Retaining its eight highest scorers from a season ago, many expected the Penn State field hockey team would find ways to score goals over the course of its season, especially with returning first-team All-American Kelsey Amy leading the Nittany Lions up front.
Amy has done her job, leading the Lions (10-3, 2-1) with 15 goals in 13 games on the season, which has helped make the Lions' offensive attack among the most powerful in the Big Ten.
The team is first in scoring average in the conference, scoring 4.3 goals per game - just above Northwestern's 3.75 average and a full goal ahead of Iowa, who sits in third with 3.25 goals per game.
And in scoring margin, which compares the average goals per game versus the average goals given up, the Lions lead the conference with a 2.61 margin. In short, the Lions’ incredible ability to get down the field in score goals has been a big reason why the team has remained so successful this season.
And considering that coach Charlene Morett has been better known for her players' defensive prowess over the years, her 2012 team's success in front of goal is noteworthy.
Amy paced the Lions' attack early on in the season, but as of late, more and more players have joined the fray. Defensive back Brittany Grzywacz continues to be the team's penalty stroke expert with four goals taken in four attempts, but has also scored five goals of her own from the field. Her .321 shot percentage is second on the team to only junior forward Ashtin Klinger, who has a .348 percent (min: 20 attempts).
Klinger in particular has been fantastic the last few games for the Lions, scoring four goals in their three conference games, including two decisive goals in Penn State's 4-3 win over rival Michigan.
Klinger has helped Amy up front significantly this season, but the Lions are also getting tremendous scoring options from their midfield, a unit that is unafraid to fly forward and shoot when given an opportunity.
Stalwarts Laura Gebhart and Hannah Allison have each had 36 shots on goal this season, the most of anyone on the team not named Amy. Gebhart has produced five goals from her shots, while Allison has produced six.
Gebhart ranks second on the team in total points overall, as she’s also tied for the team lead in assists with Whitney Reddig, each of whom have 10. Midfielder Lauren Purvis and forwards Jenna Chrismer and Taylor Herold help spread- out the scoring options for the Lions as well. Each player has three goals so far this season while thriving in the Lions' offensive minded game-plan.
So while Amy continues to dominate up front as a goal-scoring and shot-producing machine, her teammates have stepped up and filled in the holes when they've needed to, which is why Penn State looks like a force to be reckoned, especially on the offensive side, as the season enters its latter half.