Two former Nittany Lions help U.S. to World Cup final

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Two former Penn State women’s soccer players are advancing to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup final, helping the United States to reach Sunday’s final against Japan at 7 p.m. ET in Vancouver. The final will be broadcast on FOX. Five Nittany Lions participated in the sport’s top event, hosted by Canada, tied for second among collegiate soccer programs (Stanford has five and North Carolina has nine).

Ali Krieger ’06 and Alyssa Naeher ’09 helped the U.S. to advance to the final with the team’s 2-0 win over Germany, the tournament’s top seed, in Tuesday’s semifinal.

Previously, the U.S. advanced out of Group D with two wins and a draw before earning a 2-0 victory over Columbia in the Round of 16. A 1-0 win against China in the quarterfinal set up Tuesday’s victory over Germany. 

The U.S. got on the board with a goal in the 69th minute against Germany on a Carli Lloyd penalty kick after Alex Morgan was fouled in the box. Kelley O’Hara added a goal in the 84th-minute on an assist from Lloyd.

Krieger and the back line helped the United States to record its fifth straight shutout. The Red, White and Blue have held opponents scoreless for 513 straight minutes. Krieger, making her second World Cup appearance, has started all six matches and played all but nine minutes, subbing out in the 81st minute against Columbia.

The two-time NSCAA All-American recorded a shot in the 73rd minute against China and a shot on-goal in the 34th minute against Sweden.

Naeher, a three-time NSCAA All-American at Penn State, has served as a backup goalkeeper for Hope Solo. The former Nittany Lion is making her World Cup debut with the senior team, but helped the U.S. U-20 women’s national team to win the 2008 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where she won the Golden Glove as the tournament’s top goalkeeper. 

Carmelina Moscato ’05 and Erin McLeod ’05 helped Canada to reach the quarterfinal round, where they were eliminated by England. The duo helped the host nation to advance out of Group A and defeat Switzerland in the Round of 16. 

McLeod started all five games in the tournament in net for the host nation. The two-time NSCAA All-American recorded two saves each against England and Switzerland. In the group stage, she made four stops against Netherlands and one save each vs. China and New Zealand. McLeod has now started in four different World Cups. 

Moscato, a member of Canada’s national program since 2000, made her third World Cup appearance. She earned her first start of the tournament against the Netherlands, playing the entire match, and entered in the 68th minute against New Zealand. 

Senior Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) started all three games and played every minute in the midfield for Costa Rica as the nation made its FIFA Women’s World Cup debut. Rodriguez made national and Penn State history with her goal in the 14th minute of Costa Rica’s opening match vs. Spain. It was Costa Rica’s first goal and the first goal in a World Cup by a Nittany Lion. For her efforts, she was selected LYG Player of the Match. She also had two shots vs. Brazil and a shot vs. South Korea.

The five players have helped Penn State to 12 Big Ten titles and three College Cup appearances, with Naeher and Rodriguez leading Penn State to a 2012 national championship game appearance. The group has combined for seven NSCAA All-American honors, six Big Ten Player of the Year awards and two NSCAA Scholar All-America accolades.

Penn State Participant World Cup Schedule & Results
United States
June 8 – vs. Australia W, 3-1
June 13 – vs. Sweden D, 0-0
June 17 – vs. Nigeria W, 1-0
June 22 – vs. Columbia W, 2-0
June 26 – vs. China W, 1-0
June 30 – vs. Germany W, 2-0
July 5 – vs. Japan at 7 p.m. ET (Vancouver)

Canada
June 6 – vs. China W, 1-0
June 12 – vs. New Zealand D, 0-0
June 15 – vs. Netherlands D, 1-1
June 21 – vs. Switzerland W, 1-0
June 27 – vs. England L, 2-1

Costa Rica
June 9 – vs. Spain D, 1-1
June 13 – vs. South Korea D, 2-2
June 17 – vs. Brazil L, 1-0

Last Updated July 03, 2015