No. 8 women's soccer welcomes Northwestern, Illinois

September 25, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The No. 8 Penn State women's soccer team (8-1-0, 3-0 Big Ten) resumes Big Ten play with a pair of home games against Northwestern (4-4-2, 0-3-1 Big Ten) and Illinois (8-2, 3-1 Big Ten) this weekend. The Nittany Lions host the Wildcats on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., and welcome the Fighting Illini to Jeffrey Field on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.

On Friday, due to Penn State's homecoming parade at 5 p.m., traffic in University Park will be increased. Parking for the women's soccer match is free and available off of Park Avenue adjacent to Beaver Stadium.

LIONS' OFFENSIVE OUTBURST BLAST BISON
In a Tuesday night 7-0 win over Bucknell, Penn State scored the most goals since 2005 when the Nittany Lions shut out Iowa, 8-0, on Oct. 9. It was the first time in 12 years that the Blue and White netted seven goals (7-2 win over Pitt on Sept. 1, 2002), and just the fourth time in program history the Lions put up seven-or-more goals.

GOING THROUGH THE RANKS
The Nittany Lions' 8-1 start has shown that they're one of the best teams in the nation. As of Sept. 22, Penn State is ranked in the top-10 in every collegiate women's soccer poll: seventh in the Bennett Rank, eighth in the NSCAA weekly poll, NCAA RPI and TopDrawerSoccer.com's list. and 10th in Soccer America's weekly rank.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Nittany Lions take home field advantage to the next level. The team is 195-22-9 all-time at Jeffrey Field, losing just two matches in the past three seasons and shutting out visitors in 18 of 37 matches.

SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Northwestern (4-4-2, 0-3-1 Big Ten) is coming off of a heartbreaking double overtime loss to Indiana and is in search of its first Big Ten win. Despite the winless conference record, the Wildcats have limited its opponents to two goals or less, a feat the team has accomplished in every match this season. Lauren Clem has been strong in net, posting a 0.67 goals against average with three clean sheets. Addie Steiner is the crux of Northwestern's offensive output, scoring a team best six goals and taking 26 shots.

SERIES HISTORY vs. NORTHWESTERN
Penn State leads the all-time series, 21-2-0. Last season, Whitney Church scored a pair of goals, including the double overtime game-winner, in a 3-2 win over the Wildcats.

SCOUTING THE FIGHTING ILLINI
Illinois (8-2, 3-1 Big Ten) comes to University Park riding a three-game win, and shutout streak, due in part to a stellar backline. Claire Wheatley has a 0.50 goals against average and the defense has allowed just 10 shots on goal. The team has received help offensively. Reigning National Player of the Week Jannelle Flaws leads the Big Ten in conference play with 7 goals scored to go along with 23 shots, nearly five times as many as the player with the second-most shots.

SERIES HISTORY vs. ILLINOIS
Penn State holds a 22-4-0 all-time record against the Fighting Illini. In 2013, the Nittany Lions registered its first shutout in Big Ten play, besting Illinois, 5-0. Raquel Rodriguez notched the first multi-goal game of her career with the match's opening two goals.

FRANNIE'S SO FANCY
Freshman Frannie Crouse (Greensburg, Pa.) has been one of the Nittany Lions' most prolific scorers this year. She leads a Penn State team that has scored the most goals scored per game (3.11) among Big Ten teams. Crouse has also netted the most goals of any freshman in the conference, and is ranked fifth overall with six goals and 0.67 goals per game. Crouse was recognized for her efforts with Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades on Sept. 22 after she scored a pair of goals in a 5-1 win over Ohio State on Sept. 19.

SHUTTING OUT THE COMPETITION
The 2014 Nittany Lions have proven to be one of the best defensive teams in recent history with its four shutouts. They became the first 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 BOOKS
Penn State's 8-1 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).

SPREADING THE WEALTH
Penn State has threatened opponents up and down the lineup to begin the 2014 campaign. The team's 28 goals, (3.11 per game, a Big Ten best) have come from 11 different players and 10 Nittany Lions have at least one assist. Frannie Crouse (Greenburg, Pa.) leads the team with six goals and Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) has netted five.

FRESHMEN SITTING AT THE TOP OF THE CLASS
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 nearly every match. Megan Schafer (Langhorne, Pa.), started one match and has come off of the bench in every other game. For their efforts, Crouse and Schafer have each been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week and Ogle was a TopDrawerSoccer.com Women's Team of the Week honoree.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For complete coverage of Penn State women's soccer, please visit http://www.GoPSUsports.com/sports/w-soccer. Follow PSU women's soccer on Twitter and Instagram: @PennStateWSOC. Penn State women's soccer is also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PSUWomensSoccer.  

Last Updated September 25, 2014