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Sports
[ Wednesday, Oct. 27, 1999 ]

Lady Lions host UPenn in final home game

By BRAD STRATTONbio
Collegian Staff Writer

The Penn State field hockey team hosts its final home game of the regular season tonight, in a contest that could be little more than a tune-up for the end of the Big Ten season.

The No. 4 Lady Lions will host the University of Pennsylvania, 7 p.m. tonight at Bigler Athletic Complex.

With two key conference games coming up this weekend and the Big Ten Tournament set to begin in a week and a half, one might wonder if the Lions will be able to stay focused on the struggling Quakers.

But redshirt junior Traci Anselmo said she is confident that the team's focus in on Penn and not Michigan this weekend.

"This game is the most important game on our schedule," Anselmo said. "And when we play Michigan, that will be the biggest game."

Penn (3-10, 0-5 Ivy League) has had a difficult season, occupying last place in the conference.

The Quakers have been outscored 13-4 in conference play. They have been shut out three times this season, and are 1-7 in games decided by one goal.

The Quakers have struggled all-around this year, being unable to secure any consistent offense and putting the pressure on junior goalkeeper Alison Friedman to keep them competitive. She has been the Quakers' brightest spot this season, but has struggled lately herself, allowing eight goals in the last two games.

But Penn has shown its ability to surprise people this year, recently winning 4-1 against Bucknell. The win ended Bucknell's six-game winning streak.

"Penn's always been a competitive game for us," Penn State field hockey coach Char Morett said. "This will be a challenge for us."

Penn State seems to be a near opposite of the Quakers this year, combining timely scoring with a suffocating defense. Anselmo, senior Tracey Larson and junior Maegan Galie are the Big Ten's three top scorers.

Larson's 23 assists have helped her gain the conference lead with 43 points. Anselmo and Galie are tied for second, both with 37 points.

On the defensive side, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Heidi Leuchte has provided stability in a position that was expected to be a key concern this year. Her goals-against average of 0.856 rank her in the top five in the nation.

Tonight's game is also the final home game for Lions seniors Julie Sposito and Larson.

Larson's career has been one of leadership and effort. Her 105 career points put her at No. 11 on Penn State's all-time scoring list.

Sposito has seen some action this season in a backup role to Leuchte. She has allowed one goal in 115 minutes and has an .833 save percentage.



Field hockey



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Copyright © 2000 Collegian Inc.
Updated 1999-10-27  1:02:59   -4
Requested 2000-8-17  5:54:31   -4

URL: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/1999/10/10-27-99tdc/10-27-99dsports-3.asp