Field hockey's Halus named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week

October 15, 2010

University Park, Pa. — Penn State field hockey goalkeeper Ayla Halus has been honored as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season after leading the Nittany Lions to a thrilling 4-1 victory over No. 7 Michigan State on Friday in East Lansing.

A driving force behind the team's outstanding defensive effort, Halus faced 10 shots-on-goal and posted nine saves against the Spartans. It marked the fourth contest of the year during which she recorded at least nine saves and the seventh in which she allowed one goal or less.

Against the defending Big Ten champions, Halus was a stalwart in the cage. Although Penn State trailed in both shots and penalty corners for the first time all season, the Nittany Lions' sophomore goalie proved to be the difference maker.

After Michigan State evened the game at one at the 15:08 mark in the first half, Halus faced six more shots during the remainder of the game. Despite the increased offensive attack by the Spartans, Halus remained unfazed and held the hosts quiet over the final 55 minutes of action.

The game was simply another chapter in Halus' storybook season. Through 12 games, she ranks second nationally with an incredible .849 save percentage. Overall, she has turned away 73 of the 86 shots that she has faced during the year.

She also stands 12th in the nation with a 1.18 goals-against average and has posted four shutouts, which ranks as the second-highest total in the league. Her 13 goals allowed are also the fewest of any goalie in the conference.

Earlier in the year, Halus was also honored by the Big Ten for her defensive prowess on September 6 and September 20. She is only the third Nittany Lion in program history to earn the honor three times in one season. Previously, Annie Zinkavich accomplished the feat in 2001 and Jamie Smith did it in 1997.

Along with Halus, the Big Ten selected Northwestern's Chelsea Armstrong as the Offensive Player of the Week, while Michigan's Rachael Mack was named the top freshman.

Penn State will return to action on Sunday when the team travels to Columbus for a 1 p.m. battle with Ohio State.

  • Ayla Halus

    IMAGE: Penn State Sports Information

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010