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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1999 ]

Despite heartbreaks of Big Ten Tourney, Lions still eager awaiting bid to NCAAs

Collegian Staff Writer

The agony of defeat. The disappointment of losing a big game on the final play.

Those seemed to be popular themes for Penn State athletics last weekend.

While 96,753 people were filing out of Beaver Stadium on Saturday — many in total disbelief of the Nittany Lions' 24-23 football loss to Minnesota — the Penn State field hockey team was in Columbus, Ohio, trying to grasp why and how it just had lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

The Lady Lions' hopes of securing their fifth straight Big Ten title were dashed in a 2-1 double-overtime loss to Michigan, leaving many players looking for answers.

PHOTO: Gordon Marshall
PHOTO: Gordon Marshall
Traci Anselmo looks downfield in a game earlier this season on Bigler Athletic Complex.
"We were really upset," Lions junior back Mandy Robinson said. "It was a rough weekend."

It was a game many expected Penn State to win. After all, it was Penn State that swept the regular-season series against the Wolverines, including a solid performance in Ann Arbor a week earlier that resulted in a 4-2 victory.

"It just has to do with tournament time," Robinson said. "Michigan stepped it up a notch."

The Lions kept their heads up, confident the loss didn't suggest a lack of passion or effort.

"It was a great game," Penn State junior back Traci Anselmo said. "It was nothing to hang our heads about. If the tables were turned, Michigan wouldn't have anything to hang their heads about either."

All the Lions can do is wait until tomorrow for word that their season was impressive enough to be invited to the NCAA Tournament.

Penn State field hockey coach Char Morett didn't seem to think the word "if" should be an issue.

"Oh, definitely," Morett said about her team's chances of making the NCAAs. "I think we proved that we are one of the top teams."

Many of the players agreed with Morett. They said their top-5 national ranking and 8-2 regular-season conference record are proof that Penn State belongs in the hunt for the national championship.

With the Big Ten's overall strength this year, anywhere from three to four teams might find themselves as one of the 16 teams in the tournament. No. 8 Michigan already has been awarded an automatic bid as Big Ten champions, No. 3 Iowa and No. 4 Penn State are expecting to be invited, and No. 12 Ohio State could be on the bubble.

"That's something to be proud of," Morett said. "I think the ACC and the Big Ten are two of the best conferences in the country."

Although many players say while being invited is not a question, where they will be ranked will be.

"I don't know (where we'll be)," Robinson said. "The seedings are so strange."

Field hockey

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Copyright © 2001 Collegian Inc.
Updated 1999-11-9  0:03:54   -4
Requested 2001-4-27  16:13:35   -4

URL: http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/1999/11/11-09-99tdc/11-09-99dsports-4.asp