With the first 35 minutes of the game over and not one goal on the scoreboard, the Nittany Lions knew it was time to dig deep and focus. That is just what they did as they shutout Bucknell 2-0 this past Tuesday night at home.
As things get down to the wire and with everything on the line the No. 5 Nittany Lions prepare for their last Big Ten matchup of the regular season on the road against No. 21 Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday.
The Bucknell game was the first game of the season that the Lions did not score in the first half and junior Ashtin Klingler said it was a good thing it happened when it did, as the team can’t afford for it to happen later on.
“ [At] halftime our coach told us not to panic because we were doing the right things,” Klingler said. “We were following the goals that we set up for the week, so we just kept playing through things, and eventually it worked out.”
Klingler gave great praise to Bucknell’s outstanding goalie and said it was an excellent challenge as the Lions get ready for the regular season finale against Michigan State. Klingler said she tries not thinking too much about what is at stake at Saturday’s game.
“I just try to stay cool and keep my composure,” Klingler said. “We have been doing this for multiple weeks and not much is going to change now. We just have to focus on Michigan State and what they do well and just deny everything that they have.”
Sophomore Taylor Herold, who scored one of the goals against Bucknell, said that at first not scoring hurt the Lions, but showed the team’s talent as they were able to redeem themselves.
“We need to work on our finishing, being in the right spot around the cage, and just keeping good pressure on the ball,” Herold said.
Herold agreed with her teammate, saying that Bucknell was an eye-opener especially as they prepare and get excited for an aggressive Big Ten game.
“Every Big Ten school is known for being aggressive, that’s just how we are,” Herold said. “And that’s why coach emphasizes for the defenders to push the offenders around and for the offenders to push the defenders around when we’re practicing.”
The Lions (14-3, 4-1 Big Ten) need to win at Michigan State to secure the No. 1 seed in hosting the Big Ten tournament and need Northwestern to lose to Iowa on Sunday.
Coach Charlene Morett said that now more than ever the Lions are driven to get that Big Ten championship.
“We really have been dialed in on winning a Big Ten championship, and we felt like every time we played a Big Ten opponent it was for the championship, knowing how good and strong the conference is,” Morett said. “So I think they are going to be motivated, I think this team has stayed motivated all year, and I don’t expect anything different on the road. It’s going to be really exciting that we have the opportunity for it to be in our hands and we don’t have to sit around wait.”