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No. 3 Penn State Field Hockey Falls 2-1 To No. 6 Michigan In Big Ten Tournament Semifinals

No. 3 Penn State field hockey (15-3, 7-2 Big Ten) was upset by No. 6 Michigan (13-5, 6-3 Big Ten) 2-1 on Friday afternoon in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

The Nittany Lions rolled into this match on an automatic bye into the semifinal round but just didn’t seem to play their usual game.

Michigan’s Kathryn Peterson scored two penalty stroke goals that sealed the deal for the Wolverines and even though Sophia Gladieux scored late, Penn State couldn’t mount a comeback win.

How It Happened

As the opening whistle blew, Penn State had trouble getting things going. Michigan was in full control throughout the whole first quarter and earned four penalty quarters. Penn State played stout defense and only allowed one shot on goal during the first 15 minutes, but the offense couldn’t find any momentum.

Penn State finally seemed like it was ready to play in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Jemma Punch had back-to-back shots on goal and Gladieux posted a shot that forced goalkeeper Anna Spieker to tally a save. Although none of the shots resulted in goals, the Nittany Lions’ offense seemed to finally wake up.

Both teams went back and forth trading possession, but neither could find the back of the net. Penn State finally had its first real opportunity to take the lead on a penalty corner with two minutes to go in the second quarter. Mackenzie Allessie set up the shot off the corner for Anna Simons, but Spieker made a nice save to keep the game scoreless.

Following halftime, similar to the first quarter, Michigan dominated right from the start. After an unsuccessful penalty corner by the Wolverines, they were awarded a penalty stroke. Peterson took the shot and blew it past Brie Barraco for the first goal of the game.

Michigan tallied seven shots in the third quarter and put a lot of pressure on the Penn State defense. Still, the offense struggled to find its rhythm and relied heavily on the back line.

Michigan was awarded another penalty stroke in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter and Peterson scored her second goal of the game to extend the Wolverines’ lead to two.

Now down 2-0, Penn State attempted to make a push to try to score. Michigan’s defense continued to come out on top and prevented Penn State from getting the ball into its defensive zone.

With less than three minutes remaining in the game, Gladieux scored a highlight goal to cut Michigan’s lead to one.

Michigan managed to maintain possession and run the clock out to keep the Nittany Lions to just one goal. The Wolverines handed Penn State its third loss of the season and ended its Big Ten Tournament run after only one game.

Takeaways:

  • While an automatic bid to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals is usually a great thing, this was a lot of time off for head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss’ team in between games. The offense came out of the opening whistle flat-footed and it showed that the Nittany Lions weren’t ready for a hungry Michigan lineup.
  • You can always count on Sophia Gladieux to score when it counts. Her late goal was her 21st goal of the year and solidified her importance to the team. Hopefully, Gladieux will find a way to score more of those game-winning goals in the NCAA Tournament.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions still have some play left this season in the NCAA Tournament. Seeding has yet to be announced, but the first round is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 11. Game time and location are still up in the air.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a Junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in Sports Studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of "The Office" or "Friends." To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected]

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