Defense Keys Pair of Shutouts for Field Hockey
Sept. 23, 2013
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions were a brick wall during both their matches this weekend, successfully earning two shutout victories and outscoring their opponents 8-0.
On Friday, the No. 12 Lions hosted No. 16 Delaware, marking the first time the two teams met since the 1991 season. While Penn State had a bit of a slow start, they were dominant over the Delaware squad, outshooting the Blue Hens 26-1 by the conclusion of the match. Additionally, the Nittany Lions were able to hold the Blue Hens to only three penalty corners.
"I thought we did a really good job with that, and I thought we did a really good job with our corner defense, as well," stated head coach Charlene Morett of her defense. "They made some good adjustments."
A key portion to the team's stellar defensive play was the goaltending of Kylie Licata (Mountain Top, Pa.).
"Today it was a team effort," stated Licata of the Delaware game. "I didn't get very many shots, but I dealt with the scrappy balls that were in the circle. My defense did a great job of keeping the ball out. I mean, we only gave up three corners, and we looked awesome on the corners. Everybody did a great job today."
"That's more her nature," explained Morett of Licata's aggressive play. "We try to keep her a little bit closer to the line, but I thought she was just alert a couple times when it got dangerous. I thought that she was really focused."
"It feels great to finally find where I need to be and finally find my style with subtleness in it," added Licata. "It feels great to finally be me in the cage."
With such a strong, core defense intact during the Delaware match, the offense was really able to breakout. The Nittany Lions saw goals from a range of student athletes, including two from junior Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.), one from senior captain Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.), one from senior Ashtin Klinger (Selinsgrove, Pa.), and a final goal from junior Jenna Chrismer (Mountain Top, Pa.). Nittany Lion Amanda Dinunzio also assisted her team offensively and was a big contributor to the team's success.
"I just thought some of the kids off the bench, like Amanda Dinunzio, did a nice job coming in, putting the ball in front of the cage a lot," commented Morett. "I think, offensively, we would have liked to see a little bit more in the first half. We said, 'In the second half find your player. Find your teammate,' and I think that's what they did."
"I thought it was a great game," stated Dinunzio. "We haven't had Delaware on our schedule in a few years, so it's great to have a new team on the schedule. We were excited to play them, and we really did good finishing in the circle."
After 70 minutes of play, the Lions successfully defeated Delaware by a score of 5-0.
On Sunday afternoon, the Lions traveled to Lafayette in a continuation of their solid defensive play and were able to extend their win streak to four games.
"I would say it was a typical Penn State-Lafayette match-up," said Morett. "I feel like Lafayette came out strong at the beginning of the game, and we just had a sluggish start. I'm a little disappointed that we didn't have a better start, but I thought our second half was much more productive in getting better shots and looking to the cage."
Overall, the Lions outshot the Lafayette squad 17-3, marking the third time in their past four that they held their opponent to three shots or less. Furthermore, Penn State only gave up one penalty corner throughout the game's entirety.
"Now that we have been playing more as a team, that's a positive," commented Morett. "We're getting more scoring opportunities and finishing, which have definitely made a difference. Now it's time to get into the Big Ten. It's exciting. It's like a whole new season almost. Conference play has an extra competitive element to it."
The Nittany Lions will resume play next weekend in Indiana when they take on Miami (Ohio) and Indiana, marking the start of their Big Ten Conference play.