Penn State women’s soccer look to make it three straight against Michigan State
The vibes could not be higher in the Penn State locker room.
Following back-to-back victories against conference opponents, the Nittany Lions are now ranked No. 6 in the country.
Among those victories was perhaps the biggest win of the season for the blue and white: a 2-0 upset over then-No. 4 Rutgers.
The latter of the two goals was scored by fifth-year forward Penelope Hocking, who had a big week for the Nittany Lions.
Along with that goal, Hocking scored in the first minute of Penn State’s next match against Illinois. The USC transfer went on to score two goals in the 5-0 win.
That allowed Hocking to earn the title of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, one of three honors the Nittany Lions picked up from last week.
Goalkeeper Katherine Asman won Goalkeeper of the Week and defender Mieke Schiemann won Defensive Player of the Week.
With those honors added to the trophy case, the Nittany Lions have all the momentum in the world with Michigan State on deck.
Like the Nittany Lions, the Spartans only have one loss on the season so far.
That came in a close 1-0 loss against then-ranked No. 11 Arkansas on the road.
The Spartans have two wins and a draw to start conference play thus far, with their last contest netting a win against Purdue.
In the 3-1 fixture, the Boilermakers struck first before the Spartans tallied three unanswered goals.
None of those three goals came from the team’s leaders in that department.
Both Lauren DeBeau and Camryn Evans have six goals and an assist on the season, leading the team with 13 points.
The real battle of the contest will be Penn State’s potent offense against Michigan State goalkeeper Lauren Kozal.
Kozal was one of the best goalkeepers in the country last season as she came away with the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Award.
Now a redshirt senior, Kozal will have her hands full against Hocking and Ally Schlegel.
Last year, the Spartans fell 2-1 against the Nittany Lions in the regular season finale with Schlegel and Ellie Wheeler scoring for the blue and white.
It will be a tough test for Penn State in front of the home crowd as it looks to keep a hot start in conference play.
Logan Bourandas is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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