By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT -- Penn State field hockey coach Charlene Morett was in Williamsport on Tuesday as part of the Penn State coaches caravan.
The field hockey team is coming off back-to-back Big Ten Tournament Championships and its first Big Ten regular-season title since 2008.
The fourth-seeded Nittany Lions lost to Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the NCAA field hockey tournament and finished with an 18-4 record.
Two area players, freshman Haley Kerstetter and junior Ashtin Klingler, both from Selinsgrove High School, were key contributors to last year's success.
"Haley's learning the system a little bit and she's done extremely well academically both semesters and we're very proud of that," Morett said. "She's a hard-working girl who is really learning how to become a better player on the field and improving her stick skills."
Kerstetter was named 2012 National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I Scholars of Distinction, an honor given to student-athletes who have achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 3.9 or higher through the first semester of the academic year.
As a freshman, she appeared in four games for PSU. She lettered all four years at Selinsgrove, helping to lead the Seals to the District 4 champions from 2008 to 2011. Klingler was among the many players that made the All-Big Ten team for field hockey.
"Ashtin is just a gem and I wish we would have gotten her in her freshman year -- we had to wrangle her away from Syracuse -- but she's a warm-hearted player that plays with a lot of passion and has a lot of speed and a knack for putting the ball in the cage," Morett added.
Morett noted that Klingler was one of the main reasons the team had such great success last year.
"She's a left winger and puts a lot of speed and skill into her position," she said. "Ashtin is one of six seniors that are returning as starters, so we are looking for a lot of positive things to happen next year." Klingler played in all 22 games last year and scored 11 goals and added two assists. Her 11 goals were tied for third-most on the team.