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Lions Ready to Take on the Big Ten Tournament After Defeating Maryland

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10486417.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After defeating Maryland to end the regular season, the Penn State women's soccer team is ready for the Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State scored in 25th minute on a shot from Frannie Crouse to claim a 1-0 lead, an edge the Lions would never relinquish in the regular season finale.

With significant postseason implications on the line for Maryland, Penn State shut down the Terrapins to end its regular season with 17-2 overall record.

"We knew Maryland was going to come out fighting since they needed the win," said senior Emily Hurd. "We were able to match their energy right away and I think we did a great job keeping the lead."

Having already clinched the 2014 regular season Big Ten title with its win over Iowa on Sunday, the team treated this game as preparation for the postseason.

"There is definitely a different mindset going into this game," said head coach Erica Walsh.
"If we didn't get it right it can turn into a slight letdown but I think the team did great job coming out and looking sharp for the game."

In their last guaranteed game on Jeffrey Field, the Nittany Lions already looked postseason ready on Thursday night.

"The biggest message today was that this game should be treated like the start of the tournament," said Walsh.
"We need to continue to grow and keep staying focused. We want them to view this not as the end but as the beginning of something new."

The players know how important the conference tournament is and are using last year's defeat in the semifinals as motivation to come back stronger than ever.

This season has shown the depth and talent of the team, proving the Lions' potential to carry their success into the postseason.

"I think we're continuing to grow and putting together great performances which will carry us all the way through the Big Ten tournament," Hurd said.

Hurd is no stranger to the tournament and understands the demands and strains that are put on the players during the postseason.

"The Big Ten Tournament is so different. It's a lot of games in a short amount of time," said Hurd.
"With such a demand on our bodies we need to not only mentally prepare but make sure we stay physically healthy also."

With such a diverse mix of players in significant roles on the roster, this tournament stands as both a last shot for the four seniors and the start of a new chapter in the freshman's careers.

"I
'm very excited being a freshman and this being my first Big Ten Tournament. It's nice having the seniors to look up to," said freshman Maddie Elliston.

During the regular season, the freshmen have credited the leadership of the seniors for contributing to the team's success.

The four seniors have seen every high and low possible during their years at Penn State. Although they lost in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament last year, the senior players are motivated to make their last postseason a
memorable one.

"These five years have gone so fast. I'm extremely happy I chose this to be my home for the last few years. I still can't believe it's almost over." Hurd said.

The Big Ten Tournament begins on Wednesday in West Lafayette. Penn State will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

Rodriguez Makes History with Costa Rica's National Team

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10483032.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After assisting the Costa Rican national team in qualifying for the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time ever, Raquel Rodriguez returned to Happy Valley this week with plenty of new experience.

Rodriguez, along with her Costa Rican teammates, made some history, and she was thrilled to be a part of it.

"I'm so grateful to part of the team that's making history. It's a huge deal for Costa Rica and I'm blessed to be a part of it," said Rodriguez.

By being the first Central American team to qualify, Rodriguez and her team are role models for future female athletes in their country.

Costa Rica clinched a spot in the World Cup field by beating Trinidad and Tobago on penalty kicks in a CONCACAF semifinal match on Friday night.

"The tournament is so unique that it's such a different experience from playing college soccer. I was really happy to be with my Costa Rican teammates again and being able to play for my country means so much," Rodriguez said.

Going from being a leader on Jeffrey Field to playing for Costa Rica, Rodriguez continues to be a rising star at the international level. She scored three goals for Costa Rica during the CONCACAF tournament run.

"We had a great chance to qualify so we played with a clear goal in mind," said Rodriguez. "The mentality we had was to win."

Having played for the national team before Penn State, Rodriguez was grateful to experience some international play again.

"Playing internationally is a really cool experience," said Rodriguez. "When facing the other countries you can see how each one has their own playing style."

Coming from Costa Rica to Penn State, Rodriguez is given the chance to inspire fellow international students on campus and be an example for fellow female athletes in Costa Rica.

She has previously mentioned how she wants to change the way her native country views female athletes and stand as a role model for future generations.

Not only does Rodriguez represent female athletes, she inspires younger women in Costa Rica to get a meaningful college degree, as well.

After college she has plans to return Costa Rica with her college degree and prove that anyone can excel as an athlete and earn a prestigious degree.

"It's a legacy that we are leaving behind and we hope that future generations continue to carry," said Rodriguez.

While Rodriguez was playing in CONCACAF, she found comfort in knowing her Penn State family was back at school cheering her on.

"It's awesome to be back," said Rodriguez. "It was so nice having everyone greet me with such excitement. I love my PSU family so having them shower me with this much love means a lot to me."

After celebrating Costa Rica's qualification, Rodriguez received the news that Penn State clinched the Big Ten title. 

Although she was unable to be celebrate with her teammates on Jeffrey Field, she couldn't be happier for the Lions' accomplishment.

"I'm so proud to be part of Penn State. To hear the news I was so happy and wish I could have been here," said Rodriguez.

With one regular season game left for the Lions, Rodriguez and the rest of the team are staying focused before they embark on the 2014 postseason.

Rodriguez is the type of player anyone can look up too. She is using her passion for soccer to help change history in Costa Rica and is continuing to represent the ideal student-athlete at Penn State.

"I'm really proud of what we accomplished for Costa Rica, but it's great to be back with Penn State," Rodriguez said.

Two Weekend Wins Propel Lions to Big Ten Title

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10474446.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The seventh-ranked Nittany Lion women's soccer team added to its Big Ten legacy on Sunday when the Lions capped off a weekend sweep over Nebraska and Iowa to earn their 16th regular season title in the last 17 seasons.

Penn State knocked off Nebraska on Friday, 3-1, and then kept the momentum going with a 2-1 comeback victory over Iowa on the team's Senior Day Sunday afternoon to clinch the program's third outright conference title in the last four years.

"The team plays best at Jeffrey field. These players want to play here and that's what this weekend has been all about," said head coach Erica Walsh.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Nittany Lions improved to 16-2 overall and 11-1 in Big Ten matches after both wins this weekend.

With a young team of 11 freshmen and only four seniors leading the Lions, the weekend matches demonstrated what makes this group unique - valiant team efforts from both the underclassman and the veteran players.

During Friday's victory over the Cornhuskers, freshman Haleigh Echard scored her first goal for Penn State.

"Bringing Haleigh in was great because she keeps getting better and better. You can see a new confidence in her now when she plays," said coach Walsh.

Echard's goal helped the Lions secure a 3-1 win over the Huskers.

"The goal definitely meant a lot since it was my first goal. Being able to get the ball from our senior captain with an open net was just overwhelming with emotions," said Echard.

Being one of the new contributors on the team, Echard credited the seniors in helping make her first tally possible.

"I'm really excited for these younger players since they make such a difference," said senior Emily Hurd.

"That was Haleigh's first goal, and what a way to get it by doing it on Jeffrey Field against the team that knocked us out of Big Ten Championship last year," Hurd said.

Going off of the excitement of Friday night's win, the team stayed focused as they hosted Iowa in the second Big Ten match of the weekend on Sunday.

During the sixth minute, the Hawkeyes notched a goal off of a corner kick to get on the board. Using the early marker as motivation, Penn State was determined to bounce back.

Trailing Iowa, 1-0, in the early moments of the second half, senior Kori Chapic was not going to be denied. Chapic notched two goals in a span of 5:22 to lead the Nittany Lions to a Senior Day triumph while clinching the Big Ten title.

"It's so nice to play with these girls. This team is the closest team I've ever played with at Penn State and to win the title makes me feel extremely blessed," said Kori Chapic. "I want to leave a little pride with the No. 14. It's my senior year I want to make sure I give it my everything and continue to be a leader for the younger players."

Topping off a tremendous Senior Day, Chapic's efforts alongside Emily Ogle, Salina Williford's two assists apiece characterized a complete team effort to put icing on the cake of a comeback victory and another Big Ten title.

Going from freshman Echard's first career goal on Friday to senior Chapic's outstanding performance on Sunday, the weekend illustrated the depth and talent of the 2014 Big Ten champion Penn State women's soccer team.

"It epitomizes this year. This season we have had both freshman and senior heroes and the entire team lifts each other up. We have an extremely close team and to see them earn this title is incredible," said coach Walsh.

Kohne's Impact on the Team Goes Beyond the Game Statistics

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10461762.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - So far this season, Kindrah Kohne has been affecting the Penn State women's soccer team in a way that goes beyond statistics. 

While the New York native and senior has 234 minutes of playing time and four shots so far this season, Kohne's biggest asset to the team can't be found on the stat sheet. What makes Kohne an essential piece to the team is her ability to be the glue that keeps everyone together.


"One thing I want to leave behind for this team after graduation is the change in environment of turning the team into a family," said Kohne.

Part of what makes the 2014 team so successful is the chemistry between the players. Kohne is someone on the team that has been the driving force for this transformation from team to family.

"What makes Kindrah special is her team first attitude. She has played four years with us now and has done so with more class dignity than any college athlete I've ever seen before," said head coach Erica Walsh. "Without her we would of never been able to create the environment this team has."

As her final season winds down, Kohne has been reflecting on her time in Happy Valley and the kind of legacy she wants to leave behind.

"I want to leave this season with no stones unturned," said Kohne. "I make sure to give it my all for every game since I never know how many minutes I'll get during a game so I want to maximize my opportunities for this whole season since it is my last."

With such a young team in 2014, Kohne made sure back in August that the team's 11 freshmen had no problem transitioning into collegiate soccer.

"I wanted to make sure the freshmen felt welcomed and made a point to get to know each of them right from the get-go," she said. "I wanted them to know I'm always here to help if they need or want to talk about anything since the demands of the season and school can get crazy at times."

Her compassion and eagerness to help goes beyond making new players feel welcomed.

Fellow midfielder Kori Chapic, who is also one of Kohne's roommates, cited her as one of the most influential players on the team.

"A lot of people on the team know she's someone that can always help them with their problems and is always that shoulder to lean on if needed," said Chapic. "She just likes to make people smile."

Having four years of experience under her belt, Kohne has improved greatly as a player and brings her team first attitude on the field with her.

"On the field she always make sure to get the details right. In soccer, details are so important positioning wise and she always knows how to put herself in the best place," said Chapic. "She makes everyone else's job that much easier whenever she is in the game."

Although she may not be a fixture in the starting lineup, Kohne is the type of player the team can rely on in tight games.

"When the team is in a tight situation and you look down the bench and see Kindrah we know as coaches she'll get the job the team needs done. She's earned our trust as a player," said Walsh.

Earning the team's trust as a reliable player and a true friend, Kohne's impact on the team is something that goes beyond game statistics.

The family feel that the 2014 Penn State's women soccer team wouldn't be possible without a genuine player such as Kohne.

"She's had such a positive impact on the players, coaching staff, and this program. She's one that we'll remember for years to come," said Walsh.

The Quiet Leader: How Church's Production Speaks Louder Than Words

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9249253.jpegBy Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- One aspect to any winning soccer team is a powerful defense. The defense is the backbone of the team and for the Penn State women's soccer team this is no exception.

So far this season, the Nittany Lions have proved they have one of the Big Ten's sturdiest backlines by allowing just 10 goals in 15 games. Through it all, Whitney Church has been leading the way.

A senior center back, Church is taking every opportunity to make sure her last year with Penn State is one to remember.

"As my last season with this team I try and take it game by game. I still am giving it my all but am making sure I enjoy my last year," said Church.

One of the team's most experienced players, Church has established herself as one of the leaders of the Nittany Lions' defense.

In her decorated college career, Church was named to the All-Big Ten freshman team in 2011, as well as being Big Ten Defender of the Year and All-Big Ten first team in 2012 and All-Big Ten second team in 2013.

As a mentor, Church is known as the "quiet leader" on the team because she leads by example and represents everything a defensive player should be.

"She's the leader, the voice, and the organizer of the team. She is your reliable center back that every team needs," said head coach Erica Walsh.

"To me she's the best center back in the country," Walsh added.

One of the squad's veterans, Church has racked up the most playing time on the team this season by playing a total of 1,307 minutes out of a possible 1,350.

"When I go out on the field I want to know I gave it my all. I want to walk away from the game knowing I did everything I could to help my team," said Church.

With her career winding down, Church wants to be someone the younger players on the team can look up to.

"I try to always be an example for my team," Church said. "I go about my business and hope I inspire others to play their best."

As a defensive player, her role on the team is less about scoring and more about being able to read plays and command and retain possession of the ball.

"Her biggest strength is the way she reads the game so well," said Walsh. "She can read the game better than any opponent. She's the steady force on the team's defense the other girls can always rely on."

One of the most dependable players on the field, Church allows her teammates to play aggressive as they know their defense is ready for any situation.

"She never ceases to amaze me," said senior midfielder Kori Chapic. "Her dedication to the game and skill level are what make her such an asset to the team. Having a player as dependable as Whitney allows us to play with more confidence.

"In soccer, being in the right position is critical. It's the difference of being two steps to the right or to the left that can change the entire game and Whit always seems to be in the perfect place at the right time."

Church may be in the middle of her final season, but that doesn't mean she still isn't trying to improve her game and leave a lasting mark on the program.

Part of her role as the "quiet leader" means Church's dedication to the game speaks louder than any words could.

"I try and lead by example and want to be a symbol of someone who is always trying their best. I work hard not only for myself but for their team as well," said Church.

Lions Come Up Short Against Rutgers Despite Late Surge

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10428378.jpegBy Matt Allibone, GoPSUSports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It was a tale of two halves for the Penn State women's soccer team on Saturday against Rutgers.

Taking on No. 20 team in the nation at home, the Nittany Lions got off to a slow start against a hungry Scarlet Nights squad and went into halftime down 1-0. From that point on, however, they looked like a different team.

"I didn't necessarily need to [say anything at halftime]," head coach Erica Walsh said. "They knew that they didn't perform. The details were better in the second half. I'm pretty proud of this team in the last 30 minutes, and that's the kind of team I want to coach."

After being out-shot seven to two in the first half and giving up a goal to Madison Tiernan at the 28:36 mark, the Nittany Lions turned the tide of the game in the final 45 minutes, out-shooting Rutgers eight to three, yet ultimately being unable to score and falling for just the second time this season, by a score of 1-0.

In the final 10 minutes, with the Scarlet Knights keeping all 11 players back on the defense, the Lions generated numerous opportunites but were unable to get a ball past goalie Casey Murphy.

"At the end I felt like we, I don't know if the word is deserved, but I felt like we were going to get one," Walsh said. "I liked the morale at that point. I thought we were pushing hard enough to get a win."

First, reserve freshman midfielder Haleigh Echard crossed a nice ball into the box that junior Mallory Peterson just missed getting into the net.

Minutes later, Katy Keen ripped a shot that forced Murphy to make a terrific diving save. Then, with just 2:43 remaining, Frannie Crouse headed a ball off the foot of Megan Schafer that went just wide of the net.

Although the setback marks the Lions' first Big Ten loss this season, it came against a talented opponent.

With the win, Rutgers improved to 10-1-1 on the season and registered its ninth shutout. In total, the Scarlet Knights have given up just four goals in 12 games this season.

"That's a very good Rutgers team, I mean a really good Rutgers team, and there were times when they were playing around us," Walsh said. "We played as if we had a bulls eye on our back today and our details weren't good enough."

Walsh has been at the helm of Penn State for eight years now. She knows that the grind of a season can take its toll on players and that it is next to impossible to win every game.

Still, Walsh believes that there is much the Lions can learn from Saturday's loss. Their success over the past few seasons has established them as one of the premiere programs in the country, and as a result, opponents will always be motivated to beat them.

"These games against Penn State are massive games for these teams and we're going to get everybody's best game," Walsh said. "We need to learn it this way and we are a young team."

With a unique blend of young talent and veteran experience, evidenced by Saturday's starting lineup that featured six returning starters and five freshmen, the Nittany Lions are built for success in both the present and the future.

The focus for Penn State now will be bringing a consistent effort for 90 minutes over its remaining five regular season games, all against Big Ten rivals. Walsh knows her team can do that, having seen them play that way for nearly the entire season.

"As long as we grow from this experience we're going to be better in the end," Walsh said. "The biggest thing is just the leadership and the belief going forward." 

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Raquel "Rocky" Rodriguez epitomizes the idea that it's more important to play for what's on the front of one's jersey.

Not only is Rodriguez a leader on the Penn State women
's soccer team, she also has been a part of Costa Rican Women's National Team since 2012 and will be traveling with them this week to prepare for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

"It's a deep feeling when playing for my country," Rodriguez said. "I played for them before coming to Penn State so it's always nice returning to them."

The Costa Rican Women
's National Team will be competing in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Women's Championship, which takes place Oct. 15-26. The tournament gives them a chance to qualify for the 2015 FIFA World Cup.

For a rising soccer nation like Costa Rica, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.

With the Nittany Lions midway in the season and the Costa Rican team making moves towards the World Cup, Rodriguez credits her teammates, coaches, professors and family for keeping her organized and able to balance her demanding schedule.

"It's all about discipline and staying organized," she said.

As a junior majoring in exercise physiology, Rodriguez also takes time to make sure she is maintaining her grades.

"The way I look at it, wherever I am, that's what I'll focus on. If I'm on the field, I'll play my hardest. If I'm in class, I'm focused on studying," said Rodriguez

As one of the upperclassmen on the team this season, Rodriguez stands as a role model for the younger players and is able to keeps everyone focused during the game.

"She's made my transition to Penn State so easy," freshman midfielder Emily Ogle said. "She's the type of person that is always offering to help with anything.

"She is such a role model on and off the field," Ogle said. "Her passion for the sport and her skill level makes her a player we can all look up to."

In her third year with the Nittany Lions, Rodriguez is dominating the midfield. She has scored five times this season, and is continuing to improve each time she steps on the field.

"Just watching her grow the past years has been awesome," junior forward Mallory Weber said. "Whether she is playing for Penn State or Costa Rica, she always gives it her all.

"She is a determined person all around, and knows how to motivate everyone on the team."

Whether she
's wearing the Blue and White or her Costa Rican jersey, Rodriguez represents something much larger than herself when she plays.

She is a passionate player and role model for female athletes. Her determination and drive is something everyone can look up to.

"When I play, I know I represent many different things. I represent my country, my school and my family," Rodriguez said. "It motivates me to play my best. I not only want to do great for them but for myself, as well.

"My biggest goal is to after school return to Costa Rica and be a role model. I want to help shape women's soccer for the next generation. When I return, I want to prove that women can be both great athletes and students."

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With two big wins over Northwestern and Illinois, the Penn State women's soccer team swept its first Big Ten home weekend.

"Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday is the longest and toughest stretch of our season and to end it with three wins is massive," said head coach Erica Walsh.

The team is known for playing its best at Jeffery Field. In the last three years, the Lions have only lost two home games.

"It's the atmosphere here; it's perfect, said midfielder Salina Williford. "We get so excited playing here because of how much support that is in the community. We owe it to the people who come watch us to put on a show."

The first game of the weekend was against Northwester, and the Lions played strong and defeated the Wildcats, 4-1.

 "I think we came out with a fire under our tail tonight," said senior Kori Chapic.

With goals scored by Raquel Rodriguez, Chapic, Megan Schafer, and Williford, the entire team was on fire.

"The first 25 minutes was some of the best soccer I've seen in a long time," Walsh said. "We talk about this being the best place to play college soccer and in that first half, I absolutely felt it."

Rolling off of the momentum of Friday's game, the Lions faced their second Big Ten team of the weekend, llinois, on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams came out extremely strong displaying solid defense and the first half of the game remained scoreless.

The first goal of the game was made by freshman Frannie Crouse in the second half. Emily Hurd passed it over from the left side of the box to the middle, allowing the Lions to make the scoreboard.

Only 47 seconds after the team scored, Illinois tied the game.

Motivated for a win, the team used the Fighting Illini's goal to keep their aggression up.

"It's very hard when they come back that quickly," Crouse said. "You just have to keep your composure and never stop trying. We fought tonight and came out with a great win."

The team continued to take shots to try to regain its lead.

Then with 83:11 on the clock, Selina Williford saved the day with her goal to ensure the Lion's win.

"It's very humbling to score another goal," Williford said. "I credit my entire team because they are always keeping me going.

"I always want to keep improving. As a team, we never want to feel like we're content. We always want to feel like we're still moving and not taking our foot off the gas."

Last year, Williford primarily played defense but has been making her way up the field this season.

Williford just recently had her first career goal but proved this weekend she is a force to be reckon with on offense.

"Salina Williford has been the best surprise so far this season," Walsh said. "She played back for us last season, but this is the best I've seen her play."

Alongside Williford, the 2014 women's soccer team is packed with talented players who have been helping the team continue its winning streak.

"I think one of the biggest strengths about this team is that we're taking players off the bench and they're delivering," said Walsh. "Every player on this team is playing their best and it's such a great feeling as a coach knowing those players on the bench can always help lift the team."

After three home games this week, the Lions hit the road to face Minnesota.

The team is keeping its intensity up for every game and is looking strong as the Big Ten season continues.

Said Walsh, "This team believes right now."

By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State women's soccer team continues on their winning streak the team continues to stay focused on its "one game at a time attitude." After Tuesday's victory over Bucknell, the Lions are overall 8-1 record.

As the team's season continues, head coach Erica Walsh continues to guide the team to success.

"I think we kept our cool and fought through any frustration pretty well tonight," said Walsh.

"Right off the bat the attitude was good and the mentality was right. I was extremely proud of this team tonight."

Beating Bucknell 7-0, the team gave everything they had in the game and made sure to seize any scoring opportunity possible with a total of 21 shots during the game.

Later in the week, the Lions welcome fellow Big Ten schools Northwestern and Illinois to Happy Valley.

With two big matches coming up, Walsh tells her team to embrace every game as a new challenge, encouraging the Lions stay focus and treat every game as their last.

"We have to always remind ourselves, especially when things are going well, we still have so much more we need to accomplish if we are going to reach our goals this year," said Walsh.

The combination of an aggressive offense and a solid defense proves the team embraces any obstacle that comes its way.

One notable goal against Bucknell was by Anna Witte during the second half. This was Witte's first career goal.

"After such an accomplishment I definitely am proud of all my hard work and am thankful for everything the coaches have helped me with," said Witte.

Alongside Witte, freshman Frannie Crouse scored a pair and had an assist in the night's game.

Coming off of earning the Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, Crouse expressed how much the coaches impact her game.

"They definitely give you confidence while still teaching you how to improve. They are able to show you how to be your best and to break things down to teach you if need be," she said.

A big role in the team's outstanding performances so far is the handwork and dedication that comes from its coaching staff.

"Coach Walsh is always encouraging us to keep the intensity up," said Crouse.

Being extremely proud of the team, Walsh understands there is always room for improvement.

"I think the feelings so far this season are good, but we still have a lot of work to do, "Walsh said.

This marks Walsh's eighth season with Penn State. Before her highly successful career at Penn State, Walsh was an assistant coach for U.S. Women's National team and head coach at Harvard University.

Making Tuesday night's game more interesting is the fact that Walsh and Bucknell's head coach Ben Landis not only have coached together at Harvard but are also good friends.

"He's one of my closest friends and he does a great job with his program," said Walsh. "I'm so proud of what he's done at Bucknell and wish him all the luck in the Patriot League."

Walsh is a competitive coach that pushes her team to success. Since being with Penn State, she has had seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances, six consecutive Big Ten regular season titles and several other major team honors.

In 2012, she was named the NSCAA and Soccer America National Coach of the Year. Additionally, she was the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2012.

Coaches are able to make players into true athletes and Walsh knows the team is doing great so far. However, she is keeping her goals clear for where she wants to take the team this year.

"We always are talking about and teaching them what it really means to be a competitor," she said. "We have a plan and a schedule that will hopefully get us to that Big Ten Tournament when the time comes."

 
























By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Under the Friday night lights at Jeffery field, the Penn State women's soccer team hosted its first Big Ten match of the season against rivals Ohio State.

The Lions started the match off with aggressive plays right away. Within the first two minutes of the game, Mallory Weber crossed over to Frannie Crouse for the first goal of the night.

Crouse's opening goal was one of five for the Lions, the final 5-1 scoring adding to their perfect home record.

"These guys are on a mission and they're playing like they have something to prove," said head coach Erica Walsh.

Returning from two weekends on the road, the team made sure to keep the pressure on Ohio State with consistent attacks on goal and sharp defense.

"Anytime we get the chance to play Ohio State at Jeffery Field, it's going to be a good night for us," said Walsh. "We came out hard and we came out strong."

The team took a total of 15 shots, making it one of their most offensive games yet of the season.

Freshman forward Frannie Crouse was one of the players who kept the pressure on the Buckeyes. Not only did she start the game off with a goal, she scored her second goal of the night early in the second half on a breakaway.

One of eleven freshman on the team this year, she is already a key player on the team's offense.

"I take it as the entire team doing their job," Crouse said. "I give all my credit to them since they've made my transition so easy."

She already scored four goals this season. Although this is her first year playing on Jeffery Field, she is a standout player.

"I think Frannie Crouse is the real deal. She's going to be a great leader for us," said Walsh.

Crouse is the kind of player who gives her all whenever she plays. With her speed and drive, she sets the standards for the team's aggression during any match.

"Scoring right away is such a great feeling. It gets the entire team excited and keeps you motivated," said Crouse.

Another player who led the way for the Lions' win was Salina Williford.

As a returning sophomore, Williford is continuing to help the Lions win. She is a midfielder and forward for the team that keeps the team motivated regardless of where she is playing.

During the first half, Williford scored her first career goal. She got the ball off of a turnover and kicked it perfectly in the net, giving the Lions a 2-0 lead in the first half.

After taking 17 shots so far this season, Williford proved her determination to score.

"It was such a great feeling seeing the ball go into the net," Williford said. "I've come so close to making a goal so it was great being able to score."

In the beginning of the second half, Ohio State scored from a scramble in front of the net. Frustrated and determined for a win, the Lions responded with a goal from senior defender Whitney Church.

Her first goal of the season, Church gave the Lions their two goal lead back and the team's momentum for the second half.

Nearing the end of regulation, Echard crossed the ball to Rodriguez for a goal to secure the Lions' 5-1 victory.

With its third Big Ten win of the season, the team is keeping focused as they move through the schedule. Said Walsh, "We have big hopes and high aspirations for this season."