Penn State field hockey vaults up national rankings

October 15, 2010

University Park, Pa. — The Penn State field hockey team vaulted up a pair of national polls after the Nittany Lions' convincing 4-1 victory over Michigan State last Friday in East Lansing.

Buoyed by the victory over the Spartans, Penn State moved up to 11th in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, which marks the team's highest ranking since the 2009 preseason poll. The Nittany Lions also moved up to sixth in the national RPI.

In the RPI, Penn State currently stands as the highest ranked team in the Big Ten. Already this season, the Lions have squared off with five teams in the RPI's top-20, highlighted by victories over Old Dominion and Michigan State.

As a team, the Nittany Lions have been paced by a well-balanced attack which blends a lockdown defense with a high-powered offense. In 2010, Penn State ranks second in the nation with an .833 save percentage and sixth with a 9.33 corners-per-game average.

On an individual level, Ayla Halus has been at the forefront of the team's defensive dominance. The sophomore goaltender has posted an .849 save percentage, which stands second in the country. Her 1.18 goals-against-average is also 12th best in the NCAA, while her four shutouts rank second in the Big Ten.

Kelsey Amy headlines the offensive attack as the sophomore stands ninth in the nation with a 1.08 goals-per-game average. Overall, her 13 goals and 28 points both rank third in the Big Ten.

Along with Amy, junior Jessica Longstreth and sophomore Kristen Schaefer have been a potent combination on penalty corners. The two have combined for 18 assists during the season and helped generate nearly one-third of the team's goals off of successful corners.

In the national coaches' poll, North Carolina stands first overall followed by fellow ACC powers Maryland and Virginia. Princeton ranks fourth in the poll before UConn, Ohio State, Michigan State, Syracuse, American, and Louisville round out the top-10.

In the RPI, the top-five includes Virginia, Princeton, Maryland, North Carolina, and UConn. After Penn State at six, the rest of the top-10 is Michigan, Ohio State, Syracuse, and Old Dominion.

The Nittany Lions will return to action on Sunday when the team heads to Columbus for a 1 p.m. battle with Ohio State. Two days later, Penn State will resume its home slate with a 7 p.m. contest against Bucknell on October 19.

  • Kristen Schaefer

    IMAGE: Penn State Sports Information

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010