Field Hockey: With new offensive weapons, Wildcats prep for Penn State rematch

Nick Medline, Assistant Sports Editor

Last season, Northwestern dominated early on, jumping out to a 10-3 record with four top-20 victories. Then everything went awry, as the Wildcats dropped six of their last eight games. They bowed out in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament after a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Penn State.

The No. 6 Nittany Lions head to Lakeside Field for a matchup with the No. 10 Cats on Friday. This time, NU boasts new offensive weapons and hopes to avoid a similar fate as last season.

Junior Tara Puffenberger – a transfer from Virginia – has racked up 10 goals, and in the process established herself as a scoring threat. Caroline Troncelliti, another impressive talent, earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors earlier this season.

The list extends further: Freshman Lisa McCarthy notched two assists in a Sept. 11 victory over Wake Forest. Even redshirt senior Kaylee Pohlmeyer, who sat out last season due to injury, has dented the scoreboard with three goals and 10 total points.

Senior Chelsea Armstrong continues to pace the Wildcats, with a team-leading 16 goals. The 2011 first-team All American, though, has benefited from excellent production around her.

The Cats avoided losing both games on their Buckeye State road trip last weekend, narrowly beating Ohio 2-1 Sunday. On Friday, NU suffered an upset loss to Ohio State in its conference opener.

Led by senior Kelsey Amy, the Nittany Lions arrive in Evanston with a 10-2 record. Despite puzzling losses to Connecticut and Princeton, Penn State took care of business in its first two conference games, beating Indiana and Michigan.