Facing off against No. 4 Princeton on Thursday, Penn State’s field hockey team remains determined as ever to climb the national rankings.
The No. 8 Nittany Lions say they are focused on better team play and hard determination for a full 70 minutes after coming off a good — but sloppy — 3-2 win against Lafayette on Sunday.
"I want to see us, offensively, having that scoring mentality," head coach Charlene Morett said. "We were in front of goal a lot [on Sunday] but didn’t necessarily get the score."
The Lions had 23 shots on goal and a whopping 15 penalty corners against Lafayette, but only managed three goals.
And against Princeton, better play will be necessary.
"[Princeton has] great depth. Their players have a lot of experience," Morett said. "They have two girls who played in London, the Reinprecht sisters, and two others who trained with the Olympic team. So they’re very sound fundamentally and creative in their play. They’re going to be a handful."
The two Reinprecht sisters, Julia and Katie, lead Princeton with four assists each, presenting a tough tandem for Penn State to deal with.
"They’ll be bringing great speed and stick-work," sophomore midfielder Laura Gebhart said. "So I think containing them and keeping them in front of us is important."
Morett alluded to Gebhart and senior forward Kelsey Amy as key players for the team, saying in particular that Amy needed to step up and be more dangerous within the offensive zone.
"I think displaying a lot of mental toughness is going to be a goal for us this week," Amy said. "We haven’t played a full 70-minute game yet, so we’re definitely focusing on that as a team."
Princeton is also the fourth nationally ranked team the Lions have faced so far this season. The team has held its own against its highly ranked opponents, defeating then-No. 3 Old Dominion and then-No. 8 Virginia at home, while losing to then No. 6 Connecticut on the road.
"It shouldn’t change how we approach any game," Gebhart said. "It’s a great honor to even be at [No. 8], but we’re ultimately looking to be No. 1."