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Penn State Athletics | October 8, 2018

Field hockey: Penn State hands Maryland first loss of season in top 10 Big Ten battle

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  No. 7 Penn State field hockey (9-3, 4-1 B1G) handed No. 2 Maryland (13-1, 4-1 B1G) its first loss of the season in a key Big Ten contest. The Nittany Lions downed the Terrapins 3-1 on Sunday at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
Maryland controlled the early action, keeping the ball on the Penn State side of the field for the first five minutes.  The Lion defense, anchored by Cori Conley, fought off the Terrapin offense until a penalty corner led to the first shot of the game.  The Maryland shot was wide and Penn State moved the ball down to the Maryland side of the field. Penn State nearly connected on a fast break at the 28:00 mark, but the ball skipped past the end line.

A Nittany Lion turnover led to a Maryland fast break at the 26:00 mark, but Conley and the Lion defense once again pushed back, regaining possession and keeping the game scoreless.  Lion goalie Jenny Rizzo blocked a Maryland shot and Penn State quickly moved the ball down field at the 24:00 mark.

But Maryland's defense was equal to Penn State's early on and the Nittany Lions could not get a shot on goal. Penn State maintained possession and forced its first penalty corner with 22:00 on the clock. Mary Nell Smith appeared to score off a Gini Bramley assist, but the goal was disallowed and the game continued 0-0 with 21:30 left in the first half.

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Maryland responded with a solid point blank shot from Linnea Gonzales, but Rizzo kicked the ball wide to keep the game tied.  Madison Morano forced a second Nittany Lion corner at the 17:00 mark.  Anna Simon had her shot blocked by Maryland keeper Sarah Holliday, and Maryland regained possession. After a television timeout with 15:35 left in the half, Penn State's Aurelia Meijer moved the ball downfield where Bramley had a hard shot go wide right.  Maryland took possession of the ball and nearly scored on a Kyler Greenwalt shot at the 13:00 mark, but Rizzo made a nice save to keep the game knotted at 0-0. 
Morano then made the play of the first half, stealing the ball with 10:30 at midfield, moving down into the Maryland circle and deftly passing to teammate Abby Myers, who tapped the ball past Holliday to give Penn State a 1-0 lead with 10:12 left in the first half. Smith had a shot blocked by Holliday with 6:40 on the clock, leading to a Lion corner, but Penn State could not connect to double its lead. 

Maryland forced a corner with 3:00 left in the half but Penn State's defense kept the Terrapins from a solid shot and the Nittany Lions carried the 1-0 lead into the halftime break. Maryland outshot Penn State 8-4 in the opening half, but Lion keeper Rizzo's five saves and a stalwart defense allowed Penn State to lead at the break. Penn State had three corners to two for Maryland, Terrapin keeper Sarah Holliday had two saves.

The second half began with a Maryland green card at the 33:20 mark, but Penn State was unable to take advantage of the opportunity as the clock moved towards 31:00. Moira Putsch forced a penalty corner with 28:30 left in the game but Maryland intercepted a Lion pass and moved the ball downfield towards the Penn State cage, but the Lion defense regained possession quickly.  Another Lion corner at the 25:00 mark led to a solid Meijer shot and a Holliday save.  Meijer's consistent pressure gave Penn State another corner a minute later that led to two Lion shots that Holliday stopped. 
Maryland took advantage of the missed shots and moved the ball down to the Penn State end of the field.  The Terrapin offense forced a corner that was overturned on review and Penn State regained possession as the clock moved to the 20:00 mark. Meijer once again forced a corner with 19:25 on the clock.  This time, Penn State connected as Putsch passed the ball to Simon, who slammed the ball past Holliday with 18:54 to play to put Penn State up 2-0.  Penn State kept up the pressure on Maryland's defense, picking up another corner with 14:00 to play. Putsch moved the ball in to Morano, who tipped it to Meijer, Meijer passed hard to Putsch, who tipped the ball past Holliday for the goal with 13:30 on the clock and the Lions had broken open a close game to lead 3-0.

Maryland picked up two quick corners following the Lions' third goal, but Penn State's defense was strong and Rizzo kept the cage clear as the clock moved below 10:00.  The Nittany Lion midfield, with Meijer and Morano controlling the action, was able to keep pressure on the Terrapins to move the clock down to the 4:30 mark.  Maryland appeared to force a penalty corner with 4:21 on the clock, but the Terrapins called for a review that led to a Maryland penalty stroke with 4:21 left.  Nike Lorenz took the shot for Maryland and scored to cut the Penn State lead to 3-1.  Meijer had a beautiful steal at the 2:00 mark that ended any Terrapin dreams of a comeback and the goal of the penalty stroke was the lone blemish in an impressive 3-1 Penn State win.
"We were very successful moving the ball down the right side in the second half and we played with a lot of composure in the win," said head coach Char Morett-Curtiss.  "Maryland is a great team and I'm very proud of our poise.  Our defense, with Cori Conley, Madison Huston and Anna Simon, was superb today."
Maryland outshot Penn State 13-11, but 10 of the Nittany Lions' 11 shots were on goal. The Lions also had an 8-5 edge in penalty corners. Rizzo and Holliday both had seven saves in the game.
The Nittany Lions now hit the road for two conference games next weekend. Penn State is at Iowa on Friday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m. ET and then at Northwestern on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. ET.


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