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No. 11 Lions Seek Sixth Tourney Title on Sunday

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Maddy Evans had three points in a 3-1 win over Minnesota on Friday.

Nov. 5, 2011

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EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 11 Penn State women's soccer will try to capture its sixth Big Ten Tournament championship on Sunday at Lakeside Field against No. 18 Illinois at 4:00 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network between the top-seeded Nittany Lions and second-seeded Fighting Illini.

Game #23: Nov. 6, 2011 | 4:00 p.m. ET | Lakeside Field | Evanston, Ill.

VENUE: Lakeside Field (Turf; 2,000)
COVERAGE: Streaming Video
SERIES RECORD: 20-2-0 (5-1-0 at Big Ten Tournament)
LAST MEETING: 9/25/11, PSU 1-0 at University Park, Pa.
NEXT GAME: NCAA Tournament First Round, 11/11-13

• Nittany Lions take on Illinois in search of their sixth Big Ten Tournament title
• This will be the fifth time top-seeded Penn State faces the No. 2 seed in the final
• Penn State is 5-2-0 in Big Ten Finals
• Head Coach Erica Walsh is 6-0-1 all-time in Big Ten Tourney, 1-0 in Final
• The Lions eliminated fourth-seeded Minnesota, 3-1, on Friday afternoon
Jess Rosenbluth, Maddy Evans and Ali Schaefer scored for PSU vs. Minnesota
• All six Penn State goals at the Big Ten Tournament are from six different players
Maya Hayes and Jess Rosenbluth named to Academic All-District First Team
• PSU looks to extend 13-game winning streak, longest since 2005
Maya Hayes named Big Ten Forward of the Year, league-best 10 Lions on teams
• Hayes leads NCAA in total goals (26) and total points (60)
• Penn State leads the Big Ten in shutouts with 13
• Penn State has tallied 75 assists, a new school record, on 62 goals
• NCAA Selection Show set for 4:30 p.m. ET on



Illinois (15-4-2) is coming off a tiring two games, a 1-1 penalty-kick draw vs. Ohio State in the Big Ten Quarterfinals before a 1-0 overtime win over Michigan State in the semifinals. Vanessa DiBernardo leads the team with 16 goals, while Marissa Mykines is a force up top with eight goals and a speedy pace of play. Earlier this season, a first-half Ali Schaefer tally gave Penn State a 1-0 victory at Jeffrey Field on Sept. 25.

Penn State is searching for its six Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday vs. Illinois. Penn State is 5-2-0 all-time in the championship game, winning the past two (2006, 2008). The last time Penn State faced Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament was in 2006 when Penn State won the championship on Jeffrey Field, 3-1. PSU's only losses came against No. 2 seeds (Michigan in 1999, Ohio State in 2004). Illinois has won just one title, in 2003 at Wisconsin.

No. 11 Penn State downed Minnesota, 3-1, on Friday evening (Nov. 4) at Lakeside Field to advance to the Big Ten Tournament Championship. Jess Rosenbluth's tally 4:08 into the match set the tone as the Nittany Lions dominated the Golden Gophers for PSU's 13th straight victory. Maddy Evans totaled a three-point day with a goal and an assist, while Ali Schaefer scored her fifth of the season. Penn State has recveived six goals in the Big Ten Tournament from six different players in two games.

Senior midfielder Jess Rosenbluth and sophomore forward Maya Hayes were voted to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District II First Team on Friday (Nov. 4). Senior midfielder Ali Schaefer made the Second Team to round out the Penn State contingent. Rosenbluth and Hayes are both eligible for Academic All-America honors.

ELIMINATING THE HOSTS Penn State scored on two of its first three shots of the game en route to a 3-0 victory in the Big Ten Quarterfinals over host Northwestern (Nov. 2). Kori Chapic knocked home an Emily Hurd corner kick midway thorugh the first half. Chapic then boosted the Nittany Lions with a long ball to Maya Hayes, who slotted home her nation-leading 26th goal of the season just three minutes later. Penn State capped the scoring in the second half when Christine Nairn converted a spot kick after an onslaught of Nittany Lion pressure led to a handball in the penalty area.

Penn State led all Big Ten teams with 10 Nittany Lions to the postseason honors list. Sophomore Maya Hayes was named the conference's Forward of the Year, while earning All-Big Ten First Team honors with Christine Nairn (third time), Lexi Marton (first) and Ali Schaefer (first). Sophomore striker Taylor Schram and goalkeeper Erin McNulty garnered their first All-Big Ten laurels on the second team with Emma Thomson (second). Kori Chapic, Emily Hurd and Whitney Church each were named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, too.

The Big Ten Offensive, Soccer America, and Philly Soccer News Player of the Week (Oct. 25), Hayes now owns the Penn State sophomore record for most goals and points in a season at 26 and 60. Hayes also moved into a tie for second in single-season game-winning goals at Penn State with her ninth this season. She matches Christie Welsh's total from 1999, while sitting four game-winners behind Tiffany Weimer's mark of 13. Hayes needs just one more goal to match Welsh's 1999 showing of 27 goals for third on the single-season chart as she's currently tied with Weimer's 2004 mark of 26. Hayes was riding a nine-game point streak dating back to the Ohio State (Sept. 29) match, but had it snapped vs. Minnesota. Along with Hayes, Taylor Schram is tied for second in sophomore assists (11), while Jess Rosenbluth is second in assists by a senior (10).

Penn State's offensive prowess has allowed some interesting new records to be set as well as fun stats to follow. For instance, Taylor Schram's assist at Michigan State allowed her to be the first Nittany Lion to record double-digit goals and assists since Tiffany Weimer in 2004.

An important aspect to possession-based play that head coach Erica Walsh has instilled in the Nittany Lions is the finish off combination plays. This season has seen all but three of the 62 Nittany Lion goals helped by an assist. In total, PSU has 75 assists, which leads the Big Ten and is a single-season school record. This year's squad averages 3.41 assists per game. Against West Virginia, PSU set a new school record with nine helpers, led by Taylor Schram's career-high three. Maya Hayes matched Schram's WVU effort with three of her own in the OSU victory. Four of the five goals PSU scored that night featured double assists and the Lions would add two more double assists in its game against N.C. State. Taylor Schram leads the Big Ten with 11 assists, while Jess Rosenbluth and Christine Nairn each have 10. Sixteen Nittany Lions have tallied helpers this season including goalkeeper Erin McNulty, who has a Penn State record three assists. McNulty started a Hayes goal in the team's season opener vs. WVU and another Hayes goal in the comeback over Ohio State. McNulty added a third assist on a Hayes tally against Indiana.

Maya Hayes has been on fire all season, scoring 25 times and tallying eight assists through 19 games (Oct. 30) for 58 points. Hayes currently leads NCAA Division I women's soccer in total goals and total points, while sitting one behind for the national lead in game-winning goals (10, Sarah Hagen of UW-Milwaukee). Hayes's 26 goals have contributed mightily to Penn State's overall offensive success as PSU has poured in 59 goals, fifth per game in NCAA. The 62 tallies are the most since the 2005 season scored 78. More impressive is Hayes when you compare her marks against other teams in the nation, as she has more goals than over 160 other Division I teams.

Penn State moved up in every national poll this week thanks to extending its 11-game winning streak at at home vs. Purdue PSU is up to 11th in the NSCAA poll. moved Penn State up to 10th and Soccer America pegged Penn State at seventh, the ninth straight week the Lions have been in the publication's poll. ranked PSU eighth, while the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) was released for the sixth time this season with the Nittany Lions remained 11th, tops amongst all Big Ten sides and in line for a national seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Sophomore Maya Hayes concluded a career-high seven-game scoring streak in September, tallying a goal from the Nevada match on Aug. 21 to Sept. 11 at Virginia. Hayes's streak is tied for third all-time in PSU history with Christie Welsh (2000) and Katie Schoepfer (2009). Hayes was six games from matching Tiffany Weimer's 2004 streak of 13. Weimer holds a share of the NCAA record at 17 set in 2005. The sophomore striker has scored in 16 of her last 21 matches and recently had a six-game streak snapped vs. Purdue.

Penn State ended October with a perfect 7-0-0 record. The Nittany Lions are 132-22-4 all-time in October for an astounding .848 winning percentage. As for November, Penn State is 60-21-4 all-time (.729). PSU went 3-1-0 in August to up its all-time record to 16-9-2 (.630), while posting a 7-2-0 mark in September to improve to 113-30-13 (.767) all-time.

Penn State recognized the six departing graduates of the women's soccer program on Friday night (Oct. 28) with a senior celebration. The Nittany Lions honored Meghan Gill, Carly Niness, Jess Rosenbluth, Ali Schaefer, Emma Thomson and Krissy Tribbett with a pre-game ceremony. Emily Hurd and Taylor Schram tallied second-half goals to overcome the Boilermakers, 2-0. Schram and Maya Hayes each added an assist in PSU's 12th shutout of the year.

More notes and stats, including updated bios, are in the PDF game notes

Penn State will await its possible national seed and first round opponent when the NCAA Tournament bracket is revealed on Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET on

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