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No. 13 Lions Face No. 12 Marquette in NCAA Second Round

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Sophomore striker and NCAA leading goal scorer Maya Hayes.

Nov. 16, 2011

NCAA Second Round vs. Marquette: GameTracker | Video | Tournament Central
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The fourth-seeded and 13th-ranked Nittany Lion women's soccer teams faces Marquette on Friday at Spry Stadium in the NCAA Second Round. The Nittany Lions look to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2007 and face the winner of Wake Forest-Boston University.

Game #25: Nov. 18, 2011 | 5:00 p.m. | Spry Stadium | Winston-Salem, N.C.

VENUE: W. Dennie Spry Stadium (Grass; 3,000)
COVERAGE: All-Access
NEXT GAME: Nov. 20, Possible NCAA Tournament Third Round

• Penn State takes on Marquette in PSU's 14th trip to the NCAA Second Round
• The NittanyLions and the Golden Eagles have never faced off in women's soccer
• Penn State defeated Army, 1-0, on Friday with a 29-3 shot edge
• Marquette defeated Toledo, 1-0, in overtime on Saturday night in Milwaukee
• Junior midfielder Christine Nairn scored her first game-winner of `11 against Army
• Defender Bri Hovington tallied her second assist on Nairn's winning goal
• Penn State pitched its 14th shutout of the year against the Black Knights
• Nittany Lions won 20 games in a season for the sixth time in school history
• Goalkeeper Erin McNulty became third Nittany Lion to win 20 games in a year
• Winner of Friday's match plays Wake Forest or Boston University on Sunday
• Penn State has won 15 of its last 16 matches overall dating back to Sept. 20
• Head Coach Erica Walsh is 8-7-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament (5-4-0 at PSU)
Maya Hayes leads NCAA in total goals (27) and total points (62)
• Hayes tied for second in PSU single-season goals with Christie Welsh
• Penn State leads the Big Ten in shutouts with 14
• Penn State has tallied 79 assists, besting the school record by 11, on 64 goals



No. 12 Marquette (18-3-0) Marquette (18-3-0) enters the NCAA Second Round after a tough 1-0 overtime win over visiting Toledo on Saturday, Nov. 12. The Golden Eagles received a goal from sophomore Taylor Madigan, her eighth of the year, in the 97th minute to avoid penalty kicks and eliminate the Rockets. Madigan ranks second on Marquette's squad in goals and is tied for the team lead with game-winners (6) with leading scorer Maegan Kelly (14 goals, 11 assists). Teammates Lindsey Page (16 points) and Kate Reigle (15 points) are also key contributors to the offense. The Eagles enjoy spreading the offense out as 20 members of the squad has tallied points this year, 18 of them finding the back of the net. Where Marquette's main strength lies is in its defense, which has posted 13 shutouts and allowed just 51 shots on net (2.43 per game). Marquette has made it a habit of jumping on top of teams early, out-scoring its opponents 24-5 in the first half, while out-scoring teams 5-0 in overtimes this year. Goalkeeper Natalie Kulia has been in net for 11 solo shutouts and started all 21 games with a 0.63 goals-against average.

Marquette is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and sixth time in the NCAA Second Round. Last season, Marquette reached the Sweet Sixteen, falling to Florida State, 3-0, in Tallahassee. The Golden Eagles and Nittany Lions have never faced off on the women's soccer field.

Penn State has compiled a 31-15-1 overall record in the NCAA Tournament and will play in its 14th NCAA Second Round match on Friday vs. Marquette. The Nittany Lions are 9-4-0 all-time in the second round with a 5-4 mark under Erica Walsh, who is 8-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with two Sweet Sixteen appearances. On a neutral site, the Nittany Lions are 2-2-1 including last year's 1-0 first-round win vs. Penn at West Virginia. Penn State has never played a neutral site second-round game in school history. The Lions have a 6-4-0 record against Big East squads in the NCAA Tournament, but have dropped the last four meetings, including last year's 2-1 defeat at WVU. Penn State is looking for its first trip to the NCAA Third Round since 2007, Walsh's first year in Happy Valley.

No. 13 Penn State fought a pesky Army side for over 85 minutes until Christine Nairn broke the scoreless deadlock and give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 win on Friday, Nov. 11 at Jeffrey Field. Nairn tallied her first game-winner of the year to move fourth-seeded Penn State into the NCAA Second Round. The goal came after 27 shots, 12 of which were on net. It came down to Nairn's 10th shot of the match, a new career high, to break the score. Nairn's marker was set up by Bri Hovington on the right wing, who swung a ball to Carly Niness as the senior reserve midfielder found Nairn through the middle of the pitch and into the penalty area. Erin McNulty made one save in Penn State's 14th shutout of 2011. PSU out-shot Army, 29-3.

Penn State and Marquette are two ranked teams facing off against each other in the NCAA Second Round and the winner is certain to face a ranked team in host Wake Forest or Boston University. The Winston-Salem Regional is one of only two regions to have all four squads ranked in the latest NSCAA poll (Stillwater, Okla.). Breaking the regions down by total record and overall rankings determines that this weekend's games in Winston-Salem feature arguably the toughest region in the NCAA Tournament. The four teams at Wake Forest combine for 72 wins (.837 winning percentage) and just 12 losses, all four being ranked 14th or higher. Stillwater is closest with 63 wins (.764) featuring teams ranking 24th or higher, while Stanford boasts 20 wins (.763) along with three teams ranked.

The Nittany Lions secured their sixth 20-win season in school history by defeating Army, 1-0. The last time Penn State won 20 or more games was in 2005 when the Nittany Lions were on the doorstep of the NCAA Championship during a 23-0-2 season. Moreover, goalkeeper Erin McNulty became just the third Nittany Lion to win 20 games between the pipes, joining Erin McLeod (22, 2005) and Emily Oleksiuk (21 in 1999; 20 in '98, 2000-01). McNulty has been apart of all 14 shutouts in 2011, while Oleksiuk was a member of the 2000 squad that set the school record with 17 clean sheets.

Penn State and Marquette have four common opponents during the 2011 season from the Big Ten (Northwestern, Indiana) and Big East (West Virginia, Pittsburgh). The Nittany Lions are 5-0-0 against those teams, while Marquette is 3-1-0. Moreover, PSU out-scored those teams, 18-0, and Marquette, 7-4.

Penn State has squared off against six first-time opponents and Marquette represents the seventh squad. The Nittany Lions are 5-1-0 this year against first-time foes with the lone loss coming at then-No. 2 Stanford on opening night. For the second straight game, PSU will see a new team after taking on Army for the first time in school history. It marked the second straight year the Nittany Lions played a first-time opponent in the NCAA First Round.

PSU has kicked its game into a new gear during the second half of matches this season. Penn State has out-scored opponents 26-11 in the first half, but that number jumps to 38-6 in the second half. Moreover, Penn State has out-scored its opponents 38-3 since Aug. 21 with the only teams to register goals being Nebraska (2, Oct. 14) and Minnesota (1, Nov. 4).

Penn State's defense has pitched 14 shutouts in part of good goalkeeping from Erin McNulty (0.83 GAA), but also because of a staunch defensive unit committed to eliminating scoring opportunities. On 13 occasions in 2011, Penn State hasn't allowed an opponent to take more than nine shots on goal and in 10 instances opponents had two or less shots on target. Moreover, Penn State has had eight games where opponents took one or less corner kick.

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

Should Penn State advance to the NCAA Third Round, the Nittany Lions will face the winner of the Wake Forest-Boston University match, taking place Friday night after PSU-Marquette. The potential match is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Sunday at Spry Stadium in Winston Salem, N.C.

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