#14 Penn State Women's Soccer 2014 Preview

Penn State Nittany Lions

Overall Rank: #14
#2 Big Ten
#14 Penn State Women's Soccer 2014 Preview
Penn State Team Page


Penn State went to their 19th straight NCAA Tournament in 2013. They were upset in the second round by Wake Forest, but the Nittany Lions should be able to make it 20 in a row. There are some massive holes to fill, but once again Coach Erica Walsh has brought in a great recruiting class that will be able to fill in those gaps right away.

2013 Record: 15-7-1, 7-4-0
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Erica Walsh

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Mallory Weber, Junior, F, 7
Assists: Raquel Rodriguez, Junior, F/M, 9
Shots: Raquel Rodriguez, Junior, F/M, 48
Saves: Britt Eckerstrom, Junior, GK, 94

Other Key Returnees: F/M Kori Chapic, M Emily Hurd, M/D Salina Williford, D Whitney Church, D Brittany Basinger

Key Losses: F Maya Hayes, F Tani Costa, F/M Taylor Schram, D Bri Hovington

Even without Maya Hayes, Tani Costa and Taylor Schram, who scored 34 of Penn State’s 60 goals in 2013, this should be one of the most potent offenses in the Big Ten. Mallory Weber and Raquel Rodriguez will lead the new look offense. Weber had to take a backseat to Hayes during her first two years at Penn State, but she still scored 20 goals during that time. With most of the shots falling to her feet now, expect big things in 2014. Rodriguez led the Lions with nine assists and she has started to turn into a pretty efficient scorer too and found the back of the net six times during her sophomore season. Quite a few options will come out of the recruiting class to help bolster the attack. Madeline Elliston, Emily Ogle, Katy Keen, Haleigh Echard, Elizabeth Ball and Megan Schafer are all highly regarded midfield or forward recruits who have the potential to make an impact for the offense.

Penn State is going to give up goals. Three times last year the team allowed three goals or more and they did lose all three of those games. The offense is potent enough to overcome one or two goals, but more than that is asking a lot…even for this team. Keeper Britt Eckerstrom allowed 30 goals in 23 games and that is not too bad considering all of the shots fired her way. The hope is experienced defenders like Salina Williford, Whitney Church and Brittany Basinger can make Eckerstrom a little less busy in the back.

Final Projection:
Penn State is not taking it easy when it comes to the schedule. They play West Virginia, Syracuse, Connecticut, North Carolina and Duke before opening up Big Ten play. The Lady Lions have to travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan, but the rest of the Big Ten slate is relatively friendly. Nebraska and Illinois, widely considered the top teams behind Michigan and Penn State, travel to Happy Valley. There are reasons not to be too high on this team, but the talent is simply immense and Coach Walsh will have them playing great soccer by tournament time.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 2.61 (6th in nation, 1st in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 1.274 (160, 7)
Shutout Percentage: 0.261 (207, 8)
Save Percentage: 0.767 (190, 8)

Madness 2015 NWSL Draft Rankings:
#7 Whitney Church
#34 Emily Hurd

Madness 2014 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#6 Madeline Elliston
#33 Emily Ogle
#60 Katy Keen
#62 Haleigh Echard
#67 Britne Holderby
#85 Elizabeth Ball


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