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#J2NC13

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By: Mallory Peterson (Freshman)

What exactly is #J2NC13? It's actually quite simple. The hash tag stands for Journey to the National Championship 2013. This combination of letters and numbers is the symbol of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that will compose the Penn State Women's Soccer Team's quest to win the 2013 NCAA National Championship. In fact, the journey has already begun. It started the moment the 2012 season ended with a devastating loss to North Carolina in the National Championships. We returned to State College hungrier than ever, and this time we won't be stopped.

You might be asking yourself why #J2NC13 is relevant to you. That's easy! As a member of the team, I can't stress enough how much the support of every single Penn Stater makes a difference. One more voice cheering us on at Jeffrey (our incredible soccer stadium) is one more vote of faith that keeps us going when we have nothing left to give. We are already lucky enough to have some incredible fans, but we know there are so many more on campus who have yet to become a part of the journey!

As you get ready to pack up the books and lather on the sunscreen for summer, I want you to keep #J2NC13 in the back of your mind. The Penn State Women's Soccer Team will be spending its summer sweating and sprinting its way toward #J2NC13, so when you return next fall be sure to lend your support! You have the opportunity to continue the Penn State tradition of excellence by helping us achieve our goal of winning our first ever National Championship (as well as another opportunity to tailgate), so I don't want to hear any excuses. It's in your hands now, I expect you to pass #J2NC13 along and show some pride in your university's women's soccer team!

Hayes Hermann Trophy Award Photo Gallery

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HayeswTrophy.jpgThis past Friday, Penn State's own super sophomore Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) traveled to St. Louis, Mo. for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy presentation. While Hayes did not win the award, she was one of three finalists with Stanford's senior midfielder Teresa Noyola taking home the honor.  Nevertheless, Hayes was the first Penn State student-athlete to be named a finalist since Tiffany Weimer in 2005, leading the country in goals (31) and points (70).

Below is a link to a photo gallery of Hayes's time in St. Louis.


Photo Gallery

Gill: Moving Forward in the NCAA Tournament

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By Meghan Gill, Redshirt-Senior Midfielder

 

A great way to end a tough week is the only way to explain our feelings and the excitement of Friday night's game.  Another win on Jeffery Field helped us reach one of our many goals this season of going undefeated at home, and took us one step closer to our ultimate goal.  In what is most likely the last game we will host on Jeffery Field for the NCAA Tournament this year we came out even more excited than usual and ready to take on Army on Veterans Day.  I can't help but think this also gave them a lot of excitement and pride in playing for a Military Academy on such a special day representing all those who have served our country.  This led to a very passionate and hard fought game between both teams!

 

Both teams came out firing on all cylinders with high pressure all over the field.  We knew coming into the game, they were going to be a tough team to break down as they have had 15 shutouts in 20 games this year, meaning we were really going to have to work for our goals.  Knowing this going in, we were up for the challenge and worked to keep possession and use our wide players to get in behind them.  You can see this from the stats, as we had 29 total shots and 8 corners to their 3 total shots and 0 corners. 

 

We were working hard and getting our shots off, but just couldn't slip one past Army's keeper.  She made some tough saves that kept Army in the game, but we knew they couldn't keep us off the scoreboard for 90 minutes, and we finally broke through in the 86th minute!  It was a beautiful set up with Bri Hovington winning a ball down the sideline and finding Carly centrally.  She turned and ran at the defense before playing a through ball that was "dummied" by Maya and found the foot of Christine making a run in behind the defense.  Christine then calmly placed the ball in the lower corner for the game winner and punched our ticket to the next round of the NCAA Tournament!

 

We had to wait until the next day to see who our opponent in the next round would be as Marquette and Toledo played their first round game on Saturday.  Marquette was able to oust Toledo with a golden goal in OT to set up our game to be played this Friday (5 p.m.) at host site Wake Forest University.  Seeing as Wake Forest is the highest seed, they get the opportunity to host the second and third round games that are to be played Friday and Sunday this weekend.  The winner of our game will play the winner of Wake Forest vs. Boston University at 1 p.m. on Sunday in the Sweet 16 of the tournament.  It should be a very interesting match up this weekend as this is the second weekend in a row that we will play a team that we have never played before!  Therefore, we are looking to start these meetings with a W!  For all our fans following back home our game is at 5 p.m. on Friday and although it will not be televised, you can follow us online on Gametracker and live streaming video.  We are focused in on our journey and as we leave for North Carolina tonight, we know we can come away from this weekend with a big opportunity and take one step closer in reaching our goal!

 

WE ARE!

Gill: Big Ten Tourney Redux & Blue Out on Friday Night

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By Meghan Gill, Redshirt-Senior Midfielder

 

There is a ton of things to catch all of you up on as we are finally back after a long week in Evanston, Illinois at the Big Ten Tournament.  We had a great time both on and off the field at Northwestern with the great view of Lake Michigan from the field, to the opportunity to go to downtown Chicago as well as the Chicago Bears practice facility.  Although it didn't end how we wanted it to, we played some great competition and have an even bigger focus and determination heading into the NCAA tournament.

 

Our trip started with on Tuesday with a short drive to Baltimore and a flight to Chicago.  When we arrived, we learned that due to tournament rules we were not allowed to have an official practice.  Instead, our coaches found a park for us to get our legs loose with some fun competitions.  It started with a simple game of tag, which then progressed to a game we like to call "tail tag."  Each team tucks a penny in the back of their shorts to look like a tail.  The point of the game is to get all the other teams pennies back into your jail without them getting them back.  To say the least, this game got very competitive and after only a few rounds, the coaches had to change it up.  The next game the coaches chose was dodgeball!  This game really showed who had played the game before as well as brought out some very unique and hilarious techniques of throwing a ball.  There weren't many casualties, but Ali Schaefer took a lot of the hits for her team, and one that left everyone on the ground laughing (including herself).  After this pre-game practice our legs were loose and we were antsy to play our game against Northwestern the next day. 

           

A major key for us this game was putting a solid 90-minute game together as a whole team.  Playing on the lake we knew it was going to be very and windy and in order to put a solid 90 minute game together we had to keep the ball on the ground and keep possession of the ball.  We were able to execute our game plan against Northwestern in our first game of the tournament and come out with a 3-0 win. 

 

Our first goal was an amazing corner by Emily Hurd that landed on the foot of Kori Chapic to put us up 1-0 with a lead we wouldn't relinquish.  Kori played another key role in our next goal as she sent a long ball over the defense that Maya Hayes judged perfectly, spun on her defender, and volleyed home a amazing goal to solidify the lead going into halftime 2-0.  Yet, we were not satisfied with just playing a good 45 minutes, we wanted to show we can compete and put together a 90 minute game.  So, the second half we came out with more fire that resulted in Maddy Evans earning a penalty kick, which Christine Nairn slotted home for our third goal of the game and ended a solid game against Northwestern.  We knew after the game we would play the winner of Wisconsin vs. Minnesota, but would have to wait as they played in the game after us.

 

We later found out Minnesota took down Wisconsin 2-0, meaning we were going to take them on in the semi-finals on Friday.  Although we played them to a 1-0 win in the regular season, we knew we missed many opportunities to score in that match and were determined to start quick and put a few goals in early to show them that we were better than the 1-0 score line from the first time we played.  Coming out in the first half keeping that goal in mind we put one on the board in the first 5 minutes with an amazing volley from the right side by J-Ro that hit upper 90 on the far post bounced off the goalie and into the back of the net!  We were held to just that one goal for the first half, but wouldn't be denied in the second. 

 

Ali Schaefer would continue coming up clutch in Big Ten games, as she was able to take a cross from Maddy Evans and get behind the defense to slot a ball into the right side of the net for the eventual game-winning goal.  Maddy Evans would then get in on the scoring action after combining with Carly Niness and rocketing a shot past the goalie to give us some insurance in this game.  Unfortunately, we were unable to hold on to the shutout with Minnesota putting one away with a little less than five minutes to go in the game.  So, we were able to get some good things out of this game, but also learn that we need to continue our focus for a whole 90 minutes and not let in a goal in the final minutes of a game.  However, in a tournament you can't dwell on one game over the next, we took our lessons both good and bad and were excited that we were moving on to the finals against Illinois!

 

            Between our games on Saturday the coaches used the day for us to recover our legs and get some sight seeing in Chicago.  After a stretch and pool recovery session with our trainer Andra we had the day to either relax in the hotel or go sight seeing and shopping in Chicago.  Shopping and our team seem to go hand in hand and it was a fun and exciting day sight seeing in Chicago, especially with a four story Nike store!  Yet, our day was long from over.  Our coach told us we had a "cool event" planned for the evening, which we later found out was a tour of the Chicago Bears practice facility!  As it is said, Penn State has the largest alumni network in the country, and it just happened that the trainer for the Chicago Bears is a Penn State Alumni and good friends with our trainer Andra.

 

 It was an amazing experience for all, even the eagles fans on our team enjoyed the tour!   We got to see their indoor practice field, which is named after Bears great Walter Payton, as well as their outdoor practice fields, which are even heated as it gets pretty cold in Chicago in the winter.  We then got a tour of Halas Hall, which included their video rooms, locker rooms, cafeteria, training room, indoor pool, cold/hot tubs, and auditorium meeting rooms.  Everyone had their favorite part as our manager Alex enjoyed seeing their million-dollar video equipment and learning how fast they can turn over video to the coaches.  Erin Kehoe, the biggest Bears fan on the team (as she is from Illinois) loved seeing the meeting rooms and even left a little note to her favorite player Brian Urlacher!  Not only did we get to tour the building but we ate dinner in the room that Bears eat everyday!  It was fun and amazing experience to see how a pro team operates as well as reminded us to be thankful for what we have as we have a very supportive University and are given a lot of great gear, locker rooms, and soccer fields that some other teams do not.  After the trip it was back to the hotel to rest up and get ready for the finals against Illinois the next day.

 

Game day is one of our favorite days of the week, and game days in which we get to play for a Championship gets us even more excited and pumped up for the game!  Sunday was no different as we knew we had to come out and play a full 90-minute game to get the win against an good Illinois team.  Unfortunately, they came out a little bit faster and put the first goal away just five minutes into the game.  However, we knew the game wasn't over and we continued to compete and were able to pull even before halftime off Maya Hayes 27th goal of the season.  Both teams were held scoreless in the second half and we were headed into overtime for just the second time this season.  With the wind with them, Illinois came out early and put the game winner away just two minutes into overtime.  Although very unhappy with this result, we learned a lot about our team that has helped us to refocus and energize us for our next journey in the NCAA Tournament.

 

Monday our team got together in Rec Hall to watch the selection show for the NCAA tournament to find out we are the 4th seed in our bracket and play Army for our first game this Friday at 7pm on Jeffery Field.  We were excited to find out we had at least one more opportunity to play on the greatest field in the country in some of the best fans in the country! 

 

We all know from experience that this tournament is one and done so we aren't taking any game lightly, and just looking to focus on one game at a time.  Today we are getting back to work at practice this week to prepare for Army!  For all you fans out there keep an eye out for us on campus as we have many things planned, including soccer games at Paternoville on Wednesday night, free ice cream at East and West dorms on Thursday, and you might even see us downtown and around campus handing out t-shirts and fliers for the game!  The game will be free for all the students and Park Avenue Army members with a student ID, as well as free food before the game (6:30 in the parking lots), and counting towards Code Blue points! 

 

We hope to see the students out in full force with a full Park Avenue Army on Friday to help us take down the Black Knights!  Just some information for all the fans not just the students out there, the game kicks off at 7pm, with General Admission tickets at $8 a piece, and $5 for children or students without an ID.  However, there is great group rate of $3 per person if you have a group of 15 or more fans.  We hope to break our last record NCAA attendance of 1,847 as well as Blue Out the Black Knights!  It's just like a White Out except we want all the fans to wear your favorite Blue Penn State Gear instead!  Hope to see you all on Friday at 7pm at Jeffery Field as we start our journey in the NCAA tournament against the Army Black Nights!

 

 

WE ARE!

Gill: All the Seniors Reflect on the Season

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By Meghan Gill, Redshirt-Senior Midfielder

Defend Jeffery Field!  That is something we are taught is part of the tradition of being on the Penn State Women's Soccer Team in our freshman year.  As we stepped on the field Friday night as seniors, we knew we couldn't leave the field any different.  It was a very special moment for every senior as we got to celebrate the culmination of our years at Penn State with our friends, families, coaches, and teammates who have supported each and everyone of us throughout our careers.  As I wasn't the only senior celebrating, I wanted to give the others seniors an opportunity to voice their experience and how senior day felt to them.

Ali Schaefer #11

"It is hard to believe that my senior night already came and went. It seems like just yesterday I was a nervous, young freshman wondering what the following four years would bring. That question was answered my senior night. As I walked through the tunnel of teammates with my proud family, and looked into my mother's teary eyes, I couldn't help but tear up too. As the announcer read off each senior's accolades, I reminisced on the journey that had led each of us to that moment. After a roller coaster ride of downfalls and triumphs, from almost failing to hold on to the Big Ten crown in 2010 to finishing this season with one of the best records in years, our 2011 class is a like minded and cohesive group. This year, our team has put the country on notice: we are a force to be reckoned with.

As we all made our way onto the field and stood huddled together with our families, it seemed as if we were but one family. Every girl of my 2012 class is like a sister to me. We have been together through it all. We learned the traditions of Penn State Women's Soccer together and we set an admirable goal for our final season together. Thus far on our journey, we have done very well in pursuit of that goal. Our team is very strong and our core of seniors remains focused on earning a National Championship. I could not be more happy to be a part of this wonderful class; and the best part is, this is only the beginning. College Cup, here we come!

Carly Niness #21

"It was awesome to win the last home game and was exciting to have my parents walk me out on the one and only Jeffery Field."

Krissy Tribbett #20

"Senior Night for me was a wonderful celebration, but it was bittersweet.  I remember being a freshman and seeing the seniors on senior night, being envious of them, while at the same time feeling happy because I knew I still had more years to play on Jeffrey field.  It was a wonderful celebration and it was fun being honored as a senior.  It ended up being a perfect night with the win and being able to finish the game on the field, for my last home game on Jeffrey field in my college career.  It was awesome being able to celebrate this night with the other 5 seniors that I have spent the last 4 seasons with on and off the field.  We literally are like sisters and it is weird to think that we just spent our last conference home game together after all this time.  It was a great night, but sad to think that our journey together has almost come to an end.  Luckily we have had an amazing season so far and we're hoping to have a few more games on Jeffrey field for the NCAA tournament.  Hope to see as many of you there as possible!"

Jess Rosenbluth #16

"It was great to have my family walk out on the field and it was nice winning the last regular season home game."

Emma Thomson #25

"Senior day was a great way to finish the big ten conference. My family came over to watch me play for the first time and it made the experience even more special. Winning the 4th ring was something our senior class had been aiming for and to have won on Jeffery, in front our home crowd, and in front of family was a great way to finish the regular season. Now onto the next step in our season:vBig Ten Tournament then NCAAs!"

This game was not only to celebrate the seniors but to also celebrate our 14th consecutive Big Ten Regular Season Championship!  So, to say the least it was a very exciting night with emotions running high.  It was also a big night for Purdue, as they needed a win in order to get into the Big Ten Tournament and keep their season alive.  The circumstances of this game made it a tough battle in the first half, which ended in a 0-0 tie.  Yet, on this night, on Jeffery Field we were not going to be denied the win and in the second half scored two great goals.  Emily Hurd scored first with a right footed rocket from about 20 yards out that was shot with so much velocity that it went right over the goalie's head before she was even able to react!  Then the dynamic forward duo of Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes worked their magic to connect on a give and go that left Schram 1v1 with the goalie, which she was able to put away!  Overall, the night as a whole was very exciting match, and one the seniors will surely never forget!

Of course, winning the Big Ten we knew our season wasn't over as the Big Ten Tournament made its way back on to the schedule after a two-year break.  This is very exciting for the team as a whole; as the senior class is the only class to ever experience a Big Ten Tournament.  For all the underclassmen this will be a great learning experience in post season play before the NCAA tournament as crazy things happen in the post season (Hence why NCAA basketball is called March Madness).  Although we may have seen these teams in the regular season, it is different when playing them in the post season.  Every team, including ourselves, is fighting for their lives in the post season as one loss could mean your season is over.  Meaning teams will scrap and fight harder for every 50/50 ball, go into tackles even harder, and put their body on the line to both score goals and protect their net from being scored on.  However, we know this going in, and after two great pre-tournament practices, we are focused and determined to bring back another Big Ten Tourney Title back to Happy Valley!

For all those following back home, our first game is today (Wed. November 2) at 5:30pm ET vs. Northwestern, and can be seen on live stream on Big Ten Network. Com, while the Semi-Finals and Finals will both be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network.  If we win tomorrow we will play at 4:45pm ET Friday (November 4) vs. the winner of the No. 4 vs. 5 game (Wisconsin vs. Minnesota), and if we win Friday we would play in the Championship game on Sunday (November 6) at 4pm ET.  Though, for now, we are taking it one game at a time with all our focus on how to beat Northwestern on their home field! We may not be at home, but we know we have the support of you all back at Penn State, and hopefully by the end of this Sunday we can make you proud by bringing home another Big Ten Trophy!

WE ARE!

 

Gill: Celebrating a Big Ten Title and Preparing for Senior Day

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By Meghan Gill, Redshirt-Senior Midfielder

           

Another weekend and two more wins. This past weekend was a big weekend for us, as not only did we leave Michigan with two wins, but also clinched our team's 14th consecutive Big Ten Title!  If you watched the game on the Big Ten Network on Sunday, you realized that we didn't celebrate our championship on the field.  That was because we wanted to celebrate as a team, and since we were away we weren't able to travel everyone and celebrate as a team, we kept it subdued.  Every individual brings something different and unique to this team, even if they are injured or unable to travel, and that is what has made this team so successful.  So, to wait and celebrate with everyone was an easy decision for our team to make.  Before I talk about this Friday's game, I will recap this weekend and how we were able to clinch the title in Michigan.

           

Our first game this past weekend was at Michigan State, a place we have struggled to get a win at since 2005.  Yet, not only was this a game, but also a celebration of the great life of Adalin Farnum, the 9-year-old daughter of Michigan State's associate head coach Tammy Farnum, who had lost her battle with cancer earlier in the week.  Before the game both teams walked out with pink balloons in hand, and after a moment of silence released the balloons in her memory.  Both teams also wore armbands with her initials on them during the game to honor her.  So, it was a bit of an emotional start to the game and you could definitely see that as Michigan State had something more to play for, and went up 1-0 going into halftime. 

 

However, we knew going into the second half that we needed to come out with a lot of intensity as this is a tough place to play, but if we can match their intensity we felt we could get the goals and come out with the win.  We came out in the second half refocused and looking for a "finishing frenzy!"  Maya Hayes came out and scored two more goals to add to her Division 1 leading tally and Maddy Evans put her stamp on her first game back from injury with a set piece goal off a free kick.  It was a very tough game but a great win and one in which we were so happy afterwards to finally be able to get a win away at Michigan State!  With this win, we also knew a win on Sunday at Michigan would give us our 14th Regular Big Ten Season Championship.

 

Once a Penn Stater, always a Penn Stater!  That saying rings true throughout our soccer team as well, as our alumni keep in touch and are constantly coming to our games throughout the country.  Dani Toney, a 2010 senior, is from Northville, Michigan, and her and her family invited us over on Saturday for dinner and to hang out at their house.  Anytime we can get a home cooked meal and a chance to relax on an away trip our team definitely takes advantage of these opportunities.  We want to thank The Toneys for everything, from a great meal (especially Mrs. Toney's banana pudding!), a fun time, and especially the goody bags for the trip home.  THANK YOU!

           

Knowing that we could clinch the title was all the motivation we needed as we went into the game on Sunday.  This was Michigan's Senior Day, and they showed their appreciation for our seniors, announcing our seniors and giving us flowers as well.  With all the motivation we needed we came out strong and had a great 90-minute game, not just a good half, but finally put it together for 90 minutes.  A big key to our success was our wide play and switching the point of attack, which kept Michigan off the ball and us dictating the play.  This resulted in a 4-0 win with many great goals from Taylor Schram, Maya Hayes, and Ali Schaefer.  Schram's goal came off a cross from Jackie Molinda as she made a run up from right back to slot the ball across the box, Maya Hayes dummied it, and Schram placed it in the corner of the net to start another "finishing frenzy!" 

 

The second goal came from Maya Hayes' rebound off a shot from Ali Schaefer, which put us up 2-0 going into the half.  The second half was just as fun and I hope entertaining for those watching on the BTN as Maya Hayes had an amazing goal!  She nutmegged one defender and split another two before finishing a low line drive past the goalie for her second goal of the game and her 25th of the year.  To finish off the scoring, Ali Schaefer got control of the ball that was mis-cleared out of the box and rocketed home a shot to the far post!  With the result, we clinched the Big Ten Title, but as I said, we still have one last home game against Purdue on Friday!

           

This Friday's game will be one you won't want to miss  We will be celebrating our seniors: Ali Schaefer, Jess Rosenbluth, Krissy Tribbett, Carly Niness, Emma Thompson, and myself before the game, and our 14th Consecutive Big Ten Championship after the game!  As we take the time to reflect on our years on the Penn State Women's Soccer Team, us seniors are proud to be part of the great tradition here and hope we have passed that tradition on to the underclassmen for many years to come.

           

We will also be hosting a halftime Halloween contest with the best costume winning a prize! So come on out and help us celebrate Senior Night and our Big Ten Championship as we continue to defend Jeffery Field against Purdue this Friday and help send us into the postseason with a win! 

 

WE ARE!

 

 

Gill: Homecoming Wins and Michigan Road Trip Ahead

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By Meghan Gill, Redshirt-Senior Midfielder

           

It was a great Homecoming weekend for the Penn State Women's Soccer Team as we got to tailgate with our alumni before the football game, and came away with two key wins against Nebraska and Iowa.  These games were not only about competing and winning, but also to celebrate our alumni and those who have come before us who have built a winning tradition of protecting Jeffery Field.  We continued that tradition this weekend and are now 7-1 in the Big Ten heading into our final three games against Michigan and Michigan State away this weekend, and our final home game Purdue on October 28th.

           

If you weren't at our game on Friday, you sure missed a high scoring game with nine goals between both teams!  Luckily, we can say we came out on top with the win.  Friday's game against Nebraska was a bit of an eye opener to what kind of team we can expect from the newest addition to the Big Ten.  From the scout we knew they played an untraditional formation and were very physical as you can find with any Big Ten team, but it was going to be new to us playing against anything like them. 

 

We got on them early with a goal in the first three minutes of the game by leading scorer Maya Hayes, yet Nebraska didn't give up without a fight.  They actually took the lead 2-1, but just over a minute later Maya Hayes showed off some fabulous dribbling skills, beating three players before passing it to Taylor Schram who slotted it home to go into halftime with a score of 2-2.  After halftime, we knew we had to come out fired up and go right at them to put them out of the game.  Come out on fire we did, scoring two goals to take the lead 4-2. 

 

One was an Emily Hurd rocket that knocked the goalie backwards into the net and a set piece goal by Taylor Schram from a Jess Rosenbluth free kick!  Yet, those pesky Cornhuskers continued to fight and eventually tied the game up at 4-4 a piece.  However, on our home field in front of our family, friends, alumni, and fans we weren't going to walk away with anything less than a win.  So, in the 78th minute we buckled down on our corner kick as we work on every day in practice and freshman Whit Church put away her first collegiate goal on Jeffery Field.  It was an exciting game and one that was up and down, and even with a win, we still learned a lot about our team in that we didn't put our heads down when we went down 2-1.  Instead, we fought back and were able to pull out the win in the end.

 

The game on Sunday was not quite as high scoring as Friday, but there were still lots of goals for us in a 4-0 win over Iowa.  We knew Iowa was coming off a 1-0 win at Ohio State on Friday and that they were going to put up a fight to try and knock us off. We were out to protect Jeffery Field and not let anyone put any more goals in the back of our net after Nebraska put in four on Friday. 

 

So, not only was this a great game for our offense but also our defense who kept a clean sheet in the shutout!  We didn't start out as quickly as we wanted but some scrappy play by Emily Hurd led to our first goal as she beat a defender and slotted a ball to Maya Hayes for a placement finish, and a 1-0 lead at halftime.  For the first 45 minutes, we didn't play up to our high standard though and came out with more energy and put up three goals in the second half to win the game 4-0!  Taylor Schram had two of the goals for a total of four goals over the weekend and Maya Hayes had another for her Division 1 leading 21st of the season.  It was a great weekend, and with two wins, we were able to stay atop the Big Ten standings with just three conference games left to play.

           

Yet, these next three games can't be taken lightly, especially this away weekend at the Michigans.  We take on Michigan State on Friday at 3 p.m., as their field does not have lights.  In my four years at Penn State, it has always been a tough place to play, with a one-goal loss and an overtime loss when we were away at Michigan State.  However, a new year brings a new team, and why not this year be the year that we get a win away against Michigan State?  Then on Sunday, we take on Michigan at noon and it will be our first live televised game on the Big Ten Network!  Therefore, all of our fans back in State College who can't make the trip and our fans from all over the country can catch our game on Friday vs. Michigan State on Gametracker and live on Sunday vs. Michigan on BTN! 

 

As we continue to get players back from injury our team is feeling stronger than ever, and as the Big Ten Conference is coming to a close, we hope to continue the tradition of those that came before us and close out our away weekend with some wins!

 

WE ARE!

Gill: Another W Before Homecoming

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1418902.jpegBy Meghan Gill, Redshirt-Senior

Another quick road trip and another W in the Win column!  These one game away weekends seem to fly by as the days are filled with travel.  The running joke on these trips is that all we do is eat, sleep, and play soccer! 

 

Just to show you what its like, our schedule this past weekend looked like this: we flew out of State College at 10:30 am, connected in Philly, and arrived in Indianapolis around 4:30 pm.  From the airport in Indianapolis we drove straight to the practice fields in Bloomington (about an hour from the airport) for our normal pre-game practice.  After practice we went straight to dinner around 7 o'clock, then finally to the hotel!  By the time, we got back to the hotel and showered up from practice it was around 10-11 o'clock.  By this time, everyone is tired from a full day of travel and usually does a little homework and falls asleep as we were up at 7 am the next day for a jog and stretch. 

 

After the jog and stretch was our pre-game breakfast before we left for the fields for our 11 am game versus Indiana!  Therefore, as you can see it is a busy two days with practically just eating, sleeping, and soccer!  However, this is what we love to do and wouldn't trade these days for anything.

           

To recap the game a little for you, it started out a very slow game as our coaches told us it would with Indiana wanting to try to slow the game down.  However, even with a slow start we were able to put a goal in early on a transition play with Jess Rosenbluth slotting the ball to Maya Hayes for her 17th goal on the season.  The rest of the half was back and forth with pretty equal opportunities for either team.

 

 At halftime, we knew it wasn't our best performance and we came out with more urgency and pushed for more goals and more possession in the second half.  We played much better the second half and continued to rack up our set piece goals with Carly Niness scoring off a corner by Ali Schaefer!  Just two minutes later Maya Hayes scored her Division 1 leading 18th goal of the season with an amazing goal off a punt by our goalie Erin McNulty.  The goalie was off her line, and Maya took the ball off the bounce and volleyed it over the keeper from around 20 yards out!  Let's just say everyone went wild yesterday when we watched film on the game!  It was an exciting second half and another win to keep us on top of the Big Ten heading into a big home weekend with newcomer Nebraska on Friday and Iowa on Sunday.

           

Not only is this a big weekend for us, but for Penn State as a whole as it is Homecoming week!  This is exciting as we have many Alumni coming back for our game as well as the football game.  Our game time on Friday was changed to 8 p.m. due to the homecoming parade. 

 

So now, there is plenty of time to see both!  Friday will also be our Think Pink game as we play for those who have been affected by breast cancer and raise money for research to cure such a terrible disease.  If coming to our game isn't enough of a draw, Friday night the top two scorers in the country, #1 Penn State's Maya Hayes, and #2 Nebraska's Morgan Marlborough will be playing against each other right here on Jeffery Field.

 

Sunday's game vs. Iowa at 11 a.m. also brings some excitement as it is Military Appreciation day as we recognize all those in the military and everything they do to keep our country free and safe that allows us to play the game we love.  It is also a doubleheader with the men's team who will be playing Northwestern right after our game. 

 

Come celebrate homecoming and Think Pink with us on Friday night as we take on Nebraska at 8 p.m. for the first time in the Big Ten.  Then on Sunday help us celebrate all our military members as we take on Iowa at 11 a.m. as a doubleheader with the men's team!

 

WE ARE!


Gill: Time to Relax After Exhausting Stretch

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1418902.jpeg Finally arriving home at two in the morning in State College after our away trip at Minnesota could we relax. Having six games within the past two weeks has been a long and challenging experience for our team, but we are happy to say at the end of the week that we went 5-1 and in the lead atop the Big Ten (4-1). Here is a little review of our last two games against Ohio State and Minnesota.

To say we started off a little slow against Ohio State would be an understatement. Could it be the long week? The tired legs? Being a Thursday night game? Whatever it may be, we knew we were at home on Jeffery Field and playing our biggest rival in the Big Ten and no excuse could be made for the way we played that first half. Luckily, our captains and coaches were able to get our heads on straight at halftime and when we came together before going on the field there was a whole different energy and belief going out into the second half.

Let's just say Ohio State was not ready for what was about to happen in the first 10 minutes of the second half. We literally took the kickoff and scored in the first 15 seconds of the match off Taylor Schram placed goal. Then just two minutes later Kori Chapic scored off a set piece, which again help reached our team's game goal of +1 on set pieces for the game! Finally, Emily Hurd capped off the scoring with an unbelievable individual effort. She took her defender on down the left side and shot a left footed rocket across the goal into the upper 90 of the net! With a score line of 3-1 you might think how can you learn from such a game, especially with such a dominant second half.

Well, Ohio State taught us that if we don't come to play within the first 20 minutes of the half teams will punish us and may not give us the opportunity to come back. Taking that lesson, we then put our focus on Minnesota and coming out strong on their home field.

We knew Minnesota was a high-pressure team and we had to play quick one and two-touch passes in order to possess the ball and not get caught up in their "kick and run" style of play. Our coaches were right in saying they would fly to the ball on defense and put a lot of pressure on us from the first kick. However, this time we were focused, ready, and came out on the attack, hitting the crossbar twice in the first half. At halftime we found that our locker rooms were really close to each other, and lets just say thanks to some yelling by their coach we knew that their second half plan was to come out and put up a fight in the second half. We came out ready to match that fight and go beyond. A battle it was, but we scrapped and had some more good chances in the second half, with Maya Hayes placing a slotted through ball past the goalie with under 10 minutes left for us to end these long weeks with a win!

Fortunately, this week is a one game weekend against Indiana who is 2-3 in the Big Ten with wins against Northwestern and Nebraska. Having only one game this week on a Sunday allows us to use this week to rest both our bodies and minds after a rough two weeks. This rest should make us nice and fresh for our final stretch of Big Ten games including our game against newcomer Nebraska in two weeks!

Gill: Ohio State and Minnesota on Tap

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1418902.jpegBy Megan Gill, Senior Midfielder


Hello Again Fans,

I am happy to report back to you after a successful 2-0 weekend versus Northwestern and Illinois!

In what started out as a rainy and dreary looking day for a game turned into a beautiful Friday night with perfect weather for a game. The rain had stopped and the temperature was nice and cool, which helped us to put on a "finishing frenzy" as our coaches like to call it. We won 4-0 with two goals each from Maya Hayes and Ali Schaefer, with both of Schaefer's goals coming off set pieces!

For us, scoring off set pieces has been a major focus this year so to put two away on set pieces in one game was a big accomplishment for us. These were Maya's 14th and 15th goals of the season, making her the leading scorer in the country! These were Schaefer's first goals of the season and celebrated in style with a chest bump with our manager Kyle. This was a great result to open our home Big Ten matches, which we continued with a win on Sunday as well.

Although, we did not perform at our highest we were able to gut it out and get the win off another set piece goal by Ali Schaefer! Illinois was a tough team that came out on fire, especially in the first 20 minutes and battled for all 90 minutes. Yet, we were on the greatest field in the country and knew we had to battle and scrap to protect Jeffery Field!

It has been a very busy week with having four games in eight days, but this tough stretch isn't over yet. This Thursday and Sunday, we have two more games against some of the top teams in the Big Ten and some of our biggest rivals, Ohio State and Minnesota. Ohio State is coming to Jeffery Field tomorrow in our "Code Blue" game, and after a 1-0 overtime loss last year, we are out for some revenge, especially at home! Then we travel to one of the tougher places to play in the Big Ten in Minnesota. There have been many close games there, including the last time we played there in 2009 when we scored the game winner with just 10 seconds left in the match. So, before we start another stretch of road games, come out to our game Tomorrow Night at 7 p.m. as we take on the Buckeyes in a pivotal Big Ten match!

WE ARE!