PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania men’s soccer team is back in action at Rhodes Field on Wednesday, hosting No. 21 Penn State at 7 p.m.
Five Things You Need to Know…The Quakers (0-4-1) and Nittany Lions (3-1-2) are meeting for the 32nd time overall. Penn is 6-23-2 all-time against Penn State.
The two teams have played seven of the last eight seasons, only a cancelled (weather) game in 2012 halting the streak. Penn’s lone win in the recent series was a 3-0 victory in 2008 at Rhodes Field.
Last year, the Nittany Lions won a high-scoring affair in State College, 6-2. Alec Neumann and Duke Lacroix scored for Penn, but the Nittany Lions had a quick answer for both of Penn’s goals – needing 1:30 after Lacroix scored and 1:18 after Neumann struck to negate any Penn momentum. Ultimately, it was three consecutive goals for Penn State which broke a 1-1 tie and sent the Nittany Lions on to the win in a game where the shots were 16-15 in favor of Penn State.
Penn is playing its third home game of 2015 – and its third against a ranked opponent. No other Ivy League team has played more than two matches against ranked opponents to this point in 2015.
In total, of Penn’s five matches played in 2015 four have been against teams ranked in this week’s NSCAA Division I Top-25.
The Nittany Lions are 0-1-1 away from Happy Valley this season, including a 2-0 loss at Temple on Sept. 4. Most recently, Penn State played to a 1-1 draw at Ohio State on Sunday. Already two matches into Big Ten play, the Nittany Lions – an NCAA Tournament qualifier last season – are 1-0-1 in conference play.
Penn State is averaging one goal-per-game, with Mac Curran leading the Nittany Lions with a pair of goals and two game-winning strikes. Connor Maloney, 2014 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, has one penalty kick goal to his credit this season after connecting for 10 markers last year.
In goal, Matt Bersano has played every minute for Penn State in his first season in State College. He has allowed four goals (0.62 GAA) and has a .867 save percentage. Bersano has a wealth of collegiate experience after spending four years at Oregon State and graduating with his undergraduate degree in May. He was twice named All-Pac-12 and helped the Beavers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.