Market America

This could be YOUR Digital Collegian Ad!

Check out the Classifieds On-line

  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1999 ]

Field hockey branded as early favorite

Collegian Staff Writer

The poll is out, and the Lady Lions are No. 1.

Too bad it's only September.

The Penn State field hockey team claimed 26 of 28 first-place votes to secure the top ranking in the first STX/NFHCA Div. I Coaches Poll. It will take that top spot out for a ride as they host West Chester 7 p.m. tonight at Bigler Athletic Complex.

The Lions (4-0) used big victories against national powerhouses such as Old Dominion and North Carolina to gather 558 votes, 46 ahead of No. 2 Old Dominion, which received the other two first-place votes.

"It adds a lot of pressure," Lions co-captain Traci Anselmo said. "It puts a target on our foreheads."

Junior Maegan Galie disagreed, feeling the pressure won't get to the team.

"We're not worried about the ranking," Galie said. "We still have nothing to lose."

The Lions have reached their position with some solid play from mostly veteran players.

Anselmo was a key figure in the Lions' upset of North Carolina, scoring the game's only goal. She also scored four other goals this season.

Co-captain Tracey Larson has mirrored Anselmo's success. Larson assisted on all of Anselmo's goals, added one additional assist and scored one goal of her own. Her six assists already have surpassed her total from last season, when she finished with four.

The Big Ten's second leading scorer a year ago, Galie entered last weekend's games with only one assist to her name. After the weekend, she became the team's leading scorer, putting the ball in the net four times and assisting on four goals.

"We have such a good team," Galie said. "Anyone can have the ability to score."

A cause for concern in the preseason, the goalkeeper position has been another dominant force on a dominant team. Redshirt freshman Heidi Leuchte has been outstanding early, recording two shutouts while recording a 0.75 goals-against average.

All those elements should come into factor today against West Chester (2-1). The Golden Rams are coming off a less-than-perfect season, losing 11 of 15 non-conference games. They have started strong thus far, suffering only an overtime loss to Rutgers on Sept. 2.

"We're a very young team," West Chester field hockey coach Kathy Krannebitter said. "We're playing good team hockey right now."

The Rams receive leadership from senior co-captain Christina Mitchell, who led her team to a 1-0 victory against Towson on Sept 4. Mitchell scored the game's sole goal on a penalty stroke late in the game.

This game also provides a bit of trivia. Back in 1978, the four-time national champion Rams had their 77-game win streak snapped at the hands of Penn State coach and former Lions star Char Morett.

But Morett tends not to reflect on the past.

"I try not to live in that team's glory days," Morett said.

Looming ahead for Penn State is a Sept. 17 date at home against No. 6 Connecticut. The Lions, however, remain focused on West Chester.

"There's not one team on our schedule not to be taken seriously," Anselmo said.

And if the Lions overlook any team, they might not survive at the top very long.

This could be YOUR Digital Collegian Ad!


Search default: Exact phrase, not case sensitive.
Options: AND, NEAR, OR, AND NOT. Power search
Copyright © 2001 Collegian Inc.
Updated 1999-9-14  21:39:04   -5
Requested 2001-11-12  2:08:03   -5