No. 3 Seeded Nittany Lions Open Big Ten Tournament with Badgers
Nov. 5, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 22 Penn State women's soccer team is set to open up postseason action on Wednesday morning, taking on Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament at the University of Illinois Soccer Stadium. The Nittany Lions, who have earned the No. 3 seed, will face the sixth-seeded Badgers at 11:30 a.m. (ET). The quarterfinal match will be streamed live online via the Big Ten Digital Network.
The Blue and White are 25-8-4 in the Big Ten Tournament all-time and have claimed five titles. PSU's last Big Ten Tournament championship came in 2008. The Lions are 12-2-3 in the quarterfinals of the tournament and have defeated Wisconsin twice, each time in the quarterfinals. Penn State's last loss in the quarterfinal round came in 2002 against eighth-seeded Illinois.
The Nittany Lions finished out the regular season last Friday with a 3-0 victory over Michigan State. Senior Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.) notched two goals in the win, earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week laurels for the third time this season. Sophomore Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) also notched a goal for the Lions in the victory.
The Blue and White's offensive attack is led by Hayes and senior Tani Costa (Honolulu, Hawaii). Hayes leads the league and is tied for third in the nation in points with 43. The forward is also second in the conference and fifth in the country in goals (19). Costa is second on the team in goals and points, having tallied eight and 22, respectively. Rodriguez leads the Lions in assists with nine and has also tacked on six goals.
Wisconsin enters Wednesday's match at 10-6-2 overall. The Badgers finished the Big Ten regular season tied for fifth place with Iowa and Illinois after posting a 5-5-1 record against league opponents.
Leading the way for the UW offensive attack is sophomore Kinley McNicoll, who has recorded a team-high 25 points on six goals and a conference-best 13 assists. Junior Cara Walls and freshman Rose Lavelle are also key players for the Badgers. Walls leads the team in goals (9) and has tallied four assists while Lavelle has notched six goals and seven assists.
Genevieve Richard leads Wisconsin between the pipes, having started all 18 matches this season. The redshirt junior allows just over one goal per game (1.07), has posted five shutouts and collected 77 saves.
The Blue and White are 17-3-4 against UW all-time and 2-1-1 against the Badgers in the conference tournament. The two teams last met in the conference tournament in 2003 in a match that resulted in a 0-0 tie and UW advanced on penalty kicks, 4-3.
PSU defeated the then-No. 18 Badgers by a count of 2-1 earlier this season. Wednesday's meeting will be just the third neutral site match-up between the two teams and the first since the 1999 Big Ten Tournament, when PSU overpowered Wisconsin 3-0.
Friday's semifinal matches are set for 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., while Sunday's championship game is slated for a 2:00 p.m. start. The semifinal and championship matches will be aired live on the Big Ten Network and will also be available on BTN2Go. The winner of the Big Ten Tournament will receive the Big Ten's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Tickets can be purchased on game day at the ticket window outside the northwest corner of the Illinois Soccer Stadium. All-Session passes will be available for $25 for the three-day tournament, while Single Day passes are $10 for adults and $5 for youth.
Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal Schedule