Penn State women’s soccer hits the road for California trip
Penn State hits the road with a tough west coast trip against Stanford and Santa Clara. The Nittany Lions travel to California with sky-high expectations as the No.8 in the country. This week will show how high the ceiling is for this team.
Penn State takes a three-game winning streak into Northern California. The Nittany Lions have hit the ground running, starting the year 3-0-1 with wins against Duquesne, No. 21 West Virginia, Monmouth and a tie against No. 19 Georgetown.
This is a veteran group that has had a lot of success at Penn State. This squad is a year removed from going 12-8-1 and falling short in the Sweet 16 against South Carolina, losing 2-0.
With stars like Payton Linnehan, Ally Schlegel, Maddie Myers, Rachel Wasserman, and Katherine Asman returning, there is no reason this team shouldn’t make a run for a Big Ten title.
However, the toughness of this team will be put to the test this weekend. For the first time this year, the Nittany Lions will play a game, not in the state of Pennsylvania or New Jersey. They will fly cross country to face two formidable opponents in Stanford and Santa Clara.
Penn State didn’t have a cupcake schedule to start their season. They already have faced two teams in the coaches poll top 25 and have fared well against both. However, Stanford is a different animal.
The Cardinal are 3-0 including a 5-1 victory over U.C. Santa Barbara. Stanford is No.12 in the country for a reason. This is an electric offense that has their minds set on making a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
The Australian native, Amy Sayer, is someone Penn State will have to gameplan against. Two years after making the All-Pac 12 freshman team, she has taken the next step forward and has become one of the premiere goal scorers for the Cardinal.
Sayer is tied for the team lead with Samantha Williams and Lumi Kostmayer. All three of them have three goals on the young season.
Penn State is a strong defensive team with a redshirt senior in net with Katherine Asman. It will be interesting to see how they stack up against a team that prides itself on offense. Stanford is averaging 4.33 goals per contest to start the year.
Two different playing styles will square off Thursday night.
Santa Clara Broncos
Santa Clara isn’t on the same level as the Cardinal but is still going to be a good test for this Penn State team. The Broncos have started the season off on the wrong foot going 1-3 to start the season.
Unlike Stanford, Santa Clara has had trouble finding the back of the net, only tallying one goal this season, which came in the 1-0 season opener victory against San Jose State.
Believe it or not, the Broncos were ranked as high as No. 5 to start the season. The talent is there, but they haven’t put it together this season.
If Penn State goes into the Bay Area with the wrong mindset and sleepwalks, they could be leaving Santa Clara with a loss. Don’t let the record fool you; this is not a bad team.
If Penn State wants to make this a season to remember, they need to beat teams like this. Victories against Stanford and Santa Clara on the road would put the rest of the country on notice.
Aidan Torok is a third-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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