This Sunday the field hockey team will travel to University Park, Pa. to face Penn State in a big, early season test. The Red (0-3) will be looking to get its first win of the season against the No. 8-ranked Nittany Lions (3-1). The Red recently suffered a couple of one-goal losses at the hands of Lock Haven and Bucknell.
Sunday would mark the first time that the Red and Penn State have faced off in history. A against the Nittany Lions would give the Red a win over its highest ranked opponent in program history.
On Wednesday the Red suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat at Bucknell, in which the opposition scored a pair of late goals in order to claim the victory. Despite a strong presence by the Red during certain periods of the game, the Bison managed to control some crucial parts of the match.
Despite the loss, one performance that the Red could rally behind was junior co-captain Carolyn Horner's game in net. Even though Bucknell scored two goals, Horner saved 10 other shots on goal. Her stalwart attitude in goal will come in handy on Sunday when the Red attempts to contain the Nittany Lions' offensive threats.
Penn State is coming off a Big 10 tournament championship this past year and will be led on the attack by senior forward Kelsey Amy. By spearheading victories over Old Dominion and Virginia, Amy earned accolades as a Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. The Nittany Lions will be anchored by senior goalkeeper Ayla Halus. Matching her classmate Amy, Halus nabbed the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award after some strong performances last week. Penn State was ranked ninth in a preseason poll and faces a challenging schedule this year with 5 scheduled opponents being ranked top 10 teams during the preseason.
In order to prepare for the Penn State threat and hone the team’s focus for the game, the Red will turn to its four captains. Senior forward Kat DiPastina, as well as her senior co-captains, midfielder Genevieve Collins and defender Paige Mollineaux will look to rally the team in the outfield, while Horner will need to give a strong performance in net and serve as an on-field general from the back line. All four players bring a variety of talent and character to the table and serve as leaders on a team.
The hard work that the players have been putting into their practices this year has not shown on paper yet; however, Sunday will be an opportunity to add a notch to the wins column. The game will start at 2 p.m. at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.