Penn State Field Hockey To Rely On Experience Heading Into Fall Season

After an early exit in both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments last season, Penn State field hockey is aiming for a comeback season. The Nittany Lions, currently ranked No. 11 in the NFHCA preseason poll, are determined for a successful outcome and maybe even a couple of trophies.

Head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss spoke with the media Tuesday and emphasized the pride she has in her team.

“The way they maintain their unity as teammates, as friends, and as students-athletes is extremely impressive,” Morett-Curtiss said.

The Penn State field hockey program has members of both the national and Olympic field hockey teams, so the offseason can sometimes be hectic. But, Morett-Curtiss is convinced her team is prepared for the upcoming season at hand.

“People ask me at the end of preseason, ‘Are you exhausted?’ Actually, I am not exhausted because they didn’t exhaust me, they just came ready,” Morett-Curtiss said.

This program is also sporting plenty of familiar and experienced faces this season, as the team returns a combined eight graduate and senior players. Only two true freshmen committed to this year’s class, which leaves Morett-Curtiss with an older and more experienced group.

“We have a lot of fifth-year players and we have a lot of seniors,” she said. “They are players that I rely on because they know me, and they have been with me for four and five years.”   

The team will also lean on its three captains — Meghan Reese, Elena Vos, and Mackenzie Allessie. The three were voted as captains by their teammates during the offseason.

“It’s an honor to have my teammates select me,” Reese said. “I agree with positive leadership and just being one of the hardest workers out there and pushing everyone to be better.”

The program is also taking pride in its stadium expansion that just recently started construction. The new complex will have 1,200 seats, as well as concessions areas, updated locker rooms, and media boxes. The complex will undergo construction during the fall 2022 season with an expected completion date in the fall of 2023. The field will still be used as the complex is worked on.

After 36 seasons with Penn State, Morett-Curtiss is excited about the changes that are coming to the facility.

“We are looking forward to having a first-class facility that will benefit student-athletes, fans, family, and friends,” she said.

“It is a facility that will showcase high-level hockey and give us the opportunity to offer a premium experience to everyone when we host postseason events, both Big Ten and NCAA,” Morett-Curtiss continued. “These improvements and additions will also turn the Penn State Field Hockey Complex into a venue that will allow us to host alumni events and other functions all year long.”

Between construction and its upcoming season, Penn State surely has its hands full this season. The team is looking at a tough schedule ahead, as it faced 10 ranked teams in its 17-game regular season. Of those 10 teams, five belong to the Big Ten.

“The Big Ten really took a huge step last season with six teams going into the NCAA Tournament. It was the most of any conference in history,” Morett-Curtiss said. “We are extremely proud of our conference, and what they do is challenge us on a day-to-day level.”

The Nittany Lions begin their 2022 campaign at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 25, with a home matchup against No. 12 Virginia.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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