No. 4 men's soccer set for Saturday night home tilt vs. Rutgers

October 03, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The fourth-ranked Nittany Lions men's soccer team puts its nation-leading 9-0-1 record on the line Saturday night at Jeffrey Field against Big Ten newcomer Rutgers at 7 p.m. The first 200 fans will receive blue #PennStateFutbol t-shirts. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Fans attending Penn State soccer matches at Jeffrey Field will have to comply with Penn State University's Bag Policy. Fans are advised that no bags larger than backpacks may be brought into the stadium grounds. This includes duffle bags and purses larger than 8.5" x 11" x 6" and all bags will be searched. For more information visit the Safety Policy SY44 Page or Penn State's Bag Policy Page.

Rutgers (3-4-1, 1-1-1 Big Ten) enters Saturday's game with a week's worth of rest following a scoreless draw at No. 16 Michigna State. The Scarlet Knights are winless in their past three matches and have gone 1-4-1 in the past six games.

Jason Wright leads the team with three goals and two assists, while JP Correa is second with two goals, both of which came in a 3-2 win at Wisconsin. The Knights average a goal a game, but have allowed a goal and a half. The shutout at Michigan State was the first since the opener vs. UMKC, giving up 12 goals in the six matches in between.

Sophomore David Greczek has played in all the games, but didn't start against Michigan State. Nevertheless, he played the final 65 minutes of shutout soccer to lower his GA to 1.54, raise his save percentage to .769 and improve to 3-4-1. Greczek has started 27 of 28 games at Rutgers with a 10-15-3 record and six shutouts.

All-Time Series: Tied, 8-8-0
PSU Streak: 2 losses
First Meeting: 10/29/1982, PSU 3-0
Last Meeting: 9/6/2013, RU 4-1
Last PSU Win: 9/16/1994, 3-2 (OT)
Last RU Win: 9/6/2013, 4-1
Last Draw: Never
Largest PSU Win: 3-0 (`82, `90, `92)
Largest RU Win: 4-0, 9/18/1987

If there's any certainty to conference realignment it's that rivalries may be broken up, but an unexpected outcome is some rivalries return as conference matchups. The latter will take place Saturday night as former Atlantic 10 members Penn State and Rutgers meet on the Jeffrey Field grass as Big Ten teams. As A-10 foes, the two teams met every year in the Atlantic 10 Championship (1987-1990), with Penn State winning three titles (1987-89) and Rutgers taking the last crown. Penn State moved to the Big Ten in 1991, while Rutgers went to the Big East in 1995, American Athletic Conference in 2013 and the Big Ten in 2014.

The 4th-ranked Nittany Lions have started 9-0-1, going unbeaten in the first 10 games for the first time since 1984 (9-0-1), which went on to a 17-5-1 season under legendary coach Walter Bahr. The team to snap the 1984's unbeaten run that year in Game 11: Rutgers. At Jeffrey Field.

This year's start is the best during Penn State's tenure in the Big Ten, which began in 1991. Prior to 1984. the only 11-game unbeaten streak to start a season was 1972 when the Lions went 9-0-2, before the Lions lost to Penn in the NCAA Tournament.

The No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions defeated local rival Bucknell, 2-0, on Wednesday (Oct. 1) in front of an Emmitt Field record 1,510 fans as Penn State represented the highest ranked team to visit the facility.

Mikey Minutillo scored his fifth goal of the year in the 17th minute for the game-winner, while Brian James scored his first Penn State goal with less than three minutes to play. Minutillo's goal was assisted by Drew Klingenberg and James's tally was helped by Randy Falk. Andrew Wolverton picked up shutout No. 30 with six saves. Penn State out-shot Bucknell, 20-13.

Penn State holds a hefty 221-46-24 (.801) all-time record against the current Division I teams in Pennsylvania. Penn State has the most all-time wins against Bucknell (60) and has unblemished marks against five other squads (Duquesne, La Salle, Robert Morris and Saint Joseph's). Four Pennsylvania teams are on the schedule in 2014: Temple (W, 1-0), Saint Francis (W, 3-0), Penn (W, 6-2) and Bucknell (W, 2-0). Penn State out-scored those teams by a combined 10 goals (12-2).

PSU Records vs. Pennsylvania D-I Teams
Bucknell: 60-8-4
Drexel: 3-1-0
Duquesne: 2-0-0
Lafayette: 29-2-1
La Salle: 2-0-0
Lehigh: 12-3-4
Penn: 24-6-3
Pittsburgh: 22-6-3
Robert Morris: 4-0-0
Saint Francis: 11-1-0
Saint Joseph's: 4-0-0
Temple: 40-18-8
Villanova: 8-1-1

Penn State recently completed game three eight this Sunday (Sept. 29) in its quest for a third straight Big Ten title. Over the past two seasons, the Nittany Lions are 8-1-0 in regular-season games, which determine the Big Ten Championship.

Since Penn State's 0-6-0 regular season in 2011, the Nittany Lions are 11-2-2 in Big Ten contests (3-1-2 in 2012, 5-1-0 in 2013, 3-0-0 in 2014). Penn State's next Big Ten opponent is a new one: Rutgers (Saturday, Oct. 4 at Jeffrey Field).

Penn State has enjoyed success at Jeffrey Field with over 300 victories at the famed field. Impressively, the Nittany Lions have never posted a losing season at Jeffrey Field, going 312-77-34 all-time for a winning percentage of .778. Last season, PSU went 8-1-1 and since 2012 the Nittany Lions are 21-3-3 (.820) with a pair of Big Ten titles. Penn State is 6-0-0 this year at home and 14-1-1 the past two seasons.

In the 42-year history of the stadium, Jeffrey Field has welcomed 524,366 fans through its gates, including a season-high 4,052 in a 1-0 win over Temple (Sept. 5). PSU welcomed 5,944 fans on opening weekend in wins over Oakland and St. John's, while nearly 2,000 saw Penn State defeat Ohio State. The Nittany Lions are averaging 2,143 fans per game in six contests.

At Jeffrey Field, the Nittany Lions are known to keep an even tighter lid on their own net than on the road. Senior goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton has allowed just eight goals in 1,591 minutes of action since the beginning of 2013 (0.45 GAA), collecting 50 saves through those 16 home games (14-1-1). Wolverton and the Nittany Lions conceded their first goal at home in over 614 minutes against Penn. The Quakers were the first opponent to score more than a single goal at Jeffrey Field since Oct. 27, 2012 (Ohio State, 4-4 draw). The shutout streak spanned 333 days.

Penn State has been near the top of the national charts in multiple statistical categories this season.

Team Ranks
Win Percentage: 1st (.950)
Team GAA: 4th (0.29)
Shutout Percentage: 3rd (0.80)
Save Percentage: 4th (.930)
Total Assists: 5th (23)
Total Points: 8th (63)
Total Goals: 12th (20)

Connor Maloney Ranks
Game-Winning Goals: 2nd (4)
Total Goals: 7th (7)
Total Points: 11th (16)

Andrew Wolverton Ranks
GAA: 4th (0.23)
Save Percentage: 3rd (.943)

Brian James Ranks
Total Assists: 10th (5)

Mikey Minutillo Ranks
Total Points: 15th (14)

Connor Maloney and Mikey Minutillo are stop the Big Ten charts in goals and points. Maloney has seven goals and 16 points, while Minutillo is in second with five goals and 14 points. As for assists, Brian James leads the conference there with five helpers, while Minutillo is second with four. Drew Klingenberg and Mark Wadid are tied for third in the conference with three assists each.

The Nittany Lions feature one of the top goalkeepers in the nation with senior Andrew Wolverton patrolling the goal area. The 2013 Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year and NSCAA All-Great Lakes First Team honoree has returned with a pair of career Penn State records in his sights, one of which was achieve at Michigan.

Wolverton currently sits first in PSU records in goals-against average (0.70) and shutouts (230). Already the single-season record holder in shutouts (12 in 2012), Wolverton eclipsed the career record in front of his family on Sunday, Sept. 28 with a clean sheet against Michigan.

As for GAA, Wolverton looks to break Whit Gibson's mark of 0.78 set during his two seasons in Happy Valley (1998-99). Wolverton's save percentage is also impressive at .815 to back up a 34-17-8 career record in net.

This season, Wolverton is 8-0-0 with seven shutouts and was the only goalkeeper in NCAA Division I men's soccer to not concede a goal until Sept. 24 vs. Penn. Nevertheless, Wolverton saved eight of 10 shots on frame in that game.

Among the elite coaches in the sport for the last three decades, head coach Bob Warming is back for his fifth season at Penn State. Warming has an incredible coaching pedigree, including 436career Division I victories -- third all-time among active DI coaches and ninth all-time at D-I. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013 after leading PSU to a pair of league titles.

At Penn State, Warming picked up win No. 50 as the Lions won 3-0 over Saint Francis on Tuesday, Sept. 16. He is 54-28-11 at PSU.

Penn State re-emerged in the NSCAA Top 10 on Tuesday, Sept. 16 in the No. 10 spot. This week Penn State moved up three spots to No. 4 and received two first-place votes. In other polls, the Lions are 3rd (College Soccer News), 4th (Soccer America), 6th (Top Drawer Soccer) and 9th (Bennett Rank). PSU checked in at 15 in the first NCAA RPI standings.

Penn State earns its first week-long break of the season heading into a tough match at Big Ten newcomer Maryland on Sunday, Oct. 12. The Nittany Lions and Terrapins will air live on Big Ten Network at 1 p.m. 

Last Updated October 03, 2014