Men's Soccer to Visit No. 12 Michigan for Regular Season Finale
Nov. 7, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's soccer team (5-9-3, 2-3-0 Big Ten) will wrap up regular season and conference play on Sat., Nov. 8 when it faces Big Ten rival No. 12 Michigan (11-4-2, 3-1-1 Big Ten) in a 2 p.m. contest at the U-M Soccer Complex in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Entering the season's final weekend, the Nittany Lions are positioned in a tie for fifth place with Indiana in the Big Ten standings. With a victory, Penn State could potentially move up to claim the fourth seed but can be no lower than the fifth seed for next week's Big Ten Championship regardless of Saturday's outcome.
Penn State garnered national attention last week, opening eyes when it posted a 1-0-1 record against two ranked teams. Versus No. 2 Akron on Oct. 29, the Nittany Lions scored on a defense that had allowed just four goals for the entire season and limited an attack that averaged over three goals a contest during a 10-game unbeaten streak to just one. Penn State then defeated archrival Indiana for the fourth time in their last six meetings on Nov. 1 by a score of 1-0. Freshman defender Mark Fetrow (West Chester, Pa.) notched the first goal of his collegiate career in the tie with Akron while junior midfielder Vincent Salvatico (Chester Springs, Pa.) tallied the game winner against Indiana.
For his standout defensive performances versus Akron and Indiana, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Warren Gross (Greenfield Center, N.Y.) was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and honored on Soccer America's Team of the Week. Against the high-powered Zips' attack, Gross recorded six critical saves. He followed it up with three saves en route to his first career shutout versus Indiana.
Michigan is the midst of one the program's finest seasons, boasting wins over ranked teams in Notre Dame, Indiana, and Northwestern. The Wolverines, which are aiming to secure the No. 2 seed for the Big Ten Championship, have held a decisive home field advantage this season, as they are 7-2-0 at the U-M Soccer Complex. A foursome of attackers consisting of Peri Marosevic (10 goals, 3 assists), Mauro Fuzetti (9 goals, 4 assists), Jake Stacy (7 goals, 5 assists), and Matt Schmitt (1 goal, 6 assists) fronts the Michigan offense. Goalkeeper Patrick Sperry has started all 16 games this season, recording four shutouts while compiling a 1.19 goals against average.
Penn State owns a 7-2-1 record in its all-time series with Michigan, including last season's 2-1 come-from-behind Nittany Lion win at Jeffrey Field. Frank Costigliola (Dix Hills, N.Y.) and Drew Cost (West Chester, Pa.) scored second half goals to rally PSU to victory. Penn State's last trip to Ann Arbor, in 2006, resulted in a 1-0 defeat. Overall, the Nittany Lions Lions are 2-1-1 at Michigan.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Michigan match-up on the Internet with live stats and instant scoring updates from Gametracker. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Next week, the Nittany Lions will begin pursuit of their fourth conference crown when they travel to Madison, Wis. for the 2008 Big Ten Men's Soccer Championship. To be hosted by the University of Wisconsin, the battle for the 2008 title is set to begin on Thurs., Nov. 13 with three first round match-ups. Semifinal games will take place on Fri., Nov. 14 with the championship contest set for Sun., Nov. 16. All games will be played at the McClimon Soccer Complex on the Wisconsin campus. Game times and match-ups will be determined once seeding is established upon the conclusion of regular season competition. The semifinals and finals will air live on the Big Ten Network. Penn State possesses a 22-11-4 record in Big Ten Championship play, one of just two conference teams to possess a winning mark in the postseason tournament.