‘You Just Have To Remain Positive’: A Look At Penn State Field Hockey’s Lisa Bervinchak Love’s Shaky First Regular Season
It’s been just over eight months since Lisa Bervinchak Love took the reins as Penn State field hockey’s head coach.
Bervinchak Love earned the position after longtime coach and former Penn State field hockey student-athlete Char Morett-Curtiss retired in March. Jumping into a head coaching role at a perennially dominant Division I athletic program is hard but taking over for someone like Morett-Curtiss is incredibly difficult.
Morett-Curtiss is one of the greats and registered 541 wins and 30 NCAA Tournament appearances during her 36 seasons with the Nittany Lions. The veteran will go down as one the greatest coaches in the history of Penn State at any sport.
Now, Bervinchak Love is tasked with maintaining Penn State field hockey’s high level of play. Before the season, Bervinchak Love said she was extremely grateful to take over for someone as talented as Morett-Curtiss.
“Char and I had such a great time together. It was a great journey working together for 30 years,” Bervinchak Love said. “I was just fortunate to be along her side and just learn so much from her, and I’m going to take what I’ve learned from her and keep those traditions and hopefully make her proud as we move forward.”
Heading into year one of the new era, expectations were high for a Penn State team that was just two wins away from its first national championship last season. However, Bervinchak Love’s tenure didn’t get off to the start she wanted.
At the start of the season, the Nittany Lions lost two of their first three games to No. 6 Virginia and Cal. After winning the following three straight games, the Nittany Lions started Big Ten Conference play but lost a close overtime game to Rutgers. The Nittany Lions bounced back and picked up a win over Bucknell but lost their next two games to fall to 5-5 on the season.
Sitting at .500, Bervinchak Love and the entire team knew their play needed to improve to compete in the competitive conference.
“I think we’re in a good position moving forward, we have a lot of season in front of us,” she said midway through the season. “We’re right there, and we’re gonna keep fighting, and we’re gonna get that win.”
Eventually, the Nittany Lions got that win — twice. The first victory came in an upset win at home over No. 7 Ohio State to end a two-game skid. They picked another huge win over No. 5 Iowa to finish the regular season with a 9-7 record.
With the regular season over, Bervinchak Love highlighted how her team improved and continued to play its style of Penn State field hockey despite some adversity and a few notches in the loss column.
“I think we’re playing with more confidence. We’re playing together as a team much better,” Bervinchak Love said. “I’m just proud of the team because they’ve stuck together even though we had some of those tough losses. There’s games that we competed in and that we could have won so I think that was always a positive that we’re always in the game.”
While her first year isn’t over yet, Bervinchak Love said that she’s learned a lot on the job and continues to gain new skills every day.
“I think the main thing is you’re going to have good days and bad days, and you just have to remain positive and just keep teaching the game. That’s all we can do,” she said. “We have a great coaching staff [and] I couldn’t have done it without them, so I think it’s just growing and learning every day.”
While year one wasn’t exactly what Bervinchak Love and Co. hoped for, the season is far from a disappointment. The Nittany Lions competed in every game and never stopped fighting despite holding onto a .500 record with only two games remaining in the regular season.
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