BLOG: Strong Offense Leads to Sweep of Weekend Matches
Oct. 14, 2013
By Julie Bacanskas, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
On Friday, Penn State took on Big Ten opponent Ohio State, emerging victoriously over the Buckeyes by a final score of 6-1. The Lions saw goals from an array of student-athletes including two from senior captain Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.), one from senior Lauren Purvis (Maple Glen, Pa.), and one each from juniors Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.), Amanda Dinunzio (State College, Pa.), and Jenna Chrismer (Mountain Top, Pa.).
"I just thought our kids came out really strong," said head coach Char Morett. "I thought we had a great week of practice. We only had two days. We gave them Monday off. They practiced Tuesday, Wednesday, and then with the rain, we said, `You know what, they had a great practice on Wednesday.' I said, `You're ready to go. Let's just be rested.' They hit some corners around early today, and then they just came out ready. I thought we just did a really, really good job of possessing the ball. I thought it was just a great performance for this group of girls."
During the game, Dinunzio scored her second goal in two games, which also stood as her second career goal.
"I'm just so happy," said Dinunzio. "It was a lucky shot that snuck in there, so I'm just really happy to get that second one. I was just low, covering the post, and saw the ball trickle through and got a little touch on it, and it snuck past the goalie's pads."
"It gives me some confidence," Dinunzio added. "I just hope to keep it going."
Penn State's dominance and stick work inside the circle was also highly impressive during the match.
"Our strikers did a really good job of getting the ball to space and then getting the shot off," said Morett. "We haven't always been able to get shots off, and I think you've seen in the past where we haven't gotten to the circle. So we really emphasized the stick skills today and getting to the circle. They did a really nice job."
In addition to the overall stellar play of the Penn State forwards, the offensive penalty corner unit proved to be a major difference maker in the game. The Lions drew 13 total penalty corners during the 70 minutes of play. The team got creative with its attempts, utilizing the skills of student-athletes such as Grzywacz and junior captain Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.).
"We tried some on the fly," explained Morett. "We made some up today. I have a lot of confidence in them, so just giving them a little bit of voice on those corners. We tried one with Laura carrying it down the middle, but they didn't go for it. I thought their corner defense actually did a nice job against us. Both Britt's corners were unbelievable. The drag at the end was just ridiculous."
The team also recognizes its corner success, a direct result of hard practice and determination.
"It's something we've been working on all season, getting a lot of different plays, and we tried a lot of those different ones today," said Grzywacz. "We were able to execute on them."
"It's a little crazy hectic at the time, but it's fun," added Grzywacz of the team's corner creativity against Ohio State. "It's fun to get different people shooting, you know, trying different things. It's fun to see how it all plays out."
The team's newfound corner confidence is highly important to its style of play. The offensive unit also played a large role in the team's shutout victory over Bucknell on Sunday afternoon. Purvis and Chrismer scored the team's two goals, both a result of penalty corners. The team drew a total of eight corners in the match.
"Corners are harder than they look, and especially with us trying some options," explained Morett. "What's great is when you have an inserter, stopper, shot, goal. That's ideal. Britt is getting into a better rhythm with that, even with her drag."
The Lions will take the field again at noon on Saturday when they continue Big Ten play against Michigan State at the Field Hockey Complex.