PENN STATE VS. UCONN
|Friday, Aug. 29 - 5:30 p.m. ET|
|Jeffrey Field | University Park, Pa.|
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 8 Penn State women's soccer team continues its three-game season-opening homestand with a 5:30 p.m. match on Friday, August 29 against Connecticut. Fans attending the match can receive free team posters and enjoy a complementary postgame pizza party on Little Jeffrey, the field adjacent to Jeffrey Field.
MOVIN' ON UP
In the NSCAA, Soccer America, TopDrawerSoccer.com and Bennett rankings, Penn State is slotted in either the eight or nine spots. Starting the season at No. 24 in the NSCAA Preseason Poll, the Nittany Lions had the greatest climb of any team currently in the top-10 at 18 spots.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
UConn has started off its 2014 in convincing fashion, going 2-0 with wins against Navy and Hofstra. Against Navy, the Huskies erased a 1-0 defecit with goals in the 31st and 77th minutes by Rachel Hill and Samantha McGuire, respectively. Hill's penalty kick led to a 1-0 win over Hofstra, giving her weekly American Athletic Conference honors. Additionally, the Huskies' net has been safely guarded by sophomore Emily Armstrong. The first 2014 American Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Week, Armstrong stopped 11-of-12 shots faced in games over the weekend, earning a clean sheet against the Pride.
SERIES HISTORY vs. CONNECTICUT
The Nittany Lions hold an 8-1-1 series advantage with the Huskies, with Penn State's last win coming in 2009, the two teams' last meeting. With No. 8/10 Penn State down 2-1 with 22 minutes remaining, the Lions scored two goals less than three minutes apart for the 3-2 victory.
FRESHMEN ON FIRE
The Nittany Lions' freshmen have proven to be major contributors two games into the 2014 campaign. Emily Ogle, Frannie Crouse, Elizabeth Ball and Maddie Elliston started both games, while Haleigh Echard, Katy Keen and Megan Schafer played as reserves in the matches. The seven players combined for two of the team's five goals scored and 31 percent of the shots taken over the weekend. At the top of the class, Ogle, a TopDrawerSoccer.com Women's Team of the Week honoree, scored a goal and dished out an assist against No. 12 West Virginia.
PRETTY PERFECT AT THE PENN STATE INVITATIONAL
Last weekend, the Lions opened their season a perfect 2-0 with a 3-1 win over No. 12 West Virginia and a 2-0 shutout of Syracuse. The wins saw six different players recording points and against the Orange, Britt Eckerstrom earned her fifth-career clean sheet. Mallory Weber had her fifth two-goal game wearing the Blue and White, and freshmen Emily Ogle and Frannie Crouse netted the first goals of their collegiate careers.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Penn State women's soccer team takes home field advantage to the next level. The team is 193-22-9 all-time at Jeffrey Field, losing just two matches in the past three seasons and shutting out visitors 17 times in 35 matches in that time.
LIONS PICKED TO WIN BIG TEN
Penn State was tabbed to win the Big Ten regular season title, according to the 2014 Big Ten Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll. Wisconsin and Maryland earned the second- and third-most votes, respectively. The Nittany Lions have sat atop the poll every season since the poll began in 2003.
Three players from each Big Ten team were named Big Ten Women's Soccer Preseason Players to Watch, with senior Emily Hurd (Sammamish, Wash.) and juniors Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) and Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) representing the Blue and White. This is Rodriguez's second-straight appearance on the Preseason Players to Watch list.
CHURCH NAMED TO MAC HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST
Penn State senior Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.) was named to the 2014 Women's Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Award Watch List. This is Church's second-consecutive appearance on the Hermann Award Watch List.
Church is one of 35 female NCAA Division I players named to the list and one of two Big Ten female student-athletes selected. The senior was an NSCAA All-Great Lakes and All-Big Ten second team selection in 2013. A defender, Church logged the second-most minutes on the Nittany Lions, starting 21 of 23 games for 1,945 minutes.
The MAC Hermann Trophy, the highest individual award presented to a collegiate soccer player, is presented annually to one male and one female athlete. The winners will be announced Fri., Jan. 9, 2015, at the trophy presentation banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. Christie Welsh is the only Penn State student-athlete to win the award (2001).
LIONS ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
Over the summer, sophomore Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.) and freshman Rose Chandler (Atlanta, Ga.) represented the United States at the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, hosted by Canada. Penn State Head Coach Erica Walsh was also a member of the U.S. U-20 Women's National Team, serving as an assistant coach. The U.S. U-20 team went 2-2 at the tournament, besting China PR and Brazil, and was eliminated after the Group stage after falling 3-1 to Korea DPR. This was Chandler's first appearance as a member of the U-20 team while Basinger was a member of the 2014 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship team.
Chandler, Basinger and Walsh won't be the only Lions to don their country's colors in 2014. Junior Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) is a member of the Costa Rican Women's National Team. Rodriguez will compete for Costa Rica at the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship in October in an attempt to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
FRESHMEN EXPECTED TO ROAR
Tabbed as the second-best freshman class by TopDrawerSoccer.com, Penn State's 11 incoming freshmen are expected to make a big splash this season. U.S. U-20 WNT goalkeeper Rose Chandler and 2014 Gatorade Players of the Year Maddie Elliston and Megan Schafer are part of an impressive first-year class that includes six NSCAA High School All-America honorees, NSCAA High School All-Region picks, members of the U.S. U-20 and U-18 Women's National Teams, conference players of the year and all-conference selections.
For complete coverage of Penn State women's soccer, please visit http://www.GoPSUsports.com/sports/w-soccer. Follow PSU women's soccer on Twitter and Instagram: @PennStateWSOC. Penn State women's soccer is also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PSUWomensSoccer