Weekend Sports Roundup: Fall Sports Move to 44-5-1
Penn State’s fall sports are off to extremely strong starts. Football’s ugly loss to Northwestern aside, this weekend was no different from the rest in terms of sports’ dominance. Thus far, the five below teams have an absurd 44-5-1 record combined record.
Football: The Nittany Lions lost their Homecoming game in a 29-6 blowout against Northwestern on Saturday afternoon. Mike Hull’s 16 tackles were a bright spot for Penn State in the loss, as were DaeSean Hamilton’s six catches for 100 of Christian Hackenberg’s 216 yards on the day. The run game’s struggles continued after a one-week hiatus against UMass, as the team only managed 50 yards on 25 carries. Hackenberg struggled to find any sort of rhythm behind his shaky offensive line, as he was pressured into a 22 for 45 passing performance and was only able to tally 25 rushing yards on his 11 carries, many of which were desperate attempts to escape pressure. Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian ran for three touchdowns and Anthony Walker’s 49-yard interception return for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter gave Northwestern a 20-6 lead and all but put the game out of reach. The team is off this weekend before returning to action on Oct. 11 against the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor.
Men’s Soccer: No. 7 Penn State beat Michigan 1-0 on Sunday in Ann Arbor thanks to standout performances from forward Connor Maloney and Andrew Wolverton. Maloney scored his league-leading seventh goal of the season in the 57th minute, and it held up as the margin of victory thanks to Wolverton, who recorded his 29th shutout at Penn State, setting a record. He made four saves to keep the Wolverines off the board, most notably a diving left-handed save in the 82nd minute. The team’s next game is Wednesday against Bucknell in Lewisburg, Pa.
Field Hockey: The No. 7 Penn State field hockey team went 2-0 on the road this weekend, beating Michigan State 2-1 in East Lansing on Friday and Ohio State 4-3 on Sunday. First half goals by Natalie Buttinger and Carly Celkos less than two minutes apart gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish against the Spartans, while the team was paced by a two-goal performance from Jenna Chrismer and a career-high three assists from Taylor Herold versus the Buckeyes. The team’s next game is Friday at Drexel in Philadelphia.
Women’s Soccer: The No. 8 Nittany Lions went 2-0 this weekend, beating Northwestern and Illinois at home. Friday night’s 4-1 win over Northwestern was paced by Salina Williford, who assisted on the first goal and scored the fourth one, among others. The team’s defense was stifling, allowing only one shot on goal on starter Britt Eckerstrom before giving up a goal in the 87th minute. Frannie Crouse opened the scoring in the 63rd minute against Illinois off a feed from Emily Hurd, but the Illini answered less than a minute later with a goal of their own. After an excellent game against Northwestern Williford was again a hero for Penn State, as she buried a low, left-footed shot in the 84th minute that gave them a 2-1 win, leaving the Lions as the only undefeated team in conference play. The goal was Williford’s third goal in the last four games. The team plays Minnesota on the road next on Friday.
Volleyball: No. 3 Penn State survived an early hole on the road against No. 17 Minnesota, losing the first set 27-29 before ripping off three consecutive set wins to take the match. Nia Grant, Aiyana Whitney, and Megan Courtney all had double-digit kills in the game for the 14-1 Lady Lions, who play next against Nebraska in Lincoln on Friday night.