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Britt Eckerstrom, Mallory Weber join Western New York Flash; Raquel Rodriguez selected No. 2 by Sky Blue FC
Eckerstrom owns a 1.45 goals against average this season with 55 saves
Lions staff an invaluable asset to head coach Erica Walsh
Nittany Lions host West Virginia in NCAA second round on Friday
Tim Wassell returns to Penn State for his eighth season in 2017. With the Nittany Lions, he serves as the recruiting coordinator and focuses on the team's goalkeepers and defensive unit.
Wassell's goalkeepers have found great success not only at Penn State, but at the national level, as well. Nittany Lion goalkeepers Rose Chandler and Amanda Dennis have seen extensive time with the U.S. Women's National Team program.
For Chandler, she was a member of the U.S. U-20 WNT that won the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 World Cup Qualifying Tournament and was on the U.S. U-20 WNT at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
At the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 World Cup Qualifying Tournament, Chandler started all five matches in net for the Red, White, and Blue, which included three-straight shutouts to capture the tournament title. For her performance in net at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 World Cup Qualifying Tournament, Chandler received the Golden Glove award.
Chandler and four other Nittany Lions missed the 2016 Penn State women's soccer season as they were at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup with the U.S. U-20 WNT.
The 2016 season featured Dennis, a freshman, start all 21 matches in net for the Nittany Lions. With her start on Aug. 19, 2016, against No. 6 West Virginia, Dennis became the first Nittany Lion true freshman goalkeeper to start the first match of the season since future Olympian Alyssa Naeher recorded a start in net against No. 2 UCLA on Aug. 25, 2006. Following the 2016 regular season, Dennis was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
Under the direction of Wassell, the Nittany Lions tallied one of the best defensive efforts in program history during the 2015 season. As a defensive unit, the Nittany Lions allowed 14 goals on the year and a goals against average of .51, which ranks third-best in program history. The Nittany Lions’ 15 shutouts in 2015 tied the second-best performance in school history (2004).
The Nittany Lion defensive prowess was on display during the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The Penn State defense did not concede a goal over the final 733:32 of the season and only allowed 13 shots on goal in six games during the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
As recruiting coordinator, Wassell has brought some of the nation’s top recruiting classes to Happy Valley. According to TopDrawerSoccer.com, the Nittany Lions tallied back-to-back No. 2 overall recruiting classes in 2014 and 2015 and brought in the No. 4 class in 2017. The 2014 class featured Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Emily Ogle, and the 2015 class featured the No. 5 overall signee, Ellie Jean, as well as the No. 10 overall signee, Kaleigh Riehl, just to a highlight a few. The 2017 class, ranked fourth overall, features four Nittany Lions in the top-30, including No. 5 overall signee Frankie Tagliaferri.
Goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom found major success in net for the Nittany Lions under the tutelage of Coach Wassell. Eckerstrom finished her Nittany Lion career with a record of 61-14-3, 255 saves, a save percentage of .804, a goals against average of .80 and 6,957 goalie minutes played. Her 61 wins are the second-most by a Nittany Lion keeper, her 255 saves rank fourth in the Nittany Lion rankings, her save percentage of .804 ranks sixth and her 6,957 minutes in net are third-best in program history.
"Tim has been a part of the Penn State family for many years and we're thrilled to finally make him an official part of our staff," Walsh said. "His passion for goalkeeping, combined with his strong ties to this region and head coaching experience, made him the obvious choice for this position."
Eckerstrom was selected as the top goalkeeper in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) 2016 College Draft with the No. 26 pick by the Western New York Flash.
Over three seasons from 2007-09 at Penn State Altoona, Wassell led the women's program to a 48-11-5 overall record as head coach, taking home NSCAA Great Lakes Coach of the Year honors in 2008. He was also named the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008.
While with the Nittany Lions in Altoona, Wassell's defense-oriented teams posted 39 shutouts in 64 games as the squad set new marks for wins in every year of his tenure with 13, 17 and 18, respectively.
During the 2008 campaign, the squad posted the third-best goals against average in Division III at 0.34.
Eighteen Lions earned All-AMCC honors and 24 were named to the Academic All-AMCC team during the three-year tenure, which outscored opponents 172-40. Additionally, Wassell's charges collected three NSCAA Great Lakes All-Region selections, including the only freshman on the first or second team in 2008. The team reached the 2008 NCAA Division III Tournament, falling 1-0 to Otterbein. During that season, PSU Altoona went without a loss in the regular season.
Prior to taking over the reins at Altoona, he served as the goalkeeping coach in 2006 for both the men's and women's teams. For the men's squad at Altoona, the team posted the best goals against average in the conference and second best mark in shutouts. The team finished top 25 nationally in GAA with a 0.63 average.
As a goalkeeper at Penn State Altoona, Wassell was a two-time NSCAA Mid-Atlantic Region selection in 2004 and 2005 and a two-time All-AMCC First Team selection as well. He was named the 2005 PSU Altoona Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was mentioned amongst the coaches of the AMCC as the Preseason Player of the Year in 2005. In both 2004 and 2005, Wassell led the AMCC in save percentage, shutouts and GAA, completing his two-year tenure between the pipes with a school-record 0.71 GAA.
A highlight to his success at Penn State Altoona was a 641-minute shutout streak during the 2004 season, which, at the time, ranked in the top-15 in Division III history. Wassell was an accomplished student with two Academic All-AMCC honors, a spot on the Penn State Altoona Dean's List every semester and a 3.72 cumulative grade point average. Prior to his time at Altoona, Wassell was a member of the East Stroudsburg squad from 2000-02, earning two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships with an NCAA Final Four appearance in 2000.
Wassell, a Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, native, earned his bachelor's degree in business at Penn State Altoona. He also has earned NSCAA National and Advanced National Goalkeeping Coaching Diplomas and serves on the NSCAA National Goalkeeping Staff.