Nov. 6, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.--The No. 22 Penn State women's soccer team won its 12th-straight Big Ten title, and the automatic NCAA bid that accompanies it on Friday evening. Ohio State fell 1-0 at Michigan State, granting Penn State no worse than a share of the title regardless of its result at Michigan on Sunday afternoon.
"This is a fantastic accomplishment," Head coach Erica Walsh said to her team, still celebrating at its training facility. "Even when we were down and out in September, we hung in there and fought it out. As good as this is, we still have work to do [Sunday at Michigan]."
With director of athletics Tim Curley and associate director of athletics Susan Delaney-Scheetz on hand, the women's soccer team walked of its training field and into its normal post-training address from Walsh and the rest of the coaching staff. There, Curley and Walsh told the team the good news of what happened in East Lansing, Mich. and presented the team with the Big Ten trophy.
The 12th-straight title puts Penn State (11-5-2, 7-1-1 Big Ten) in some elite territory, joining the Michigan swimming & diving teams of the late 1990s as only one other Big Ten women's squad to reach the 12-straight milestone. The Nittany Lions also earned its 14th-straight NCAA Tournament berth by way of the automatic bid for winning the Big Ten.
Entering this weekend, Penn State and Ohio State were tied at 7-1-1 with 22 points. Ohio State needed a win at Michigan State to clinch a share of the title, but a Lauren Hill 56th-minute goal lifted the Spartans over the Buckeyes. Penn State holds a tiebreaker over Ohio State by virtue of a 2-1 on Oct. 4 at Jeffrey Field.
Penn State still has a game to play as the Lions face Michigan on Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. A tie or win provides the Nittany Lions with an outright win of the Big Ten championship, which would also give Penn State a nine-game unbeaten streak entering the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Selection Show will be held Monday night at 8:00 p.m. telecast live on ESPNews.
For complete coverage of all the Nittany Lion soccer this season, go to www.GoPSUsports.com/sports/w-soccer.
Follow Penn State women's soccer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PSUWomensSoccer.