Final Three-Game Homestand Begins Saturday for Field Hockey
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., October 14, 2005 - The Penn State field hockey team plays the first of its final three home games on Saturday at noon vs. No. 15 Michigan State. The No. 6 Nittany Lions (13-1, 3-0) will look to stay perfect in Big Ten action while aiming for their 14th straight win. Penn State has not dropped a game since its season-opening 3-1 loss at Old Dominion, and the 13 straight wins is the second-longest streak in program history.
Penn State's 3-0 start in Big Ten play is the team's best start since 2000 when it opened league action with four straight wins. The team's best start to a conference season came in 1993 when Penn State won its first five conference matches. That season the team won 15 straight games, which is the program's single-game win streak record.
Penn State is the No. 1 rated offense and defense in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions rank first in scoring margin (3.17), first in scoring average (4.02 goals per game), first in goals scored (52 total goals) and first in goals scored per game (3.71 gpg). On the defensive side, Penn State is first in shutouts with seven, first in goals against average (0.85), first in goals allowed (11 total goals) and first in goals allowed per game (0.79 gpg). Penn State is the only team in the Conference to allow less than one goal per contest.
Shaun Banta (Gibbsboro, N.J.) ranks first in the conference with 12 goals, while Annelise Legel (Morgantown, Pa.) ranks third with 11. Natalie Berrena (State College, Pa.) is No. 8 with nine scores this season. Berrena and Kiersten Wood (Lititz, Pa.) are tied for fourth in the conference in total assists with six. Berrena, who is sixth in the Big Ten in points with 24, is one of only two players to rank in the league's top 10 in points, assists and goals.
Defensively, senior goalkeeper Megan Akstin (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) tops the conference in shutouts (six), shutouts per game (0.46), goals against average (0.86) and save percentage (.825).
After facing the Spartans on Saturday, Penn State will stay at home for a 6 p.m. non-conference matchup vs. Bucknell on Tuesday, Oct. 18. The final home game of the season will be next Saturday, Oct. 22 at noon vs. Ohio State. The Lions will wrap up the regular season on the road, first at Indiana on Friday, Oct. 28, and then at North Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 30. The Big Ten Tournament is in Iowa City, Iowa this year from Nov. 4-6.
For more information on Nittany Lion field hockey and Penn State athletics, visit www.GoPSUsports.com.