Penn State Field Hockey Upsets No. 2 Maryland 1-0, Advances To Big Ten Championship
Penn State field hockey (8-11, 5-4 Big Ten) shut down the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins (16-3, 7-2 Big Ten) to advance to the Big Ten Championship Game Friday evening.
The Nittany Lions’ win was hard-fought until the very last second, and their strong start and stellar goaltending ultimately propelled them to victory.
How It Happened:
Despite Maryland having more quality shots early in the first quarter, the Nittany Lions were able to make a big statement on their home turf by notching the first goal of the game.
Penn State goalie Brie Barraco and the rest of the Nittany Lion defense shut down Maryland’s first two back-to-back penalty corners before the offense worked their way into Maryland’s zone. Junior forward Bree Bednarski then scored the game’s first and only goal off a shot in mid-air by junior midfielder Emma Spisak.
This goal sparked momentum for the Nittany Lions throughout the remainder of the quarter, as they played with plenty of aggression, speed, and smart ball movement. The Terrapins still led in shots on goal, but they were never able to follow through with a goal of their own, thanks to the stellar Nittany Lion defense.
The Nittany Lions opened the third quarter with their first penalty corner but were unable to execute it. They then drew another but after a video review, they would not receive the second opportunity to extend their lead. Maryland had three more opportunities to tie things up on the corners, but each attempt was unsuccessful.
Throughout the night, it was no secret that Maryland could not crack the code that was Penn State’s defense. It was a stellar display of talent. After a huge stop in the final minute for the Nittany Lions, Penn State would prepare to finish business for the final quarter.
In a desperate attempt to change the direction of the game, Maryland came on strong in the fourth quarter, earning yet another opportunity to change the narrative. In the nail-biting last few minutes of the game, Maryland would desperately try to connect with the cage for its last few drives, but couldn’t break through as Penn State ran on the field to celebrate a well-deserved win.
Although the Terrapins led in shots-on-goal and had more opportunities to score on penalty corners, they were no match for the Nittany Lions’ defense. Despite their rocky start to the season, the Nittany Lions showed up big when it counted most.
“Everybody is well aware of the start of our season, but you know what? That’s behind us, and we keep working hard to the next game and just keep advancing and move on,” head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss said after the game.
Player of the Game
Bree Bednarski | Forward
Bednarski’s goal early in the first quarter was all Penn State needed to punch its ticket to the Big Ten Championship. The goal helped the Nittany Lions to add pressure to Maryland’s offense to hold onto their lead, and Maryland was unable to score a goal the entire game.
Penn State will play the winner of Northwestern and Iowa for the Big Ten Field Hockey Championship on Sunday, November 10 at 2 p.m. at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
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