Field Hockey's Successful Campaign Ends in NCAA Tournament
Nov. 17, 2010
By Mark Wishnia, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
The Syracuse Orange came into Penn State ready to play. It was a physical game from the very start. The physicality of the game escalated about seven minutes into the first half.
Penn State's Kelsey Amy used her great speed and finesse moves to find herself in the Orange's 25. Syracuse's Nicole Nelson came over and tripped up Amy. Things escalated and both players were handed a red card.
Both teams played a girl down the rest of the game. Unfortunately for the Nittany Lions, they were down their leading goal scorer.
The team battled really hard, nonetheless, and got the game into overtime.
"I couldn't ask anymore from this team, they just fought so hard and especially in the overtime," head coach Charlene Morett said. "We have to convert on those opportunities we had and I think you know we were just running out of gas a little bit."
Penn State did get a lot of opportunities early in the overtime. They missed out on a few penalty corners. Normally, Kelsey Amy would be shooting the balls of the passes from Jess Longstreth. Unfortunately, Amy was unavailable.
"Our corner was just a little off today, we didn't really get the opportunities that we wanted to," Morett said.
Ayla Halus kept Penn State in the game as she literally danced in the NCAA Tournament. An impromptu "Cupid Shuffle" from Halus moving left and right, and kicking saves with both feet, she kept Penn State in the game the entire time.
"Ayla did a great, great job," Morett said. "She was absolutely phenomenal. She had the defense's back the whole time and that's what you need to win a game, that type of goaltending."
Despite the loss, Penn State endured a fantastic season. Morett was proud of the way the entire team played in the game against Syracuse and the entire season.
"For us being so young and having so many players that are inexperienced at this level, for them to come out and compete against [Syracuse], I mean they could have won this game," Morett said. "They had some great chances but I'm really, really, really so proud of the team and the season that they had. It's especially hard to believe its over."
The Nittany Lions finished the regular season with a 13-5 record. Halus earned four Defensive Player of the Week Awards, and Amy won two Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week Awards.
Halus led the NCAA in save percentage this season at .826. Amy tied for ninth in goals this season in the NCAA with 19 goals.
Amy, Halus and Longstreth earned first team All-Conference honors. Brittany Grzywacz earned second team honors.
The Nittany Lions went to the NCAA Tournament for the 26th time in their history, their 21st under coach Morett.
Coach Morett also made history earlier this year on Sept. 18 when she and her team defeated the Temple Owls on the road. It was Morett's 400th career victory as a field hockey head coach. She became only the third Field Hockey coach to ever reach that milestone.
The Nittany Lions will lose golkeeper Ali Meves, forward Jenny Purvis and defensive captain Daneen Zug to graduation, but the team looks forward to a bevy of talented incoming freshmen for next season.