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Sports
[ Thursday, Oct. 21, 1999 ]

Field hockey drops to No. 4 in poll

By BRAD STRATTONbio
Collegian Staff Writer

With its 3-2 loss to Iowa last weekend, the Penn State field hockey team dropped down a spot in the latest STX/NFHCA Div. I National Coaches Poll.

The Lady Lions (13-3, 5-2 Big Ten) fell to No. 4 in the poll, released Tuesday. They have 403 votes, 73 behind No. 1 Connecticut.

Last Sunday at the Bigler Athletic Complex, the Lions were unable to hold onto a 2-0 halftime lead, allowing three unanswered second half goals by Iowa.

The top two spots remained unchanged.

Connecticut retained the top spot in the polls by winning at home against Boston College, 5-0 last Wednesday and on the road at Rutgers, 7-3. The Huskies received 20 of the 24 first-place votes.

No. 2 Maryland's win streak reached 14 games last weekend with victories at home against Princeton and No. 7 Old Dominion. They have the remaining four first-place votes.

A week after falling from No. 3 to No. 5, Iowa returned back to the No. 3 ranking. In addition to their come-from-behind victory against Penn State, the Hawkeyes defeated No. 12 Ohio State, 3-2.

North Carolina rounds out the top five after losing 3-2 in overtime to Wake Forest. The loss was the Tar Heels' second of the season against Wake Forest.

On the injury front

Lions sophomore Meredith Shulzitski's season might be over after recently suffering a stress fracture to the femur on her left leg. The femur is commonly referred to as the thighbone.

"I think so," Penn State field hockey coach Char Morett said, regarding if Shulzitski's season was done, although Shulzitski said she is optimistic about returning this season.

"The doctors don't seem to think so," Shulzitski said. "But if I have say in it, I will be. We'll see."

Big Ten update

With the win against Penn State, Iowa (13-1, 6-1) solidified its lead in the Big Ten standings and the race for the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

Iowa leads the conference with a 6-1 record with three games remaining.

Michigan (12-4, 5-1) sits a half game behind the Hawkeyes with a game coming up against Iowa Sunday. The game could go a long way in determining the No. 1 seed. Michigan defeated Iowa 1-0 Oct. 8, but the rematch will be at Iowa, where the Hawkeyes have lost just 11 times since 1989.

For Penn State to have a shot at a first-round bye, it would have to secure one of the top two seeds. With Iowa sweeping the season series, the Lions' hopes of securing the top seed in the tournament are a long shot at best.

In a game that might be vital toward getting a first-round bye, a date at Michigan looms ahead on Oct. 29. But first comes a game at Ohio State Sunday.

Ohio State (10-4, 3-4) sits in fourth place in the conference, two games behind Penn State and a game and a half ahead of fifth-place Michigan State (8-7, 1-5). The two teams will meet Oct. 29 in East Lansing, Mich.

At the bottom of the Big Ten, Northwestern (4-9, 0-6) is the only team without a conference victory. Things don't look to be on the rise for the Wildcats, who host Michigan Friday.

Prediction

Despite sweeping the regular season series, Iowa field hockey coach Beth Beglin expects her team to face Penn State again this year.

"I would probably plan on us meeting again in the Big Ten Tournament," Beglin said. "Never mind NCAAs. Right now you're looking at the possibility of at least four, and I think possibly five, Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament."



Field hockey



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Copyright © 2000 Collegian Inc.
Updated 1999-10-20  22:47:46   -4
Requested 2000-8-17  5:54:39   -4

URL: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/1999/10/10-21-99tdc/10-21-99dsports-13.asp