IOWA CITY — Kelsey Amy snapped a tie midway through the second half as Penn State advanced to the title game in the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament with a 3-2 victory over Iowa on Friday.
The Nittany Lions (16-3) will face Michigan in the title match on Sunday. Penn State defeated Michigan 4-3 earlier this season.
“I thought that it was a great game by both teams,” said Penn State’s Charlene Morett, who was voted the league’s Coach of the Year this week. “It was a real defensive battle at some times. I felt that our attack just persevered and persevered, and we were able to knock some goals in. Especially after missing the stroke…that’s sort of tough mentally on a team. But I loved the way that they came back and regrouped.”
The contest was tied 1-1 at the half.
Taylor Herold scored her second goal of the game a little over 10 minutes into the second half to give Penn State the lead, but Iowa countered less than three minutes later on Jessica Barnett’s goal. Amy, off a penalty corner feed from Whitney Reddig, scored the game-wnning about five minutes later, beating Hawkeye goalie Kathleen McGraw. Amy, who was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year, netted her 22nd goal of the season and her 170th career point. Reddig’s assist was her 15th of the season.
Amy and Brittany Grzywacz, the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year, also had assists. Goalie Ayla Halus had two saves.
Laura Gebhart joined Amy and Grzywacz on the All-Big Ten first team. Ashtin Klingler made the second team and Hannah Allison was the school’s sportsmanship honoree.
PSU blanks Sacred Heart
UNIVERSITY PARK Hannah Hoenshell recorded the first hat trick in program history and goalies Nicole Paniccia and Brooke Meyer combined for the first shutout as Penn State blanked Sacred Heart 6-0 at the Greenberg Pavilion on Friday.
Shannon Yoxheimer added two goals and former State College High School standout Jill Holdcroft netted her first collegiate goal for the Nittany Lions (3-5-1). Emily Laurenzi had two assists. Paniccia had 11 saves in the first two periods before giving way to Meyer, who had seven in the final period.
All six of the Nittany Lions’ goals were scored on even strength. Hoenshell scored once in each period. Yoxheimer now has eight goals on the season.
“Give credit to the players,” Penn state coach Josh Brandwene said. “I was really pleased with their performance tonight. We had a great week of practice and a really strong first period.”
The Nittany Lions will face Sacred Heart (1-6) again today at 2 p.m.
Illini knock out Lions
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Penn State suffered its first loss to a Big Ten team this season, ending a 13-game unbeaten streak, and may have suffered a bigger loss in the process.
The Nittany Lions fell 1-0 to Illinois on Friday in the conference semifinals at Jerry Yeagley Field.
Nicole Breece netted the day’s lone goal, chipping Megan Pawloski’s flip throw-in to the middle of the penalty box over keeper Erin McNulty.
During the frantic final minutes of regulation, the Nittany Lions’ Maya Hayes and an Illinois player both leaped to head a ball in the middle of the field and the pair knocked heads. Hayes stayed on the field for several minutes writhing in pain before being helped to the sidelines. Penn State has not updated the condition of the sophomore forward, who led the nation in goals last season and is second on the team this year.
With Hayes out and backup keeper Meghan Kaminski playing forward, the freshman had a golden opportunity with under 10 seconds left with an open look in front of the net, but the shot was blocked by an Illini defender and the ball rolled out of bounds as time expired. Tani Costa also had a solid chance in the final minutes, with a defender on her back, turning and firing from about 10 yards away but the shot went right into keeper Steph Panozzo.
McNulty made one save as Penn State outshot Illinois 18-12, including an 8-2 edge in shots on goal.
The Nittany Lions (17-3-1), who entered the day leading the nation at 3.16 goals per game, were shut out for the first time this season.
They will await their seeding for the NCAA Tournament, which begins next weekend. The seedings and bracket will be announced Monday.
Lucas receives AP honor
Penn State junior guard Maggie Lucas was named to the Associated Press Preseason All-America team, claiming honorable mention accolades. She was an AP All-America honorable mention pick after last season.
Lucas finishing third in the Big Ten and 20th in Division I in scoring with a 19.5 average last season. Her 642 points as a sophomore are the fifth-most in school history. She just the third sophomore in school history to tally 1,000 points and is 25th on the Lady Lions career scoring list with 1,194 points.
The Lady Lions meet California, Pa., at 2 p.m. today in an exhibition game.