Lions Capture Outright Big Ten Title, No. 1 Seed in Conference Tournament
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. October 28, 2005 -The No. 6 Penn State field hockey team closed out its first-ever perfect Big Ten season with a 4-3 overtime win vs. No. 9 Indiana, capturing the Big Ten Championship outright and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
The championship is the fourth Big Ten title in program history, and the first for the team since 1998. The win also extended Penn State's program record win streak to 17 games, which is the second-longest in Big Ten history.
Big Ten Player of the Year candidate Kiersten Wood (Lititz, Pa.) scored the game-winning goal for Penn State (17-1, 6-0) when she rebounded her own shot at the 74:52 mark for a thrilling end to an exciting game. It was Wood's fifth goal of the season, and arguably the most important.
The contest went back in forth in regulation with Indiana going up first off a penalty corner play in the 19th minute. Sara Cahill (Virginia Beach, Va.) answered just under two minutes later when she rebounded her own shot to even things up at one goal apiece. Indiana kept the pressure on, however, and went up, 2-1, with a score by Frederique Meeuwsen in the 27th minute. Indiana went into the break with the lead, but Penn State's Shaun Banta (Gibbsboro, N.J.) slapped in a loose ball at the 40th minute to tie the game once again, this time at two goals apiece. The goal was Banta's team-best 15th on the season.
Indiana's Lydia Schrott gave the Hoosiers a 3-2 lead just 31 seconds later when she knocked in a goal from the top of the circle. Penn State could not score for the next 20 minutes, but junior forward Annelise Legel (Morgantown, Pa.) pushed the game to overtime with her score off a pass from Wood.
Senior goalkeeper Megan Akstin (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) faced a barrage of shots, recording a season high in saves, with 10. Penn State fired 17 shots in the game, compared to 14 by Indiana. The Hoosiers held an 8-7 edge in penalty corners.
The Lions will receive a bye in the first round of the Conference Tournament, and play its first game at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 5. Before the tournament, however, the Lions will face its highest ranked opponent of the year when they visit No. 4 North Carolina on Sunday for a noon contest.
For more information on Nittany Lion field hockey and Penn State athletics, visit www.GoPSUsports.com.