Men's soccer to host annual Penn State Classic

September 05, 2008

University Park, Pa. -- The Penn State men's soccer team (1-1-0) opens its 2008 home schedule this weekend by welcoming No. 10 Ohio State (2-0-0), Bucknell (1-1-0), and No. 18 Tulsa (1-0-1) to Jeffrey Field for the annual Penn State Classic.

On the first day of competition, Friday, Sept. 5, Ohio State will face Bucknell (5 p.m.) and Penn State will take on Tulsa (7:30 p.m.). Day two, Sunday, Sept. 7, will pit Ohio State versus Tulsa (noon) and Penn State against Bucknell (3:30 p.m.). Admission to the Penn State Classic and to all home men's soccer games is free.

Due to the possibility of the remnants of Hurricane Hannah reaching central Pennsylvania over the weekend, it is being asked that all spectators park in the Stadium West parking lot, which is located between Jeffrey Field and Beaver Stadium and accessed off of Park Avenue.

Sunday's Ohio State-Tulsa and Penn State-Bucknell match-ups will be broadcast live to a national television audience by the Big Ten Network. Fans attending the Sunday contests are encouraged to sit in the bleachers on the east side of Jeffrey Field (facing University Drive) in order to provide television with ideal backdrops.

The Nittany Lions opened the 2008 season last weekend on the road in Columbus, Ohio at the Wolstein Classic, as hosted by The Ohio State University. Penn State recorded its first win in a season opener since 2001 when it defeated Central Florida, 2-0. Goals came from unlikely sources in junior defender Bobby Bohlen (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) and senior midfielder Ryan Badaracco (Wexford, Pa.). The goal was the first of Bohlen's career and, for Badaracco, in the first game since returning from a knee injury that cost him all of the 2007 season. Goalkeeper Liam Fitzwater (Schuylkill Haven, Pa.) earned the win in his first career start. In its final tournament appearance, Penn State dropped a narrow 1-0 decision to Florida Gulf Coast, despite holding a decisive 18-5 advantage in shots. Bohlen and Badaracco were honored on the all-tournament team for their standout play.

Tulsa, the preseason pick to win Conference USA, travels to Happy Valley toting a 1-0-1 record after opening the season with a 2-0 home win over Georgia Southern and an impressive 1-1 tie on the road versus No. 2-ranked Connecticut. The Golden Hurricane is led by senior defender Chris Clements, a Hermann Trophy Watch List candidate and C-USA preseason all-league selection. Freshman forward Blaine Gonsalves, sophomore midfielder Zach Nulisch, and senior forward Eric DeFreitas, the team's leader in points in 2007 with 24, have accounted for Tulsa's 2008 goals. Goalkeeper Tyrel Lacey has been with the program for four years but started just 19 career games.

In its three all-time meetings with Tulsa, Penn State possesses a 2-0-1 record. The Nittany Lions last faced the Golden Hurricane in 2004, when they clashed twice. Penn State won an early regular season match-up, 3-2, at the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Classic. Two months later, in an NCAA postseason contest, Tulsa exacted revenge on the Nittany Lions, advancing 4-3 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 regulation tie.

Bucknell has experienced a roller coaster start to the 2008 season. After a 2-1 loss to Buffalo in the opener, the Bison rebounded with an offensive outpouring in a 5-4 victory over Canisius. Junior Chris Hennings, who attended the same high school as Penn State's Drew Cost and Mark Fetrow, earned Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honors for scoring a conference and school record four goals in the win over the Golden Griffins. While its offense is rolling, the Bucknell defense, which features a freshman goalkeeper in Tommy Caso, has struggled, allowing six goals and 15 shots on goal in two games.

The rivalry with Bucknell is one of Penn State's longest running, dating back to 1930, and its most successful, totaling 57 wins against just six losses and three ties. The Nittany Lions last took on the Bison in 2006, a 3-1 PSU victory at Jeffrey Field. Penn State has won the last 25 meetings with its regional opponent.

Ohio State suffered significant losses from last year's team that went to the national championship game but you would hardly know it by its play thus far in 2008. The Buckeyes captured the Wolstein Classic title with a 2-1 win over Florida Gulf Coast and 2-1 double overtime victory over Central Florida. Senior left back Tim Gabel received MVP tournament honors for tallying one goal and two assists for the weekend. Ohio State is also strengthened by the return of midfielders Danny Irizarry, a 2007 Second Team All-Big Ten selection, and Matt Gold, a Big Ten All-Freshman Team honoree last season. Penn State will welcome Ohio State back to Jeffrey Field for its conference showdown on Sat., Oct. 11.

Fans can follow all of the action of the 2008 Penn State Classic on the Internet with live stats and instant scoring updates from Gametracker. Find a link on the official Web site of Nittany Lion athletics, http://www.GoPSUsports.com online. Fans can also listen to a live radio broadcast of Penn State's Friday night match-up with Tulsa on the Internet at http://www.ComRadio.psu.edu online.

Penn State will remain at home next week, hosting two non-conference games at Jeffrey Field. On Wednesday, Sept. 10, the Nittany Lions will take on Saint Francis (Pa.) (0-2) in a 7 p.m. match-up. The regional foes last regular season meeting was in 1998, a decisive 8-0 Penn State victory. On Saturday, Sept. 13, James Madison (0-2) will visit Happy Valley for a 7 p.m. contest with the Lions.

  • Junior defender Bobby Bohlen

    IMAGE: Penn State Sports Information

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010