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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 4 Penn State women's soccer team is one week away from opening the 2018 season with a top-10 showdown against the No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday, Aug. 17, at Jeffrey Field.
Before the season officially gets underway next week, here are five storylines heading into the 2018 campaign. Earlier this week, head coach Erica Dambach, Emily Ogle, and Kaleigh Riehl met the media and shared their thoughts on the first week of camp and discussed the upcoming 2018 season.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Redshirt senior Maddie Nolf will don the captain's armband for the 2018 season. A mainstay on the Nittany Lion backline, Nolf has appeared in 66 matches, which included 52 starts. Nolf used a redshirt during the 2016 season as she was one of five Nittany Lions that joined the United States U-20 Women's National Team for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
Penn State women's soccer welcomed seven student-athletes to the program for the 2018 season. The incoming class features six Penn Staters from across the United States and one international. The Penn State women's soccer class of 2022 is comprised of Kat Asman, Kelli Beiler, Kim Dubs, Caitlin Haislip, Maddie Myers, Ally Schlegel and Rachel Wasserman.
Dambach noted that the Penn State summer program, along with the support staff and upperclassmen have helped make the transition for incoming freshmen easier.
"Our summer bridge program is important here at Penn State," Dambach said. "Having [the freshmen] here for summer two and spending six weeks on campus with our strength coach and some of our upperclassmen, they already feel like they are a part of the group and they already know the jokes, they are on the inside of the some that stuff. It has allowed them to be themselves and make some mistakes. That makes all the difference in the
FACING THE BEST OF THE BEST
In regards to facing top competition, the 2018 season will be no different for the Nittany Lions. No. 4 Penn State is slated to face five teams ranked in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll. In 2018, Penn State is scheduled to face No. 2 UCLA, No. 8 Virginia, No. 9 West Virginia, No. 23 Ohio State and No. 24 Rutgers. All five of those aforementioned teams will make their way to Jeffrey Field this fall.
"It is always exciting playing in the Big Ten," Riehl said. "There is not a single game that isn't super competitive. We always have to bring our 'A-game' to every match. We'll take it one game at a time, but we are super excited for the season."
YEAR 12 DONNING THE BLUE & WHITE
Dambach enters her 12th season at the helm of the Penn State women's soccer program in 2018. Along with Dambach, Ann Cook enters her 12th season on the Nittany Lion coaching staff. During her time at Penn State, Dambach has amassed a record of 184-60-18, won nine Big Ten regular season titles, three Big Ten Tournament crowns, advanced to 11 straight NCAA Tournaments, and won the NCAA Championship in 2015.
25 YEARS OF VARSITY WOMEN'S SOCCER
2018 marks the 25th season of Penn State women's soccer as a varsity program. Over the first 24 seasons, Penn State has compiled a record of 426-113-37, won 18 Big Ten regular season titles, won seven Big Ten Tournament titles, captured the 2015 NCAA Championship, and has advanced to the NCAA Tournament every season since 1995.
"Twenty-five years, that is incredible," Ogle said. "There has been a lot of tradition, a lot of