No. 8 women's soccer seeks to extend perfect Big Ten play

September 19, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The No. 8 Penn State women's soccer team (6-1-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will look to continue its perfect foray into Big Ten play this season against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions host the Buckeyes on Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. Fans in attendance will receive free drawstring bags while supplies last.

The Nittany Lions' 6-1 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, and eighth in the NSCAA weekly poll and's list.

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.

The Buckeyes (4-4, 1-1 Big Ten) split its opening weekend of Big Ten play, earning a comeback overtime win on Friday against Indiana and falling 3-1 to Purdue on Sunday. The team has seen production up and down its lineup, with eight different players scoring at least one goal. Sammy Edwards is leading the charge with three after a hat trick against Dayton. Starting goalkeeper Megan Geldernick is posting a 1.34 goals against average and .766 save percentage with two shutouts.

Penn State holds a 17-6-1 all-time record against the Buckeyes. Last season, the Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes, 4-2, with the team's seniors accounting for three of the four goals scored.

The 2014 Nittany Lions have proven to be one of the best defensive teams in recent history. They became the team in program history to shut out opponents in a two-game Big Ten opening weekend. The 2014 team is also the first squad since 2008 to open Big Ten play with consecutive shutouts after its 1-0 and 3-0 wins over Purdue and Indiana.

HOT START HEATS UP RECORD BOOKSPenn State's 6-1 start is even more impressive when flipping through the program record book. This year's team has begun the season with the best record since 2005, when the Blue and White achieved the program's first and only undefeated season to date (23-0-2), eventually falling in the Women's College Cup to Portland on penalty kicks (4-3).

Penn State has threatened opponents up and down the lineup to begin the 2014 campaign. The team's 16 goals have come from eight different players and eight Nittany Lions have at least one assist. Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) leads the pack with four goals scored, and Raquel Rodriguez has scored a trio of goals.

The Nittany Lions' freshmen have proven to be major contributors during the 2014 campaign. Emily Ogle (Strongsville, Ohio), Frannie Crouse (Greensburg, Pa.), Elizabeth Ball (Richmond, Va.) and Maddie Elliston (Omaha, Neb.) have started every game, while Haleigh Echard (Lebanon, Pa.) and Katy Keen (Zionsville, Ind.) have played as reserves every match. Megan Schafer (Langhorne, Pa.), started one match and has come off of the bench in every other game. 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, has recorded two goals and two assists. Additionally, Keen and Echard have each dished out one assist.

Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) is the first Nittany Lion this season to score goals in three straight games after scoring game-winners against Duke and Purdue. She also found the back of the net against Indiana to earn an honorable mention for the Women's Team of the Week after the opening Big Ten weekend.

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.

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.

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Last Updated September 19, 2014