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Nov. 7, 2013
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Senior Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.) captured her second consecutive Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honor, winning as a unanimous selection from the conference coaches. The defender becomes just the second Nittany Lion to earn the award in back-to-back seasons, joining Jen Long who accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008.
The senior is joined by Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) and Kylie Licata (Mountain Top, Pa.) on the first team All-Big Ten list, while Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Va.) and Ashtin Klingler gain second team All-Big Ten recognition. Senior defender Abby Fuhrman (Bainbridge, Pa.) is Penn State's recipient of the Sportsmanship Award Honorees.
Grzywacz turned in a stellar senior season for the Blue and White, ranking second on the team in goals with 10, including leading the Big Ten with seven game-winning scores. The senior anchors the Nittany Lion back line that allowed just seven goals in Big Ten play, tied for fewest in the conference.
The Collegeville native dominated the Big Ten weekly awards, capturing four Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week accolades. With being recognized this season as a first team All-Big Ten performer, Grzywacz has earned either first or second team All-Big Ten status each of her four seasons at Penn State.
Gebhart is also no stranger to Big Ten awards. The junior has now been selected as a first team All-Big Ten honoree all three years as a Nittany Lion. Gebhart captains the midfield for the Blue and White, controlling the tempo and connecting the defense and attack. The midfielder leads the Big Ten in assists with 12 and ranks fourth on the NCAA active career assists leaders list as just a junior.
Licata marks PSU's third athlete to be named a first team All-Big Ten selection. The Mountain Top, Pa. native has made a significant impact in her first season between the posts as the Lions goalkeeper. Licata is tied for first in the Big Ten in shutouts with seven, which also places the keeper tied for fourth in the nation. The goalkeeper also ranks second in the conference in save percentage and goals allowed.
Representing Penn State on the second team where forwards Klingler and Herold. This is the second consecutive year that Klingler has received this honor. The senior has scored seven goals on just 24 shots, proving to be one of the Nittany Lions' most efficient attackers. Klingler is third on the team in goals and has provided the Blue and White with two game winners this season.
2013 marks the first season that Herold has been named All-Big Ten. The junior had an impressive season in front of the opposition's cage, leading Penn State in goals with 11, while adding four assists to total a career-high 26 points. The forward has notched two multi-goal performances, the most of any Nittany Lion this season. Herold received Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors this season after lifting the Lions to a 4-3 shootout victory over Michigan State.
Fuhrman collects Penn State's Sportsmanship Award Honoree this season. The senior defender has scored her first two career goals this season, while also playing a vital central defender position for the Nittany Lions. The Sportsmanship Award is granted to a student-athlete who has distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior while also maintaining good academic standing and demonstrating good citizenship outside of the sport.
Penn State's six award winners are more than any other team in the conference, with Michigan State earning five recipients. With Grzywacz's Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award, Penn State has now received the honor 10 times since joining the conference in 1992, five more than the next closest program.
Penn State will begin postseason play on Friday, facing the winner of the Michigan vs. Iowa first round match in the first semifinal of the Big Ten Tournament. The Nittany Lions' match is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
BTN will provide live coverage of the quarterfinals, semifinals and final of the tournament. All three of Thursday's games will be live streamed on the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN). The first semifinal match on Friday will be live on BTN, while the second semifinal will air on delay at 11:30 p.m. ET that evening. The championship game will air live on BTN.