No. 2 Penn State Field Hockey Shuts Out Iowa 3-0 In Big Ten Opener

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No. 2 Penn State field hockey (7-0, 1-0 Big Ten) opened its Big Ten schedule with a 3-0 victory over No. 19 Iowa Friday afternoon.

Junior Moira Putsch scored the first two goals of tonight’s game, and sophomore Maddie Morano added a third from a penalty stroke. Penn State’s defense was solid all evening, anchored by junior Jenny Rizzo’s nine saves.

How It Happened

In contrast to the Lions’ first six games of this season, Iowa seemed to dominate possession early on in tonight’s game, recording the first three shots of the contest. However, Jenny Rizzo was there to deny the Hawkeyes on each chance, including two penalty corners.

Junior Gini Bramley took Penn State’s first shot on goal of the evening, but it was a relatively tame chance which was stopped by Iowa goalkeeper Katie Jones.

Midway through the first half, Iowa won two more penalty corners, but once again, Penn State’s defense didn’t concede, mainly because of one save by Rizzo and another huge block by senior defender Cori Conley.

With just over ten minutes left in the half, junior Mary Neill-Smith nearly opened the scoring, but her shot missed wide. Shortly after, the Lions won two quick penalty corners, but Iowa’s goaltender made three saves to deny Penn State an opening goal.

Although the Nittany Lions didn’t convert on any of these chances, they signaled a shift in momentum which they capitalized on with the game’s opening goal. Moira Putsch scored off a penalty corner to put Penn State up 1-0. The Media, Pa. native’s sixth of the season was assisted by senior Shay Cannon.

After its slow start, Penn State took over for the rest of the first half, heading into halftime with a 1-0 lead. The Lions took a 8-6 advantage in shots into the break; of their eight shots, four were on goal.

In the second half, Penn State won an early penalty corner, and converted on the chance. Putsch lifted Aurelia Meijer’s shot over the Iowa keeper to double Penn State’s lead less than three minutes into the period.

Iowa won two penalty corners less than five minutes after Putsch’s second of the day, but couldn’t convert on either opportunity to halve Penn State’s lead.

After a flurry of Nittany Lion chances were denied, Iowa won a penalty corner midway through the half, but it was quickly dealt with by the Penn State defense.

The Lions continued to pile on the chances after Iowa’s penalty corner, but could not find another goal until Maddie Morano scored her fifth of the year with 12:46 left in the half. The Lions were awarded a penalty stroke after a goalmouth scramble, and the sophomore converted to extend her team’s lead to three.

Any chances of an Iowa comeback were quickly smothered by Jenny Rizzo and Penn State’s defense, and they finished the game with their fifth shutout of the season.

Player Of The Game

Jenny Rizzo | Junior | Goalkeeper

Although Moira Putsch was excellent and Penn State’s best source of offense, credit has to be given to Rizzo, who made nine saves in tonight’s game and kept the Lions in it.

Without the junior and the defense in front of her, Iowa could have taken an early lead, as they dominated possession and generated plenty of chances early on in the first half. Iowa won nine penalty corners tonight, but the Lions still managed to pitch a shutout.

What’s Next?

Penn State is back in action on Sunday when they take on Delaware at 1 p.m. at Spooky Nook in Lancaster, PA.

Photo By: Alex Bauer
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About Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a sophomore journalism major and staff writer for Onward State from Bedminster, NJ. He loves to watch sports, but hockey, football, and baseball are his favorites. Mikey roots for the New Jersey Devils and, unfortunately, the New York Jets & Mets. If there isn't enough hockey content in your social media feeds already, you can follow Mikey on Twitter @mikey_mandarino, and you can contact him via email at [email protected]

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