No. 8 women's soccer opens Big Ten play in Indiana

September 12, 2014

The No. 8 Penn State women’s soccer team (4-1-0) opens Big Ten play this weekend in Indiana. The Nittany Lions begin conference play with a 7 p.m. match on Fri., Sept. 12 at Purdue. Penn State then travels to Bloomington, Ind., for a 1 p.m. matchup on Sunday against the Hoosiers.

The Nittany Lions’ 4-1 start has shown that they’re one of the best teams in the nation. In three of the four national collegiate women’s soccer polls, Penn State is ranked in the top-10: seventh in the Bennett Rank, eighth in the NSCAA weekly poll and ninth in’s list.

Purdue (4-1-1) has started off strong this season, and is riding a five-game unbeaten streak coming into Friday’s match. A major reason for the Boilermakers’ success comes from their goalkeeping staff of Jordan Ginther, Maddy Olsen and Erika Yohn, each of whom have played at least 140 minutes. The group has allowed just four goals in six matches with two shutouts. Maddy Williams is the team’s top point-getter, with three goals and assists each to go along with 42 shots.

Penn State holds a 13-1-1 all-time record against the Boilermakers. Last season, the Nittany Lions dominated Purdue, 6-1, with five different players scoring goals. In the win, which was one in a string of nine wins, the Lions held the Boilermakers to just one shot.

Indiana (4-2) is coming off of a weekend sweep with wins over Dayton (2-1) and George Mason (4-1). The team has yet to allow more than two goals in a match this season, helped in part by the play of four of its freshmen. Indiana has been led offensively by Jessie Bujouves, the only Hoosier with multiple goals (4). In net, the tandem of Katie Greulich and Sarah Stone has a combined 1.15 goals against average and .667 save percentage.

All-time against the Hoosiers, Penn State holds a 21-1-1 advantage. The Nittany Lions’ win against Indiana resulted in a perfect 8-0-0 September record. Penn State and Indiana went into halftime tied 1-1, but the Lions scored three goals in the second half for a 4-1 win.

Five games into the 2014 campaign, Penn State has threatened opponents up and down the lineup. The team’s 12 goals have come from seven different players and five Nittany Lions have at least one assist. Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) leads the pack with four goals scored, while Megan Schafer (Langhorne, Pa.) and Frannie Crouse (Greensburg, Pa.) have each scored a pair of goals.

Team captain Emily Hurd (Sammamish, Wash.) epitomized leadership in Penn State’s 4-3 win over Duke on Sept. 7. The senior notched four points, scoring the Nittany Lions’ opening goal of the game and dishing out two assists, one of which was on the game-winner, to match a career-best four points. She was named to the Women’s Team of the Week for her performance after being honored on the All-Duke Nike Classic team.

The Nittany Lions’ 3-0 start was certainly impressive, but it’s even more so when looking back in the program record books. The team has not had a 3-0 start to the season since 2005, when Penn State went 23-0-2 and advanced to its second Women’s College Cup. Additionally, the perfect start is the first under head coach Erica Walsh’s tutelage.

Megan Schafer (Langhorne, Pa.) was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman Player of the Week on Sept. 3 after a stellar performance in the 3-1 win over UConn. She netted the first two goals of her collegiate career and became first freshman since 2010 to score a pair of goals in a single match. Schafer scored the 2-0 game-winner in the 27th minute, capitalizing on a UConn clearing attempt to put it past the Huskies goalkeeper. She scored again at 43:49, rising above a goal mouth scramble following a Penn State corner kick for the 3-0 lead.

The Nittany Lions’ freshmen have proven to be major contributors three games into the 2014 campaign. Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio), Frannie Crouse (Greensburg, Pa.), Elizabeth Ball (Richmond, Va.) and Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.) have started all three games, while Haleigh Echard (Lebanon, Pa.), Katy Keen (Zionsville, Ind.) and Megan Schafer (Langhorne, Pa.) played as reserves in the matches. At the top of the class sits Ogle and Schafer. Ogle, a Women’s Team of the Week honoree, scored a goal and dished out an assist against No. 12 West Virginia, while Schafer, the Sept. 3 Big Ten Co-Freshman Player of the Week, became the first freshman since 2010 to score a pair when she netted two, including the game winner, against UConn.

The Nittany Lions take home field advantage to the next level. The team is 193-22-9 all-time at Jeffrey Field, losing just two matches in the past three seasons and shutting out visitors in 17 of 35 matches.

Penn State was tabbed to win the Big Ten regular season title, according to the 2014 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Wisconsin and Maryland earned the second- and third-most votes, respectively. The Nittany Lions have sat atop the poll every season since the poll began in 2003.

Three players from each Big Ten team were named Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Players to Watch, with senior Emily Hurd (Sammamish, Wash.) and juniors Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) and Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) representing the Blue and White.

Penn State senior Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.) was named to the 2014 Women’s Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Award Watch List. This is Church’s second-consecutive appearance on the Hermann Award Watch List.

Church is one of 35 female NCAA Division I players named to the list and one of two Big Ten female student-athletes selected. The senior was an NSCAA All-Great Lakes and All-Big Ten second team selection in 2013. A defender, Church logged the second-most minutes on the Nittany Lions, starting 21 of 23 games for 1,945 minutes.

Over the summer, sophomore Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.) and freshman Rose Chandler (Atlanta, Ga.) represented the United States at the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, hosted by Canada. Penn State Head Coach Erica Walsh was also a member of the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team, serving as an assistant coach. The U.S. U-20 team went 2-2 at the tournament, besting China PR and Brazil, and was eliminated after the Group stage after falling 3-1 to Korea DPR. This was Chandler’s first appearance as a member of the U-20 team while Basinger was a member of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship team.

Chandler, Basinger and Walsh won’t be the only Lions to don their country’s colors in 2014. Junior Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) is a member of the Costa Rican Women’s National Team. Rodriguez will compete for Costa Rica at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October in an attempt to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Last Updated September 12, 2014