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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 4 Penn State women’s soccer team (3-0-0) heads to Morgantown, W.Va., to close out its two-match road trip against the No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 2. The match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Fans can follow along with a free live stream on WVUsports.com, while live stats can be found on StatBroadcast.com.
LOOKING AT WVU
After falling to the USC Trojans in the 2016 College Cup Final, 3-1, the West Virginia Mountaineers opened 2017 No. 1 the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll.
The Mountaineers return 15 letterwinners from the 2016 season. Last year, WVU recorded a program-best 23 wins and 18 shutouts.
Head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown is in her 22nd year at WVU. In her career with the Mountaineers, she has a record of 311-104-46.
All-American forward Michaela Abam returns for her senior season in 2017. Heading into the 2017 season, Abam ranks in the top-10 all-time at WVU in goals (No. 8 - 32), and points (No. 9 - 77).
In net, Rylee Foster split time with the Canadian U-20 Women’s National Team and WVU during her freshman year in 2016.
Last season for WVU, Foster started 17 matches, tallied eight shutouts, and posted a goals against average of 0.42.
WVU opened the year with a 1-0 victory at No. 5 Georgetown (Aug. 18) before falling at home against No. 10 Virginia, 2-1, in double overtime (Aug. 24). The Mountaineers are coming off a 3-0 win against Duquesne (Aug. 27).
PSU VS. WVU
Saturday’s match marks the 16th meeting between the two programs. Penn State leads the all-time series against West Virginia, 7-6-2. The series has gone to overtime four times with Penn State going 2-0-2 in those contests.
Last season, Penn State and West Virginia battled to a 1-1 draw in the 2016 season opener at Jeffrey Field.
Individually against the Mountaineers, three current Nittany Lions have tallied goals against WVU. Against West Virginia, Frannie Crouse and Emily Ogle each have scored twice, while Laura Freigang has netted one goal.
LAST TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions are coming off a 4-2 victory against Arkansas in front of a Razorback Field record 3,401 fans.
Arkansas netted a 1-0 lead just 90 seconds into the contest, but junior Marissa Sheva recorded her second career two-goal outing to help the Nittany Lions secure the win.
In net, Rose Chandler posted a three-save outing for her third victory of the season.
Following her first career two-goal game in a 3-1 victory against No. 8 BYU, junior Marissa Sheva was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Aug. 22. Her Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor was the first of her career.
A week later, Sheva netted her second two-goal game of the season in a 4-2 win at Arkansas. For her two-goal outing at Arkansas Sheva was named to the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week.
TEN IN THREE
Three matches into the 2017 season and Penn State has recorded one of its best starts in program history offensively. For the seventh time in program history, Penn State women’s soccer has scored at least 10 goals in its first three matches of the season.
The program record for goals scored in the first three games was set back in 1996 (12).
The Nittany Lions are ranked in the top-five in all three major polls. Penn State is No. 1 according to TopDrawerSoccer and Soccer America, and No. 4 according to the United Soccer Coaches.
Crouse ranks T-14th in points (80), T-11th in goals (34), T-10th in game-winning goals (12), seventh in shots on goal (92), and is 12th in shots attempted (193).
Schafer ranks 20th in points (69), 17th in goals (26), T-16th in game-winning goals (nine), and is 24th in shots attempted (116).
TOUGH TEST EARLY
The Penn State women’s soccer team will embark on a tough stretch during its non-conference season. The Nittany Lions will open the season against No. 8 BYU (Aug. 18) before hosting Hofstra (Aug. 20).
After the opening weekend of the season, Penn State then travels to No. 17 Arkansas (Aug. 25) and then to Morgantown, W.Va., for a clash with No. 1 West Virginia (Sept. 2).
Following a two-game road trip, the Nittany Lions return home to host No. 6 North Carolina (Sept. 7) at Jeffrey Field and then the non-conference slate comes to a close with a trip to
No. 11 Virginia (Sept. 10).
The Nittany Lions return 22 letterwinners to the program for the 2017 season, including seven starters from the 2015 College Cup Final.
Of the 108 points tallied as a team last season, the Penn State offense returns 97 of those points. Offensively last season, Frannie Crouse paced the Nittany Lions with 27 points on a Big Ten-best 12 goals and she added three assists. In addition to Crouse, Megan Schafer posted 17 points on six goals and five assists, while Charlotte Williams netted 16 points on six goals and four assists.
In net, Rose Chandler returns to the team after sitting out last season after joining the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Along with Chandler, Amanda Dennis is back for her sophomore season. As a true freshman last year, Dennis went 12-5-4, recorded seven solo shutouts, posted a goals against average of 0.92, and tallied 59 saves.
The Penn State women’s soccer class of 2021 is comprised of five members. Though it is a small class, it is a highly touted class; according to TopDrawerSoccer, the Nittany Lion freshman class is ranked No. 4 overall.
The quintet bring numerous accolades and experience with the U.S. Women’s National Team youth program to the Nittany Lions.
THE B1G SLATE
The 2017 Big Ten regular season schedule features Penn State playing six road matches and five matches at Jeffrey Field. Penn State opens the conference slate with fellow 2016 Big Ten champion No. 23 Northwestern on Sept. 14 at Jeffrey Field. The opening weekend of conference action continues with the Blue & White hosting Illinois on Sept. 17.
The Nittany Lions then head on the road for three matches against Iowa (Sept. 22), No. 22 Nebraska (Sept. 24), and Ohio State (Sept. 30). Following Penn State’s road trip, the Nittany Lions return home to host Michigan (Oct. 6) and Michigan State (Oct. 8).
The final stretch of conference play begins with a pair of matches at No. 21 Rutgers (Oct. 12) and Maryland (Oct. 15). Penn State then returns home for its regular season home finale against Purdue (Oct. 20) before heading to Madison, Wis., to close out the regular season against Wisconsin (Oct. 25).
Due to a rotating schedule, Penn State will not play Indiana or Minnesota during the 2017 regular season.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Nittany Lions have posted an all-time record of 226-26-12 at Jeffrey Field, which includes a Big Ten
Conference record of 102-6-5. Since the start of the 2011 season, Penn State has a record of 66-6-6 at Jeffrey Field.
Penn State kicked off its 2017 campaign with the fifth-best crowd in program history at Jeffrey Field. Against No. 8 BYU on Aug. 18, 3,570 fans came out to witness the Nittany Lions capture a 3-1 victory.
Heading into her senior year, Ball has played in 72 matches, which includes 71 starts, scored six goals and added one assist.
Basinger will be a redshirt senior in 2017 as she received a redshirt during the 2014 season. Heading into 2017, she has posted 71 starts in 71 games played, netted 14 points on four goals and six assists.
#PSWS ON BTN
The Nittany Lions will have three regular season matches broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network (BTN) during 2017.
BTN is scheduled to broadcast the North Carolina-Penn State match (Sept. 7), the Northwestern-Penn State match (Sept. 14), and the Penn State-Rutgers match (Oct. 12).
Heading into the 2017 season, six Nittany Lions have received preseason honors.
TopDrawerSoccer announced its Preseason Top-100 list and its Preseason Best XI Teams.
Ogle and Riehl were also named to the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI First Team, while Crouse was named to the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI Second Team.
Along with the Big Ten and TopDrawerSoccer honors, Crouse and Ogle were named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List.
PICKED TO DEFEND
Prior to the start of the 2017 season the Nittany Lions were picked to win the Big Ten regular season title.
Since the beginning of the coaches’ preseason poll in 2003, the Nittany Lions have been picked to win the conference every season.
The 2016 season saw Minnesota, Northwestern, and Penn State all tie for the league title.
FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY
The 2017 Penn State women’s soccer roster is bolstered with numerous Nittany Lions with national team experience with their respective countries.
Last fall, six Nittany Lions competed at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, as five Penn Staters represented the United States and Laura Freigang was a member of the German National Team. For the United States, Rose Chandler, Maddie Elliston, Ellie Jean, Emily Ogle, and Kaleigh Riehl donned the Red, White & Blue.
Along with the Penn State presence at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, a handful of Nittany Lions have taken part in competitions/training camps for their respective national teams at different age levels since the start of the calendar year.
The Nittany Lions return home to Jeffrey Field to host the No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels for the first time in program history on Sept. 7. The match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network.