Penn State Soccer Surging into Postseason
Both Penn State men’s and women’s soccer teams have made it to the round of 32 in its NCAA tournaments.
The men earned a bye along with the tournament’s No. 12 overall seed after they were crowned Big Ten tournament champions. The women defeated Monmouth at home 3-1 to advance to the round of 32.
The women were led by the return of junior midfielder Payton Linnehan from injury who scored the game-winning goal for the Nittany Lions against the Hawks.
In the Big Ten championship game, the men’s team defeated Indiana for a 3-0 victory in their last time out.
Senior midfielder Seth Kuhn scored his fifth goal in as many games on his way to being named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Tournament while junior goalkeeper Kris Shakes secured his fourth straight clean sheet leading to Big Ten Defensive Player of the Tournament honors.
The round of 32 will present new challenges for both the men’s and women’s teams and test to see if they have what it takes to make deep playoff runs.
Penn State Men’s Soccer Versus Hofstra
The Penn State men’s soccer team will take on Hofstra after the Pride downed Lipscomb 4-2 in the round of 48.
Hofstra trailed 2-1 at halftime but rattled off three unanswered goals in five minutes to launch the team into the round of 32.
Hofstra has an impressive 17-1-2 record this season but has only played one ranked team in No. 23 James Madison. Hofstra also hosted that match, winning 1-0.
As expected, Hofstra won the Colonial Athletic Association conference tournament.
The Pride is led by sophomore forward Ryan Carmichael who has played and started in all 20 matches for Hofstra. He leads the team in goals with 14 including the game-winner against Lipscomb.
Penn State will have to limit a Hofstra attack that averages 2.4 goals per game on 15.5 shots. If the Nittany Lions can limit that shot total, they should be in a good position to advance to the round of 16.
Kris Shakes has played well down the stretch for Penn State, but it will take positive performances from all of the Nittany Lion defenders to hold back a surging Hofstra offense.
The Nittany Lions have enjoyed the comfort of Jeffrey Field over the past three matches outscoring opponents 7-0 on their way to the Big Ten tournament championship.
They will look for more of the same against The Pride at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Penn State Women’s Soccer at USC
Penn State’s women’s soccer team will have an upset on its mind in southern California when they take on USC. The Trojans are the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament and boast one of the best offenses in the nation.
The two-time national champions average 2.84 goals and 17.9 shots per game. Top scorer junior midfielder Croix Bethune’s 16 goals are double the most of any Penn State player.
The Nittany Lions will have to try and neutralize Bethune and USC’s other top scorer, senior forward Penelope Hocking who has 11 goals in just 14 games this season.
Penn State has been led by a duo of attackers in fifth-year senior midfielder Sam Coffey and redshirt junior forward Ally Schlegel but has recently been reunited with prolific scorer Linnehan.
Linnehan returned from injury and scored a goal in the match against Monmouth for the Nittany Lions.
The key for both teams will be to try and shut down the other’s handful of top scorers and force roll players to try and score goals.
This will be especially important for Penn State as they only play with three defenders at the back. The Nittany Lions will need their midfielders and even attacking players to help in defense if they want to pull off the upset at USC.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.