Women’s soccer faces Florida State in national semifinals Friday

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Top-seeded Penn State women’s soccer advances to its fourth ever Women’s College Cup and will play Florida State at 8:30 p.m. EST Friday (Nov. 30) in San Diego, Calif. The Nittany Lions will be appearing in the Women’s College Cup for the first time since 2005. Penn State also made appearances in 1999 and 2002. With a victory, the Lions would take on the winner of North Carolina and Stanford in the National Championship game.

Friday’s 8:30 EST/5:30 PST contest can be viewed on ESPN3, an online broadcast. Just log on to ESPN3.com and fans will be prompted for their cable service provider and account information to receive the free, online and HD broadcast from ESPN. DirectTV and Dish customers will not have access to the game. Additionally, the game will be available via tape delay on Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPNU. Beth Mowins and former U.S. National Team players Julie Foudy and Cat Whitehill will call the action from Torero Stadium on the University of San Diego campus.

Penn State earned a 1-0 victory over the Duke Blue Devils on Friday night to earn its fourth ever trip to the Women’s College Cup. Senior midfielder Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.) scored the game winning goal on a penalty kick in the 13th minute. A very talented Duke team controlled the majority of the second half, as Penn State dropped back a fourth defender shortly after Nairn’s goal in the first half. The Blue Devils recorded 19 shots, but a patient Nittany Lion defense held its ground and senior keeper Erin McNulty was brilliant in goal, making five big saves. With the win, Penn State improved to 3-0-0 against ACC teams this season.

Appearing in its 18th-straight Big Ten Tournament, the Nittany Lions are making their fourth appearance in the College Cup, while reaching the Quarterfinals on nine occasions and the third round 11 times. Overall, Penn State is 35-16-2 in the NCAA Tournament. Penn State’s last appearance in the national semifinals came on Dec. 2, 2005 where it tied top-seed Portland but lost 4-3 on penalty kicks.

Sixth year head coach Erica Walsh will be making her first ever appearance in the College Cup as a head coach. Walsh has been to the College Cup as an assistant at Florida State in 2005. Graduate goalkeeper Erin McNulty (Winnipeg, Manitoba) will also be making her second appearance in a College Cup, as she was the starting keeper for a Florida State team that reached the championship game in 2007.

Winner of 15-straight Big Ten titles, Penn State sports the nation’s top-ranked scoring attack, averaging 2.92 goals per contest. Nairn is one of two players in the College Cup that has posted double-digit figures in goals and assists along with Stanford’s Courtney Verloo. Joining Nairn in the potent Nittany Lion attach is junior Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.), who has tallied 15 goal and six assists for the 2012 campaign after playing a pivotal role in helping the U.S. U-20 National Team win the World Cup back in September.

Florida State enters this Friday’s match with a 20-3-0 record after finishing 8-2-0 in a very difficult Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles were 8-2-0 against ranked opponents with those two losses coming to No. 24 Boston College and No. 7 Virginia. The Nittany Lions earned victories this year over both of those squads. The Seminoles picked up wins over Mississippi Valley State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Notre Dame to earn a trip to the College Cup. Florida State is led by Tiffany McCarty, who has tallied 37 total points on the year, coming on 16 goals and five assists. Dagny Bryjarsdottir is second on the team with nine goals and nine assists. Kelsey Wys will get the start in goal, as she has given up an average of 0.63 goals per contest this season.

This will be the fourth ever matchup between Florida State and the Nittany Lions. The Seminoles have won the last two contests, most recently winning by a count of 2-1 on Sept. 4, 2009. In the first ever matchup between the programs, Penn State escaped Tallahassee with a 2-1 victory back on Aug. 31, 2003.

With a victory on Friday, Penn State will take on the winner of Stanford and North Carolina in the National Championship game on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. ESTT/1 p.m. PST. That contest will be broadcasted live on ESPNU.

For complete coverage of Penn State women’s soccer, please visit http://www.GoPSUsports.com/sports/w-soccer.

Follow Penn State women’s soccer on Twitter: @PennStateWSOC.

Follow Penn State women’s soccer on Facebook: www.facebook.com/PSUWomensSoccer.

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