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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Friday, Oct. 22, 1999 ]

No. 4 Field Hockey eyes return to old form; faces Ohio State away

Collegian Staff Writer

The Penn State field hockey team has prided itself this season as being a tightly knit squad with exceptional team play. But when the No. 4 Lady Lions played Ohio State two weeks ago, it appeared they were imposters in Lions' clothing, playing less as a team and more as individuals.

The Lions (13-3, 5-2 Big Ten) will look to return to their early season form this weekend, visiting the No. 11 Buckeyes noon Sunday at Woody Hayes Athletic Center Turf Field. Penn State and Ohio State last met Oct. 10, and the Lions won 2-1 at the Bigler Athletic Complex. The offense forced Buckeyes goalkeeper Gillian Batey to make a Bigler-record 19 saves, and the defense held the opposition to a single shot on goal. But the statistics hid the fact that something was not right with the Lions. A team with exceptional passing skills, the Lions relied more on one-on-one stick handling. The 23 shots on goal were taken almost exclusively off penalty corners, as Penn State struggled into the offensive circle.

In addition to improving the team play, the Lions also will look to rebound from last weekend, when they were unable to hold onto a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2 to Iowa.

"After such a disappointing loss," Lions redshirt junior Mandy Robinson said, "we're starting at square one, going back to basics. It's been a great week at practice."

Since starting the season 7-0, Ohio State (10-4, 3-4) has found life in the Big Ten to be difficult, being outscored 19-15 in seven conference games. After losing the game to Penn State, the Buckeyes dropped their second straight, losing 3-2 at home to No. 3 Iowa. But after an exciting 3-2 overtime win last Sunday against Northwestern, Ohio State is riding high and is ready for Penn State. Offensively, the Buckeyes are led by junior midfielder Katie Hobson, whose 13 goals and 30 points rank her No. 4 in the Big Ten in scoring.

"They are a very dangerous team," Robinson said. "We're going to need the same effort to stop the play up the field."

Despite its starting goalkeeeper having only a .759 save percentage, Ohio State has managed to only allow an average of 1.96 goals per game. Buckeyes junior back Aubrey Stock has made seven defensive saves, the fifth highest in team history. The Lions seem to be holding a clinic in scoring this season in the Big Ten, with the conference's top three scorers wearing Penn State Blue and White. Senior Tracey Larson and junior Maegan Galie lead the Big Ten with 37 points each, and redshirt junior Traci Anselmo is third with 36 points. Complimenting the offense this year has been a dominant defense, anchored by redshirt freshman goalkeeper Heidi Leuchte. Her .812 save percentage ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten, and her six shutouts are a conference-high.

Sunday's game is the first of three remaining conference games this season for the Lions. Third in the conference, they will be hard pressed to secure one of the top two seeds that would ensure the Lions a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

"We put ourselves in the position to have to win all our games," Galie said.

In terms of history, Penn State has dominated the all-time series between the two teams, holding a 21-4-2 edge.

Field hockey

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Updated 1999-10-21  23:43:30   -4
Requested 2000-8-17  5:54:35   -4