Big Ten announces field hockey Players to Watch List for 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  -- The Big Ten announced its 2012 field hockey Players to Watch List on Wednesday (Aug. 22), featuring 13 returning All-Big Ten selections. Each head coach selected three players from their own team to the Players to Watch List, with Penn State's Charlene Morett highlighting senior Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.), sophomore Laura Gebhart (Mount Joy, Pa.) and fifth-year senior Ayla Halus (Hershey, Pa.).

The three Nittany Lions are Penn State's 2011 NFHCA All-Americans, with Amy earning first-team honors, Halus earning second-team honors and Gebhart earning third-team honors. Out of the 21 players that were named to the list, they are among the seven that received All-Big Ten First Team honors last season.

Amy returns as a driving force on Penn State's offense and as the leading-point scorer of 2011 season. The senior started 22 contests, racking up 25 goals and seven assists for 57 points. She co-led the Big Ten in points, was second in points per game and was tied first for goals. The 2011 Big Ten Tournament MVP also was named a CoSIDA District II Academic All-American, as well as a Capitol One At Large Third Team Academic All-American. Amy earned First Team All-Big Ten for the second consecutive year, and was named to the NFHCA All-Mideast Region First Team and NFHCA National Academic Squad for the past three years.

After recording six goals and 12 assists in her rookie season, Gebhart was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was First Team All-Big Ten. Along with being a Third Team All-American, the returning fourth-leading point scorer was also named NFHCA First Team All-Mideast Region. The sophomore will compete for the U.S. Under-21 National team for the second consecutive season while playing for Penn State.

Halus backstopped all 23 games last season for the Lions, recording a .742 save percentage, 92 saves and four shutouts. For the past three years, the veteran has been named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad, as well as a Big Ten All-Academic. The 2011 season was the second year in a row Halus was named a Second-Team All-American, earned NFHCA First Team All-Region and earned First Team All-Big Team.

The 2012 season officially starts on Friday, with three conference teams opening play. Penn State earned the highest ranking for a Big Ten team in the 2012 Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Preseason Poll at No. 9. Michigan checked in at No. 10, followed by No. 12 Iowa, No. 15 Ohio State and No. 20 Northwestern.

The Nittany Lions take on No. 3 Old Dominion on Friday at 5:00 p.m. and No. 8 University of Virginia on Sunday, Aug. 26, at noon. Fans planning on attending the games this weekend need to park in the East Parking Deck. There is a fee associated Monday through Friday. Those attending Sunday's match should note that Aug. 26th is Penn State's student move-in day. Expect campus traffic.

Click here for the complete list of field hockey Players to Watch for the 2012 season.

Check back to GoPSUsports.com for continued updates leading into the 2012 season.

Penn State field hockey is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennStateFH and Facebook at facebook.com/pennstatefieldhockey.

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Last Updated August 24, 2012