Field hockey claims regular season Big Ten crown

University Park, Pa. — The No. 9 Penn State field hockey team won its fifth Big Ten regular season title as the Nittany Lions defeated Michigan, 3-0, Sunday (Oct. 26) at the Field Hockey Field in University Park, Pa. It is the first Big Ten championship for head coach Charlene Morett's squad since 2005.

Jen Beaumont (Chalfont, Pa.) made nine saves in goal for her sixth and the team's ninth shutout of the season. Allison Scola (Hummelstown, Pa.) and Daneen Zug (Manheim, Pa.) each supplied three points — one goal and one assist — in the victory over the Wolverines.

"I'm just so proud of our team for remaining consistently competitive through each conference game," Morett said. "They've come out to play hard each game."

After early pressure from Michigan, the Nittany Lions wasted no time getting an early two-goal advantage in the contest. Scola created a penalty-corner opportunity at the 4:30 mark when Michigan's Meredith Way received a green-card foul in the circle. Scola and Jen Long (Doylestown, Pa.) assisted a penalty-corner goal for Zug, giving the Nittany Lions a quick point on the scoreboard.

"The seniors deserve credit for this season," Morett said. "They've given the team a competitive attitude these past couple games."

Just 36 seconds later, Jessica Longstreth (Richboro, Pa.) provided Penn State with a two-goal cushion against a feisty Wolverine offensive team. Brooke Hoffsmith (Annville, Pa.) passed the ball across the circle to Bethany Marvel (Newtown, Pa.) on the left baseline near the goal. Marvel faked towards the net before dishing it up to center, where Longstreth one-timed a shot that whistled past Michigan goalkeeper Paige Pickett.

Penn State, despite an early barrage of goals, benefited from outstanding defensive play in the first half. Beaumont faced ten shots in the period. She held the Wolverines scoreless on an onslaught of shots on goal in a 12-second span as she made three consecutive high glove saves. Three minutes later, at the 16-minute mark, Beaumont made a diving save on Heather Wiley that left the net open for Alicia Mayer. Hoffsmith made a defensive stick save to keep Mayer and Michigan scoreless.

The Nittany Lions added their third goal 23:24 into the game. Aubrey Aden-Buie (Allentown, Pa.) made a steal at mid-field before passing it to Scola, who earned another penalty corner for the home team. Scola pushed it to Long, delivering it to Zug, who fired a shot that was saved by Way. The shot ricocheted off Pickett's pads into the left corner, where Scola was waiting to tap into the net.

Penn State's defense applied pressure in the second half, holding Michigan to just three shots. Two of those shots were penalty shots, both of which were unsuccessful. Way's penalty shot went wide of the goal, while Beaumont made a glove save on Michala McDermott's shot.

Michigan tied the Nittany Lions on penalty corners, 6-6. Penn State, despite being out-shot by the Wolverines early on, held an 18-13 advantage on shots.

Members of the Big Ten Conference championship winning teams of 1997 and 1998 were honored at halftime as part of Alumnae Day.

Morett said: "It comes fitting that we would win the Big Ten title the same day the great '97 and '98 teams were here to be honored."

With No. 8 Michigan State's loss to No. 10 Iowa in overtime, the Lions secured the conference in the penultimate game of the season. Penn State travels to East Lansing, Mich., Friday to take on the Spartans in its final game of the year.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010