No. 4 Women's Soccer Closes Home Slate with Spartans and Wolverines
Oct. 18, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - - With a lot at stake this weekend, the fourth-ranked Penn State women's soccer team hosts the Michigan State Spartans on Friday (7 p.m.) and the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday (1 p.m.). With a victory on Friday and Sunday, the Nittany Lions will clinch their 15th-straight Big Ten title outright. The Wolverines enter this weekend just two points behind Penn State in the standings.
Friday's match with the Wolverines will be a Code Blue Blast. There will be 30 free pizzas given away for students starting at 5 p.m., courtesy of Rotelli. Additionally, all students in attendance will have a chance at winning an Ipad. Also, 100 kids from Centre County Soccer will take on 11 players from the Penn State men's soccer team at halftime.
Sunday will be senior day, as the Nittany Lions will honor eight members of a tremendous senior class. Additionally, it will be Penn State's annual Pink Zone game. Custom long sleeve jersey t-shirts will be auctioned off to benefit breast cancer awareness. There will also be a pumpkin carving contest. All fans interested must bring an already carved pumpkin for a chance to win some prizes.
Admission and parking to all Penn State Soccer matches is free.
Penn State is coming off a weekend where it went 2-0 in defeats over Iowa on Sunday and Nebraska on Friday. The Nittany Lions earned their ninth consecutive victory on Sunday afternoon, knocking off the Iowa Hawkeyes by a count of 2-1. Junior Taylor Schram (Canonsburg, Pa.) scored both Penn State goals, which included the game-winner in the 56th minute. In the 18 meetings with Iowa, Penn State has out-scored the Hawkeyes, 67-9.
In last Friday's 4-0 win at Nebraska, junior Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) quickly put the Nittany Lions on the board with her 10th goal of the season to give Penn State a 1-0 advantage. Freshman Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) netted her ninth goal of the season 17 minutes later to give Penn State a 2-0 lead. Hayes was not done as she scored her second goal of the game to put Penn State up 3-0 in the second half and then Schram's goal as Penn State left Lincoln with a 4-0 victory.
The Spartans enter Friday's contest with an 8-6-2 overall record and a 2-5-1 mark in conference action. Michigan State is most recently coming off 2-1 overtime losses to Indiana and Michigan. The Spartans started off their Big Ten season on the right note with a 2-1 victory over Purdue, but have managed to win just one of their last six games.
Michigan State offensively is led by Olivia Stander, who has scored 18 points on five goals and a team-best eight assists this season. Annie Steinlage has contributed 11 points to the Spartan offense with three goals and five assists. Rounding out the double-digit scorers is Allyson Krause, who has scored four goals and tallied two assists for 10 points. Courtney Clem will start in goal, allowing an average of 0.89 goals per game and making 60 saves.
Despite Penn State's 16-4-0 edge, the Nittany Lions have had some tough battles with the Spartans, going 3-2 since 2008. Head coach Erica Walsh is 4-2 against the Spartans, including last year's 3-1 victory win in East Lansing.
Michigan enters the weekend with a 13-2-1 overall record and a 7-0-1 unbeaten mark in Big Ten action, sitting just two points behind the Nittany Lions in the standings. The Wolverines are most recently coming off a 2-0 victory to the Purdue Boilermakers on Oct. 14. Michigan has not lost a game since Sept. 2, in a 2-1 loss at Long Beach State. Through its 10-game unbeaten streak, the Wolverines did tie Iowa on Sept. 28 by a score of 0-0.
The Wolverines spread their offensive production through a number of players. Nikem Ezurike leads the team in points with 17, coming on eight goals and one assist. Three players in Meghan Toohey, Corinne Harris and Shelby Chambers-Garcia have each scored three goals or more this season. Toohey and Tori McCombs each are tied for team lead with four assists. Haley Kopmeyer has seen action in all but 10 minutes this season, allowing an average of 0.37 goals per contest.
Penn State carries a 17-3-5 overall record into Sunday's meeting in Michigan including a 11-game unbeaten streak that features seven-straight wins. Head coach Erica Walsh is 5-0-0 all-time against Michigan.
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