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No. 6 Penn State Field Hockey Staves Off No. 7 Michigan 2-1

No. 6 Penn State field hockey (5-1, 1-0 Big Ten) took down No. 7 Michigan 2-1 Friday evening at Phyllis Ocker Field Hockey Field in Ann Arbor.

After just over 10 minutes of scoreless action to begin the matchup, Meghan Resse struck first for the Nittany Lions to take a pivitol 1-0 advantage in the early going. Despite outshooting Penn State by an absurd 23-3 margin across the next three quarters, the Wolverines were unable to sneak in more than one score thanks to the quick glove of Brie Barraco in net for the visitors.

How It Happened

The two top-10 foes traded possession for most of the first quarter, until the Nittany Lions were awarded a penalty corner taken by Mackenzie Allessie. Seconds later, Meghan Resse turned the first shot of the game into an instant score, helping the Nittany Lions establish a 1-0 lead.

Michigan quickly turned a sloppy first-quarter performance into a series of opportune scoring chances early and often during the second period of play. The Wolverines were able to garner five shots on net, but were only able to convert one goal in the process.

At the 22-minute mark, Michigan’s Lora Clarke hammered home her second scoring strike of the season. However, less than seven minutes later, the Nittany Lions returned the favor with another answer of their own.

Shortly following two Wolverine shots, Penn State’s Sophia Gladieux torched the home sqaud’s defense for her seventh score of the season through just six matchups. Less than 30 seconds later, the Nittany Lions entered the locker room with a commanding 2-1 lead.

While the third quarter proved to be all offense for the Wolverines, head coach Marcia Pankratz’s unit failed to put zero of the attack’s 11 shots into goals. In an effort to protect their own territory, the Nittany Lions buckled down on defense in support of Brie Barraco in goal, which led to a zero-shot output for the visitors during the span.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Michigan continued to fire shots at a rapid clip. In a four minute span, the Wolverines ripped off four additional attempts, but once again, the stout goaltending of Barraco proved to be too strong for the opposition. Ultimately, the Wolverines were forced to pull their goaltender at the 55-minute mark, but the risk failed to pay off for the seventh-best team nationally.

Following one final attempt from Michigan’s Katie Anderson, the game concluded with the Nittany Lions on top at a 2-1 clip, giving head coach Charlene Morett-Curtis her fourth-one score victory of the early season slate.

Takeaways

  • Although the mantra “gritty, not pretty” is coined by Penn State men’s basketball coach Micah Shrewsberry, Morett-Curtis seemed to take a page out of the first-year leader’s playbook Friday evening. Unbeleivably, the Wolverines peppered the Nittany Lions with 23 shots in comparison to only three attempts fired by Penn State’s offense. If the defense and goalkeeping from Barraco continues at its current pace, the Nittany Lions will be a forced to be reckoned with throughout Big Ten play.
  • Sophia Gladieux is a scoring machine, folks. Through just six matchups, the junior has scorched the net a team-high seven times. Moreover, the Pennsylvania native is currently accounting for nearly 40% of the Nittany Lions’ total scoring efforts. If she keeps it up, she’ll be in prime position for Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
  • Penn State has displayed an innate ability to close out one-score matchups across the season’s early going. So far, the Nittany Lions have converted three-of-four one-goal contests into victories. At the group’s current rate, Morett-Curtis’ team could sneak into the top-five early next week.

What’s Next?

Penn State will remain in Ann Arbor, but take on Cornell in its second battle in a two-day span at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 17. The matchup will air live on BTN+.

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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