Weekend Sports Recap: Women’s Cross Country Goes B1G, Football Cruises
Penn State athletics enjoyed a largely successful Halloweekend in Happy Valley and on the road. Check out how the Nittany Lions fared this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday below.
Friday saw Char Morett-Curtiss’ field hockey squad emerge victorious over Northwestern thanks to a 3-2 upset in Evanston, Ill. Junior Brooke Birosik paced the offense with a hat trick, while freshman goalie Jenny Rizzo was stellar in net with 15 saves. Penn State improved to 8-9 (4-4 B1G) in its final tune-up before the Big Ten Tournament in Bloomington, Ind. The No. 6 seed Nittany Lions will face off against No. 3 seed Indiana in first round action at 5:30 p.m. ET. The contest will air on Big Ten Network.
Third-ranked women’s volleyball played host to No. 11 Ohio State Friday night in Rec Hall, and Russ Rose’s ladies didn’t disappoint. Sophomore middle blocker Haleigh Washington and redshirt senior outside hitter Aiyana Whitney provided 13 kills apiece to help Penn State (21-2, 10-2 B1G) down the Buckeyes 3-1. The Nittany Lions will rest up before traveling to face unranked Maryland on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Concurrently, across campus in Pegula, men’s ice hockey fell to No. 16 St. Lawrence 4-2. After skating to a 2-2 tie the night before, Guy Gadowsky’s bunch struggled to keep pace with the Saints. A pair of seniors, defenseman Luke Juha and forward Kenny Brooks, tallied consecutive goals for the Nittany Lions to tie things up at 2-all late in the second period, but St. Lawrence poured it on in the third. Next up, Penn State has a road tilt with Niagara scheduled for Friday, Nov. 6 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
In its most complete performance of the football season, and perhaps James Franklin’s tenure, Penn State blew the doors off Illinois 39-0 in Beaver Stadium on Halloween. Junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg turned in another tremendous outing, going 21-of-29 for 266 yards and two scores, but the Palmyra, Va. native also hauled in his first career receiving touchdown on a 14-yard piece of trickeration from running back Nick Scott. True freshman phenom Saquon Barkley racked up 142 all-purpose yards (84 rushing) and electrified the crowd with his third gravity-defying hurdle, this time for a seven-yard touchdown. Penn State will head to Evanston for a noon ET kick Saturday, Nov. 7 against Northwestern on ESPNU.
Men’s soccer welcomed Northwestern to Jeffrey Field Sunday afternoon, but the Wildcats spoiled Senior Day with a pair of second-half goals to escape with a 2-1 win. Junior forward Connor Maloney went upper left in the 11th minute for Penn State’s lone goal. Bob Warming’s Nittany Lions will prepare for the first round of the Big Ten Tournament this weekend. Their opponent, as well as the time and location of the match, has yet to be determined.
Women’s soccer, on the other hand, owns the Big Ten Tournament’s No. 1 seed and advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 victory over Illinois immediately following the men’s match. A trio of Nittany Lions found the back of the net midway through the first half, spanning just over 13 minutes. Junior midfielder Nickolette Driesse struck first, then senior forward Mallory Weber, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, was next. Sophomore forward Frannie Crouse followed suit in the 41st minute with a nifty goal of her own. Penn State, led by head coach Erica Walsh, will host No. 5 seed Michigan this Friday, Nov. 6 at either 3:30 or 6:00 p.m. ET. The match will air on Big Ten Network.
Coquese Washington’s women’s basketball team posted a dominant 84-58 win over California University of Pennsylvania in exhibition play at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday. Redshirt senior guard Brianna Banks, a UConn transfer, impressed with 20 points in her Penn State debut. The Lady Lions will open their season Friday, Nov. 13 at home against Holy Cross at 6:00 p.m. ET.
Women’s cross country captured its first Big Ten Championship since 2009 with a 53-point afternoon at Chicago’s Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course. Senior Tori Gerlach finished with a time of 20:04.9, good for fourth place overall, while sophomores Elizabeth Chikotas and Jillian Hunsberger placed sixth and ninth respectively. Congratulations to head coach John Gondak’s Nittany Lions.
When all was said and done, Penn State went 6-2 on a memorable weekend. Stay tuned as Nittany Lion teams continue their fall seasons.