Penn State Field Hockey’s Anouk Knuvers’ Leadership Persevering Nittany Lions Through Rough Stretch
With only three games remaining in the regular season, Penn State field hockey sits at 7-6 on the season with a 2-3 record within conference play. On top of that, two of its final three games of the season are against the No. 1 Northwestern Wildcats and the No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes.
Associate head coach Laura Gebhart spoke Tuesday about the difficulty of the Nittany Lions’ end-of-season schedule and the importance of a few more tallies in the win column.
“We know it’s gonna be a fight, we know in Big Ten hockey, it’s gonna be a physical game,” Gebhart said. “Consistent with both is they are both high caliber, high-quality teams.
One of the bright spots on the season has been the outstanding play of junior back Anouk Knuvers. Knuvers, who hails from the Netherlands, has become a steady starter for the Nittany Lions, appearing in all 13 contests so far this season.
Not only is she playing every game, Knuvers is constantly up and down the field creating opportunities, blocking shots, stealing passes, and helping her fellow teammates succeed.
So far this season, Penn State has lost only one game by more than one goal: a 4-2 loss to Maryland, and that is in large part due to Knuvers’ play.
“It’s just a reward after working hard and really focusing on one one-on-one defense all week in practice,” she said after Penn State’s win over Ohio State. “We knew they were going to be a very offensive team and we let up one late goal, that was tough, but we held it good back there.”
Knuver had the game-winning block after a shot from a corner late in the game against Ohio State, which sealed the win for the Nittany Lions. That hard work at practice and big-time save was enough to earn her first-ever Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honor.
Knuvers became the first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for Penn State since Elena Vos, who won the award last season. The Nittany Lions have been in nearly every game, and that has, in large part, been attributed to stellar play from Knuvers and the leadership she brings to the defensive side of the team.
With the season winding down and the Big Ten Tournament just around the corner, the defense has to be playing at an all-time high, and with Knuvers leading the charge, Penn State has a chance to accomplish that and continue to fight for a championship.
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About the Author
The ranking comes after the Nittany Lions defeated Michigan State 42-0 on Black Friday.
This is the first time the Lady Lions have received AP Poll votes since 2014.
The Onward State crew headed to the Motor City for some football, pizza, and a swing set overlooking Canada.