The approach of winter break doesn’t just signal the end of the academic semester, it also means the end of the season for fall sports teams and, if we’re lucky, some post-season action.
This year Penn State has had a number of outstanding fall teams, including a couple that are still competing.
Personally, I’ve become a huge fan of our women’s soccer team. We have some seriously good players and the atmosphere at their games is unbelievable, vuvuzelas and all. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also one of the top four teams in the country. Today, the team left for the NCAA Final Four in San Diego. They’ll take on Florida State in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. this Friday.
IfWhen they win, they’ll play the winner of the UNC vs. Stanford game in Sunday’s finals. To follow the action, check out their Facebook or Twitter feed, @PennStateWSOC.
Another obvious team to mention in the not-so-shabby department is our women’s volleyball team. They just closed out their regular season with a win over Michigan State and were named BigTen champions, earning them a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. They enter the tourney having won the National Championship four of the last five years. Like I said, not so shabby. You can keep up with them @PennStateVBALL.
Then there are all the teams with their seasons just getting under way – men’s and women’s basketball, men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and wrestling. All of these teams are building off great seasons last year. For instance, the No. 2 wrestler in the country and defending NCAA champion David Taylor is off to a 2-0 start.
Then there’s the men’s basketball team. Although star player Tim Frazier is out for the season with an injured ankle, the team is still 4-2 and gearing up for its Wednesday match with the ACC’s Boston College. Meanwhile the women’s basketball team is 5-0.
Even our fencing team is pretty impressive, with two national championships in the past four years.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, our student-athletes are definitely as successful on the court, field, mat, or pommel horse, as they are in the classroom. We Are!
UPDATE: Last night head Football coach Bill O’Brien was added to the hefty number of Penn State coaches named BigTen Coach of the Year this fall. He joins the rank of Women’s Soccer coach Erica Walsh, Women’s Volleyball coach Russ Rose, Men’s Soccer coach Bob Warming, and Field Hockey coach Charlene Morett. Plus Women’s Cross Country coach Beth Alford-Sullivan was named United States Track and Field/Cross Country Association Mid-Atlantic Region Women’s Coach of the Year. That’s a pretty impressive list! And we can’t even begin to list all the Penn State players who won BigTen awards but, trust us, it’s a lot. A big thanks to all our teams for the great work they do year-round representing Penn State on and off the field.