Men's Soccer to Battle Big Ten Rival No. 17 Indiana on Senior Night
Oct. 31, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The annual renewal of one of the Big Ten's most competitive and intense rivalries will take place this weekend when the Penn State men's soccer team (4-9-3, 1-3-0 Big Ten) hosts No. 17 Indiana (9-4-3, 2-2-0 Big Ten) on Sat., Nov. 1 at Jeffrey Field. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Prior to the contest with the Hoosiers, Penn State seniors Ryan Badaracco (Wexford, Pa.), Andy Machi (Upper St. Clair, Pa.), and Barkley Miller (New Freedom, Pa.) will be honored for their contributions to the program over the past four years in a special Senior Night ceremony.
Penn State is coming off a hard-fought and highly competitive 1-1 tie with No. 2-ranked Akron earned on Wednesday evening at an unseasonably cold and blustery Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions got a lift from the return of sophomore defender Andres Casais (Caracas, Venezuela), who missed the prior eight games after suffering a fractured cheekbone and overcame suspensions to midfielders Matheus Braga (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Frank Costigliola (Dix Hills, N.Y.). Freshman defender Mark Fetrow (West Chester, Pa.), with an assist from junior Jacobo Vera (Pamplona, Spain), scored the first goal of his collegiate career in the 80th minute to tie the game up. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Warren Gross (Greenfield Center, N.Y.) was superb in just the third start of his career, recording six saves.
Indiana enters Saturday's contest riding a four-game unbeaten streak, which has included wins over ranked opponents Notre Dame and Ohio State. The Hoosiers' have been steeled by one of the nation's most difficult schedules in 2008, evidenced by their No. 1 national RPI ranking. The Indiana attack has been sporadic and inconsistent this season, leading to five shutouts. However, the IU offense has found a rhythm of late, netting eight goals in its last four games. Sophomore forward Andy Adlard leads the team in goals (5) and points (11), but Kevin Noschang (4 goals, 1 assist) and Will Bruin (4 goals) are key contributors. Junior midfielder Eric Alexander has a team-high three assists. First Team All-Big Ten honorees Ofori Sarkodie and Chay Cain anchor the IU defense. Cain, a starter in goal for all 16 games this season, owns a 1.13 goals against average and has posted five shutouts.
The Hoosiers are the lone Big Ten team against which Penn State does not possess a winning record (9-25-3) in the all-time series. A year ago, in Bloomington, the Nittany Lions fell by a score of 1-0. Penn State, however, has taken three of the last five match-ups from the Hoosiers, including the teams' previous meeting in University Park in 2006, a 1-0 victory. The most important of those win 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.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Indiana match-up on the Internet with live stats and instant scoring updates from Gametracker or with a live audio and video webcast. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions will finish out regular season and Big Ten play next weekend when they travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to take on No. 18 Michigan (10-4-2, 2-1-1 Big Ten) in a 2 p.m. game on Sat., Nov. 8 at the U-M Soccer Complex. Penn State is 7-2-1 all-time versus the Wolverines, including last season's 2-1 victory at Jeffrey Field. The postseason will kickoff the following weekend when the Lions begin pursuit of their fourth conference crown at the 2008 Big Ten Championship. To be hosted by the University of Wisconsin, the tournament is scheduled for Nov. 13-16 at the McClimon Soccer Complex in Madison.