Penn State trio makes women's soccer player of the year watch list

August 26, 2005

University Park, Pa. -- Further cementing the Nittany Lions' place on the national landscape, three Penn State women's soccer players were named to the preseason watchlist for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, which is given annually to the top collegiate men's and women's player. Only three schools, Penn State, North Carolina and Notre Dame, can tout three candidates on the watchlist.

For the Nittany Lions, 2004 M.A.C. Herman Trophy runner-up Tiffany Weimer (North Haven, Conn.), 2004 All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Natalie Jacobs (Centreville, Va.) and 2004 All-American and first team All-Big Ten selection Erin McLeod (Vancouver, B.C.), were all selected among the prestigious group of 25 preseason contenders.

A list of 15 semifinalists for the award will be announced in early November, with the three finalists announced in December. The trio will be invited to St. Louis for a news conference and dinner held at the Missouri Athletic Club on Jan. 6, 2006, where the winner of the award will be revealed. The winner is determined through voting of NCAA Division I members of the NSCAA.

"Having three players on the watchlist is truly a testament to how hard this team has worked and how far we've come as a program in 11 years," said head coach Paula Wilkins, who has had a winner or runner-up for the award each of her first four years as head coach at Penn State. "Obviously, all three possess the talent to be named among the best in our sport and to have them recognized in this way is an honor for them. It goes without saying however that it's the performance of our team as a whole that got them there. We will need to display that teamwork attitude again this year in order for them to fulfill their potential."

Over the past five years, a Nittany Lion has either won or been runner-up for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy. In 2000, U.S. National Team member Christie Welsh (1999-2002) was the runner-up before grabbing the award in 2001 and finishing as the runner-up again in 2002. Alumna Joanna Lohman (2000-03) was named runner-up in 2003, while Weimer made it to the list of finalists that year before finishing as the runner-up last season to Portland's Christine Sinclair. No other school has had as many players finish in the top two slots for player of the year voting over the past five years.

In 2004, Jacobs nabbed first team NSCAA All-America status, as well as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors and a selection to the All-Big Ten first team. She joined McLeod to lead a defense that allowed only 0.47 goals per game, which ranked second nationally. She was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts in two shutouts (vs. Michigan and Michigan State), while adding an assist to lift Penn State over the Wolverines with less than five minutes to play in overtime. Jacobs also lent the overtime assist with little time remaining in the game at then-No. 8 Connecticut. Her defensive efforts propelled the Lions to 15 shutouts this season, including nine in the Big Ten regular season. The Lion defense also helped push the team to victories over eight Top 25 teams, and earn 10 consecutive shutouts at one point this season.

Weimer, a first team NSCAA All-American for the second straight year and the Lions' go-to weapon in 2004, earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors. After netting a nation's-best 26 goals, she finished fourth in the nation in goal-scoring with a 1.13 goals per game average and was second in scoring with a 2.78 points per game average. Weimer scored in 20-out-of-23 games for the Lions in 2004 and at one point had a 13-game goal-scoring streak going, just two games away from tying the NCAA mark. Her 26 goals was just one off the Penn State school record mark held by Welsh. She also added 12 assists for 64 points. Weimer started every game for the Nittany Lions and put .637% of the shots she took on goal. A six-time recipient of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, she scored six game winners for the Lions.

The Lions' starting goalkeeper, McLeod earned third team NSCAA All-America honors and first team All-Big Ten honors in 2004, her first in the league, after pitching eight regular-season conference shutouts. McLeod was second nationally in goals against average with a 0.43 mark. She tallied a total of 11 shutouts and helped the Lions best eight Top 25 teams, including two Top 10 opponents. She was part of the Lion string of 10 straight shutouts near the end of the season.

The Nittany Lions finished the 2004 season with a 19-3-1 record and earned the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the program's best ever. Penn State opens this year's slate with a match vs. No. 20 Washington on Friday, Aug. 26, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the first ever Penn State Soccer Classic. Hofstra and No. 9 Connecticut begin soccer action Friday night with a 5 p.m. kick-off. Classic action continues on Sunday, Aug. 28, with Washington meeting Hofstra at noon followed by the No. 8 Nittany Lions vs. the No. 9 Connecticut Huskies at 2:30 p.m. All Penn State women's soccer games are held at Jeffrey Field and admission is free.

Women's 2005 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List
Compiled by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America

Player Cl. School Hometown
Ronda Brooks Jr. Auburn Marietta, Ga.
Jen Buczkowski Jr. Notre Dame Elk Grove, Ill.
Lori Chalupny Sr. North Carolina St. Louis, Mo.
Candace Chapman Sr. Notre Dame Ajax, Ontario
Lara Dickenmann So. Ohio State Kriens, Switzerland
Holly Gault Jr. Kansas Spring Hill, Kan.
Sarah Huffman Sr. Virginia Flower Mound, Texas
Lindsey Huie Sr. Portland Mission Viejo, Calif.
Hayley Hunt Sr. Stanford San Marino, Calif.
Natalie Jacobs Sr. Penn State Centreville, Va.
Diana Matheson So. Princeton Oakville, Ontario
Erin McLeod Sr. Penn State Vancouver, B.C.
Melissa Miller Jr. Ohio State Cincinnati, Ohio
Iris Mora Sr. UCLA Cancun, Mexico
Fran Munnelly Sr. Colorado Arvada, Colo.
Jill Oakes Sr. UCLA West Hills, Calif.
Heather O'Reilly Jr. North Carolina East Brunswick, N.J.
Kelly Rowland Jr. Florida State Wallingford, Pa.
Christine Sinclair Sr. Portland Burnaby, B.C.
Caroline Smith Sr. Kansas Edina, Minn.
Kati Jo Spisak Sr. Texas A&M Manchester, Mo.
Lindsay Tarpley Sr. North Carolina Kalamazoo, Mich.
Katie Thorlakson Sr. Notre Dame Langley, B.C.
Brittany Timko Jr. Nebraska Coquitlam, B.C.
Tiffany Weimer Sr. Penn State North Haven, Conn.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 20, 2009