Men's Soccer to Battle Bucknell in Match-up of Intrastate Rivals
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; October 16, 2006 - The Penn State men's soccer team will kick off a three-game home stretch on Tues., Oct. 17 when regional rival Bucknell (7-4-4, 2-2-1 Patriot League) visits Jeffrey Field for a 7:00 p.m. contest. The Nittany Lions will also play host to conference opponent No. 6 Indiana and Patriot League leader Lehigh in the next week.
Penn State will look to extend its non-conference unbeaten streak to three games when it takes to the pitch versus Bucknell on Tuesday evening. Two weekends ago, the Lions played some of their best soccer of the season, tying No. 18 Akron, 0-0, and routing Buffalo, 3-0.
The depleted Nittany Lion ranks will be facing the Bison on less than two days rest after falling to Big Ten opponent Wisconsin 2-0 on Sunday afternoon in Madison, Wis. The defense held a potent Badger attack scoreless for 60 minutes, but a pair of second half Wisconsin goals ended the Nittany Lions bid for their third Big Ten victory of the season. Sophomore midfielder Michael Janov (Vienna, Austria), making his second start of the season, topped Penn State in shots with three. Seniors Jeff Chambers (Christiana, Pa.) and Simon Omekanda (Rochester Hills, Mich.) each registered two. Overall, Penn State outshot Wisconsin, 10-9.
Simon Omekanda remains Penn State's top offensive weapon, as he leads the team in nearly every statistical category, including goals (3), assists (4), points (10), shots (44), shots on goal (21), and game-winning goals (2). Jeff Chambers (2 goals, 1 assist) and junior Stephen Reihner (Washington, Pa.) (1 goal, 3 assists) have also lent firepower to the attack this season.
Junior goalkeeper Conrad Taylor (Colorado Springs, Colo.), a starter in 58 consecutive games, headlines the defense. His 20 career shutouts place him in a third place tie on Penn State's career list. Backliners Ryan Badaracco (Wexford, Pa.), Andy Parr (Hummelstown, Pa.), Geordie MacNeill (Richmond Hill, Ont.), and senior co-captain Markku Viitanen (Pirkkala, Finland) have provided solid performances in support of Taylor this season.
Bucknell began the season in record setting fashion, posting a 7-1-2 record, however, fortunes have changed and it is currently mired in a five-game winless slump (0-3-2). After netting 16 goals in their first 10 games, the Bison offense has run dry, scoring just once in its last five. It enters Tuesday evening's game with Penn State having not scored a goal in over 399 minutes of play.
A pair of underclassmen in sophomore Alex Russo and freshman Nathan LaGrave has keyed the Bison attack in 2006. Russo leads the team in goals (5), points (13), and shots (30), and game-winning goals (3). Four of his five goals have come in the final nine minutes of games and he is tied for the Patriot League lead with three game-winning scores. LaGrave tops Bucknell in assists (4) and is second in goals (4), points (12), and shots (26).
Goalkeeper Joey Kuterbach anchors a Bucknell defense that has allowed just 11 goals in 15 games this season. The junior has recorded five shutouts and possesses a 0.69 goals against average. The Bison's 2-0 loss to Lehigh marked the first time this season Kuterbach has surrendered more than one goal to an opponent.
In a rivalry that dates back to 1930, Penn State holds a dominating 56-6-3 all-time record versus Bucknell and has not lost since 1975, a streak of 25 games. The Nittany Lions last met the Bison in 2004, a 2-0 Penn State victory at Jeffrey Field.
Live stats and instant scoring updates for the Penn State-Bucknell match-up will be available over the Internet through GameTracker. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com. You can also listen to a live radio broadcast of the game on the Internet at www.ComRadio.psu.edu.
The Nittany Lions will continue its home stand on Fri., Oct. 20 when No. 6 Indiana (10-3-2, 3-0-1 Big Ten) visits Jeffrey Field to renew one of the Big Ten most heated rivalries. In 2005, Penn State made history by becoming the first conference team to defeat the Hoosiers twice in one season. This season's rematch, scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. kickoff, will be broadcast to a live national television audience on Fox Soccer Channel.
As a result of a concert at the Bryce Jordan Center, all fans attending the Penn State-Indiana game should enter with their vehicles from University Drive and park in the grass lots adjacent to Jeffrey Field. There will be no parking available in the paved Beaver Stadium lot.