No. 16 Nittany Lions Visit No. 7 Indiana for Pivotal Big Ten Clash
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the Big Ten's best rivalries will be renewed on Friday evening when the No. 16 Penn State men's soccer team visits Bloomington for a showdown with rival No. 7 Indiana (5-0-2). The battle between the two teams currently positioned atop the conference standings is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the home of the Hoosiers, Bill Armstrong Stadium.
Fans can watch the 41st overall meeting between Penn State and Indiana for free on the Internet with a live video and audio webstream or follow along with live stats and instant scoring updates from GameTracker. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Penn State (5-1-1) posted a 1-0-1 record last week, downing Saint Francis (Pa.), 1-0, in Happy Valley before drawing with Hartford on the road, 0-0. The Nittany Lion defense limited the Red Flash to just three total shots for the game while junior Brian Forgue (Glenmoore, Pa.) provided all the offense PSU would need, becoming the fifth different Nittany Lion in 2011 to tally a game winner. Versus Hartford, Penn State extended its streak of holding opponents scoreless to over 388 minutes, a span of four-plus games, but could not find the back of the net itself despite owning an 18-10 shot advantage.
The conference opener for both the Nittany Lions and the Hoosiers will pit the Big Ten's No. 1-ranked defense against the league's top offense. Penn State leads in goals allowed (0.43), goals against average (0.42), and shutouts (6) while Indiana is tops in points (46), goals (16), and assists (17). Individually, PSU's freshman goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton (Snellville, Ga.) is first in the Big Ten in goals against average (0.42) and shutouts (6) while IU's Alec Purdie ranks first in points (10) and goals (4) and Tommy Meyer has a conference high four assists.
Wolverton has gained acclaim for his brilliant start to his rookie campaign. After recording six shutouts through the first seven games of his collegiate career, he earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors on September 12 and TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week recognition on September 19.
Penn State's offensive production in 2011 has come from a variety of sources, with four different players, juniors Minh Vu (Tucson, Ariz.), Hasani Sinclair (Coral Gables, Fla.), and Julian Cardona (Lincoln, Neb.) and sophomore Jordan Tyler (Rochester, Mich.) scoring a team-high two goals each. In total, 10 Nittany Lions have notched at least one point this season.
Indiana's Eriq Zavaleta (3 goals, 2 assists), Blake Wise (3 goals, 1 assist), and Chris Estridge (2 goals, 2 assists) also power the Hoosier attack. Goalkeeper Luis Soffner has been a standout as the anchor of the IU defense, boasting a 0.55 goals against average, a Big Ten-best .866 save percentage, and three shutouts.
Indiana, which has played one of the nation's most challenging schedules thus far in 2011, is coming off a 1-0-1 east coast road swing, which included a 0-0 tie with No. 12 St. John's and a 2-0 victory over Rutgers.
Penn State possesses an 11-27-2 record in its series with seven-time national champion Indiana. The Nittany Lions have taken five of the last nine meetings between the teams but haven't won in Bloomington since 2005. A year ago, Penn State faced the Hoosiers twice in University Park, falling 3-2 in the regular season before avenging that loss with a 2-1 win in the Big Ten Tournament.
Penn State is 9-10-1 in Big Ten openers, including a 3-8-1 mark versus the Hoosiers. Indiana has never lost a Big Ten opener, posting a 17-0-3 mark.
Penn State will open a three game home stand on Tuesday, Sept. 27 when No. 23 Georgetown (4-1-2) visits Jeffrey Field for a 7 p.m. contest. The Hoyas, which currently reside in third place in the BIG EAST Blue Division, play Villanova in their conference opener on the road on Saturday before venturing to Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions have faced Georgetown just once in program history, a 3-2 PSU win in 2004 in an early season tournament hosted by Maryland.