Penn State Women's Soccer 2012 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Penn State Nittany Lions
Big Ten


The beat goes on in State College for veteran head coach Erica Walsh as the 2012 Penn State Nittany Lions head into the postseason. The Nittany Lions once again took the Big Ten regular season championship and have cemented themselves as a bonafide national title contender in spite of a tough loss in the conference tournament to a very strong Illinois squad. The offense is very explosive and will be difficult for teams in the NCAA Tournament to handle.

2012 Record: 17-3-1, 10-0-1
Coach: Erica Walsh

Good Results: 8/17 at Virginia (3-1), 8/31 at West Virginia (2-1), 9/27 at Ohio State (3-0)
Bad Results: 9/8 at BYU (1-3), 10/21 Michigan (1-1), 11/2 vs Illinois (0-1)

Why They Can Surprise:
The diverse Penn State attack is led by the trifecta of Maya Hayes, who has scored 12 goals, Christine Nairn with 13 goals and nine assists and Mallory Weber with 12 goals. With a scoring average of about three goals a match, opponents are going to need the mindset of being ready to outscore the Nittany Lions versus grinding out a 1-0 type of match. Also, this Nittany Lion squad is battle tested with a win at Virginia and a down to the wire 3-2 loss to Stanford. Defensively, Erin McNulty is a strong presence in goal, holding opponents to under one goal per contest.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Penn State could run into a problem if they encounter a team that executes a strong defensive minded game plan that relies on running counter attacks. The Nittany Lions traditionally are very explosive in the attacking end of the field. When Penn State had issues in previous postseasons, it was when their opponents were able to slow down their attack.  Also, if the Nittany Lions don’t start fast it can also become very problematic as their backline then becomes more exposed and teams will try and convert scoring chances.

Key Strikers:
Maya Hayes, Junior, 12 goals, 5 assists
Tani Costa, Junior, 5 goals, 6 assists
Raquel Rodriguez, Freshman, 2 goals, 8 assists
Mallory Weber, Freshman, 12 goals, 2 assists

Key Midfielders:
Christine Nairn, Senior, 13 goals, 9 assists
Maddy Evans, Senior, 4 goals, 2 assists
Emily Hurd, Sophomore, 2 goals, 6 assists

Key Defenders:
Whitney Church, Sophomore, 2 goals, 1 assist
Bri Hovington, Junior, 0 goals, 0 assists

Key Goalkeepers:
Erin McNulty, Senior, 0.95 goals against average, .819 save percentage, 4 shutouts

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 3.16 (1st in nation, 1st in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.978 (85, 4)
Shutout Percentage: 0.368 (102, 5)
Save Percentage: 0.810 (99, 4)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
Penn State    2011    First Round        Defeated Army
Penn State    2011    Second Round    Defeated Marquette
Penn State    2011    Third Round        Lost to Wake Forest
Penn State    2010    First Round        Defeated Penn
Penn State    2010    Second Round    Lost to West Virginia
Penn State    2009    First Round        Defeated Colgate
Penn State    2009    Second Round    Lost to Virginia
Penn State    2008    First Round        Lost to Rutgers
Penn State    2007    First Round        Defeated Monmouth
Penn State    2007    Second Round    Defeated Hofstra
Penn State    2007    Third Round        Lost to West Virginia

*all team stats through 10/28


See All Women’s Soccer Postseason Capsules