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[ Monday, Nov. 15, 1999 ]

North Carolina ends Lions' season with penalty stroke

Collegian Staff Writer

For the second straight game, the Penn State field hockey team lost a tournament game by a penalty stroke.

Only this time, there is no next game for the Lady Lions.

Their 1999 season came to an end on Saturday, as North Carolina topped them 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Iowa City, Iowa.

"We couldn't score," Penn State field hockey coach Char Morett said. "That's two weekends in a row on a stroke."

A week ago, Penn State (17-5, 8-2 Big Ten) lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, 2-1 against Michigan in double overtime. The Wolverines won that game with a converted penalty stroke early in the second period of overtime.

Saturday's game didn't make it to overtime, with the deciding goal scored with 13:09 remaining in the first half.

PHOTO: Jim Rajotte
PHOTO: Jim Rajotte
Penn State goalkeeper Heidi Leutche looks on as a ball sails wide of the net.

About 22 minutes into the game, Tar Heels sophomore back Abby Martin was awarded the free stroke, and she pushed the ball past Lions redshirt freshman goalkeeper Heidi Leuchte and into the net.

The Lions had opportunities afterwards to tie the game, but struggled to get the ball past Tar Heels redshirt freshman goalkeeper Amy Tran, who made seven saves.

"Their goalie made some incredible saves," Morett said.

In the end, Penn State was unable to take advantage of its chances, watching the game clock run down to 0:00

The win might have been sweet revenge for the Tar Heels (16-5, 2-2 ACC), who found themselves on the losing end against the Lions back on Sept. 5 by an identical 1-0 score.

In that game, Penn State scored the deciding goal late in the game, courtesy of Lions junior back Traci Anselmo, whose shot off a penalty corner beat Tar Heels senior goalkeeper Nicole Frey. Leuchte recorded her first shutout in only her second game at the collegiate level.

Since then, Leuchte has added seven more shutouts, while Frey has played sparingly and Tran has led her team to the postseason.

On Saturday, Leuchte's Lions and Tran's Tar Heels battled again, but Tran and the Tar Heels were a little better.

"Both teams played well," Morett said. "But we had too many opportunities that we didn't capitalize on."

With the win, North Carolina advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals and a matchup with Iowa yesterday. The Tar Heels saw their season come to an abrupt halt as well, though, as they were shutout 2-0 by the Hawkeyes.

Thus ends the season for Penn State, one that started as a potential rebuilding year and ended in the team's 18th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

"In the summer, I didn't expect this," Morett said. "But after the first few weeks, I was excited about the opportunities we had."

Field hockey

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Updated: 1999-11-15  0:37:16   -4
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Created: 1999-11-15  0:10:14   -4