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Nov. 3, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The No. 1 seeded Penn State field hockey team heads to the Big Ten Championship game on Sunday, Nov. 4, facing No. 3 seed Michigan for the second consecutive year. The Nittany Lions, ranked No. 4 in the NFHCA Poll, take to Grant Field at 2:30 ET. The contest will be aired by the Big Ten Network, BTN2Go and able via GameTracker.
"It's exciting to play in the Championship game," said head coach Charlene Morett. "It's going to be exciting to try and defend our title."
Playing in the semifinals on Friday afternoon, the Lions (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten) recorded a 3-2 victory over No. 4 seed Iowa after a hard-fought, defensive battle. Breaking a 2-2 tie in the second half, senior Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.) scored the game-winning goal off of a penalty corner for her 22nd goal of the season. Amy currently sits at 54 points to lead the squad. Junior Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.) assisted the forward on the insert, tallying her 15th assist of the season for her 23rd point.
Recording the third multi-goal game of her career, sophomore Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.) scored twice in the contest. Herold moves to nine goals on the season for 19 points. Amy and junior Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.) each recorded an assist against the Hawkeyes, with Grzywacz tallying her 26th point of the season. Anchoring Penn State's defense, goalkeeper Ayla Halus (Hershey, Pa.) made two saves to move to a .730 save percentage and a 1.54 GAA.
Ending the regular season with a 4-2 mark in the Big Ten, the Wolverines currently sit at a 15-5 overall record after two victories in the Big Ten Tournament. In the first round of action, Michigan topped No. 6 seed Ohio State 1-0 before defeating No. 7 seed Indiana in the semifinals. Shutting out the Hoosiers 3-0, Lauren Thomas notched the game-winner in the first half for her fourth goal of the season. The freshman was assisted by Leslie Smith, who currently sits at 25 points on seven goals and 11 assists.
Rachael Mack, the Wolverines' leading point scorer, scored, as well, for her 17th goal of the season and her 41st point. The junior was assisted by Aisling Naughton, who boasts seven goals and four assists for 18 points. Sophomore Emy Guttman also found the back of the cage to aid Michigan in its victory. In net for the squad, Haley Jones recorded eight saves against the Hoosiers to bring her season total to 96. Jones currently holds a .780 save percentage and a 1.67 GAA.
Penn State holds the advantage in the all-time series with a 23-15 record. Earlier this season, the Lions topped the Wolverines 4-3 in Happy Valley. The Big Ten rivals are set for a Championship rematch, as Penn State defeated Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament on Nov. 6, 2011 with a score of 3-2. Previously, the last Championship game the Lions competed in was in 2006.
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