No. 6 women's soccer hosts Rutgers Saturday on BTN

October 10, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The No. 6 Penn State women's soccer team (12-1-0, 7-0 Big Ten) returns to Jeffrey Field on Saturday (Oct. 11) with a 4:30 p.m. match against No. 20 Rutgers (9-1-1, 5-1-1 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions will look to extend their perfect Big Ten record in a nationally televised broadcast on BTN with Dan Kelly, Kate Markgraf and Glenn Crooks on the call.

The match is the Nittany Lions' Kick for a Cure, benefitting the Pennsylvania Pink Zone. Every Nittany Lion's game-worn pink jersey will be available in a silent auction that will be held until the end of half time with all proceeds donated to the Pennsylvania Pink Zone, which fights against cancer.

Due to multiple conflicts on Penn State's University Park campus, fans are asked to park in the lot adjacent to Beaver Stadium and Jeffrey Field off of Stadium Way, and identify that they are attending the women's soccer match to park for free. Attendees are welcome to use their women's soccer ticket for free admission to the Penn State women's hockey game at 7 p.m.

No. 20 Rutgers comes to University Park riding a six-game unbeaten streak and experiencing its best start since 2009. The Scarlet Knights are one of the best defensive teams in the country, posting the fourth-best shutout percentage (0.727) and Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week Casey Murphy's fifth-lowest goals against average (0.36).

Penn State holds a 7-3-1 all-time series advantage over Rutgers. The teams' last meeting was on Sept. 6, 2009, when the Scarlet Knights shut out the Nittany Lions, 1-0.

The Nittany Lions take home field advantage to the next level. The team is 197-22-9 all-time at Jeffrey Field, losing just two matches in the past three seasons and shutting out visitors in 18 of 37 matches.

The statistics certainly support a No. 6 national ranking for the Blue and White. Offensively, Penn State has been held to one-or-less goal just three times this season, netting 37 to lead the Big Ten (nine more than second-place Wisconsin). On the other side of the field, the Nittany Lions have only allowed more than one goal once this season for the team's best defensive start since 2007.

The Nittany Lions' backline has been one of its strongest points this season, led by centerbacks and Virginia natives Whitney Church (Ashburn, Va.) and Elizabeth Ball (Richmond, Va.). Church, a senior, leads Penn State with 1,127 minutes logged. Ball, who came to University Park as two-time All-American striker, has helped the Blue and White to six shutouts and just nine goals against in 13 matches.

Britt Eckerstrom (Germantown, Md.) was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week after shutouts against Minnesota and No. 13 Wisconsin. This is the first weekly honor of Eckerstrom's career. Eckerstrom has not allowed a goal in her last 200 minutes on the pitch.

Sophomore Salina Williford (Wayne, Pa.) has emerged as an integral part of Penn State's attack. After playing in the back last season, Williford has started every 2014 match in the midfield and has almost tripled her shot total from her freshman year (26 in 2014, 9 in 2013). Additionally, she scored the first four goals of her career in a four-game span (against Ohio State, Northwestern, No. 19 Illinois and No. 13 Wisconsin), including the 2-1 game-winner against Illinois.

Freshman Frannie Crouse (Greensburg, Pa.) has made her mark in the Penn State record books with a fantastic start to her collegiate career. Crouse is the first freshman in program history to win back-to-back Big Ten Freshman of the Week titles after scoring five goals in one week against Bucknell, Northwestern and No. 19 Illinois. She netted a pair against Ohio State to garner her first Freshman of the Week title. Crouse's offensive prowess has proven to be historic. She is the first freshman since 2003 to score seven-or-more goals in the opening 11 games of her collegiate career.

Penn State's 12-1 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 only undefeated season to date (23-0-2), eventually falling in the Women's College Cup to Portland on penalty kicks (4-3).

Junior Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) is a member of the Costa Rican Women's National Team and is currently competing for Costa Rica in preparation for the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship in an attempt to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Rodriguez won't be the only Nittany Lion to don their country's colors in 2014.

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.

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Last Updated October 10, 2014