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Aug 13, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's soccer team will begin the 2013 campaign ranked fourth overall according to the NSCAA preseason rankings, which were released on Tuesday afternoon. The No. 4 preseason ranking is the highest for PSU since 2006, when the Lions entered the polls at No. 3.
Penn State, which is coming off an outstanding 2012 season where the Nittany Lions earned their first-ever appearance in an NCAA Championship game, has earned votes in every year-end poll since the program began in 1994. The Blue and White are in search of their 16th-straight Big Ten title, 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and second-straight NCAA College Cup appearance.
A total of three PSU opponents in 2013 are featured on the poll, including non-conference rival Virginia (8th). Big Ten opponents Michigan (19th) and Ohio State (23rd) also cracked into the preseason poll while Illinois received votes.
The Nittany Lions will open the 2013 regular season at home on Friday, August 23 at 7:30 p.m. against West Virginia as a part of the Penn State Invitational. PSU will also go up against Hofstra at 12 p.m. on Sunday, August 25 as a part of the four-team tournament. The Lions travel to ACC powerhouse Virginia for their first road match of the season on Friday, August 30.
Penn State returns 8-of-11 starters from last year's NCAA College Cup finalist squad, including MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.), Big Ten Defender of the Year Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.), Big Ten Freshman of the Year Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica), Bri Hovington (Lothian, Md.), Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.), Emily Hurd (Sammamish, Wash.), Kori Chapic (Novelty, Ohio) and Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.).
The Nittany Lions host Navy in an exhibition at 7 p.m. this Friday. Admission is free to the public.