No. 13 Field Hockey Team Hosts No. 5 Iowa in BTN, Think Pink Match on Friday
Oct. 8, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 13 Penn State field hockey team will take on a slate of ranked opponents - No. 5 Iowa and No. 10 Virginia - this weekend at the Field Hockey Field in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions battle Iowa on Friday at 3:10 p.m. and host Virginia Sunday at 1 p.m. The Hawkeyes and Cavaliers lock horns with each other Saturday at 2 p.m. in a neutral game.
Friday's game against Iowa will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Frank Giardina and Karen Weaver will call the game.
The match-up with the Hawkeyes is also the Think Pink Day and pink Penn State T-Shirts will be given away to fans in attendance. Penn State women's athletic programs are raising money for breast cancer awareness through WBCA Pink Zone. In two years, Nittany Lions teams have raised more than $50,000 for four breast cancer organizations: Women for the Cure, the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. For Sunday's game against the Cavs, a chosen student in attendance will attempt a mid-field shot to win a car.
Penn State (7-4 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) is currently on a three-game winning streak, as of Oct. 9. The Nittany Lions earned two wins last week, defeating Lafayette, 3-0, at home and Lock Haven, 3-1, on the road. Daneen Zug scored two goals in the victory over the Eagles, and Allison Scola tallied three assists in two games.
Iowa (10-2 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) won eight consecutive games. The Hawkeyes defeated an upstart Northwestern team, 2-0, and demolished Missouri State, 8-0, this past weekend. Lauren Pfeiffer had a hat trick, and Sarah Pergine earned five points (one goal, three assists) as the Hawkeyes issued an octet against the Bears.
Virginia (10-3 overall, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) is coming off a 4-3 loss to No. 1 Maryland on Saturday in overtime. The Terrapins scored 10 minutes into over the extra period as the Wahoos have lost two of its past three games.
Following its twin bill this weekend, Penn State will look for its 29th consecutive intra-state win when it travels up Route 45 to face Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa.
The Series vs. Iowa, Virginia
Iowa is one of five teams to claim a winning record against the Nittany Lion field hockey team, holding a 22-17-1 lead in the all-time series. The Hawkeyes beat Penn State, 2-1, in overtime in their only face-off last year. The Nittany Lions hold a 12-3 series advantage over the Hoos. Virginia has not beaten Penn State since 1997 when it knocked head coach Charlene Morett's squad out of the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Lions defeated the Cavaliers in both the first and last game of Virginia's 2007 season. After beating them 3-1 in the season opener, Penn State ended Virginia's season in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 3-2. The Cavaliers held a lead at the break, but Penn State scored three straight second-half goals to earn its first victory on its way to the championship game. Virginia is facing the two teams that ended its season the past two years as Iowa knocked it out of the first round in 2006. The Hoos, on the other hand, lead the series season with the Hawkeyes, 2-1.
Scouting the Nittany Lions
Despite ranking 38th in goals per game (2.18), the Nittany Lions are 21st in the nation in scoring margin (1.09).
The Nittany Lions' strong suit this season has been their defensive as they find themselves near the top of nearly every defensive category. The defense is tied for first with James Madison in shutouts per game (0.45). Jen Beaumont, along with reserve goalkeeper Ali Meves, is second individual and team save percentage (80.6 percent, 81.3 percent) behind only Villanova's goalkeeping squad. Penn State's defense has deterred opposing offenses, as the team ranks only 50th in saves per game (4.73).
Beaumont is 10th in goals against average, allowing only 1.17 per game.
Penalty corners have been a key part of Morett's game. Penn State is third in Division I in penalty corner opportunities per game (9.64).
Scola and Jen Long are 24th and 41st, respectively, in assists per game.
Scouting the Hawkeyes
Iowa won the past two Big Ten conference tournaments.
The Hawkeyes feature two 2007 All-Americans on their roster, Lauren Pfeiffer (second-team) and Meghan Beamesderfer (third-team).
Caitlin McCurdy leads Iowa in points (30) and goals scored (eight). She has connected on 34.2 percent of her shots.
The Iowa field hockey team has three players who lead the Big Ten in seven categories. Pfeiffer leads the conference in shots (84) and shots per game (7). McCurby is on top of points per game (2.5), goals (13) and goals per game (1.08). Goalkeeper Lissa Munley leads in individual shutouts (six), goals against average (1) and shutouts per game (.42).
The Hawkeyes is fourth in the nation in scoring average, goals against average, scoring margin, shutouts per game, points per game and assists per game. It is fifth in goals per game.
Scouting the Cavaliers
The Cavaliers have two All-Americans on their roster. Traci Ragukas was a second-team All-American last year, while Inge Kaars Sijpesteijn, a transfer from Michigan State, was on the third-team.
Pien Hulsebosch has played on Holland's national field hockey team.
Freshman Paige Selenski is the reigning Pennsylvania State Player of the Year for her efforts at Dallas (Pa.) High School.
Selenski, last week's National Rookie of the Week, leads the team in both points (32) and goals (13). Selenski is 12th and 16th, respectively, nationally in those categories.
This weekend marks just the second time all season the Wahoos has traveled outside the confines of the commonwealth of Virginia. The Cavaliers are 1-2 this season when playing outside of Charlottesville, Va.
Virginia is seventh in goals per game (3.54) and sixth in goals against average (1.06).
Goalkeeper Amy Desjadon is third in the country in goals against average (0.92).
Between the three clubs participating this weekend, a total of 43 players hail from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Penn State has 21 in-state players on its roster. Iowa - despite being 900 miles and 14 hours away from the field hockey hotbeds of Bucks County, the Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton - has 12 players claiming residence in our nation's second state. Virginia claims 10 players from the Keystone State.
There are eight Pennsylvania high schools, which have more than one player on this weekend's rosters. Teammates from four high schools will be competing against each other on opposing teams. Penn State's Jordan Petchel and Iowa's McCurdy and Munley are graduates from Crestwood High School in Mountain Top. The Comets won Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic Association state championships in 2003 and 2004. Penn State's Casey McCartin and Jenny Purvis, as well as Virginia's Taylor Swezey, played for Hatboro-Horsham in the Philadelphia suburbs. Iowa's Jess Werley and Virginia's Rachel Jennings and Shelly Edmonds all played together at Emmaus, where the Green Hornets won PIAA state championships in three of the past four years. Meghan Beamesderfer and Becca Spengler, of Iowa, and Shelly Edmonds, of Virginia, were teammates are Warwick High School in Lititz.
A representative from nine of the past ten two-divisional PIAA state championship field hockey teams will be playing at University Park, Pa. this weekend. The 2006 Wyoming Seminary team is the lone champion to not field a player in one of the three games. However, Iowa's Caroline Blaum played for the Blue Knights' 2001 state championship team.
Lions rise to No. 13 in poll
Penn State rose one spot to No. 13 in the NFHCA national poll. The Big Ten features three teams in the Top 20. Michigan State jumped four spots in No. 6.
Penn State has allowed goals in the second half in only three of its games this season. The Nittany Lions are holding opponents to 0.36 goals in the latter frame this season.