PRINCETON, N.J. - The Penn State field hockey program produced a huge 4-3 victory over No. 3 Princeton on Sunday, snapping the defending NCAA national champions 17-match winning streak. Head coach Charlene Morett was proud of how the team played.
"We played an awesome first half and had some great moments to begin the first and second halves," said Morett. "After we took the lead I thought we dug in and showed a lot of grit and determination in the second half to close out the game. I am really proud of this team."
Brittany Grzywacz (Collegeville, Pa.) and Taylor Herold (Fredericksburg, Pa.) produced the Lions' two first half goals and Herold and Ashtin Klingler (Selinsgrove, Pa.) added two more in the second to give the Blue and White just enough to come away with the big win.
After playing a great game midweek against Lock Haven, the Nittany Lions were primed to face the Tigers. Grzywacz put Penn State on the board first for the second-straight game. The senior received a penalty corner pass from Whitney Reddig (Lititz, Pa.) and fired past the Princeton keeper to give PSU an early 1-0 lead. The goal was Grzywacz's third of the season.
The opening goal seemed to inspire the rest of the Blue and White offense. Less than 10 minutes after scoring their first goal, the Nittany Lions doubled their lead in the 16th minute when Herold cut through the Tigers' defense and beat the keeper one-on-one. With the goal, Herold grabbed the team lead for goals on the season with four.
Princeton immediately called a timeout after Penn State's second goal to regain its composure. The Tigers played more aggressively out of the timeout and started putting pressure on the Nittany Lions' back line.
With just three minutes left in the first half, the hosts got on the board and cut the Penn State lead to 2-1. The host's Julia Reinprecht received a pass from Allison Evans and scored on a reverse shot to draw Princeton within one. The goal ended Kylie Licata's (Mountain Top, Pa.) streak of 101 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.
Along with the lead on the scoreboard, the Nittany Lions were also on top of the statistical categories after the first 35 minutes of action. Penn State attemptedeight shots to the Tigers' six and three penalty corners to Princeton's one. The two goals were the most Princeton allowed a team to score in the first half since its NCAA Quarterfinal match against Virginia in 2012.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Penn State attack blitzed Princeton for two goals in the opening four minutes, with both goals coming in the 39th minute.
Herold struck again for Penn State's third goal, coming off a penalty corner set up by Reddig and Lauren Purvis (Maple Glen, Pa.). The goal marks the juniors first multi-goal game of the season and fifth of her career.
Within the minute of PSU's third goal, Klingler added another, building the Lion lead to three at 4-1. The senior entered the right side of the circle and beat the Princeton keeper to stretch the lead to three. The goal was Klingler's third of the season and second in as many games.
With the winning streak on the line, the defending national champions battled back. The Tigers scored back-to-back goals within five minutes to draw within one of Penn State with 13 minutes left in the match, making the score 4-3.
The Blue and White dug in and played great defense to close out the final minutes and escape New Jersey with a huge 4-3 win.
"This is a big win for us," stated Morett. "Princeton is a top 10 team, and being able to come away with a win over the defending national champions is always special."
The four PSU goals are the most the squad has scored all season and the win over the Tigers is the first since winning a 3-2 overtime match on October 29, 2010. The victory also marks the Lions' first defeat of a top five team since the 2012 season-opening win over No. 3 Old Dominion.
With the victory, the Blue and White levels its record at 3-3 on the season. The Nittany Lions return home to host the University of Delaware on Friday, September 20 at 5:00 p.m. The match will be played at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.
--Penn State Media Relations