Between computer errors, last week's horrible episode of The Walking Dead and various other stuff going on, there have been many distractions in my life that kept Pickin' Nits from running last Friday. To make up for it, here is a loaded, two-week issue, complete with TWO songs to listen to as you read through the Interwebz's best coverage of Penn State sprotz that aren't football, men's shootyhoops or wrasslin'. Without further adieu, here's "Everyone Nose" by N*E*R*D and Manchester Orchestra's otherworldly cover of No Doubt's "Don't Speak." Let's do this.
- So the jackass that predicted that the 8th ranked lady shootyhoopers were gonna "bring their A-game and lock up the conference" in Pickin' Nits last week should go watch Dr. Cox's Wrong Song a few times, as they lost in the semifinals to Michigan State. On a positive note, Maggie Lucas was named to the All-Big Ten Tournament Team because she is better at basketball than you are.
- The ladies did win their first game against Ohio State, 76-66. Lucas, Alex Bentley, Nikki Greene and Bill DiFilippo combined for 55 of the team's 76 points, with Bentley leading the way with a 20 point outing.
- In their semifinal game against Sparty, Penn State had, quite possibly their worst game of the year en route to a 54-46 loss. Lucas scored 23 points, Bentley had 8 and nobody else had more than 4. The Nits were also hammered on the boards, 52-38 and shot a ghastly 22.4 percent from the field for the entire game. Let's stop talking about this right now.
- The Week Ahead: THEY GOIN' DANCING. The ladies drew the third seed in the Spokane region with #1 seed Stanford and #2 seed Cal. I FEEL LIKE DANCIN'. Their first game is on Sunday against Cal Poly. I'd make a statement about who they'd play in the next round, but you should never be 100 percent certain about anything in March, as we learned last year when Lehigh beat Dook in the NCAA Tournament.
Track and Field
- It was the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Unfortunately, I'm all out of John L. Smith jokes, so I guess I have to resort to Bret Bielema jokes, right? Ugh.
- The two best finishers for PSU were Casimir Loxsom (800 M) and the men's distance medley of Brannon Kidder, Brandon Bennett-Green, Za'Von Watkins and Robby Creese. Both came in second. Will Barr was the only other top ten finisher, coming in 6th in the weight throw. The men's team came in 9th overall, meaning coach Beth Alford-Sullivan became the first women's coach to lead a men's indoor team to a top-10 finish. Pretty sweet.
- Outside of the top ten were Creese (9th in the mile) and both female competitors for PSU: Mahagony Jones (13th, 200 M) and Marlene Ricketts (12th, triple jump).
- The Week Ahead: They're on a bit of a hiatus between indoor and outdoor competition, so they'll be watching the tournament like good Americans.
- Do I need to mention that the top ranked men's gymnastics team won, or do we all understand that they don't lose by this point of the season? In the last two weeks, they beat the Puerto Rican National Team, 421.250-414.050 and 2nd ranked Michigan, 437.300-430.400. Of course, Puerto Rico was an exhibition, so really all that matters was that they beat Michigan. They did so easily, winning five of six events.
- The 14th ranked women's team was just as successful, winning their quad meet (196.975) over New Hampshire (194.225), Penn (193) and Temple (189.650, last place lol). They also had a meet against 19th ranked Kentucky, winning 197.325-196.775. It was the second highest score in PSU WGYM history. Suck it, Robert Morris. We beat Kentucky in sport before it was cool.
- The Week Ahead: The men's team travels to Minnesota to take on
Tubby Smith'sthe Gophers. Meanwhile, the women have the Big Ten Championships in East Lansing. Shit's about to get real, yo.
Swimming and Diving
- The SWIMMIN' POOLers had next to nothing in the time off. The only big thing was Zone A Qualifying for diving, where Megan Springsteen took home a 42nd place finish on the 1-meter board for the women, while TJ Schenkel also took home 42nd in his event, the men's 3-meter board.
- The Week Ahead: The 24th ranked men are chilling until NCAA's next week. The 24th ranked women are at NCAA's this week. Stay tuned.
- Ah. Finally. Men's volleyball. Here's a team I can......wait, they were ranked 9th the last time I did this and they're 13th now......*looks at schedule* WHAT THE SHIT, LANA? Volleyball lost their last three matches against IPFW, Ball State and the Bucking Fuckeyes. I hate everything.
- Their 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 25-27, 11-15) loss to IPFW, which apparently is a thing, had a few bright spots, namely the 19 kills racked up by Aaron Russell and the 56 assists from Taylor Hammond.
- Next up, in their 3-1 (20-25, 17-25, 25-18, 20-25) loss to Letterman's alma mater, the Russell brothers combined for 27 kills. This is so depressing.
- Lastly, in their 3-0 (20-25, 17-25, 20-25) beatdown at the hands of 8th ranked Ohio State, Aaron Russell had 14 kills and Tom Comfort had 13. #TheStruggleIsReal
- The Week Ahead: The guys come back to Pennsylvania to take on a St. Francis team they already beat 3-0 earlier this season. I swear, if they lose to St. Francis, I may be too depressed to ever write about VBall again. Save us, Micha Hancock's serve.
- Over the break, all fencing had was regionals. Because PSU fencing is so good that it's unfair, they're sending 11 athletes to NCAA's (which are this week), and they also had six people place in the top three of their event. Olympian/All-American (seriously, this dude is like fencing's David Taylor) Miles Chamley-Watson won men's foil, Shaul Gordon won men's saber and Yasser Mahmoud had the best finish (7th place) in men's epee. For the ladies, Clarisse Luminet came in second in women's foil, Jessica Russo came in seventh in women's saber and Margherita Guzzi-Vincenti took home 4th in the women's epee. Our fencing team is really good, you guys.
- The Week Ahead: NCAA's. Do work. I'd say good luck, but wishing good luck to Penn State's fencing team (especially the men) is like telling Daniel Day-Lewis to go give a good acting performance or telling Amanda Bynes to fail at life, they're going to do it no matter what.
- 34th ranked women's tennis bounced back from their loss to Ohio State with a 5-2 win over the College of Charleston. Petra Januskova, the 47th ranked player in America, won her matchup 6-4, 6-0 in one of the four individual matchups the women won. They also won two of the three doubles matchups.
- Meanwhile, the 72nd ranked men's team got off the struggle bus, winning 4-3 over Rice. The Owls did take two of the three doubles matchups, but the Nits were able to win four of the six singles competitions.
- The Week Ahead: A weekend slate jam-packed with Big Ten teams from Indiana. Both the men's and women's teams are taking on Indiana on Friday and Purdue on Sunday. The men get to stay in Happy Valley, while the women are forced to travel to the state of Indiana. #Pray4WomensTennis
- They've been off all this time. I'm not even mad, that's amazing. #GetBillAdamDevonAndDanIfHeCanGetAFlightFromTexas2Wrestlemania
- The Week Ahead: The men are in the silliest named tournament of the year, the Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Georgia. God, I want to make a fart joke so bad when I see that name. Must...hold...in...joke...
- 17th ranked men's lacrosse lost their third straight game of the season against 19th Lehigh before taking down 19th ranked UMass and Binghamton.
- In the team's 12-10 loss to the school whose basketball team beat Dook last year in the tournament, TJ Sanders kept in form and scored five goals for the second consecutive game. In their 7-5 win over UMass, Jack Forster's five goals paced the Lions. Lastly, in their 11-7 win over Binghamton, Nick Dolik led the way with three goals, while Tommy Lax and Shane Sturgis each chipped in one.
- The 10th ranked women's team also struggled, going 1-2 against top ranked Maryland, 14th ranked Cornell and Vanderbilt. Two teams are ranked, one isn't. You can probably guess which team they beat if you don't want to read the next part.
- Maryland waxed the ladies, 20-10, despite a solid four goal performance from Maggie McCormick. In their 13-12 double-overtime loss to Cornell, McCormick, Mackenzie Cyr, Jenna Mosketti and Kelly Lechner all chipped in two goals. To get back in the win column, they defeated abysmal (which isn't a good word, Joey Tribbiani) Vandy, 20-14. McCormick led the way with five goals and an assist.
- The Week Ahead: Both schools have matchups against Philly schools, as the men are home against St. Joe's and the women are going to Drexel. The men also travel to Bucknell, or as they're better known, "The Sleeper Team You Picked In The Tourney That Lost In Round One."
- Softball had eight games since the last Pickin' Nits against Toledo, Maine, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, Washington, DePaul and Oklahoma, with wins over Toledo, Maine and DePaul. In their three wins, they outscored their opponents 20-14. In their five losses, they were outscored 43-11. Now, I sucked when I tried to pitch, and that wasn't even in softball, but I think they should work towards allowing fewer runs.
- While the team struggles, Cassidy Bell continues to play like a female Miguel Cabrera, batting .471 on the season with 13 homers and 31 RBI's, all being tops on the team. She's also 8 for 9 on stolen bases, which again leads the team. She apparently bought out the HAM store before the season began.
- The Week Ahead: Their series with Michigan State in East Lansing was cancelled because of bad weather. SPARTY, NO!!!!!
- A 2-3 stretch for the baseball team, as they were able to take two games in their three game series against Houston Baptist before losing both of their games to Temple. They also had a cancelled game against St. Joe's. I'm going to assume they would have won that and bump this week's record to 3-3. They also had games cancelled against Pitt and Akron. Again, they totally would have won those, so a 5-3 week! IT'S MY WORLD. Y'ALL JUSS LIVIN' IN IT.
- The series against Houston Baptist was the first series the team won this year, winning 9-3 and 8-4 before falling 11-10 in extras. In the 8-4 win, Steven Hill pitched a complete game with 9 H, 4 ER, 8 K's. BE PROUD, MEN. BE PROUD.
- The Week Ahead: The team kicks off conference play against Indiana in Bloomington and have one game against Pitt on Wednesday in their first home game of the year. Well, that's all for Pickin' Nits this week, enjoy the NCAA Tou.....wait......what's that?!?!?!
- *Jim Ross Voice* G......GOOD GOD, KING! THAT'S.....THAT'S WOMEN'S SOCCER'S MUSIC!!!!! Yep, women's soccer kicked off their five game spring schedule. They had one match, an exhibition against the Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League who features former PSUer and member of the USWNT, Ali Krieger. They lost on an 86th minute goal, but still, a great showing from the ladies.
- The Week Ahead: If you're in Rochester on Saturday, 1) God bless you and 2) go watch the ladies take on the Western New York Flash or, as you probably know them, the team that has Abby Wambach on it.