UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following a pair of victories against Michigan and Michigan State at home last weekend, the No. 13 Penn State women's soccer team (9-3-1, 5-1-1 B1G) heads to Piscataway, N.J., to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-2-3, 3-2-2 B1G) on Thursday, Oct. 12. The match is slated for a 7 p.m. start at Yurcak Field.
The match will be aired live on the Big Ten Network with Lisa Byington (play-by-play) and Chris Doran (color analyst) on the call.
Fans can also watch the stream on BTN2go.com, but must have a cable subscription with the Big Ten Network. Live stats will be available on GoPSUsports.com.
LOOKING AT RUTGERS
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights enter the match against Penn State sporting an overall record of 9-2-3 and a Big Ten record of 3-2-2. Rutgers is coming off a weekend road trip at Iowa and Nebraska. Last weekend, Rutgers fell at Iowa, 1-0, before finishing in a 1-1 tie against Nebraska.
During its non-conference slate, Rutgers did not concede goal and outscored the opposition, 20-0. Its non-conference slate featured topping then-No. 21 Connecticut, 2-0, and a 0-0 draw against then-No. 15 Georgetown.
Since the start of Big Ten play, Rutgers has played to overtime four times and has posted a record of 2-0-2 in those contests. Rutgers’ Big Ten schedule has included a 2-1 loss to Minnesota, a 1-0 overtime win over then-No. 12 Wisconsin.
Offensively, Colby Ciarrocca and Amirah Ali lead the team with 15 and 14 points, respectively. On the year, Ciarrocca has tallied six goals and three assists, while Ali has netted five goals and four assists.
In net, Casey Murphy has played every minute on the year for Rutgers. In 2017, she has allowed only five goals, posted a goals-against average of 0.34, recorded 45 saves, and has posted 10 shutouts.
Murphy took a redshirt during the 2016 season, as she joined the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
SERIES HISTORY VS. RUTGERS
Thursday’s meeting marks the 18th matchup between the two programs, as Penn State leads the series, 9-6-2.
Over the past two seasons, the two programs have met five times with the series tied, 2-2-1. Last year, the two teams battled a 2-2 draw during the regular season before Rutgers topped Penn State, 2-0, in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
LAST TIME OUT
The Nittany Lions are coming off a pair of shutout victories over Michigan and Michigan State last weekend at Jeffrey Field. Penn State opened the weekend with a 2-0 win over Michigan before posting a 4-0 victory over Michigan State.
In Penn State’s 4-0 victory against Michigan State, the Nittany Lions used a three-goal second half to power past the Spartans.
In net, Rose Chandler tallied one solo shutout and assisted in another shutout. In all, Chandler played 172:37 minutes, allowed zero goals and made five saves.
Following her first career two-goal game in a 3-1 victory against No. 8 BYU, junior Marissa Sheva was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Aug. 22. Her Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor was the first of her career.
A week later, Sheva netted her second two-goal game of the season in a 4-2 win at Arkansas.
For her two-goal outing at Arkansas, Sheva was named to the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week.
After a pair of victories over Michigan and Michigan State, a pair of Nittany Lions brought home weekly honors.
Brittany Basinger was named to the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week for netting one goal and adding one assist on the weekend, while Megan Schafer was named the Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week for scoring four goals in two games.
THE FINAL STRETCH
With four games left (for the majority of the teams) in the Big Ten regular season, the top seven teams in the standings are separated by eight points.
Ohio State currently leads the table with 18 points followed by Minnesota and Penn State with 16 points each. Purdue ranks fourth in the conference standings with 13 points.
In the most recent polls, Penn State sits at No. 10 (Soccer America), and No. 12 (TopDrawerSoccer), and No. 13 (United Soccer Coaches). The Nittany Lions are also No. 14 in the NCAA RPI.
Crouse ranks 12th in points (86), 11th in goals (35), 10th in game-winning goals (13), is sixth in shots on goal (104), is 11th in shots attempted (219), and T-25th in assists (16).
Schafer ranks 16th in points (77), T-15th in goals (30), T-14th in game-winning goals (11), is 21st in shots attempted (132), and is T-24th in assists (17).
Along with Crouse and Schafer, a trio of Nittany Lions have also etched their names into the PSU record books.
Haleigh Echard has netted 45 shots on goal during her career, which ranks 20th.
Emily Ogle’s 14 goals rank 23rd all-time, while her four penalty kicks made are third-most in program history.
Junior Charlotte Williams is tied for 24th in assists (17), is T-13th in shots on goal (64), and is 22nd in shots attempted (131).
COMING UP CLUTCH
Seniors Frannie Crouse and Megan Schafer have combined for 24 career game-winning goals.
Crouse’s 13 game-winning goals rank 10th all-time at PSU, while Schafer’s 11 game-winning goals are tied for 14th.
Since the start of the 2011 season the Penn State women’s soccer team has scored the second-most goals in the country (387). UVa leads the nation in goals scored during that stretch (439). (Stats courtesy of UVa Sports Info.)
On Sept. 17, Laura Freigang captured a 1-0 victory for the Nittany Lions in a double overtime thriller over Illinois.
Freigang’s goal with 42 seconds left in the second overtime session marked the latest goal in a game for Penn State since Nov. 7, 2010, when Ali Schaefer scored a goal with 17 seconds left in double overtime to lift the Nittany Lions to a 1-0 victory over Michigan.
TOUGH TEST EARLY
The Penn State women’s soccer team will embark on a tough stretch during its non-conference season. The Nittany Lions will open the season against No. 8 BYU (Aug. 18) before hosting Hofstra (Aug. 20).
After the opening weekend of the season, Penn State then travels to No. 17 Arkansas (Aug. 25) and then to Morgantown, W.Va., for a clash with No. 1 West Virginia (Sept. 2).
Following a two-game road trip, the Nittany Lions return home to host No. 6 North Carolina (Sept. 7) at Jeffrey Field and then the non-conference slate comes to a close with a trip to No. 11 Virginia (Sept. 10).
With matches against No. 6 West Virginia, No. 6 North Carolina and No. 8 Virginia, Penn State women’s soccer played three-straight matches against teams ranked in the top-10 in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
The three-match top-10 stretch is the first of its kind for PSU since the 2005 NCAA Tournament.
The Nittany Lions return 22 letterwinners to the program for the 2017 season, including seven starters from the 2015 College Cup Final.
Of the 108 points tallied as a team last season, the Penn State offense returns 97 of those points. Offensively last season, Frannie Crouse paced the Nittany Lions with 27 points on a Big Ten-best 12 goals and she added three assists. In addition to Crouse, Megan Schafer posted 17 points on six goals and five assists, while Charlotte Williams netted 16 points on six goals and four assists.
In net, Rose Chandler returns to the team after sitting out last season after joining the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Along with Chandler, Amanda Dennis is back for her sophomore season. As a true freshman last year, Dennis went 12-5-4, recorded seven solo shutouts, posted a goals against average of 0.92, and tallied 59 saves.
The Penn State women’s soccer class of 2021 is comprised of five members. Though it is a small class, it is a highly touted class; according to TopDrawerSoccer, the Nittany Lion freshman class is ranked No. 4 overall.
The quintet bring numerous accolades and experience with the U.S. Women’s National Team youth program to the Nittany Lions.
THE B1G SLATE
The 2017 Big Ten regular season schedule features Penn State playing six road matches and five matches at Jeffrey Field. Penn State opens the conference slate with fellow 2016 Big Ten champion No. 23 Northwestern on Sept. 14 at Jeffrey Field. The opening weekend of conference action continues with the Blue & White hosting Illinois on Sept. 17.
The Nittany Lions then head on the road for three matches against Iowa (Sept. 22), No. 22 Nebraska (Sept. 24), and Ohio State (Sept. 30). Following Penn State’s road trip, the Nittany Lions return home to host Michigan (Oct. 6) and Michigan State (Oct. 8).
The final stretch of conference play begins with a pair of matches at No. 21 Rutgers (Oct. 12) and Maryland (Oct. 15). Penn State then returns home for its regular season home finale against Purdue (Oct. 20) before heading to Madison, Wis., to close out the regular season against Wisconsin (Oct. 25).
Due to a rotating schedule, Penn State will not play Indiana or Minnesota during the 2017 regular season.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Nittany Lions have posted an all-time record of 231-26-12 at Jeffrey Field, which includes a Big Ten Conference record of 106-6-5. Since the start of the 2011 season, Penn State has a record of 71-6-6 at Jeffrey Field.
Penn State kicked off its 2017 campaign with the fifth-best crowd in program history at Jeffrey Field. Against No. 8 BYU on Aug. 18, 3,570 fans came out to witness the Nittany Lions capture a 3-1 victory.
Among the national leaders in attendance, Penn State ranks fifth in overall attendance (13,321) and fourth in average attendance (1,903).
Heading into her senior year, Ball has played in 72 matches, which includes 71 starts, scored six goals and added one assist.
Basinger will be a redshirt senior in 2017 as she received a redshirt during the 2014 season. Heading into 2017, she has posted 71 starts in 71 games played, netted 14 points on four goals and six assists.
#PSWS ON BTN
The Nittany Lions will have three regular season matches broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network (BTN) during 2017.
BTN will broadcast the North Carolina-Penn State match (Sept. 7), the Northwestern-Penn State match (Sept. 14), and the Penn State-Rutgers match (Oct. 12).
PICKED TO DEFEND
Prior to the start of the 2017 season the Nittany Lions were picked to win the Big Ten regular season title.
Since the beginning of the coaches’ preseason poll in 2003, the Nittany Lions have been picked to win the conference every season.
The 2016 season saw Minnesota, Northwestern, and Penn State all tie for the league title.
Heading into the weekend, Ball ranks 8th all-time at PSU in minutes played (7,013), while Basinger is 16th (6,282).
Heading into the 2017 season, six Nittany Lions have received preseason honors.
TopDrawerSoccer announced its Preseason Top-100 list and its Preseason Best XI Teams.
Ogle and Riehl were also named to the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI First Team, while Crouse was named to the TopDrawerSoccer Best XI Second Team.
Along with the Big Ten and TopDrawerSoccer honors, Crouse and Ogle were named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List.
FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY
The 2017 Penn State women’s soccer roster is bolstered with numerous Nittany Lions with national team experience with their respective countries.
Last fall, six Nittany Lions competed at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, as five Penn Staters represented the United States and Laura Freigang was a member of the German National Team. For the United States, Rose Chandler, Maddie Elliston, Ellie Jean, Emily Ogle, and Kaleigh Riehl donned the Red, White & Blue.
Along with the Penn State presence at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, a handful of Nittany Lions have taken part in competitions/training camps for their respective national teams at different age levels since the start of the calendar year.
No. 13 Penn State closes out the weekend at Maryland on Sunday, Oct. 15. The match is slated for a 1 p.m. start at Ludwig Field.