Halus Earns Fourth Defensive Player of the Week Award
Oct. 25, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sophomore goalkeeper Ayla Halus earned her fourth Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Award after leading the Penn State field hockey team to a pristine 3-0 record during three crucial non-conference bouts last week.
During the three contests, Halus played 198 minutes in the cage and allowed just one goal. She held Bucknell scoreless on Tuesday before exiting with the game in-hand in the second half. Then, she returned to the field for a pair of top-20 battles over the weekend and surrendered one goal to No. 17 Duke before blanking No. 5 Princeton.
Overall, Halus stopped nine shots and posted an exceptional .900 save percentage during the three-game stretch. For the season, she has now allowed one goal or less in 10 games, including five shutouts.
Against the Bison, Halus set aside two shots in just over 58 minutes of action while keeping the Bucknell attack in-check. When she returned to the field for the weekend match-ups, she was just as stingy.
In the team's 2-1 victory over No. 17 Duke, Halus faced an unrelenting attack that increased its intensity after Penn State played shorthanded for much of the second half. Despite the tense situation, Halus remained unfazed and eventually allowed only one goal while brushing aside three shots.
The very next day, she was even better in the cage. Against No. 5 Princeton, which entered the contest boasting the second-ranked scoring offense in the nation, she was simply flawless. Assisted by an airtight defensive unit, Halus posted four saves and recorded the first shutout by an opponent against the Tigers since 2008.
Aided by her performances last week, Halus now ranks second in the nation with an .835 save percentage. Her 1.15 goals-against-average is also the ninth-best rate in the country, while her 86 saves lead the Big Ten.
Earlier this year, Halus was also honored by the conference as the top defensive player on September 6, September 20, and October 11. She is the first Nittany Lion in program history to earn the accolade four times in one season. In a career, her four awards trail only current assistant coach Annie Zinkavich, who was honored six times during her four years in Happy Valley.
Along with Halus, the Big Ten selected Northwestern's Chelsea Armstrong as the Offensive Player of the Week, while Ohio State's Paula Pastor-Pitarque took home the weekly freshman honor.