|Follow PSU Women's Soccer:||Follow @PennStateWSOC|
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 5 Penn State women's soccer team (3-1-0) is set to host the No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels (4-1-0) in a top-10 showdown on Thursday, Sept. 7. The match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Jeffrey Field.
The match will be aired live on the Big Ten Network with Lisa Byington (play-by-play) and Jackie Manny (color analyst) on the call.
Fans can also watch the stream on BTN2go.com, but must have a cable subscription with the Big Ten Network. Live stats will be available on GoPSUsports.com.
ATTENDING JEFFREY FIELD
Admission and parking for women's soccer regular season events are free. Fans are reminded that there is a no bag policy in place on stadium grounds.
- Superhuman Day - fans are encouraged to dress like their favorite superheroes
- Fans can take their picture with the AFCA Coaches Trophy from 6:45-7:30 PM
- Ability Athletes Night
- LifeLink PSU Night
- SAAB 800 Strong Game
LOOKING AT UNC
The No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels make the trip to Happy Valley for the first time in program history on Thursday winners of three-straight contests.
Last weekend, North Carolina tallied a pair of victories at the Duke Nike Classic against Auburn (5-0 - Sept. 1) and UNCW (2-0 - Sept. 3).
Offensively, the Tar Heels are led by Dorian Bailey, Joanna Boyles, and Taylor Otto. On the year, Boyles leads the team in points with eight (3g, 2a), while Bailey (2g, 3a) and Otto (3g, 1a) have each recorded seven points.
Samantha Leshnak has played every minute in net in 2017 for the Tar Heels (467:44). In five games, she has posted 12 saves, allowed five goals, and recorded two shutouts.
Head coach Anson Dorrance is in his 39th year at the helm of the North Carolina women's soccer program. In his time at UNC, Dorrance has led the team to an overall record of 813-68-36 and 22 National Championships.
The Tar Heels return 20 letterwinners, including six starters, from last year's squad. In 2016, UNC finished the year with an overall record of 17-4-4 after falling to West Virginia, 1-0, in the College Cup semifinal round.
PSU VS. UNC
Thursday's match marks the eighth meeting between the two programs with North Carolina leading the all-time series, 6-1-0.
The two teams last met on Sept. 5, 2014, with North Carolina claiming a 1-0 double overtime victory.
In the 2014 meeting, five current Nittany Lions recorded starts.
The series against North Carolina includes a pair of meetings in the College Cup.
The Tar Heels tallied a 2-0 victory over the Nittany Lions in the semifinal round of the 1999 College Cup and then North Carolina topped Penn State, 4-1, in the 2012 College Cup Final.
LAST TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions are coming off their first loss of the season following a 2-1 result Saturday night at No. 6 West Virginia.
In the match, the Mountaineers took a 2-0 lead into the break before Emily Ogle netted her second goal of the season on a penalty kick during the 77th minute.
In net for the Nittany Lions, Rose Chandler tallied a three-save outing.
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
During the first three matches of the 2017 season, Penn State 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. 4 in both Soccer America and TopDrawerSoccer polls, and is No. 5 in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
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
Schafer ranks 20th in points (69), 17th in goals (26), T-16th in game-winning goals (nine), and is 24th in shots attempted (117).
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).
With matches against No. 6 North Carolina and No. 8 Virginia this week, Penn State women's soccer will play three-straight matches against top-10 teams in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
The three-match top-10 stretch is the first of its kind for PSU since the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
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.
On TopDrawerSoccer's Top-100 list, Emily Ogle is No. 5, followed by Kaleigh Riehl at No. 7, Crouse is No. 18, Maddie Elliston is No. 43, and Ball rounds out the Nittany Lion contingent at No. 55.
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.
Penn State closes out its non-conference schedule at No. 8 Virginia on Sunday, Sept. 10. The match is slated for a 2 p.m. start at Klöckner Stadium.