Lions Collect Top Awards at Big Ten Field Hockey Banquet
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. November 4, 2005 - Penn State field hockey head coach Char Morett was named Big Ten Coach of the Year, senior Natalie Berrena (State College, Pa.) was named Offensive Player of the Year and three other Nittany Lions were named to the all conference teams announced last night at the pre-Big Ten Tournament banquet, held at the University of Iowa.
Berrena, who was also a first-team All-Big Ten selection, was joined on that team by sophomore Kiersten Wood (Lititiz, Pa.), who was a unanimous selection. Seniors Bekah Hostetler (Hershey, Pa.) and Sara Cahill (Virginia Beach, Va.) were selected to the second team. Senior Molly Schriver (Kenilworth, Ill.) was Penn State's Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Indiana's Kayla Bashore was named Player of the Year, while Iowa's Heather Schnepf was named Defensive Player of the Year. The Hawkeyes' Caitlin McCurdy snagged Freshman of the Year accolades.
Morett won the award after a record-setting season. She guided the squad to a 17-2 regular season record, which included a program-record 17-straight wins. She won her 300th game at Penn State when the Lions defeated Temple, 5-0, on Sept. 14. Morett was perfect at brand-new Astroturf Field this season, leading Penn State to a perfect 10-0 record on its home turf. The Hall of Famer's impressive career record now stands at 347-122-16, while her mark at Penn State is 310-106-8. The award is Morett's third Big Ten Coach of the Year accolade after also earning top coaching honors in 1998 and 1993.
Berrena, a former walk-on, has excelled on the field this season. The State College native collected nine goals, seven assists and 25 points in the regular season. She was twice named Big Ten Player of the Week this year and is the fifth Nittany Lion player to be named Offensive Player of the Year, joining former honorees Tracey Larson (1999), Dawn Lammey (1998), Tara Maguire (1996) and Jen Coletta (1995).
Wood, the anchor of Penn State's midfield, was Penn State's unanimous pick to the first team. The sophomore midfielder won the accolade after being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season. Wood scored six goals this season and tallied a team-high eight assists. She was named Big Ten Player of the Week in the final week of the season after scoring the game-winning goal vs. Indiana to give Penn State the outright Big Ten title.
A second-team All-American last year, Hostetler was another crucial part of Penn State's midfield. The senior scored five goals and tallied two assists on the season.
Cahill anchored Penn State's vaunted defense this year. The unit ranked among the Big Ten best in nearly every category through the regular season, and No. 3 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up just under one goal per contest (0.99).
The Lions, who won the Big Ten regular season title with a perfect 6-0 record in conference play this year, begin Big Ten Tournament play on Saturday at 12 p.m ET. Penn State will face the winner of Friday's Iowa-Michigan match. Iowa will be providing live scoring, and fans can check Penn State's official athletic website, www.GoPSUsports.com for the GameTracker link to Penn State's contests.
The NCAA Tournament begins Saturday, Nov. 12. The selection show will air on CSTV on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
For more information on Penn State athletics and Nittany Lion field hockey, visit www.GoPSUsports.com.