Women's Soccer Travels to Illinois, Purdue
Oct. 23, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - SETTING THE SCENE
The Nittany Lions have taken over the top spot in the Big Ten standings after defeating No. 23 Minnesota, 2-0, and Iowa, 1-0, this weekend. Penn State now has a record of 11-6 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten. Illinois (9-7, 3-4) has dropped to sixth place after a 1-0 loss to Indiana while Purdue (10-4-3, 4-1-2) stands in fourth after tying with Indiana, 1-1.
A DECADE OF DOMINANCE
The Nittany Lions have won 10-straight Big Ten titles dating back to the 1998 season. Over that same span they have only lost six Big Ten games going 89-6-4 in conference play. They enter the 2008 season as favorites once again with hopes of attaining that 11th championship. The championship streak is tied for the second longest in Big Ten women's championship history with a current string of women's tennis championships at Northwestern. Michigan women's swimming & diving leads all-time with 12.
LAST WEEK RECAPS
Penn State got on the board quickly against No. 23 Minnesota as Katie Schoepfer (Waterford, Conn.) beat the Golden Gopher defense and found Danielle Toney (Northville, Mich.) open within six yards of the net. As Schoepfer connected the cross, Toney placed the ball into the lower right corner of the net.
In the 28th minute, Megan Monroig (Northumberland, Pa.) fired a powerful shot from 20 yards out as Gopher keeper Lindsey Dare made a beautiful save. The remainder of the first half was relatively quiet as Minnesota clamped down on defense preventing Penn State scoring opportunities.
Schoepfer delivered another assist for the Nittany Lions as she out-ran the Minnesota back line to keep the ball from going past the goal line. She then found Meghan Gill (State College, Pa.) who sent the ball into the upper left corner of the net for her third goal of the season giving Penn State the 2-0 victory.
On Sunday, the Lions maintained steady control throughout regulation, but the Hawkeyes had fierce coverage throughout the back line often having three players on Schoepfer and Toney. Both strikers had to fight for every shot and collided with the Hawkeye keeper on more than one occasion.
Iowa put up a major scoring threat early in the second half. Forward Kelsey Sandon sent a high header towards the Penn State goal, and Alyssa Naeher (Seymour, Conn.) had to scramble to make the save.
The Lions recovered and set up an offense that put up eight big shots in the second half. Frustration was apparent as shots sailed over the net and Swanson kept the Hawkeyes alive as the clock would down.
The pieces finally came together early in overtime as Gill found Schoepfer in front of the goal. Schoepfer spun around the defense that had been surrounding her all afternoon and sent a left-footed shot into the right corner of the net.
PENN STATE IN THE BIG TEN
As a team, the Nittany Lions remain second in the Big Ten for shots and shots per game at 288 and 17.00. Penn State has also moved up to second in goals and goals per game with 30 and 1.76. The team is tied for second in shutouts with eight.
Second team All-American Katie Schoepfer still leads the conference in shots and shots per game at 75 and 4.41. She is also third in goals with nine. Danielle Toney is still holding steady at seventh in assists with six.
First team All-American goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher reclaimed her top spot in saves and saves per game at 69 and 4.31. She is also fourth in shutouts with four.
SCOUTING PENN STATE
The Nittany Lions have been a force throughout the 2008 campaign. They currently stand alone atop the Big Ten standings and hold a record of 11-6 overall and 6-1 in conference match-ups. They have put up 288 shots and scored 30 goals while the defense has only allowed 43 corner kicks. The goalkeepers have combined for 72 saves and a goals against average of 1.15.
The dynamic duo of Katie Schopefer and Danielle Toney lead the Penn State offense. Schoepfer has score nine goals and tallied five assists while Toney has netted seven shots and contributed six assists. Meghan Gill has also proved to be a threat scoring in three Big Ten games.
The back line of Jessie Davis (Fairfax, Va.) and Maura Ryan (Doylestown, Pa.) has held conference opponents nearly scoreless only allowing three goals in Big Ten play. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has collected 69 saves and is credited with four of the Lions eight shutouts.
LAST YEAR AGAINST ILLINOIS
Penn State started the first Big Ten game of 2007 off quickly with an early goal by sophomore Katie Schoepfer in the fifth minute. Midfielder Sheree Gray passed the ball through the middle of the field, and Schoepfer took it past the last Illini defender allowing her to deposit the ball low in the goal for the 1-0 Penn State lead.
The Nittany Lions continued to put pressure on the Illini defense and goalkeeper Lindsey Carstens all half long, even putting one shot off the post and another one off the crossbar.
With less then two minutes to go in the half Penn State midfielder Zoe Bouchelle (Cockeysville, Md.) intercepted the ball at midfield and passed to freshman Danielle Toney who beat the goalkeeper for the team's second goal.
The score remained a 2-0 Nittany Lion advantage until the Illini got on the board in a corner-kick sequence in the 52nd minute. Freshman Danielle Kot got her first collegiate goal when she headed the ball into the goal on the far post after a corner kick from teammate Ella Masar.
The teams played the rest of the game fairly even both getting some chances down the stretch. Shots were 14-12, with Illinois holding the slight advantage. Penn State goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher played another solid game, tallying four saves for the win.
The Fighting Illini are entering this weekend 9-7 overall and 3-4 in Big Ten action. They have outshot their opponents 202-145 and scored 19 goals on the season. The defense has allowed 51 corner kicks while scooping up 45 saves.
Chichi Nweke leads the offense for Illinois with five goals and three assists. Laura Knutson has also proved herself with five assists. The Nittany Lion offense will have to maneuver through Brittany Garrett and Jamie Alvis on defense. Alexadra Kapicka is the only one who has seen action in goal and has accounted for 40 saves and five shutouts.
Friday marks the 19th meeting with Illinois. Penn State leads the series 16-2.
LAST TIME AGAINST PURDUE
After a scoreless and relatively even first half, both teams had quality chances in the second stanza. Purdue brought a gasp from the Penn State crowd with a dangerous sequence in the 65th minute. Loredana Riverso started the flurry with a shot from the right side that sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher came forward on and then was able to catch with her fingers tips to ricochet the ball off the post and back into play. A follow-up shot by Jordyn Shaffer was blocked, but the Boilermakers weren't done. Parrissa Eyorokon tried the header, but it drifted above the goal and out of bounds.
A foul deep in Purdue's zone proved dangerous to the then-No. 4 Boilermakers. Sophomore transfer Melissa Hayes (Cave Creek, Ariz.) and senior midfielder Carly Bedesem worked the give-and-go before Hayes blasted it into the box. Hayes' strike found Aubrey Aden-Buie's head for the go-ahead goal to make it 1-0 Penn State.
Purdue will face-off with Ohio State before the Nittany Lions enter West Lafayette, Ind. Prior to Friday's game, the Boildermakers were 10-4-3 overall and 4-1-2 in the Big Ten. Because of those ties, Purdue is still very much in the hunt for the Big Ten championship. The Boilermakers have put up 268 shots and outscored their opponents 27-15. Although their defense as allowed 66 corner kicks, the net-minders have combined for 74 saves.
Loredana Riverso has proven to be the most dangerous attack weapon for Purdue. She has scored seven goals and tallied four assists. Not far behind is Felicia Schroeder with six goals and two assists, and Kellie Phillips with four goals and seven assists. The Nittany Lion offense will have their hands full with Katie Seeger, Liz Secue, Katie Leinert and Brookley Rogers on defense.
Boilermaker goalkeeper Jenny Bradfisch has collected 69 saves with a .80 goals against average.
Sunday will be the 10th meeting with Purdue. Penn State leads the series 7-1-1.