January 30, 2012 at 11:45 PM
After defeating two top-15 opponents in the Ken & Dave Dunlap Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, the Penn State men’s volleyball team is now ranked No. 5 with a record of 4-1 on the season.
The Nittany Lions fell to No. 8 last week after losing their only match of the season to No. 6 Lewis on Jan. 21. The team began the season ranked No. 7.
One of the reasons the Lions were able to earn victories against Stanford and Pacific was the play of redshirt freshman outside hitter Nick Goodell.
Goodell was named EIVA Offensive Player of the Week Monday, the first time he has won the award in his career and the first member of the team to win the award this season.
Goodell, a native of Ambridge, Pa., came off the bench to play three sets against Stanford on Friday and had 10 kills on .333 hitting. He earned his first career start Saturday night against Pacific and led both teams in kills with 17 on .382 hitting in addition to serving three aces.
January 30, 2012 at 5:01 PM
With redshirt junior Billy Oliver shelved with concussion symptoms, someone needed to step up.
When Nick Colella did, he tried to do his best filling in as one of the team’s go-to 3-point shooters.
And doing his best also happens to be the best on the team.
The Penn State Erie transfer is shooting 40 percent from behind the arc, second only to Oliver, who is out indefinitely, coach Patrick Chambers said.
Colella said he’s tried to take his most prominent skill and use it to the team’s advantage.
“It’s really hard to match Billy. Billy shoots lights-out from three,” Colella said. “I just try to come in and that’s the one thing I’m pretty good at.”
His performance in the past few weeks earned him the attention of Chambers, who called Colella over to talk before practice last week.
“He said he was proud of me, how hard I’ve been working and what I’ve been giving him in practice,” Colella said. “He said he’d like to help out with school and it went from there.”
His first call after receiving the news was to his parents.
“My mom was with my dad so they got the news at the same time,” Colella said. “They were just thrilled for me, excited. My mom started crying. It was a big thing.”
As for the scholarship, it was something Colella had been playing toward for a long time.
“It’s unbelievable. Everything I’ve been working toward, it paid off and it feels awesome.”
January 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM
The Lady Lions’ season thus far by the numbers:
18.5 - The average number of points the Lady Lions’ 21 games have been decided by this season. Not a single game has gone down to the last shot, and their closest game all year was a 4-point loss at Texas Tech. Hey, at least they don’t keep fans guessing.
6.3 - The amount of minutes more than center Nikki Greene that forward Ariel Edwards averages per game. Greene has started 21 games and Edwards only nine. Fouls hurt.
6 - The amount of times the Lady Lions have been ranked either 16th or 17th in the nation, although they started the year at No. 11 and have also been unranked at times.
3 - The number of Big Ten teams not named the Wolverines, Spartans, or Cornhuskers that the Lady Lions have played this year.
9 - The number of Big Ten games the Lady Lions have played.
6.6 - How much better Penn State’s scoring margin is than Big Ten leader Purdue. Of course, Purdue is 18-4 (8-1) and Penn State is 16-5 (6-3).
17-5 - The Lady Lions’ record at this time last year.
January 28, 2012 at 9:13 PM
The Penn State’s men’s volleyball team completed an impressive road trip this weekend, defeating No. 4 Stanford Friday and No. 12 Pacific on Saturday.
The Nittany Lions beat Pacific 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17) in Columbus, Ohio, making them 4-1 on the season.
Head coach Mark Pavlik said he was happy with how his team played on the long road trip, especially in terms of the progression of the team’s offense. Penn State recorded a season-high hitting percentage of .361 against Stanford but set a new season-high tonight against Pacific, hitting .391.
“Like I’ve said, the offense is going to continue to improve as the season goes on,” Pavlik said.
Pavlik inserted redshirt freshman outside hitter Nick Goodell and redshirt sophomore Peter Russell into the starting lineup, because junior Tom Comfort and sophomore Jace Olsen “needed a break” after the Stanford match.
His decision paid off.
Goodell led the team with 17 kills and a hitting percentage of .382 in the first start of his career. Russell wasn’t far behind with 15 kills and hitting .393.
According to Pavlik, this depth is the biggest strength of his team.
Junior middle hitter Nick Turko also had one of the best matches of his career, hitting an impressive .600 with 10 kills and just one error.
After dropping the first set to Pacific, Penn State bounced back to win the next three, mainly due to the consistency of its offense which at times this season has been lacking.
Even though Penn State suffered a surprising loss to Lewis last weekend, Pavlik is still satisfied with his team’s first month of the season, especially considering that every match has been away.
“I’m happy with the month of January that we’ve had, finishing 4-1 after three long, competitive road trips.”
Up next for the Lions is a date with Mount Olive next Friday at Rec Hall. Pavlik explained that he and his players are excited to play in front of the home crowd.
“We’re looking forward to getting back into Rec Hall with our fans and just being at home.”
January 27, 2012 at 8:25 PM
After suffering its first loss of the season last Saturday against No.7 Lewis, the No. 8 Penn State men’s volleyball team returned to Columbus for the second time in three weeks to play in the Ken & Dave Dunlap Invitational hosted by Ohio State.
And just like two weeks ago, the team left St. John Arena victorious. The Nittany Lions defeated fourth-ranked Stanford in four sets (26-24, 16-25, 25-17, 25-17) to move to 3-1 on the season.
The Lions were led offensively by their two redshirt senior captains Joe Sunder and Edgardo Goas.
Sunder led the way for the Nittany Lions with 17 kills on .640 hitting while Goas notched a new season high in assists with 49 to go along with six digs and one block.
The Lions struggled in the second set, hitting only .222, but came out strong after halftime hitting .433 in the third set and .500 in the fourth set.
As it has been a common theme early in the season, the Lions benefitted from strong play off the bench.
Redshirt freshman outsider hitter Nick Goodell came off the bench to deliver 10 kills on .333 hitting while sophomore outside hitter Peter Russell finished with eight kills on an impressive .462 hitting.
The Lions were also able to reduce self-inflicted mistakes registering 15 errors, a season low, as well as posting a season-high hitting percentage of .361.
The Lions continue play in the invitational tomorrow with a 5 p.m. match against No.12 Pacific.
January 26, 2012 at 6:40 PM
The No. 18 Lady Lions (15-4, 5-2 Big Ten) are in the state of Michigan to take on two of the Big Ten’s best — the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans.
Tonight the squad faces the Wolverines and hopes to have the same success that they had earlier this season when the two teams faced off, with the Lions getting the best of the Wolverines in a 78-63 game. In that contest, the Lions shot 55 percent from the floor and Maggie Lucas led the way with 22 points.
On the other hand, they didn’t have much luck against Michigan State when they played them earlier. As they head to East Lansing for a Sunday rematch, they’ll try to avenge their 75-65 loss to the Spartans. In that game, they found themselves down by 22 points at the half, and despite 28 second half points from Maggie Lucas, they couldn’t dig themselves out of that hole.
Here are our predictions for the Michigan game:
Aaron Dunlevy: Penn State wins it, 71-67. Watch for Maggie Lucas to get back on track after scoring seven in her last game. They’ll need her to win.
Tim Gilbert: Penn State wins, 77-76. Watch for the this to be the first game of the Lady Lions’ season that comes down to the last shot.
Dan Norton: Penn State wins, 75-65. Look for a lead not to eclipse single digits for either team the duration of the game.
Guest predictor: Tim Schoen (Collegian wrestling reporter): Penn State wins, 68-58. Watch for huge games from Alex Bentley and Talia East.
January 21, 2012 at 7:34 PM
No. 1 Penn State (19-3-1) completed its sweep of No. 23 West Virginia (13-14-0) with a decisive 6-1 victory Friday evening.
It was the fifth straight win for the Icers and extended the team’s home win streak this season to 13 in-a-row.
After an impressive 8-0 win Friday night, he start of the game didn’t go according to plan. West Virginia’s Tod Camara scored on the first shot of the game for either team, beating Penn State goalie Matt Madrazo on a breakaway.
From that point on the Icers were in control. Penn State scored six straight goals and outshot West Virginia 36-20.
The Icers didn’t get out of the game unscathed with senior captain Dan Loucks suffering a hip contusion during the second period. Loucks skated back to the bench under his own power, but needed assistance getting back to the locker room for the intermission.
With the Icers top scoring line of Taylor Holstrom, Justin Kirchhevel and Tommy Olczyk, getting a day off, Penn State brought a balanced attack. Different players scored all six of Penn State’s goals.
On special teams the Icers dominated their opposition, killing the only penalty they faced and scoring on all three power play opportunities. Kurt Collins, Josh Daley and Dan Petrick all scored when the Icers had the man advantage.
January 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM
Despite a weather delay and a third set that pushed them to the brink, the Penn State men’s volleyball team earned its second win of the season Friday night.
The No.6 Nittany Lions defeated No.14 Loyola in three sets (25-21, 25-21, 26-24) to go 2-0 on the season. The Lions have not dropped a set through two matches.
The match was delayed 45 minutes because a referee was late due to the inclement weather in the Chicago area. Once it finally got underway, the Lions got out to a hot start easily winning the first set while hitting an impressive .444.
“I thought we continued to play a very mature methodical game,” coach Mark Pavlik said. I thought our offense started out really well.”
Pavlik said he really liked the way the team passed the ball.
“Our passers were great, they kept us in system really throughout the whole match,” Pavlik said. “When we needed a pass to run our offense, we got it. I can’t say enough about Connor [Curry] Joe [Sunder] and Jace [Olsen]. They did a real nice job.”
The Lions were never down in the match until the third set. They trailed for almost the entire set and were down 12-8 at one point, their largest deficit of the season. But the Lions went on a 9-3 run to take a 17-15 lead, thanks in part to four kills from redshirt senior outside hitter Joe Sunder.
Loyola wouldn’t go away easy and the two teams would trade points until Loyola was on the verge of winning the set 24-23. However, the Lions scored three unanswered points and won on a combined block from Sunder, freshman middle hitter Aaron Russell and junior opposite Tom Comfort.
The team struggled a bit serving the ball with 16 total service errors, but Pavlik said they came up with the big serves when they needed them.
Russell led the team in hitting at .625 and had ten kills. Olsen and Sunder lead the team with 11 kills.
The Lions’ next matchup is with No.9 Lewis tonight at 8 p.m.
January 20, 2012 at 10:09 PM
The No. 1 Penn State Icers improved to 18-3-1 in impressive fashion with an 8-0 win over No. 23 West Virginia.
A penalty-free first period led to the Icers taking a two-goal lead. Later, with 13:50 remaining in the second period, Michael Longo broke the game open with two goals in a span of 30 seconds.
Longo and Tommy Olczyk led Penn State with two goals apiece and goalie PJ Musico recorded a shutout with 17 saves.
The Icers scored one goal on four power play opportunities and killed both penalties they faced in the game.
Following the game, senior defenseman Dan Loucks was named captain of the team for the remainder of the season. The Icers had been rotating seniors for the captain role this season prior to Loucks being named.
January 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Last night, the Nittany Lions picked up their second conference win of the season as Tim Frazier's floater with eight seconds left lifted Penn State over No. 22 Illinois. Let's take a look at some interesting facts from the game.
- Penn State was without redshirt junior forward Billy Oliver last night. Oliver missed the game due to an undisclosed illness and it is unsure whether he will return on Sunday when the Lions face Indiana.
- With Oliver sitting out last night, Penn State has been without either Oliver or senior guard Cam Woodyard in each of its two Big Ten wins. In the game Woodyard missed (PSU's 65-45 victory over Purdue on Jan. 5) Oliver was the team's leading scorer with 21 points. Last night with Oliver out, Woodyard led the Lions with 17 points.
- A crowd of 6,945 made it through the snow to the Jordan Center. A lot of the fans were Penn State students who had a "gray out" as the Lions wore their alternate gray uniforms for the first time.
- After the game, coach Patrick Chambers noted the loudness of the crowd at some points and also referred to the student turnout as "awesome."
- In Penn State's two Big Ten wins the team has allowed only 48.5 points per game. In their five conference losses, the Lions have given up 75.4 ppg.
- Penn State will now travel to Bloomington to take on Indiana on Sunday. This will be the second time in three weeks that the Lions and Hoosiers have squared off on a Sunday, both games having high noon tips. Indiana escaped the BJC with an 88-82 win on Jan. 8.
January 19, 2012 at 7:49 PM
The No. 21 Lady Lions (13-4, 3-2) take on the Illinois Fighting Illini tonight and we just wanted to make a few predictions and provide some insight to what we think will happen in tonight’s contest.
The Lions have struggled in Champaign and head coach Coquese Washington expects it to be difficult for her team. In the past four games, the Fighting Illini have dropped all four of them by a combined 12 points, two of which were one-point losses.
If the Lions want to win a Big Ten championship, they are going to need to keep their momentum rolling and get another conference win on the road to help them climb up the rankings in the conference.
Fresh off of a 93-73 shellacking at Nebraska, the team is confident that they can continue their winning ways and return to Happy Valley 4-2 in conference play.
Predictions and what to watch for:
Aaron Dunlevy: 79-64 Lady Lions. Watch for a huge second half just like the squad had in their last game at the Cornhuskers.
Tim Gilbert: 86-60. Watch for Maggie Lucas to record her 11th 20-point game of the year.
Dan Norton: 88-69. Watch for Mia Nickson to break out offensively and record a double double.
January 19, 2012 at 1:27 PM
I was going through the stats for both the Nittany (9-10, 1-5) and Lady Lions (13-4, 3-2) tonight and came across some interesting stuff. Now I’m not writing this to hate on the men; they’re a very young team, they play in an excellent conference, and they’ve shown a lot of potential this year, with all that #ATTITUDE business and whatnot. They’ll have their day. I’m just pointing out that, for now, Penn State basketball is dominated by Coquese Washington’s squad.
- November 26 was quite the day for the teams in quite different ways. Both teams played on that day, and each of their opponents, Nevada (women) and St. Joseph’s (men), scored 65 points. Thing is, the women scored 103 while the men scored 47. The men’s leading scorer, Billy Oliver, dropped 12 points. The Lady Lions’ three leading scorers, Maggie Lucas, Alex Bentley and Zhaque Gray, scored 26, 23 and 21, respectively.
- The men have been outscored overall by their opponents by 12 points this year. The women have outscored their opponents by 282 points.
- If you were to remove Ross Travis from the men’s stat sheet, then the Lady Lions top ten performers in points per game all have a better number than their male counterpart (Maggie Lucas averages more than Tim Frazier, Alex Bentley than Jermaine Marshall, etc.).
- Both squads are 1-2 in the Bryce Jordan Center in Big Ten games. The only difference is, the women are 2-0 on the road and the men are 0-3.
- The women are first in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting percentage at a 37.2 percent clip. The men, on the other hand, are last in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting percentage defense, with a very similar rate of 37.0. The Lady Lions are also second in the Big Ten in scoring (76.8 PPG), while the men are second-to-last (63.8).
- I think this is a testament to how good the men’s Big Ten has been this year as a whole - The women and men have the exact same assist-to-turnover ratio (0.9) and practically the same turnover margin (the men are at plus-1.89 and the women plus-1.88), but the men are respectively 8th and 12th in those categories while the women are fifth in both.
- This is interesting: Nittany Lion guard Tim Frazier (18.2) and Lady Lion guard Maggie Lucas (20.4) are both second in the Big Ten in points per game.
- Here’s a solid finisher: The Lady Lions are 6-1 when they play on the same day or the day after a Nittany Lion loss.
January 18, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Tickets to Rec Hall to see the Nittany Lions wrestle this season have been in high demand.
And as the season reaches the halfway point, that demand is only going up.
Assistant Director of Athletics Communication Patrick Donghia has announced that next Sunday's Big Ten dual with the Ohio State Buckeyes is now sold out. That includes the 300 standing room only tickets what were made available.
It is the Lions' third sellout of the season, as the team continues preparations for its sold out home showdown with Iowa on Sunday. The Iowa dual sold out in record time. The third match that sold out was against Minnesota, which beat Penn State back in November.
Rec Hall's wrestling capacity is 6,502. After student tickets are distributed prior to both the Iowa and Ohio State matches, there will be more than 6,700 tickets distributed for each of those matches, the press release said.
Penn State is averaging 6,100 fans per home dual this year and after the next two weeks, that number is set to rise.
A very limited number of tickets remain for Penn State’s home duals against No. 10 Michigan on Feb. 5 and No. 9 Pittsburgh on Feb. 19.
January 18, 2012 at 10:14 AM
After earning a hard-fought victory over rival Ohio State last Saturday, the Penn State men’s volleyball team has been rewarded for its efforts.
The team comes in at No. 6 in the latest AVCA Division I-II Men’s Coaches Top 15 Poll after opening the season at No. 7.
BYU moves into the top spot in the rankings with a record of 4-1 after defeating previously top-ranked UC Irvine this past weekend.
The Nittany Lions are back on the road this weekend as they travel to Chicago for their next matchup with Loyola this Friday followed by a matchup with Lewis in Romeoville, Ill. Saturday night.
Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m. starts.
January 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM
My Big Ten Power Rankings are fifty percent record, fifty percent momentum. Hence, power. In parentheses are the teams’ overall record, Big Ten record, and streak.
1. Purdue (15-3; 5-0; W8) - The Boilermakers have taken the Big Ten by storm thus far. They’ve achieved a 5-0 record without a star player, too; they’ve done it by allowing 52.6 points per game, first in the conference by four points. The question is, can the tenth-best scoring offense in the Big Ten keep up such a strong record?
2. Ohio State (17-1; 4-1; W2) - After sweeping a pretty difficult non-conference schedule, it seemed like the Buckeyes were the class of the Big Ten, but then they lost to unranked Michigan on the road. Still, they lead the Big Ten in scoring and have two of the conference’s four best scorers in Talyer Hill (21.4 PPG; 1st) and Samantha Prahalis (18.2; 4th).
3. Nebraska (15-2; 4-1; L1) - They were cruising until the Lady Lions crushed them on their home turf on Sunday. Like Ohio State, they’re a proficient scoring team with two of the Big Ten’s best six scorers. Their game on Thursday against Ohio State will be a good measuring stick.
4. Penn State (13-4; 3-2; W2) - The Lady Lions were struggling to tread water last week when they were 1-2 in the conference. That all changed when they beat Michigan and Nebraska last week.
5. Michigan (13-4; 3-2; W1) - The Wolverines get the edge over Michigan State because of their win against Ohio State, who was undefeated at the time. They also have the second-best defense in the Big Ten and have played a tougher schedule than the Spartans.
6. Michigan State (12-6; 4-1; L1) - They’ve lost to some pretty weak teams (Villanova and Pittsburgh, for instance), and have been maddeningly inconsistent all year. Don’t expect them to finish in the Big Ten’s top five; two of their four conference wins have come against lightweight Indiana.
7. Northwestern (12-6; 2-3; W1) - The Wildcats have come out of absolutely nowhere to an impressive 12-6 record and No. 47 ranking in RPI by being an excellent rebounding team.
8. Minnesota (10-9; 2-3; L2) - From this point on, the conference just isn’t very good. Minnesota hasn’t defeated a ranked team all season and has been stifled in their last two games by Michigan and Purdue.
9. Iowa (10-8; 2-3; L2) - Yikes, what a disappointing year for the Hawkeyes. They’ve lost to such welterweights as UNLV and Bradley, and star Jamie Printy (17.7 PPG) hasn’t been able to carry the weight.
10. Wisconsin (5-12; 1-4; L1) - To the credit of the Badgers, all four of their Big Ten losses have been against ranked teams. With their next three games against Iowa, Northwestern, and Minnesota, they have a chance to earn some respect.
11. Illinois (6-12; 0-5; L5) - Here’s quite the stat for you - the Fighting Illini have averaged 931 fans per home game this season.
12. Indiana (6-12; 0-5; L5) - They have not defeated a team in a major conference all season (0-8 in that category), and have lost their games by an average of 7.4 points.
January 16, 2012 at 1:42 PM
While Penn State’s starting lineup is continuing to dominate the competition in Big Ten dual meets, there are other wrestlers on the team that are seeing success on the mat.
A group of eight Nittany Lions traveled to Millersville University on Sunday to compete in the Floyd ‘Shorty’ Hitchcock Invitational. The wrestlers competed as unattached wrestlers in the event.
The group was made up of freshman and sophomores and gave them opportunities to wrestle with their teammates in the middle of the Big Ten schedule.
Nick Ruggerar saw the most success of the weekend making it to the heavyweight semifinals, before losing in a decision to Lehigh’s John Delia. He ended up placing third.
Ruggerar was in the Nittany Lion's starting lineup last year wrestling at 197-pounds as a freshman. This season, he is redshirting, but like his other teammates not in the starting lineup, he is still able to wrestle in events such as this.
All eight Nittany Lions picked up victories in the event.
Here are how the rest of the Nittany Lions fared in the tournament, according to GoPSUSports:
Freshman Michael Waters went 3-2 at 141,
Freshman David Owens was 2-2 at 141,
Freshman Rex Lutz went 2-2 at 165,
Sophomore Andrew Church was 3-2 at 174,
Freshman Scott Syrek went 2-2 at 197.
Freshman Jordan Conaway got a win at 125.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Phillips also picked up a win at 174.
January 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM
Maggie Lucas scored 24 points, Alex Bentley added 23, and the Lady Lions picked up a big 93-73 win Sunday at No. 15 Nebraska.
The Lady Lions shot 53.7 percent from the floor, and Lucas’ outburst was her 10th 20-point game of the year and her eighth in her last 10 games. Five Lady Lions reached double-digit point totals in this one, as Zhaque Gray had 16 points and Mia Nickson and Nikki Greene both had 12. Nickson recorded her second double-double in her last four games with eleven rebounds.
Nebraska started the game hot on a 15-4 run. However, the Lady Lions slowly came back, cutting the lead to 44-38 at the break and outscoring Nebraska 55-29 in the second half.
Previously this season, Penn State took a loss at home to Nebraska to open Big Ten play. Their shooting in that game provided a stark contrast to the win; they made only 29.4 percent of their shots in December’s contest.
Penn State (13-4, 3-2 in the Big Ten) found themselves absent from the AP Poll for the first time all season at this week’s opening, one vote shy of the 25th spot. Now, after wins against Michigan and the Cornhuskers, it seems certain that they will return when a new poll is released tomorrow.
January 14, 2012 at 2:29 AM
The Penn State wrestling team dominated Northwestern in another road dual Friday night, as the Nittany Lions defeated the Wildcats, 38-3.
Nico Megaludis and Frank Martellotti both won their bouts by decision to begin the dual, giving Penn State an early 6-0 lead.
At 141-pounds, Bryan Pearsall won his bout following an injury to his opponent, and the Lions’ lead was doubled to 12-0.
After Frank Molinaro won by major decision, Dylan Alton suffered Penn State’s first loss of the dual. Alton lost, 2-1, in a closely contested match, which was decided by riding time.
Following the intermission, David Taylor and Ed Ruth both won by technical fall, extending Penn State’s lead to 26-5.
Quentin Wright continued Penn State’s dominating effort with a first period pin in his bout, and he lifted Penn State to a 32-3 lead.
Morgan McIntosh won in dramatic fashion, as he trailed 4-3 entering the third period. The freshman would escape to tie the score and used a late take down to win, 6-4, and gave Penn State a 35-3 lead.
Cameron Wade finished off the dual with a 6-3 win, and he capped off a night where the Lions won nine of 10 bouts.
Penn State will travel to Wisconsin for another dual Sunday afternoon before returning to Happy Valley.
Wisconsin, who was defeated by Northwestern 33-9 last weekend, is the final dual standing between No. 3 Penn State and No. 2 Iowa, which be at Rec Hall next Sunday.
January 12, 2012 at 9:50 PM
The Lady Lions rebounded from Sunday’s loss to Michigan State with gusto Thursday, defeating Michigan 78-63 in front of a boisterous crowd.
Sophomore guard Maggie Lucas picked up right where she left off in the Michigan State game (in which she scored 33 points) by dropping 22 against the Wolverines, including 17 in the first half. Guards Alex Bentley and Zhaque Gray also showed up, respectively scoring 15 and 12 points.
As a team, the Lady Lions (12-4, 2-2) shot 55.4 percent from the floor. Coming into the contest, Michigan (13-4, 2-2) had let opponents make only 37 percent of their shots.
The win prevented the Lady Lions from falling to 0-3 at home against Big Ten opponents. Michigan was coming off a win against No. 11 Ohio State, who had previously been undefeated.
Penn State played with an extra pep in their step, it seemed. They were much more vocal than they had been earlier in the year on defense, which was something coach Coquese Washington had been stressing since the Michigan State loss. The crowd of 3,567 was also loud all night long, and that probably contributed to the Lady Lions’ exuberance.
Now, Penn State turns their attention to No. 15 Nebraska (14-1, 3-0) for a Sunday showdown in Lincoln. The Lady Lions lost to Nebraska in their Big Ten opener at home on Dec. 30, 71-63. If the Lady Lions win it, they’re almost certain to reenter the AP Poll after leaving it for the first time all year in this week’s rankings.
January 11, 2012 at 3:26 PM
Penn State is now ranked at No. 3 this week in the latest USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll. They move up one spot from last week after their convincing 36-6 win over Michigan State.
They continue to hold their No. 1 ranking on Intermat’s Tournament Power Index (TPI).
Oklahoma State is now atop the standings after it traveled to Iowa City Saturday night and knocked off then No. 1 Iowa 17-16. Iowa fell one spot to No.2.
Penn State and Minnesota also changed places in the latest poll. The Gophers came into Rec Hall earlier this season and beat then No. 2 Penn State, but Penn State was able to avenge the loss by winning the Southern Scuffle over Gophers, who finished second.
Minnesota is currently ranked fourth in the poll, and six of the top ten teams are from the Big Ten.
Cornell, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio State, Missouri and Pittsburgh round out the top ten.
Penn State has a date with Iowa on January 22.
But before the showdown at Rec Hall with Iowa, both Penn State and Iowa have some work to do. Penn State travels to No. 17 Northwestern on Friday and then onto Wisconsin on Sunday.
Iowa has road matches with No. 7 Nebraska and No. 8 Ohio State and a home match with No.17 Northwestern before traveling to Happy Valley.
In addition to the team ranking, Penn State has eight wrestlers ranked individually in the top 12 of the Intermat national individual rankings.
David Taylor and Frank Molinaro are ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes. Taylor, an All-American, is 15-0 and Molinaro, a three-time All-American, is 17-0 on the year.
All-Americans Ed Ruth and Quentin Wright are ranked at No. 2. Ruth has posted a 17-0 mark and Wright is 14-2 on the year.
Heavyweight Cameron Wade is ranked No. 6 with a 14-4 record. Redshirt freshman Dylan Alton is ranked ninth with 13-3 record at 157.
Two true freshmen are also in the top 12. Nico Megaludis is ranked No. 10 with a 14-4 record and Morgan McIntosh is at No. 12 with a 10-5 mark.
January 9, 2012 at 6:38 PM
With their regular season a little over halfway through, the Lady Lions have not been the best team in the Big Ten as the media and coaches predicted they would be. In fact, they’ve been far from it. After three conference games, the Lady Lions are 1-2 and 11-4 overall.
Now, after Saturday’s 75-65 loss to Michigan State (11-5, 3-0), Penn State is absent from the AP Poll for the first time all season.
After starting the year at No. 11, best in the Big Ten, the Lady Lions have scuffled. Although guard Maggie Lucas is second in the Big Ten with 20 points per game and the Lady Lions are third in the conference in scoring, they are only seventh in defense and haven’t been able to get past most of the tough teams on their schedule.
To the Lady Lions’ credit, three of the four teams they have lost to are now ranked: No. 11 Texas Tech, No. 15 Nebraska, and No. 20 Delaware. Meanwhile, Michigan State is receiving votes in the AP Poll, so they’re also a tough opponent.
Their next two games offer no solace, either. On Thursday night, the Lady Lions will welcome the 13-3 Michigan Wolverines, who are receiving votes, to the Bryce Jordan Center in a rather important game for the underachieving team. After that, it’s onto Lincoln for a rematch with the Cornhuskers.
Still, they let Nebraska beat them at home in the Big Ten opener, and followed that up with a dud in their next home game against Michigan State. To make matters worse, they’ve only defeated one ranked team all season, then-No. 13 North Carolina.
The Lady Lions need to take advantage of their easier games on their schedule, of which there are not many. They have one game each against Illinois, Indianaa, Wisconsin, and Northwestern, and two games against Minnesota. Those should be relatively easy wins. On the other hand, they play Michigan twice, Michigan State and Nebraska again, Iowa, and No. 11 Ohio State and No. 22 Purdue. The Lady Lions will have to buckle down in the stretch to regain the voters’ respect.
January 9, 2012 at 11:28 AM
1. Ohio State (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) — Even with one loss, the Buckeyes are still the best team in the Big Ten right now. The lone loss came against Indiana in Assembly Hall where it doesn’t seem like anybody will beat the Hoosiers this season. Jared Sullinger and company will have another chance to get a win in Assembly Hall, this time in Champaign, as the Buckeyes face Illinois on Tuesday.
2. Michigan State (14-2, 3-0) — Since losing its first two games (coming against UNC on a boat and Duke), Sparty has rattled off 14 straight W’s and is the only undefeated team in conference play. The Spartans’ latest win was an OT thriller in Madison, where MSU picked up a controversial road win over Wisconsin.
3. Indiana (15-1, 3-1) — In case you missed it, Indiana hit 16 treys against Penn State on Sunday. Sixteen. Good 3-point shooting is nothing new for the Hoosiers; they’re shooting over 47 percent from distance on the season. And when Indiana isn’t shooting jumpers, Cody Zeller has gotten it done in the paint (14.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg).
4. Michigan (13-3, 3-1) — The Wolverines had two really tough road tests in the past few days, traveling to Indiana and Wisconsin. And though Michigan fell just short in Bloomington, they took it to the Badgers in Madison. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 17 points in a 59-41 victory on Sunday.
5. Purdue (13-4, 3-1) — In the past week, it seemed like the play of Lewis Jackson dictated the outcome for the Boilermakers. Jackson, a 5-foot-9 guard, was scoreless in a 20-point loss to Penn State, but bounced back nicely with 20 points and four dimes in a 79-66 win over Minnesota.
6. Illinois (14-3, 3-1) — How good are the Illini? Right now, it’s a tough question to answer. Brue Weber’s squad has three conference victories, but none are that impressive. Tuesday’s game with Ohio State should be a good measuring stick to see where this team is.
7. Iowa (10-7, 2-2) — The Hawkeyes have surprised a lot of people with road wins at Wisconsin and Minnesota, but they came back to earth after a 29-point shellacking against Ohio State on Saturday.
8. Wisconsin (12-5, 1-3) —The Kohl Center used to be somewhere where nobody could beat the Badgers. But things have changed this season. Wisconsin has dropped both of its conference home games and its only conference win is a four-point victory against last-place Nebraska.
9. Northwestern (11-4, 1-2) — The Wildcats came within a whisker of beating Illinois last week, but fell to the Illini by one at home. The Cats also have two of the best scorers in the conference with Jon Shurna and Drew Crawford.
10. Penn State (9-8, 1-3) — The Lions caught the eye of everyone in the conference with their 65-45 drubbing of Purdue on Thursday, behind 21 points from Billy Oliver. PSU followed that performance with a strong effort against a high-powered Indiana team, ultimately losing 88-82.
11. Minnesota (12-5, 0-4) — The Golden Gophers are really missing Trevor Mbakwe, their leading scorer and rebounder, who tore his ACL earlier in the season. And after some tough losses, Minnesota finds itself in the Big Ten basement.
12. Nebraska (8-7, 0-4) — The Huskers got welcomed to the Big Ten the hard way, facing three ranked opponents in their first three games. Nebraska lost all three, and then another one to Illinois on Saturday. The Huskers will have a chance for their first conference win on Wednesday, when Penn State, a team that struggles on the road, rolls in to Lincoln.
January 7, 2012 at 8:39 PM
Twenty-two points. That was not the halftime deficit that the No. 19 Lady Lions (11-4, 1-2 Big Ten) were expecting to face on their home floor Saturday afternoon, but that's exactly the hole they dug themselves in.
On a national stage, the preseason favorites to win the Big Ten, the Lions found themselves trailing big to the reigning Big Ten champion Michigan State Spartans on Saturday afternoon on CBS as the teams went to the locker rooms.
Taylor Alton carried the load for the Spartans in the first half and came out on fire, going 5-for-5 from the field including 4-for-4 from behind the arc. She finished the contest with a team-high 20 points. Porsche Poole also chimed in with 10 points of her own and along with senior guard Alton, were the only two players hitting double digits at the midway point.
The second half went the Lady Lions way thanks to stellar shooting from beyond the arc, however the team still fell at home, 75-65. After only shooting a measly 11.1 percent from downtown, the Lions improved their long-range shooting by knocking down seven 3-pointers while shooting 46.7 percent from 3-point land.
Maggie Lucas led the comeback charge for the Lady Lions, registering 28 of her career-high 33 points in the second half. Lucas shot over 66 percent from long-range in the second-half and drilled six long balls. Her hot-shooting and tenacity electrified the BJC and thoughts of a comeback-win were looming in the air as the Lions cut the deficit to four points twice in the final 3:15 of play.
Unfortunately for Penn State, it could not get anybody else going on the offensive end beside Lucas, who had more than half of the team's points, and the hole that they dug themselves in at halftime was just too insurmountable. The Spartans hit key free-throws down the stretch and were able to hang on to defeat the Lady Lions.
With the loss, the Lady Lions drop to 1-2 in conference play and their Thursday night meeting with Michigan carries even more weight, as the ladies look to win their first conference home game of the season. If the Lions want to remain in contention for a Big Ten crown, a win against Michigan is a must, especially since they sit in eighth position in the current Big Ten standings.
Tip-off for Thursday night's contest is scheduled for 6.
January 2, 2012 at 3:54 PM
Following their first home loss of the season, the No. 22 Lady Lions (11-3, 1-1 Big Ten) cruised to victory over Wisconsin 82-49 in Madison.
Sophomore guard Maggie Lucas led the way for the Lions with 18 points and 7 dimes. Penn State was hot from the floor all game and shot 52.3 percent from the field. All starters had at least 8 points and all 10 Lady Lions that saw action helped to contribute to the offense.
Redshirt junior forward Mia Nickson recorded her first double-double of the season as she went 5-of-6 from the field, while snagging 14 rebounds.
Junior Nikki Greene also chimed in on the stat sheet with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
Penn State held the Badgers to 32.8 percent shooting from the field and only allowed one Badger to hit double-digits in scoring. The Lady Lions also dominated the rebounding battle 44-26.
With the win, the Lions improved to 4-2 on the road and now turn their attention to Michigan State for their showdown in Happy Valley on Jan. 7. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS with a 2 p.m. tip-off.