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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Friday, Oct. 1, 1999 ]

Lady Lions get toughest challenges this weekend

Collegian Staff Writer

They don't come any bigger than this.

The No. 5 Penn State field hockey team faces its toughest challenge of the season this weekend, hosting two top-15 teams in conference play.

The Lady Lions will face off against No. 13 Michigan State, 6:30 p.m. today at Bigler Athletic Complex. To finish off the weekend, the Lions host No. 10 Michigan at noon Sunday.

All that translates into a huge weekend of Big Ten competition for the Lions (8-2, 1-1 Big Ten). After splitting its opening conference games, Penn State could come out of this weekend at 3-1 in the conference.

Or 1-3.

"I'm excited to play Michigan and Michigan State," Lions senior Traci Anselmo said. "They're both ranked real high and you know they're gonna be great games."

PHOTO: Gordon Marshall
Traci Anselmo heads towards the net against West Chester.

Michigan State (7-3, 0-1) comes to Happy Valley looking to rebound from a recent offensive drought, scoring four goals in its last three games.

The defense has worked to pick up the slack, allowing five goals in the stretch.

One of those three games was a 1-0 loss to Michigan on Sept. 22. The Spartans managed only one shot in the loss, seven less than Michigan.

Offensively, sophomores Sanne van Nouhuys and Mauleen Tuip have led the Spartans.

Van Nouhuys, a second-team All-Big Ten selection a year ago, has already surpassed her goal output from last season.

Her 10 goals and 20 points rank fourth in the Big Ten in scoring.

Tuip has looked solid this season, scoring five goals and registering eight assists. She led the Spartans to victory against Central Michigan, scoring a hat trick in the 7-1 win.

In between the pipes, freshman goalkeeper Mireille Evans has been inspiring for the Spartans this season. Her .822 save percentage is second best in the conference.

Michigan (7-3, 1-0) enters the weekend looking to capitalize on its opening conference win in East Lansing, Mich.

Despite the lack of offense against the Spartans, Michigan has been an offensive power, with two Wolverines field hockey players ranked second in the conference in scoring, behind Lions midfielder Tracey Larson.

Scoring goals for the Wolverines largely has been the duty of junior forward Kelli Gannon, who has nine.

She also has assisted on three of the team's other goals this season.

Tied with Gannon in points, Michigan junior forward Courtney Reid has added 11 assists to the four goals she has scored.

The Wolverines' biggest weakness this year has been their goaltending. Junior Kati Oakes has struggled this season, allowing 16 goals for a .628 save percentage.

For the Lions, the weekend offers a chance to get an edge in the Big Ten race. Five of the six teams in the conference are ranked in the top 13.

"The conference is so competitive this year," Penn State field hockey coach Char Morett said. "The conference games are gonna be a battle."

Field hockey

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Updated 1999-10-1  0:20:34   -4
Requested 2000-8-17  5:55:08   -4