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Field Hockey Edges Past Michigan 1-0 In Big Ten Semifinals

Penn State (16-2, 6-2 Big Ten) was back in action Friday afternoon in the Big Ten semifinals following its win over Indiana in the tournament opener on Thursday. Michigan (12-7, 5-3 Big Ten) advanced past Michigan State in double overtime Thursday to set up the semifinal with the Nittany Lions, but couldn’t get past Penn State after a late goal from Moira Putsch.

How It Happened

Penn State had four penalty corners in the first seven minutes as the Nittany Lions applied heavy offensive pressure from the start of this one.

Gini Bramley created the biggest opportunity of the first half with eight minutes before the break after causing a Michigan turnover at midfield and taking it on the counter attack into the circle. Bramley crossed to Shay Cannon back post, but Cannon couldn’t get a stick on the fast-paced pass to give the Nittany Lions the lead.

The Wolverines thought they went up 1-0 with less than a minute left in the half, but the goal was waved off after Michigan was called for an infraction in the circle.

Michigan opened the second half with a big opportunity, ripping a shot from the top of the circle off a penalty corner. Penn State goalie Jenny Rizzo made the huge save to keep the game scoreless.

Penn State had the momentum and a series of chances with three-straight penalty corners with just over 13 minutes left in regulation, but couldn’t take advantage and go ahead of Michigan.

Michigan’s Maggie Bettez intentionally kicked the ball on defense and was given a yellow card for the infraction, putting Penn State up a player for the final four minutes of regulation. The Nittany Lions took advantage with Moira Putsch getting past her defender and into the circle before she fired her shot into the side netting for the opening goal with 3 minutes left.

The Nittany Lions iced out the final few minutes and advanced to the Big Ten Championship with a 1-0 win over the Wolverines.

Player Of The Game

Jenny Rizzo and the Penn State Defense

Coach Char Morett-Curtiss said earlier in the week that the defense was going to need to step up if the Nittany Lions were going to make a Big Ten Tournament run. Penn State’s back line answered the call as the defense kept Michigan’s leader in points, Carly Bennett, in check and Jenny Rizzo made a couple big stops to post the shutout.

What’s Next

Penn State will play either Maryland or Northwestern — its only two losses — for the Big Ten Championship on Sunday. The game will air live on BTN at 12 p.m.

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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