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Penn State Field Hockey Eyeing Rematch With Louisville Ahead Of NCAA Tournament

After falling in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament to Michigan, Penn State field hockey has its sights set on a new goal: bringing a National Championship back to State College.

That starts with getting revenge on its first-round tournament opponent, Louisville. The Cardinals were the first team to hand Penn State a loss this season when they defeated the Nittany Lions 2-1 back on August 28. That ended up as one of just three losses the Nittany Lions suffered all season, and now a rematch is set for Friday.

Head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss spoke with the media Tuesday about how this game will differ from the earlier matchup.

“For us, it needs to be an up-tempo game,” she said. “We need to get the shots, and we need to get the corners.”

Last weekend’s loss to Michigan saw Penn State get outshot 16-9 overall and 13-4 in the second half alone. The Nittany Lions only had three penalty corners the entire game as well, which limited what was usually a strong part of their offense.

The whole team looked sluggish and nervous throughout all 60 minutes of the game, and Morett-Curtiss said that she could see her team was playing a bit tentative.

“I just felt we didn’t play with the confidence we played with the past couple of weeks,” she said.

Heading into the game, Penn State was riding a seven-game win streak with notable ranked wins over Iowa, Rutgers, and, at the time, No. 2 Maryland. A big reason for that success was in large parts thanks to junior forward Sophia Gladieux.

Gladieux went on to score 21 goals this season (11 of them in the final eight games of the season), winning not only Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, but Overall Player of the Year as well.

While Gladieux did score in the Michigan loss, it came in the 57th minute and was on one of only three shots she had all game. Morett-Curtiss said it felt like a non-factor throughout the entire game.

“We need to touch the ball more, she didn’t get enough touches on the ball in the Big Ten Tournament,” Morett-Curtiss said. “She’s a special talent. She’s got a backhand that is second to none in the nation.”

The out-of-this-world season from Gladieux has been a game-changer for the Nittany Lions, but the overall outstanding play from players like Mackenzie Allessie, Jemma Puch, and Anna Simon has been a key to the success of this team, especially toward the end of the season.

The Nittany Lions have fought through adversity and have come together to be a winning team and, according to Morett-Curtiss, no matter what happens this weekend, this will be one of her favorite teams.

“I’m proud of the staff and all that we’ve accomplished this year, but we really feel that there’s more to come and the first team up is Louisville,” she said.

The Nittany Lions will begin their trip toward a National Championship at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, November 11 when they take on Louisville in the first round. The game can be streamed on BTN+.

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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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