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Oct. 26, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 5 Penn State field hockey team will conclude the 2012 regular season on Saturday, Oct. 27, when the squad travels to No. 21 Michigan State for a noon contest. With a win over the Spartans (10-8, 2-3), the Nittany Lions (14-3, 4-1) would clinch no less than a Co-Big Ten Championship. Game coverage is available via GameTracker.
“We’ve really been doubted on winning a Big Ten Championship,” said head coach Charlene Morett. “We felt that every time we played a Big Ten opponent, it was for the Championship, knowing how good and how strong the conference was. I think they’re going to be motivated; this team has stayed motivated all year. I don’t expect anything different on the road. I think it’s going to be very exciting that we have the opportunity for it to be in our hands…We want to win a Big Ten Championship.”
The Lions recorded their second consecutive shutout and fourth straight win on Tuesday evening with a 2-0 victory over Bucknell. Sophomore Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.) recorded the game-winner for her fifth goal of the season, receiving help from senior Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.). Breaking through a tough Bison defense, Amy sent a pass across the front of the net to Herold at the left, allowing the forward to tally her 11th point. Amy’s assist extended her point total to 51 on the season.
Junior Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.), the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, tallied her 11th goal of the season on a penalty stroke. The versatile player is five-for-five on strokes this year and currently sits at 23 points. Grzywacz also leads the Big Ten in defensive saves with five.
Penn State’s defense controlled the majority of the contest, holding Bucknell to only two shots throughout the entire 70 minutes of play. Netminder Ayla Halus (Hershey, Pa.) earned her third shutout of the season, while Grzywacz, junior Abby Fuhrman (Bainbridge, Pa.), sophomore Katie Breneman (Washington Boro, Pa.) and sophomore Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) dominated the mid- and backfield. Grit from Herold, junior Ashtin Klingler (Selinsgrove, Pa.), redshirt senior Hannah Allison (Mifflinburg, Pa.) and graduate student Lauren Alwine (Elizabethtown, Pa.) tested the Bison defense and helped produce a 29-2 shot advantage.
Eleven Lions have scored this season, with Amy, Klingler and Grzywacz each notching over 10 goals. Eight Penn Staters have recorded over 10 points each, including Amy (51), Klingler (24), Grzywacz (23), Gebhart (22), junior Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.; 20), Allison (16), sophomore Jenna Chrismer (Mountain Top, Pa.; 12) and Herold (11). Halus currently holds a 1.54 GAA and a .727 save percentage.
Michigan State went 1-1 this past weekend, falling to No. 8 Northwestern and defeating Central Michigan. The Wildcats earned a 2-1 Big Ten win on Oct. 19, while the Spartans came back and topped the Chippewas 2-1 in overtime. Leading point scorer Abby Barker scored both goals in the Central Michigan contest, recording the game-winner just 1:32 into the extra frame. The sophomore sits at 35 points on the season with 16 goals and three assists. Sophomore Heather Howie assisted Barker on the game-winning goal, notching her 13th point of the year. In the Northwestern matchup, sophomore Allie Ahern tallied the lone Michigan State goal with less than ten minutes to play. It was her fifth goal of the season and her 12th point.
Goalkeeper Molly Cassidy serves as the Spartans’ standout player, making 12 saves over the weekend. The redshirt junior has tallied 108 saves this season to lead the Big Ten, and also leads the conference with a .800 save percentage. Cassidy has allowed only 27 goals in 1282:14 minutes for a 1.47 GAA.
Penn State leads the all-time series against Michigan State, holding a 24-10 recording since the first meeting in 1987. Last season, the Lions defeated the Spartans 4-1 on Oct. 30 in Happy Valley. Michigan State’s last victory over Penn State was in 2009.
The 2012 Big Ten Tournament will be hosted by the University of Iowa at Grant Field in Iowa City, Iowa. The first two rounds will be held Nov. 1-2, while the championship game will be played on Nov. 4. Penn State’s tournament seed will be determined following the upcoming weekend.
Check back to GoPSUSports.com for continued updates during the 2012 season. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/PennStateFH and like us on Facebook at facebook.com/pennstatefieldhockey.