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Sports
[ Friday, Oct. 29, 1999 ]

Field hockey weekend to determine Big Ten Tourney fate

By BRAD STRATTONbio
Collegian Staff Writer

The No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament are at stake this weekend for the Penn State field hockey team.

The No. 4 Lady Lions travel north in their final weekend of regular season play, visiting No. 8 Michigan, 3 p.m. today and No. 17 Michigan State, 1 p.m. Sunday.

Penn State (15-3, 6-2 Big Ten) and Michigan are in a tie for second place in the conference. No. 3 Iowa leads the conference with an 8-1 mark and can clinch the top seed with a win against Northwestern on Saturday or one Michigan loss.

In addition to playing the Lions today, Michigan also plays No. 11 Ohio State Sunday.

Penn State field hockey coach Char Morett stressed the importance of the upcoming weekend and securing one of the two top seeds that ensures a first-round bye.

With their hopes of securing the top seed gone, the Lions turn to the No. 2 seed. A win today will guarantee Penn State that and the coveted first-round bye. A loss could force the Lions into the No. 3 seed and a first-round match against Northwestern.

"A bye in the Big Ten is huge," senior midfielder Tracey Larson said. "You can not even explain it."

In the first battle between the two juggernauts on Oct. 3, Penn State scored on a late goal by junior Traci Anselmo to down the Wolverines 2-1 at Bigler Athletic Complex.

But this time the game will be played on Ocker Field in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michigan (13-5, 8-2) has played this season much like the team that reached the Big Ten Tournament finals last November, losing two conference games by one goal each. Its crowning achievement was a 1-0 win against Iowa on

Oct. 8, handing the Hawkeyes their sole loss of the season.

The Wolverines have relied this year on the play of Reid and forward Kelli Gannon. Reid's 30 points place her at No. 5 in the Big Ten in scoring. Gannon is No. 7 with 28.

One of the biggest problems for Michigan this season has been the play of struggling junior goalkeeper Kati Oates. Her .671 save percentage is the worst in the Big Ten.

But the regular season does not end with Michigan. Two days later, the Lions have to suit up once again to play Michigan State at Spartan Stadium.

The Spartans (9-9, 2-6) have limped through the Big Ten this season, only defeating Northwestern twice. They have been shut out three times, including at the hands of Penn State on Oct. 1.

Offensively for the Spartans, sophomores Marleen Tuip and Sanne van Nouhuys have paved the way with 27 points apiece. Tuip has led Michigan State with four goals and nine points against Big Ten competition.

In front of the cage, freshman goalkeeper Mireille Evans has had an average season at best, looking dominant at times and vulnerable at others.


She has made 120 saves during the season, second only to Northwestern's Jessica Yates.

This weekend figures to be vastly important, with the top five seeds in the Big Ten still up in the air.

The Big Ten Tournament will held Nov. 5-7 in Columbus, Ohio at Ohio State.


Field hockey




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Copyright © 2000 Collegian Inc.
Updated 1999-10-28  23:47:44   -4
Requested 2000-8-17  5:54:14   -4

URL: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/1999/10/10-29-99tdc/10-29-99dsports-9.asp