Kulina Named Field Hockey Athlete of the Year
EVANSTON, Ill., November 1, 2001 Senior co-captain Kiley Kulina (Hummelstown, Pa./Lower Dauphin) became the fourth-consecutive Nittany Lion field hockey player to be named Big Ten Athlete of the Year, it was announced at the annual conference tournament banquet on Thursday night. A unanimous pick, Kulina was selected co-Offensive Player of the Week three out of the last four weeks. Junior midfielder Jill Martz (Dalmatia, Pa./Line Mountain) was also honored as the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year. She becomes the fourth Nittany Lion in five years to garner the award. Both Kulina and Martz have led the Lions¨ª recent charge, helping Penn State rally back from a 4-6 record to an eight-game win streak and a No. 13 national ranking.
Kulina follows Traci Anselmo (2000), Tracey Larson (1999) and Heather Gorlaski (1998) as Big Ten Player of the Year.
Kulina enters the Big Ten Tournament second in the league in scoring at 29 points and first in shots (92). She garnered first team all-Big Ten accolades for the first time last year.
Martz anchors a stingy Lion defense that ranks ninth in the nation, allowing just 1.08 goals per game. She has started every game this season on defense and leads the team with seven assists, which is third best in the Big Ten.
Two other Nittany Lions also received conference recognition. Besides Kulina and Martz, sophomore Neilye Stoner (Manheim, Pa./Hempfield) was also named first team all-Big Ten. She earned Defensive Player of the Week laurels on Oct. 1 after posting an incredible three defensive saves in the 3-2 double-overtime loss to regular season co-Big Ten Champion Michigan State. As a freshman, Stoner earned second team honors.
Junior Timarie Legel (Morgantown, Pa./Twin Valley) earns all-Big Ten honors for the first time in her career. As a second team selection, she is tied with Kulina for second in the Big Ten in scoring. Her 14 goals this season is ninth in the nation and second in the Big Ten. She is also the league leader with five game-winning goals. Last year, Legel was named to the all-Big Ten Tournament team after going off for nine points in three games.
The Nittany Lions are gearing up for their Big Ten Tournament game on Friday, Nov. 2 against fourth-seeded and 16th-ranked Iowa beginning at 1 p.m. (ET). Penn State finished the regular season in a tie for fourth place but receive a fifth seed because the Hawkeyes defeated the Lions, 2-1, on Oct. 5.
First Team All-Big Ten