Nittany Lions Blank Wake Forest 2-0 in Final Four Contest
The Penn State Littany Lions shut out the Wake Forest Demon Decons 2-0 in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Final Four held in College Park MD on November 16, 2007. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Penn State Nittany Lions held the Wake Forest Demon Decons scoreless in their final four victory this evening.  Penn State now advance to the national championship game against the #1 ranked UNC Tar Heels.  The two teams will square off at high noon on the astroturf at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park MD.

Penn State played a physical Big-Ten style field hockey game this evening that caught the Demon Decons off guard.  The Nittany Lions defense was aggressive in their protection of the zone and effective in their clearing attempts.  Wake Forest forced 3 corners in the first half but was unable to shoot on any of the attempts.

Both the Nittany Lions and the Demon Decons shot twice in the first half, but it was Penn State that came up with the lone tally.  It came halfway through the first half when Mallory Weisen received a deflection from Scola Allison.  Weisen shot and the it was deflected, bouncing to Allison.  Allison tipped it back to Weisen who put it away for the 1-0 score.

"I'll just continue to say how proud I am of this group and the team and their effort.  When you watch them play they just play with so much fire and so much determination and really take advantage of opportunities inside the circle.", remarked PSU Head Coach  Morett.  "Wake Forest is a very talented team and had a great passing game going and I think that we were able to get some pressure on them and create some transitional play for us that sort of led to our goals."

Penn State's defense was remarkably effective against the Demon Decons.  In the first half the Nittany Lions held Wake Forest to 2 shots and prevented shots on 3 penalty corners.  In the second half  they blanked Wake Forest in penalty corners and shut down 6 shots by Wake Forest.  Penn State goalie #90 Jen Beaumont came up 3 big saves in the second half to keep Penn State in the lead, but it was the commanding performance by the Penn State backfield that really enabled the win.

"The defensive effort from the forwards on down is just very impressive, and Jen Beaumont did an outstanding job in the cage.  We talk about it a lot, how important it is for us to play good defense and get pressure on the ball and create some turnovers and it starts with the forwards and their attitudes and it goes all the way down to the deep defense.  Jen Long does a great job of stepping up and coming through a lot, and Jen Beaumont is right behind her", said PSU Head Coach Charlene Morett.

Penn State Forward Shaun Banta added the extra insurance with 11 minutes remaining when her steal at 25 feet out resulted in a Nittany Lions 2-0 lead.  After grabbing the ball she took it along the baseline and scored.

"It took me about 5 years to learn how to play defense but I finally had my stick down a couple of times low and blocked a pass and we talked about their goalie being good and coming out so I tried to pull her under and saw the open goal.  It was very exciting just to be a little bit relieved that we had another goal," remarked Shaun Banta.

Penn State is set to square off against the UNC Tar Heels, a team they have have a 1-5 record against in play.  The Nittany Lions have defeated 3 ACC teams in the 2007 NCAA Tournament so far, and a win over the Tar Heels on Sunday will make it a clean 4 game sweep by the Big Ten.  Last year Penn State faced the Tar Heels in the first round and sent the Heels packing with a 4-3 loss.

All eyes focus on College Park on Sunday to see the exciting conclusion to the 2007 national Field Hockey season.  The UNC Tar Heels and the Penn State Nittany Lions will face off at noon on Sunday at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park.