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#18 Northwestern (11-4, 0-2 Big Ten)
at ORV Penn State (4-8, 1-1 Big Ten)
Friday, October 9, 2009 6 p.m.
Penn State Field Hockey Complex, University Park, Pa.
Coverage: Follow all the action through Twitter
The Penn State field hockey team looks for its third straight win over a ranked opponent on Friday as it hosts No. 18 Northwestern at 6 p.m. It is Pink Day in support of Breast Cancer Awareness with the first 200 fans receiving a FREE pink T-Shirt.
The Nittany Lions are coming off two huge wins, last Friday over No. 18 Ohio State in overtime, and Monday vs. No. 14 Stanford. They look for three straight wins against ranked opponents for the first time since the 2007 postseason when they defeated Virginia, Maryland and Wake Forest as part of their magical run to the National Championship Game. The last time it happened in the regular season was from Oct. 2-15, 2005 when they defeated No. 13 Michigan, No. 12 Iowa and No. 15 Michigan State in successive games.
Northwestern is 11-4 on the season, but 0-2 in Big Ten play. It has lost to Michigan State and Michigan, but bounced back with two straight wins, over Saint Louis (12-1) and California (3-0).
PINK DAY PROMOTIONS: Along with the pink T-Shirts, donations can be made for Breast Cancer research. The proceeds will go directly to Play4theCure. The Nittany Lions will also be wearing special pink jerseys.
As always, be sure to check the Penn State field hockey twitter page before, during and after the game to stay updated on the Nittany Lions.
Amy, Meves Garner Big Ten Weekly Awards
Penn State field hockey goalkeeper Ali Meves (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) and forward Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.) were named Big Ten Defensive and Freshman of the Week on Monday after their stellar efforts led to Penn State's thrilling 2-1 overtime win over No. 18 Ohio State. Meves made 11 saves, including nine sensational stops after halftime, to keep the score tied while Amy scored the game-winning goal in overtime to send the Lions home winners.
To read the whole release, please click here.
Field Hockey To Be Honored On Champs Day
The Penn State field hockey team will be honored at halftime of this Saturday's home football game vs. Eastern Illinois.
It is "Champs Day" as the Lions will be one of many Penn State squads recognized for championship seasons last year.
The Nittany Lions won the 2008 Big Ten Regular Season Title, their first since 2005 and fifth overall.
Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN Classic.
Ohio State Instant Classic Aired On Big Ten Network
The broadcast of Friday's thrilling victory over Ohio State was shown on Sunday (Oct. 4) and Monday (Oct. 5) on the Big Ten Network.
It will likely be shown later in the season as well, so check back to GoPSUsports.com for air dates and times.
Leah Secondo and Karen Weaver were on the call. The broadcast also includes a pair of exclusive interviews with Penn State head coach Charlene Morett.
Video highlights are also available on the Big Ten Network website. Just click here.
Nittany Lions Featured On Big Ten Network Show
Not only are two Penn State field hockey games scheduled for the Big Ten Network, but a number of features will be run on the network as well, starting on Monday, Oct. 5 at 2:30 p.m.
As part of the first episode of Penn State: Access Granted, redshirt sophomore Lauren Alloway and redshirt freshman Ayla Halus gave fans an all-access tour of their facilities, plus a special trip to the Berkey Creamery!
If you missed the first showing, check out one of the re-air times: Oct. 8 (2 p.m.), Oct. 15 (1:30 a.m.), Oct. 20 (2 p.m.) and Oct. 28 (6:30 p.m.).
You can also watch it online by clicking here.
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.
Penn State remains in Happy Valley for its final game of its four-game homestand on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m.
The Nittany Lions then hit the road next for a showdown with Iowa on Sunday, Oct. 18, tape delayed on the Big Ten Network.
They are on the road the following weekend as well, at Indiana and vs. Pacific.
Jumping Out To A Lead
Monday's game against No. 14 Stanford was only the second time all season that the Lions have scored first with both coming at home.
The other came on Sept. 20 vs. West Chester when they routed the Golden Rams, 5-0.
Penn State is a perfect 2-0 on the season when scoring first and 2-8 when allowing the first goal.
Converting On Opportunities
Penn State was actually outshot 14-13 against Stanford, but converted on a number of golden opportunities for the win.
Eight of the Lions' 13 shots (62%) were on goal, with three of those eight (38%) finding the back of the cage.
On the contrary, Stanford had 14 shots, 11 on goal with six stopped by Ali Meves and the other four defensively saved.
Only three shots for Stanford and five for Penn State were off the mark.
In five home games thus far, Penn State has posted a 4-1 record, outscoring its opponents 14-5.
They have also outshot their four foes, 86-55.
Meanwhile, the Lions have been outshot, 109-52 away from home.
Amy "Fresh" When Needed Most
Freshman forward Kelsey Amy is in the midst of a breakout stretch with a goal in each of the past two games. She has taken advantage of three consecutive starts, all in conference games.
Her first-career goal came at an opportune time on Friday vs. No. 18 Ohio State.
The native of Sweet Valley, Pa. showed her speed in overtime, leading to the low, hard shot that found the back of the cage.
Amy's overtime game-winner marked the first time in well over 10 seasons that a Penn State rookie has netted an overtime game-winner. She is also the first freshman this century to do so. The "youngest" class that recently scored an overtime game-winner was a sophomore.
The goal also extended an incredible streak of a different Penn State player scoring her first-career goal in the first four home games. It started with Hannah Allison vs. Lock Haven (9/4) leading up to Casey McCartin (9/6), Alex Schlener (9/20) and Amy (10/2).
Then on Monday vs. No. 14 Stanford, she scored the go-ahead (and eventual game-winning) goal in the first half, less than two minutes after the Cardinal had tied the score at one.
It was the first time that a Penn State player has scored a goal in consecutive games since Allison Scola did so last Oct. 26 and 31 against Michigan and Michigan State.
It was also the first time that a Lion player has tallied two consecutive game-winning goals since last Oct. 5 and 10 when Daneen Zug had the honor in wins over Lock Haven and No. 5 Iowa.
Don't Forget About Me!
Not to be forgotten, a star from both games was junior goalkeeper Ali Meves.
Following a sensational effort on Friday, she was solid in making six saves on Monday.
Friday's game may not have reached overtime if not for Meves' efforts. She kept the score tied with one incredible save after another, mostly coming in the second half and overtime.
She finished with 11 stops, good for her second double-figure save performance of the season (and her career). They came in two of her previous three starts (also at Princeton on Sept. 23).
I've Got Your Back
When Meves didn't make the save on Monday, her teammates came up big with an incredible four defensive stops, all coming from seniors.
This came after two defensive saves in the first 11 games combined.
Brooke Hoffsmith had two for the game, one in each half, while Amy Bonenberger and Laura Cahill had big stops as well to keep Penn State up by one.
Stroke Of Excellence
Sophomore Jessica Longstreth found herself in a familiar position against No. 14 Stanford when she took her third penalty stroke of the season (and her career).
The native of Richboro, Pa. converted to give the Lions the early advantage.
It was her third attempt and second goal of the season (and career). She found the back of the cage against American (Sept. 13) 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.
The Wildcats are surging with 11 wins already, good for a No. 18 national ranking.
Their wins have come against: Boston University (2-1, OT), Ohio (3-2, OT), Yale (3-2, OT), Sacred Heart (5-0), Central Michigan (5-2), Miami (Ohio) (3-2), Missouri State (8-0), Saint Joseph's (7-3), Maine (3-2, OT), Saint Louis (12-1) and California (3-0).
They have been in a number of tight games with four going to overtime.
The squad also set a number of school records in its recent 12-1 victory over the Billikens.
Northwestern looks for its first conference win after falling against both of the "Michigans," the Wolverines and Spartans.
Leading the way offensively is Chelsea Armstrong with an astonishing 51 points (20g, 11a). Her points per game ranked third in the nation at the start of the week. In addition, Courtney Plaster has 23 points (10g, 3a) along with Elizabeth Dobbs (9g, 5a). Kaylee Pohlmeyer has 14 (6g, 2a) while Stephanie Fortson (3g, 5a) and Sarah Marcincin (2g, 7a) have 11.
Two goalkeepers have split time in the cage. Amanda Wirth is 5-1 with a 1.84 GAA and .739 save percentage while Katie Lynch is 5-3 with a 2.39 GAA and .667 save percentage.
The Series With Northwestern
These two Big Ten rivals have met 28 times in field hockey with Penn State owning a commanding 24-3-1 advantage.
All 28 games have come since 1993, the Lions' first season in the Big Ten.
Penn State has won 16 straight games in the all-time series with its last loss coming on Oct. 3, 1997, a 2-1 defeat (in penalty strokes).
The last home loss came way back on Oct. 9, 1994, by a 2-1 final.
Penn State is 11-1 all-time against the Wildcats at home and 2-0 at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
The teams have also met three times in Big Ten Tournament action, all Nittany Lion victories.
Additional Tidbits From The Ohio State Classic
Friday was Penn State's fourth straight regular season win over the Buckeyes. The most recent loss came in the postseason, last year's Big Ten Semifinals.
The Nittany Lions also extended their Big Ten home opening win streak to eight games.
Overall, the Lions are 16-2 in their first Big Ten home game with the last loss coming in 2001.
Penn State already has two overtime games this season through 12 games.
Last season, the Lions had two games go into an extra session, one in the regular season and one in the Big Ten Tournament.
The squad still has a chance to finish with the most overtime games since 1995 when there were six.
Four games went to overtime on multiple occasions between 1995 and 2009.
The school record for overtime games was seven in 1986. That included an incredible four straight overtime contests.
New Foe = New Conference
After playing seven different conferences, Stanford out of the NorPac was the eighth (and final) conference that Penn State will play.
The Nittany Lions also faced teams from the Big Ten (Michigan, Ohio State) Ivy League (Princeton), CAA (Old Dominion), ACC (Virginia, Maryland), NEC (Lock Haven), BIG EAST (Connecticut), Atlantic 10 (West Chester), and Patriot League (American, Lafayette).
Another NorPac squad, Pacific, is also on Penn State's schedule.
Penn State has played some of the top teams in the country and it shows when looking at their cumulative record.
In total, the Lions' eight losses have come to teams with a combined record of 67-23 (.744 win percentage). Five teams have dominant marks led by No. 1 Maryland (12-0), No. 3 Virginia (11-1), No. 4 Princeton (9-1) and No. 7 Connecticut (11-1).
Penn State's three wins have come against teams with great records as well, led by Stanford (10-2), Lock Haven (10-3), Ohio State (7-4) and West Chester (5-6) for an overall opponent record of 99-38 (.723 win percentage).
Five of the losses have come to top-10 squads. The Nittany Lions will still play another top-10 team this season in Michigan State.
Field Hockey RPI Released
The most recent NCAA field hockey RPI was released this week with the Nittany Lions coming in 22nd.
Penn State moved up four slots after finding itself 26th in the first RPI.
Four of the Nittany Lions' opponents are in the top ten and nine in the top 30.
Maryland comes in third followed by Virginia (4), Princeton (6), Michigan State (7), Old Dominion (9), Connecticut (12), Stanford (14), Northwestern (21), Michigan (27) and American (29).
Shutting The Door
Junior goalkeeper Ali Meves had a stellar performance against Princeton on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
After allowing a goal on the Tigers' first shot, she stopped 14 of the next 16 sent her way for the most saves by a Penn State goalie since Jen Beaumont had 16 against Ohio State on Oct. 8, 2006.
She's had a number of monster save performances to go along with her most recent career effort. The native of Lower Gwynedd, Pa. also made seven saves at Lafayette (9/16), eight vs. Lock Haven (9/4) and nine at Virginia (8/30).
Meves then made four saves at Michigan (9/27) in her first-career start against a Big Ten foe.
She recorded her first win in just under a month when she shut the door against No. 18 Ohio State (with 11 saves), which led to a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory.
Her second straight win came on Monday, making six saves vs. No. 14 Stanford.
A Big Draw
Penn State field hockey has been a big draw early in 2009, averaging 416 fans at its games (including road and neutral site contests). In total, 4,990 have already seen the Lions just over halfway through the regular season schedule.
That average of 416 is almost 200 more than the next "most-seen" Big Ten opponent, Michigan (232).
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 13 or 14 (vs. Northwestern or Bucknell) with more regular season contests and the postseason still to follow.
The Nation's Attendance Leader?
Penn State has a realistic chance to lead the nation in average home attendance.
The Nittany Lions have averaged 448 fans at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, which is on pace to easily top last year's figure 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 perspective, the Lions averaged: 372 (2008), 406 (2007), 364 (2006), 318 (2005), 390 (2004), 293 (2003), 413 (2002) and 302 (2001).
The Nittany Lions are also the Big Ten's leader in home attendance, ahead of Michigan in second place (430).
The 448 fans for home games would also top last season's national leader (North Carolina, 431).
The Tar Heels are averaging 592 fans so far this season. In addition, Penn State is ahead of Maryland, Michigan and Lock Haven, who all finished in the top five last year.
More Attendance Tidbits
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, Sept. 6, (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.
Sunday (Sept. 20) vs. West Chester saw another large crowd with the final total standing at 513.
Last time out vs. No. 18 Ohio State on Oct. 2 was one of the "lowest" of the season, partially due to inclement weather. But the attendance total was still impressive with 343 faithful braving the elements.
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!
Start Of A New Streak?
Penn State split a pair of games against Pennsylvania foes this season.
After the loss to Lafayette on Sept. 16 ended a 30-game winning streak against instrate foes, the Nittany Lions hope that the win over West Chester (on Sept. 20) will be the start of a new run.
They will have a chance to make it two in a row next Tuesday (Oct. 13) at 6 p.m. against Bucknell.
To put the streak into perspective, an astonishing 2,194 days (over six years) came in between losses to teams from the Keystone State.
Offensive Explosion Versus West Chester
The Nittany Lions had an offensive outburst on Sunday, Sept. 20, vs. the Golden Rams which led to their second win of the season, both coming at home.
Entering the game, the Lions had scored seven goals in the first seven games, but finished with five in a 5-0 rout.
Only one of the seven goals had been in the first half, but they scored three in the first stanza, including one only 4:03 into the game. That ended a scoreless drought of 222:22 in the first half of games. The only other first half goal prior to that had been in the season-opener at No. 16 Old Dominion.
The Nittany Lions also had 29 shots, 22 on goal, the most since last Sept. 19 vs. Georgetown when they had a whopping 36 shots and 24 on goal.
Junior Daneen Zug finished with a game-high seven shots (six on goal), mostly coming off penalty corners. She more than doubled her shot total in the game alone. She entered the day with six and finished with 13.
Penn State hopes that Sept. 20 will prove to be déjà vu to last season.
One year and one day before the 5-0 win over West Chester, the Nittany Lions dominated Georgetown, 6-0. Both games were at home.
That win propelled them to 10 wins in the next 11 games to put themselves in prime position for an NCAA Tournament berth.
In both games, Christine Dudek had a hand in two of the goals. She posted a goal and assist vs. the Rams while she had a career-high two scores last year against the Hoyas.
Both games also compared in the amount of relentless pressure by the Penn State offense. Along with the similar shot totals, the opposing goalkeepers finished with huge save totals - Georgetown's Deirdre Crovo had 18 and West Chester's Joelle Zarefoss finished with 17.
Penn State has spread the wealth on the offensive end with Jessica Longstreth leading the way with four goals, Hannah Allison with three and four others (Kelsey Amy, Amy Bonenberger, Christine Dudek, & Casey McCartin) tied for third with two apiece.
Bonenberger, Dudek, Longstreth and McCartin all scored their second goals in the 5-0 win over West Chester on Sept. 20.
Longstreth netted her third on Friday vs. No. 18 Ohio State and fourth on Monday vs. No. 14 Stanford.
Amy's first came against the Buckeyes while her second was against the Cardinal.
Allison also scored in the last minute of the Stanford game for her first goal in over a month to propel her into sole possession of second place on the team in scoring.
There's A First Time For Everything
Four Nittany Lions have scored their first-career goals this season (Hannah Allison, Kelsey Amy, Casey McCartin, Alex Schlener).
Junior goalie Ali Meves had her first-career double digit save performance at Princeton (and had her second on Friday, Oct. 2 vs. Ohio State).
She then won consecutive games for the first time in her career by winning on Monday, Oct. 5.
Meves' first-career start came in the season-opener at Old Dominion (8/28). She entered the season having played in four career games, all in relief.
Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Ayla Halus picked up her first-career shutout on Sunday vs. West Chester. It was also Penn State's first shutout of the season.
Halus made her first collegiate appearance in relief of Meves at Maryland on Sept. 12. She was strong, making seven saves in the final 45:46.
Halus then made her first-career start the following day against American. She made six saves in that contest.
Redshirt freshman Kristen Schaefer made her first-career start against American (9/13). She was one of six Lions to play all 70 minutes.
She also had her first-career shot on Friday, Oct. 2 vs. Ohio State and actually finished with two shots in the game.
Then on Monday vs. Stanford, she recorded an assist on Amy's go-ahead goal off a penalty corner.
Redshirt sophomore back Lauren Alloway recorded her first-career shot on Sunday vs. Michigan (9/27). She then had a shot in the following game as well, vs. Ohio State.
Redshirt Senior Christine Dudek has tallied a team-leading four assists through 12 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 vs. Lock Haven a few days after 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. 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.
Most recently, Dudek tallied assists off penalty corners, vs. West Chester (9/20) and Stanford (10/5).
Her four assists lead the team and eight points are tied for the team best.
She has made the most of her shots with two goals on only seven attempts.
Sharing The Workload
Junior Ali Meves and redshirt freshman Ayla Halus have shared time in goal, with Halus recording 185:46 while Meves has played 660:44.
Halus started her second game of the season (and career) on Sept. 20 and earned her first-career shutout.
Meves has gotten the starting nod the previous two Wednesdays after Halus played the final 115:46 at the Terrapin Invitational. The junior keeper had 14 saves at Princeton (9/23) and seven at Lafayette (9/16).
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.
Second Half Bunch
The Lions have impressed in second half action this season with nine of their 17 goals coming in the final 35 minutes along with one in overtime.
Christine Dudek's goal vs. West Chester snapped a scoreless first half skid which reached 222:22. Prior to the marker, Penn State's previous six goals had come in the second half. Amy Bonenberger scored in the first half in the season-opener at No. 16 Old Dominion.
Tides have turned lately with Penn State getting out to a fast start. It has scored five goals in the last two games (vs. Ohio State and Stanford), three coming in the first half (60%).
Ironically, the trend was opposite last season, with nearly 66 percent of their goals (27 of 41) in the first half, 13 in the second 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.
Fantastic Freshman Performance
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 yet 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 is third on the team in scoring with seven points and second with three goals.
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.
The most-played "non-conference" on Penn State's schedule this season is the Patriot League.
The Lions lost to the league's preseason favorite, American University, 3-1 on Sept. 13. 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 Sept 16.
Penn State looks for better luck against the Patriot League when it hosts Bucknell (predicted fourth) on Oct. 13.
Even with the 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).
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.
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 then 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.
Tough Schedule On Tap
The latest NFHCA Coaches Poll (Oct. 6) sees an incredible nine of Penn State's opponents among the Top-20: Maryland (1), Virginia (3), Princeton (5), Connecticut (7), Michigan State (8), Stanford (13), Old Dominion (16), Northwestern (18) and Ohio State (20). Additionally, Indiana, American, Michigan, Lafayette and Iowa and are also receiving votes.
Also on the docket are eight NCAA Tournament teams from 2008, including National Champion Maryland and National Semifinalist Iowa.
The Lions 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.
Facing Defending National Champions
As part of their challenging schedule, the Lions faced a defending national champion for the 21st time on Sept. 12 at Maryland.
With the loss, Penn State is now 5-16 against defending champs, with the last win coming, 1-0, over the Terps on Nov. 11, 2007.
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.
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!
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