Field Hockey: Meijer’s Hat Trick Lifts Penn State Past Iowa
There was not a cloud in the sky when the Penn State took the field on Friday for a matchup with Iowa. Before the game started, the team and fans honored the two Nittany Lion captains, Haley Kerstetter and Stephanie Hussey.
After taking an early lead, Penn State (7-9, 3-4 Big Ten) looked to be in control. However, Iowa (9-8, 2-5 Big Ten) scored two goals in the second half tying up the game before a huge goal was scored by Aurelia Meijer to give Penn State the win.
Just a little over 10 minutes into the game, Meijer found the back of the cage after a scrum in front of the net. Brooke Birosik was credited with the assist, and just like that the Nittany Lions had a goal lead. After no goals the next 23 minutes, it looked like Penn State was going to have a 1-0 lead going into halftime. But Meijer had other ideas and wanted to extend the Penn State lead. She did just that. Brooke Birosik crossed the ball into the middle hoping for somebody to get a stick on it. Meijer’s hustle was the difference because she was able to get her stick on it. After the goal was scored, Meijer eventually knocked the net over because she was running so hard. The Lions had a two goal lead with around two minutes remaining in the half.
“She (Birosik) touched the ball exactly to my stick. I was just running into the circle, running, running, running. I touched the ball and the keeper was laying down somewhere in the circle,” Meijer said.
Penn State had the two goal lead, but Iowa came out hungry for a goal right as the second half whistle blew. Iowa’s Stephanie Norlander received a cross and hammered it home with slightly over a minute into the second half. Another Norlander goal with 18 minutes to go tied the game up at two and gave the Hawkeyes momentum. However, a call made by the referee with 14 minutes to play really swung the momentum. The referee had called an intentional back stick, which gave a penalty stroke to Iowa. The Hawkeyes missed and then the confidence shifted right back over to the Nittany Lions.
“When we scored two times, I knew we had to score more, and to not be comfortable at all (with the lead) and to get more aggressive,” added Meijer.
It looked like the game was headed to overtime, but with 30 seconds left Penn State was granted a penalty corner. After a penalty in the box by Iowa, the Nittany Lions had another shot at the win. The star of the game, Aurelia Meijer, found the upper right side of the cage, which gave Penn State a 3-2 win.
“All the trust Char gave me because I had this corner for 100 times, I never scored it, but now I scored it,” said Meijer. “I was proud of my team, I was proud of all the girls. I knew we could do this.”
The Nittany Lions have lost some heartbreaker games this season. Seven out of their nine losses have come by just one goal, and in some games the Lions struggled to put a goal in.
“What feels good about this win is obviously that we scored. We have been working really hard this week on scoring, and everything we’ve done is gone to goal. And that’s what we said to them, you’ve got to have that hunger to score,” said head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss.
In addition to a great home win, the Nittany Lions led the NCAA in attendance this season. Every game drew a huge crowd, which helped Penn State at crucial times.
“We’ve had a great turnout all year with our attendance record. It’s such a great environment to play (in) and I’m so proud to coach here,” said Curtiss.
Penn State will travel to Northwestern on Friday, Oct. 30, to take on a Wildcat team that is No. 16 in the nation.
“We have been here too many times where we haven’t closed the game out. To see them at this point in the season, dig deep and get that victory, it gives us a great surge of confidence going into Northwestern next weekend,” said Curtiss.
Mike Wszolek is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com