Outright Big Ten Title on the Line for Field Hockey on Friday
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. October 27, 2005 -The Big Ten field hockey season has come down to one game for No. 6 Penn State and No. 9 Indiana. The Lions and Hoosiers clash on Friday in Bloomington at 4 p.m. ET with a Big Ten title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament up for grabs.
Penn State (16-1, 5-0) has already clinched a share of the conference crown. A win over the Hoosiers will give the Lions the title outright and a bye in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. A Hoosiers win will give Indiana (13-2, 4-1) a share of the Big Ten Championship, and an identical conference record to Penn State. However, the Hoosiers would have the head-to-head tiebreaker, and would then retain the No. 1 seed.
The game will feature the conference's top two offensive and defensive teams. The Nittany Lions have continued to sit atop the conference standings in a variety of categories, and rank No. 1 in scoring margin at 3.14, scoring average (3.89 goals per game), shutouts (9), goals against average (0.75), goals scored (62), goals scored per game (3.65 per game), goals allowed (12) and goals allowed per game (0.71). Indiana ranks No. 2 or 3 in nearly every category, including scoring margin (No. 2, 1.90), scoring average (No. 3, 3.14 goals per game), shutouts (No. 2, 4 shutouts), goals against average (No. 2, 1.24 goals per game), goals (No. 3, 48), goals allowed (No. 2, 19) and assists (No. 2, 36).
The game will feature three of the conference's top five scorers. The Lions' Shaun Banta (Gibbsboro, N.J.) ranks no. 2 in goals at 14, while Annelise Legel is at No. 3 with 12. Indiana's Kayla Bashore is tied for No. 4 with 11 goals.
Defensively Penn State goalkeeper Megan Akstin (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) ranks No. 1 in the conference in goals against average with 0.79 and save percentage at .824. Indiana's Haley Exner is right behind Akstin, No. 2 in the conference in goals against average (1.29) and save percentage (822).
Penn State rounds out its regular season with a game at North Carolina at noon on Sunday. The Big Ten Tournament begins Friday, Nov. 4. Should Penn State garner the No. 1 seed, its first game would be Saturday, Nov. 5 at 11 a.m. If Penn State is the No. 2 seed the Lions will play Friday at 10 a.m. The tournament final on Sunday is at 1 p.m.