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Aug. 30, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State will see its first action of the 2007 regular season this weekend when the Nittany Lions travel to Columbus, Ohio to take part in the The Bert and Iris Wolstein Soccer Classic as hosted by The Ohio State University. Penn State opens on Fri., Aug. 31 by taking on Syracuse in a 7:30 p.m. contest. The Lions will finish out tournament play against No. 13 West Virginia on Sun., Sept. 2 at 12 p.m. All games will be played at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the Ohio State campus.
The Nittany Lions head into the regular season riding momentum gained from an undefeated exhibition schedule that featured wins over Georgetown (1-0) and Saint Francis (Pa.) (2-0). On Aug. 20, junior midfielder Barkley Miller (New Freedom, Pa.), with an assist from sophomore midfielder Diego Correa (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), netted the game-winning goal to down the Hoyas. Versus the Red Flash, sophomore midfielder Frank Costigliola (Dix Hills, N.Y.) and junior forward Jason Yeisley (Allentown, Pa.) accounted for the Penn State scores. Senior defender Stephen Reihner (Washington, Pa.) and Costigliola also tallied assists in the victory.
"Overall, we are very pleased (with the team's preseason play)," head coach Barry Gorman, who is entering his 20th year at Penn State. "The guys are slotting together nicely. We still have a few kinks to iron out, but overall I think I am very pleased."
Fifteen-year Syracuse head coach Dean Foti welcomes back eight starters from his 2006 squad that went 7-8-1 overall and 2-8-1 in BIG EAST play. Included in that group of returnees, are the Orange's top two scorers from a year ago in sophomore Hansen Woodruff (7 goals/2 assists/16 points) and junior Kyle Hall (5 goals/4 assists/14 points). Three seniors in Brad Peetoom, James Goodwin, and Aaron Bonser and three-year starting goalkeeper junior Robert Cavicchia will anchor the Syracuse defense.
Penn State possesses a 30-1-5 all-time record versus Syracuse in a series that dates back to 1920. However, Friday's match-up between the Nittany Lions and the Orange will be their first since 1960.
West Virginia head coach Marlon LeBlanc, who is entering his second year in Morgantown, returns eight starters from his 2006 BIG EAST champion squad. Sophomore forward Tony Lindroos and senior midfielders Andy Wright and Dan Stratford, a trio that teamed to tally 38 points a year ago, headline the WVU attack. The defense is led by senior backs Andrew Halsell, Paul Cunningham, and Pat Carroll. The team's largest question lies in goal where none of the keeper candidates have game experience. West Virginia finished the preseason with a 2-0 record, downing in-state rival Marshall (3-0) and Kentucky (1-0).
The Nittany Lions hold a 19-5-1 record in its all-time series with West Virginia. A year ago, in the teams' first meeting since 1990, Penn State fell to the Mountaineers, 2-1, at Jeffrey Field.
Fans can follow the action against Syracuse and West Virginia with live stats and instant scoring updates on Gametracker. Click on the gametrack PSU link on Penn State's official athletic website, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions will open their 2007 home schedule next weekend by welcoming Ohio State, William & Mary, and Old Dominion to Jeffrey Field for the annual Penn State Classic. On the first day of competition, Fri., Sept. 7, Penn State will face William & Mary (5:30 p.m.) and Ohio State will take on No. 21 Old Dominion (7:45 p.m.). Day two, Sun., Sept. 9, will pit Ohio State versus William & Mary (12:00 p.m.) and Penn State against 21st-ranked Old Dominion (2:30 p.m.). Admission to the Penn State Classic and to all home men's soccer games is free.