Happy New Year, Penn-Staters!
During James Franklin’s nine-year tenure at Happy Valley, the head football coach stayed true to the “1-0, next game mentality” and encouraged the team not to dwell on past moments.
But throughout 2022, the Penn State Athletics embarked on one of the most impressive collective go-arounds in recent memory.
Overall, the Nittany Lions marked the calendar cycle by winning national wrestling championships, field hockey Big Ten titles, and women’s soccer conference tournament crowns.
Put 2022 in your rearview mirror and take a look at 10 of the best sporting moments from some of last year’s Nittany Lions high-performing athletic programs.
10. Micah Shrewsberry’s Downs Two ranked opponents in first campaign send Ohio State to Big 10 tournament
Before the new year started heading into January last year, Penn State’s men’s basketball boasted a mediocre 5-on-5 clip with three COVID-19 precautionary cancellations to close out the 2021 slate. was
From there, the Nittany Lions found a semblance of the first cohesion with Shrewsbury at the helm, taking seven Big Ten wins, including a marquee home win against No. 19 Michigan heading into Big Ten Tournament action .
In Indianapolis, the Shrewsbury crew thrashed Minnesota in the first round of play before finally going to No. 25 Ohio thanks to a 12-point, 9-rebound performance from program cornerstone John Haller. They shocked the rest of the field by beating out State University.
Penn State were unable to fend off No. 9 Purdue in the quarterfinals of the tournament, but the 69-61 loss symbolized the program’s potential to be a formidable force in the conference.
9. Katie Schumacher-Cauley continues Russ Rose’s legacy by participating in NCAA Tournament bids for 41st straight year
Former Penn State head coach Russ Rose set the NCAA women’s volleyball scene on fire with 1,330 wins, 17 Big Ten Championships and seven National Title Trophies in 42 seasons. But in 2022, the torch has passed to Katie, who has taken over her reins from Rose after her stellar career in the Valley from 1998 to 2001. rice field.
Of all the achievements spanning Rose’s career, his most impressive is arguably his appearance in every NCAA tournament since the format’s inception in 1981. Continuing a streak of unparalleled stability will prove to be a tall order for Schumacher Cauley in his first year on the programme. overhaul.
Behind Schumacher-Cawley’s lead, the Nittany Lions got off to an impressive 8-0 start with two ranked wins against No. 11 Stanford and No. 18 Oregon. Penn State then rounded out his Pac-12 slate of two games before he had four more wins, but in the end he closed out with a 13-7 mark, one of the big his ten. I got frustrated in playing.
Still, the regular season record was 26-8, giving the Nittany Lions the fourth seed in the NCAA Tournament. Schumacher-Cauley helped Pennsylvania State win her two tournaments against her UMBC and No. 21 UCF, but her star-studded group ended in a two-on-one win at Madison. Losing by 3, they were unable to outlast Wisconsin in second place.
All in all, the Sweet 16 debut of the Nittany Lions under Schumacher Cauley’s new rule proved that the prominence of the program was not simply limited to Rose’s tenure spent on the sidelines at Wreck Hall.
8. Soccer come from behind to win the opening game, becoming the first player to reach 10 wins since 2019
James Franklin’s group failed to score a ranked victory throughout the regular season, but the most exciting win came at Thursday night’s game in West Ray Fayette, Indiana, the season opener. I was.
After stringing together a mistake-free performance against Purdue in the unit’s first 50 minutes, senior quarterback Sean Clifford threw a costly 72-yard pick 6 that was capped off by Purdue defensive back Chris Jefferson. I was. With just over eight minutes left, Penn State trailed him 31-for-28 with his back firmly against the wall.
Three points behind with 2 minutes and 22 seconds remaining, Clifford rushed onto the field with the final shot to make amends for the costly accident. Bravely, the Gunslinger surgically adjusted his eight-play, 80-yard drive, and he ended up wheeling his route to Keyvone Lee to earn the game-winning score with his 57 seconds remaining. did.
A victory in the opening game of the campaign sparked a five-game winning streak and a ninth-place national ranking, but a 41-17 loss to Michigan at the Big House. Penn State again fell back to No. 2 Ohio State in a late-game collapse, but secured his 10-win season for the first time in three seasons and the program’s first Rose Bowl bid since 2016. has been secured.
7. Women’s hockey breaks season one win total in RIT shutout
Since Penn State’s women’s hockey program began in 2012, the unit has never won more than 16 games in a season. However, on February 19, 2022, Jeff Campersol, who had been head coach for five years at the time, shut out his RIT in his 2–0 victory at Pegura’s Ice Arena, making the group his 18th. He made history by leading him to a slate victory.
The Nittany Lions kept pace with the Tigers on 42 shots, but their stifling defense held the opposition down to just 10 attempted shots throughout the afternoon. After the game, Penn State honored his five seniors in Avery Mitchell, Amy Dobson, Natalie Heissing, Anna He Promersberger, and Cam Leonard for their joint efforts to expand the reach of the program. rice field.
A landmark achievement saw the Nittany Lions win the 2nd seed bid in the CHA tournament, but the group ended their season with a crushing 4-2 loss to Mercyhurst in the semi-finals. I was.
6. Men’s hockey defeats No. 1 Michigan for the first time in program history
On November 5, the undefeated Nittany Lions hockey program defeated No. 1 Michigan in a commanding 3-0 win in front of the second-highest attendance in Pegula Ice Arena’s nine-year history. defeated.
A rowdy 6,445 crowd pushed Penn State into the second period with two goals. That’s thanks to Toure Linden and Ashton Calder scoring behind some calculated sequences that split the Wolverines backline.
Moreover, the Nittany Lions not only won, but conclusively dominated one of the best units in the country. Overall, Guy Gadowski’s team took him 49 shots, compared to just his 17 in Michigan, and he won 33 of 53 face-offs.
The win propelled Penn State into the top 10 rankings and brought excitement back to hockey volleyball after a disappointing 2021-22.
5. Softball improved its winning percentage and won the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in five years.
In 2021, the Nittany Lions’ softball program was ridiculed by the Big Ten after winning just 7 of 41 games, including a 17-0 knockout punch against Indiana heading into the second half of the season.
But in her first season leading the program, head coach Clarissa Crowell turned the team’s identity upside down by leading a previously unsuccessful group to a 32-22 record. He achieved a 13-10 benchmark while playing, helping him reach the post-season Big Ten tournament in East Lansing, Michigan.
There, the Nittany Lions miraculously beat Indiana 2-1, claiming a walk-off victory. In the late eighth inning, Lexi Black hit the game-sealing RBI to give Penn State its first Big Ten Tournament victory since 2017.
Penn State was banished to Nebraska in tournament action just one day later, but a roller coaster season has brought excitement to a program that has been largely dormant for the past decade.
4. Baseball wins Big 10 tournament for first time since 2008
Penn State snuck into Big Ten Tournament play by securing the No. 6 seed at the end of the campaign after a much-improved 25-27 regular season.
Catcher Matt Wood, who finished second in the Big Ten in batting averages over the .400 mark, helped the Nittany Lions beat No. 3 Iowa in Omaha, Nebraska to the program’s first conference tournament victory in 14 years. Did.
Wood hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to put Penn State on top, and pitchers Tyler Singledecker and Travis Luensman held it up on defense, combining 15 strikeouts and just two hits.
The Nittany Lions won 5-2 and advanced to the second round against second-seeded Rutgers.
3. Field Hockey Takes Big Ten Championship Share in Road Battle at Rutgers
In late October, Penn State field hockey brought the Big Ten Championship to Happy Valley. With this win, the Nittany Lions clinched his eighth Big Ten title, finished conference play with his 7-1 record, and earned the No. 1 seed in tournament play.
The Nittany Lions’ 15-2 record cemented them in the top three of the nation’s rankings at the end of the season, but a loss to highly regarded Michigan in the conference tournament kept Penn State out of the NCAA Tournament. The number one seed lost its chance to win the title.
Penn State won two straight NCAA tournaments over Louisville and Albany, but a strong unit was shut down completely to close out its historic run with a 3–0 loss to UNC.
2. Women’s soccer wins Big Ten Tournament
Despite entering the Big Ten tournament scene as a 6 seed, Erika Dambach’s unit proved to be a force to be reckoned with in the postseason. On November 6, her 3–2 defeat of Michigan State marked the ninth time in program history that Penn State women’s soccer won the Big Ten Tournament title.
The Nittany Lions raised the hurdle by one point late in the game, but like her entire career, forward Arie Schlegel was looking to take revenge for the hard work. In the 90-minute contest, the veteran scored his two goals, including the game winner, and secured his offensive MVP honors for the tournament.
Defensively, Penn State scored a goal courtesy of keeper Katherine Asman. During the match, Asman made her two critical saves with a pair of shots on goal and defensively took home his MVP.
1. Wrestling wins 10th national title at NCAA Finals
Of course, Penn State’s greatest sporting moment of the year hinged on the most reigning dynasty in all of track and field.
At the 2022 NCAA Wrestling Finals in Detroit, Michigan, the Nittany Lions won their 10th national championship in program history and their ninth since head coach Kael Sanderson took over the team in 2009. I was. Second place Michigan total 95 points.
Additionally, Sanderson’s squad not only handled business as a cohesive group, but his wrestlers excelled individually on the mat. , Max Dean all topped their respective divisions and won individual national championships.
After a shock loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament less than a month ago, Penn State was the only team to remain undefeated when it mattered most, going 5-0 in the final in a championship duel. Crip back to Happy Valley.