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No. 9 Penn State Field Hockey Drops Weekend Series At No. 12 Rutgers

By Hope Damato and Will Pegler

Penn State field hockey (4-5, 3-2 Big Ten) was swept by Rutgers (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) in two games this weekend in Piscataway.

The Nittany Lions didn’t score in either game against the Scarlet Knights, as they dropped game one Friday afternoon 3-0 and fell 1-0 on Easter Sunday. Char Morett-Curtiss’ team put up 19 shots over the course of the weekend, but just couldn’t earn enough quality looks to keep up with a talented Rutgers group.

Game One

The evenly matched teams got off to a slow start with no action starting until the end of the first quarter. Rutgers got the first opportunity for a corner and was originally denied. After miscommunication by the Nittany Lions, Clayre Smith found the back of the net for the Scarlet Knights.

Neither team could connect on plays in most of the second quarter. With 30 seconds left, Penn State goalie Brie Barraco had a huge kick save to keep the Nittany Lions alive. In a last-ditch effort, Penn State was awarded a corner but the shot went far left keeping Rutgers up 1-0.

After recouping during halftime, Penn State forced the corner early on. Sophia Gladieux took the original shot and Grace Wallis hit the rebound, but neither attempts were successful. Rutgers later recovered and Rachel Houston scored off a deflection, making the score 2-0.

After an official review, Penn State was awarded the first corner half way through the fourth. Rutgers goalie Gianna Glatz laid out to successfully clear the ball. After the final whistle blew, the Scarlet Knights were awarded two corners. The first one was unsuccessful but, Milena Redlingshoefer snuck one in to end the game 3-0. This was Rutgers first win over Penn State since 1985.

Game Two

Sunday afternoon’s contest featured yet another slow start between the two sides. Neither found the back of net through the first quarter of play, as a few unproductive possessions were traded.

Penn State’s Sophia Gladieux and Bree Bednarski both put shots on net early in the second quarter, but but Gianna Glatz made a couple of nice saves for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers then picked up a lengthy possession, and Gianna Mancini found the back of the net to give the home team a 1-0 lead about 21 minutes into the game.

The rest of the second quarter went fairly quiet for both squads, and Rutgers took that 1-0 lead into the half.

Both the Nittany Lions and the Scarlet Knights earned penalty corners in the third, but neither sides could grab a goal. In fact, Brie Barraco had to make just one save in the third, while Rutgers didn’t face any shots on goal.

Char Morett-Curtiss’ squad scrambled in the fourth quarter to try and knot things up. The Nittany Lions put a total of eight shots on net in the final few minutes, including a look for Anna Simon that hit off the post. Despite the offensive production, Penn State couldn’t find the back of the net and fell 1-0.

Takeaways

  • Penn State wasn’t able to anticipate the ball. Interceptions are what killed the Nittany Lions this weekend. They came back strong on defense, but by the time they got the ball back, it was too late.
  • It’s hard to win when you don’t score! Penn State was shutout over the course of both games against the Scarlet Knights, despite putting more shots on net during the weekend. That’s saying a lot, especially considering Rutgers hadn’t beaten Penn State since 1985 entering this weekend’s series. The Nittany Lions got good looks, but just couldn’t finish on several of them.
  • After winning three of their last four, the Nittany Lions now have a chance to reevaluate things after dropping consecutive games for the first time all season. With just four games left before postseason play, Penn State will need to get hot to improve its standing in the Big Ten.

What’s Next

The Nittany Lions will return to State College against Indiana. The weekend series will begin at 3 p.m. Friday, April 9.

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