
A-10 ... Meet The Big Ten
West Chester is the only Atlantic 10 school that the Lions oppose this season.
It already marks the sixth different conference that Penn State has faced along with the CAA (Old Dominion), ACC (Virginia, Maryland), NEC (Lock Haven), BIG EAST (Connecticut) and Patriot League (American, Lafayette).
The Nittany Lions play the Ivy League (Princeton) and NorPac (Pacific, Stanford) in additional nonconference action.
End Of An Incredible Run
Wednesday's loss to Lafayette was significant in that it ended Penn State's 30-game winning streak against intrastate foes.
The last loss was ironically, also against Lafayette (on Sept. 13, 2003) and also in overtime.
To put the streak into perspective, an astonishing 2,194 days came in between those two losses.
Tough Schedule On Tap
The latest NFHCA Coaches Poll (Sept. 15) sees an incredible 11 of Penn State's opponents in the Top-20. Cracking the top 20 are: Maryland (1), Princeton (4), Virginia (5), Connecticut (6), Michigan State (8), Stanford (14), Old Dominion (15), Indiana (17), Northwestern (18), American (19), Ohio State (20). Additionally, Iowa, Michigan, West Chester and Lafayette area also receiving votes.
Also on the docket are eight NCAA Tournament teams from 2008, including National Champion Maryland and National Semifinalist Iowa.
The following squads made the final NFHCA Coaches Poll: 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 also face 10 from the preseason top-20 and five more who received votes. Only three teams - Lafayette, Pacific and West Chester - didn't garner votes.
Sharing The Workload
Junior Ali Meves and redshirt freshman Ayla Halus have shared time in goal, with Halus recording 115:46 while Meves has played 375:52.
Meves got the starting nod on Wednesday after Halus played the final 115:46 at the Terrapin Invitational. The junior keeper had a strong bounceback game with seven saves.
This season 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.
The Series With West Chester
West Chester stands as Penn State's most played opponent in program history. The two teams have played 47 times, a full seven games more than the next most played foe (Ohio State, 40).
The teams didn't play in the Lions' inaugural season (1964), but have faced off in every season since, including for a second time on multiple occasions ('65, '86 and '87).
Penn State leads the all-time series, 31-15-1, which includes 21 consecutive victories.
Also in that span was a 10 game shutout streak that ended last year when West Chester hung tough with the Lions in a narrow 3-2 loss. The Golden Rams held a 1-0 lead on a Brittany Cislak goal, then Penn State scored two straight, but West Chester came right back to tie the score at two before Amy Bonenberger scored the eventual game-winner.
West Chester is one of Penn State's oldest rivals, having played as early as 1965. The teams actually played twice on the same day (Oct. 16, 1965), both West Chester wins by finals of 11-0 and 6-0.
Scouting West Chester
The Golden Rams have had a hot start this season, winning five consecutive games to start the season before No. 2 North Carolina handed them their first defeat.
They've had a wide variety of wins, including by as much as seven (8-1 over St. Francis, Pa. to open the season) and by as little as one (5-4 over Rutgers and 3-2 over Monmouth). The Rutgers contest went to two overtimes while the Monmouth contest went to one.
West Chester was solid last season, posting a 7-11 record with two victories in Atlantic 10 conference play (over Saint Louis and La Sale).
Before traveling to Penn State, West Chester did play a Friday contest against Towson.
Heading into the weekend, Melissa LeNoir led the squad in scoring with an impressive 17 points (7g, 3a) in the first six games. Alyssa Gallen followed with nine (4g, 1a) followed by Kristen Foore with eight (3g, 2a) and Alisha Moran, Leah Angstadt and Brynn Adams with seven apiece.
Joelle Zarefoss has played every minute in goal, posting a 2.19 GAA and .754 save percentage.
Wednesday was 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.
They then fell to Lafayette, ranked No. 2 in the preseason conference poll, 1-0 in overtime on Wednesday.
Penn State looks for better luck against the Patriot League when it hosts Bucknell (predicted fourth) on Oct. 13.
Even with the most recent loss, Penn State is still an incredible 55-6-2 all-time against the Patriot League.
The Lions have faced Bucknell the most (31-2-2 record) followed by Lafayette (14-2), Lehigh (8-0) and American (1-2).
Stroke Of Excellence
Sophomore Jessica Longstreth found herself in a familiar position on Sunday vs. American 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 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.
Redshirt Senior Christine Dudek has tallied two assists through seven 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.
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.
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 performance 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.
Overall, Allison leads the team with two goals, five points, 21 shots and 15 shots on goal.
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.
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. 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.
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.