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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Monday, Sept. 20, 1999 ]

PHOTO: Jong Supasit PHOTO: Jong Supasit
Tracey Larson looks on as Penn State tries to squeeze in a goal against Conneticut Friday night at Bigler Field.

Fall from grace
No. 1 Lady Lions upset by UConn

Collegian Staff Writer

For the second time this season, a team ran onto the field at Bigler Athletic Complex to celebrate its 1-0 upset.

But this time, it wasn't Penn State.

The No. 1 Lady Lions lost a heartbreaker at home Friday night, falling to No. 6 Connecticut 1-0.

It is the first home loss for Penn State (5-1) in three years, ending a streak of 25 consecutive home wins.

Connecticut (5-0) came out on the attack, using its speed to pressure the Lions early. Its strategy paid off as the Huskies drew first blood just 6:09 into the game, when Laura Klein sneaked a shot pass Lions goalkeeper Heidi Leuchte.

"There was a melee in front of the cage and it's every coach's nightmare," Connecticut field hockey coach Nancy Stevens said. "It wasn't a great goal; it was just a muddle, but I'm happy with it."

Penn State seemed to regain its composure late in the first half, sending 11 shots on goal. But each shot was turned away by Connecticut goalkeeper Danielle Vile.

The Lions came out in the second half trying to duplicate the Huskies' first half heroics, attacking the Connecticut zone and registering a couple of penalty corners early. But the Lions could not get by Vile, and called a timeout with 11:49 remaining in the game.

Less than a minute later, Penn State appeared to tie the game, when a shot by senior Traci Anselmo found its way by Vile and into the net. But the Lions' celebration was cut short when the shot was deemed too high by the referee and was waved off.

Penn State field hockey coach Char Morett and her players protested the call, feeling the shot had been tipped and should have been allowed, but the call was not reversed.

"I thought that Vile tipped it," Morett said, "but I'm not right there. It's great because the kids argued it right away. That's what they should do, but it didn't change anything."

That was the last shot to get by Vile. The Lions would register 22 shots on goal in the game, but Vile would not allow one to get past her.

"She's a senior, an All-American and this is her last go-around," Stevens said. "That was the difference in the game."

"She (Vile) always plays a great game against us and I'm glad this is her last year," Morett said.

Other than the one goal, Leuchte gave a solid performance, keeping her team in the game by making seven saves.

The last team before Connecticut to defeat Penn State at Bigler was Iowa, which beat the Lions 4-1 on Oct. 4, 1996.

It was also the first loss of the year for the young Penn State field hockey team.

"I think we took for granted what it's like to get up for a game," senior Mandy Robinson said. "Our warm-up was slow; it wasn't sharp and that showed the first half."

The Lions will attempt to regroup as they visit Temple at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at Geasey Field.

Field hockey

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Updated 1999-9-20  0:40:42   -4
Requested 2000-8-17  5:53:28   -4