Penn State Field Hockey vs. Bucknell

While entirely surrounded by her opponents, midfielder Sophia Gladieux (3) winds up to drive the ball into the goal during the the Penn State field hockey match against Bucknell University on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, at the Penn State Women's Field Hockey Complex. Penn State beat Bucknell 4-1.

The Nittany Lions looked to build on their momentum from Friday night's big victory, but the Cardinals showed why they are the No. 9 team in the country.

At the start, both teams seemed to be feeling each other out. Goalkeepers Brie Barraco and Sasha Elliot were on the top of their game, each making a handful of saves.

During the second quarter, Penn State started to apply more pressure. The blue and white was able to get its first penalty corner but wasn’t able to convert.

The Nittany Lions also started to get out more in transition and push the tempo. Sophia Gladiuex searched for her second goal of the young season but Elliot made a remarkable kick save.

Gladieux wouldn’t be denied and found the back of the net on her next shot. The Boyertown, Pennsylvania, native continued her hot streak, terrorizing opposing defenses to start the season. The forward finished the game with three shots on goal.

The real story of the game was Penn State’s defense, though. The Nittany Lions only allowed the Cardinals to get three shots on goal in the first half.

The second half was more of the same. Penn State’s back line of Elena Vos, Gery Schnarrs, Kelsey Love wouldn't allow anything past them.

The Cardinals made a push in the third quarter after a successful challenge overturned a call that would’ve given the Nittany Lions a corner.

Louisville was finally able to beat Barraco and tie up the contest at the end of the third. Katie Schneider got her first goal of the season and put the pressure back on the blue and white.

With a little over seven minutes left in the fourth, the Cardinals were granted a corner and had a golden opportunity to get ahead.

Penn State’s defense stood strong, however the momentum shifted to Louisville’s side.

The defense got too overzealous and it backfired. The cardinals were granted a penalty stroke and Aimee Plumb converted.

After such a promising start, the Nittany Lions came up short. It was a disheartening finish, but Sunday’s performance should not be overlooked.

Penn State Field Hockey vs. Bucknell

Midfielder Sophia Gladieux (3) moves in to take a shot at the opponent's goal during the Penn State field hockey match against Bucknell University on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, at the Penn State Women's Field Hockey Complex. Penn State beat Bucknell 4-1.

Veteran leadership

This Nittany Lion squad is a veteran bunch. With only two newcomers this season, Penn State’s maturity has shown. They don’t turn the ball over, and they constantly keep their structure.

With two tough tests to start the season, other teams were the first to fold. Coach Charlene Morett Curtiss has had her team prepared for stiff competition.

There is buzz around this team this year. Morett Curtiss has been able to get a huge crowd to come out to support the team.

The Nittany Lions didn’t get the result they were looking for but they controlled most of this game. Penn State dominated time of possession.

Even after falling behind and letting up two straight goals, this veteran team was able to get multiple chances at the end of the fourth, they just couldn’t beat Elliot.

Foul trouble

The combination of Vos, Schnarrs, Love and Barraco in net has been lethal. Barraco was labeled as one of the premiere goalkeepers in the nation and has been as advertised.

However, Penn State was able to let Louisville back in the game because of the penalties. The defense which is the backbone of this team, handed the Cardinals too many chances.

The No. 9 team in the country was granted three penalty corners and Barraco, after a relatively easy first half, was under constant duress in the 4th.

End of the gauntlet

The schedule hasn’t been kind to Penn State to start the season, with two tough tests against teams in the top 15.

Louisville has been a great program and their fans traveled well to University Park, providing support and energy for the visitors.

However, after these first two contests Penn State has given a clear idea as to what kind of team it is. This is a gritty, mature group that has shown a lot of resilience through the opening week.


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