Men's Soccer to Battle No. 11 Indiana in Big Ten Showdown
Oct. 26, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - One of the Big Ten's most competitive and intense rivalries will renew this weekend when the Penn State men's soccer team (5-7-3, 1-1-2) travels to Bloomington, Ind. to square off with No. 11 Indiana (10-4-2, 3-0-1) on Sun., Oct. 28 at Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The key conference game, which is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start, will be broadcast to live national television audience on the Big Ten Network.
If recent history is any indication as to how Penn State will perform under the spotlight of national television, then the Nittany Lions will undoubtedly provide a stiff challenge to Indiana. Over the past three years, Penn State is 3-0 against nationally ranked teams in televised games. Earlier this season, the Nittany Lions downed No. 3 Northwestern, 2-1, at home in their Big Ten Network debut. A year ago, the Lions knocked off No. 9 Indiana, 1-0, at Jeffrey Field. In 2005, behind two goals from Jason Yeisley (Allentown, Pa.), PSU upset the No. 5 Hoosiers in Bloomington, 2-1.
Penn State heads to Bloomington looking to maintain momentum gained from its 2-1 double overtime win over Cornell on Tuesday night at Jeffrey Field. Freshman midfielder Drew Cost (West Chester, Pa.) netted the game winner, his first career goal, with just 1:52 remaining in the second overtime. The freshmen duo of Andres Casais (Caracas, Venezuela) and Treavor Gelsinger (Shady Grove, Pa.) assisted on the play. Sophomore forward Jacobo Vera (Pamplona, Spain) gave Penn State a 1-0 first half lead when he scored his fourth goal of the season and third in the last four games. The Nittany Lions dominated play on the field and the numbers in the box score, as they outshot the Big Red 25-8, including a 12-3 advantage in shots on goal.
With leading scorer and All-America candidate Jason Yeisley just the latest Nittany Lion forced from the pitch due to injury, Penn State's already young line-up has been forced to become even younger. However, Penn State continues to get significant contributions from its underclassmen as it has all season, as freshmen or sophomores have accounted for 41 of its 67 total points. Treavor Gelsinger (2 goals, 5 assists) and Jacobo Vera (4 goals, 1 assist) headline the youth movement, as they are tied for second on the team with nine points each. Andres Casais has flourished on the Nittany Lion back line, leading all underclassmen with 14 starts.
With two conference games remaining in 2007, Penn State remains just one win shy of attaining the program's 50th Big Ten victory. Since joining the conference in 1991, the Nittany Lions have compiled a 49-34-8 record. Over the sixteen seasons in which Penn State has been a member of the Big Ten, it has suffered just three losing seasons in conference action. The Lions own a 22-11-3 record in Big Ten Championship play, one of just two conference teams to possess a winning record in the postseason tournament.
Indiana enters Sunday's match-up with Penn State winners of seven of its last nine games. After dropping three straight contests in mid-September, the Hoosiers have lost just once since, compiling wins over Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, and Notre Dame over that stretch. Junior forward Kevin Noschang leads the IU attack with a team-high 13 points and five goals, three of which have been game winners. Eric Alexander, Brad Ring, Daniel Kelly, and Rich Balchan have also been major contributors, as the quartet has combined for 13 of Indiana's 24 goals. Junior goalkeeper Chay Cain anchors a Hoosier defense that has allowed 15 goals through 16 games. Cain possesses a 0.79 goals against average and has recorded six shutouts in 2007.
In a series that dates back to 1978, Penn State holds a 9-24-3 record versus Indiana. However, the Nittany Lions have taken three of the last four from the Hoosiers. The most important of those victories came on Nov. 13, 2005 when Penn State defeated IU, 1-0, to capture its third Big Ten Championship and to secure its second win over the Hoosiers in the same year, an accomplishment no other conference team has attained.
In addition to viewing the game on the Big Ten Network, fans can also follow all of the action of the Penn State-Indiana match-up on the Internet with live stats and instant scoring updates from Gametracker. Click on the gametrack PSU link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com, to access all of the Gametracker features.
The Nittany Lions will finish out the 2007 regular season next week with two home games. On Wed., Oct. 31, Penn State will welcome in-state opponent Villanova (10-6-0) to Jeffrey Field for a Halloween eve match-up scheduled for 7 p.m. The Lions will then wrap up Big Ten play when they host Michigan (10-4-2, 0-2-2) on Sun., Nov. 4 in a 2 p.m. game. Prior to the contest with the Wolverines, Conrad Taylor, Geordie MacNeill (Richmond Hill, Ont.), Grady Renfrow (Washington, D.C.), and Stephen Reihner will be honored for their contributions to the Penn State men's soccer program over the past four years in a special Senior Day ceremony.