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Penn State Field Hockey Upsets No. 2 Maryland, Advances To Big Ten Championship

by on November 08, 2019 11:26 PM

Penn State field hockey (8-11, 5-4 Big Ten) shut down the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins (16-3, 7-2 Big Ten), 1-0, on Friday at the Field Hockey Complex to advance to the Big Ten championship game.

The Nittany Lions’ win was hard-fought until the very last second, and their strong start and stellar goaltending ultimately propelled them to victory.

How It Happened:

Despite Maryland having more quality shots early in the first quarter, the Nittany Lions were able to make a big statement on their home turf by notching the first goal of the game.

Penn State goalie Brie Barraco and the rest of the Nittany Lion defense shut down Maryland’s first two back-to-back penalty corners before the offense worked its way into Maryland’s zone. Junior forward Bree Bednarski then scored the game’s first and only goal off a shot in mid-air by junior midfielder Emma Spisak.

The goal sparked momentum for the Nittany Lions throughout the remainder of the quarter, as they played with plenty of aggression, speed and smart ball movement. The Terrapins still led in shots on goal, but they were never able to follow through with a score of their own, thanks to the stellar Nittany Lion defense.

Penn State opened the third quarter with its first penalty corner but was unable to execute it. The Nittany Lions then drew another but after a video review, they would not receive the second opportunity to extend their lead. Maryland had three more opportunities to tie things up on the corners, but each attempt was unsuccessful.

Throughout the night, it was apparent Maryland could not crack the code of Penn State’s defense. It was a stellar display of talent. After a huge stop in the final minute of the third for the Nittany Lions, Penn State prepared to finish business for the final quarter.

In a desperate attempt to change the direction of the game, Maryland came on strong in the fourth quarter. In the nail-biting last few minutes of the game, Maryland tried to connect with the cage for its last drives, but couldn’t break through as Penn State ran on the field to celebrate a well-deserved win.

Although the Terrapins led in shots-on-goal and had more opportunities to score on penalty corners, they were no match for the Nittany Lions’ defense. Despite their rocky start to the season, the Nittany Lions showed up big when it counted most.

“Everybody is well aware of the start of our season, but you know what? That’s behind us, and we keep working hard to the next game and just keep advancing and move on,” head coach Char Morett-Curtiss said after the game.

Player of the Game

Bree Bednarski | Forward

Bednarski’s goal early in the first quarter was all Penn State needed to punch its ticket to the Big Ten Championship. The goal helped the Nittany Lions to add pressure to Maryland’s offense to hold onto their lead, and Maryland was unable to score a goal the entire game.

What’s Next?

Penn State will play the winner of Saturday's semifinal between Northwestern and Iowa for the Big Ten Field Hockey Championship at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.


Mikayla Moskowitz is a Penn State student and a writer for Onward State.
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