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National champion Nittany Lions set to host Penn State Invitational

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 2 Penn State women’s soccer team kicks off the 2016 season with the annual Penn State Invitational this Friday (Aug. 19) and Sunday (Aug. 21). The No. 2 Nittany Lions begin the year under the lights at Jeffrey Field with a rematch of a 2015 NCAA Quarterfinal round matchup with the No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers Friday night at 7:30 p.m. No. 2 Penn State closes out the weekend with a contest against the Hofstra Pride Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

The Mountaineers return to Happy Valley after a 2-0 loss in the 2015 NCAA Quarterfinal round against the Nittany Lions on Nov. 28, 2015. West Virginia enters the 2016 campaign ranked sixth in the NSCAA preseason poll. The Mountaineers will be without the services of Canadian Olympians Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence. The Canadian duo of Buchanan and Lawrence will be competing for the Bronze medal against host Brazil Friday, Aug. 19, at noon EDT.

Penn State vs. West Virginia : Live Video (BTN) | Live Stats

The 2015 season featured the Mountaineers setting program records in wins (19), shutouts (15) and goals (61). Eighteen letterwinners return from the 2015 campaign for WVU.

The Hofstra Pride finished the 2015 season with a record of 13-6-2 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time under head coach Simon Riddiough. The Pride looked to be led by senior Jil Mulholland, a First Team All-Colonial Athletic Association member. The Pride opened the 2015 campaign at the Penn State Invitational falling to PSU in the opener 2-1 and dropping a 1-0 contest against Rutgers.

Penn State vs. Hofstra: Live Video | Live Stats

Friday night’s match against No. 6 West Virginia will be aired live on the Big Ten Network with Lisa Byington and Jackie Santacaterina on the call. Fans can watch the No. 2 Penn State/Hofstra match live on on Sunday afternoon.

Prior to Friday night’s match, fans will be able to take a photo with both 2015 Big Ten trophies and the 2015 NCAA trophy. At halftime, the Nittany Lions are scheduled to honor Penn State women’s soccer alumni that are in attendance.

Fans that attend Friday night’s contest, can receive a copy of the 2016 schedule poster, a decal of the Penn State women’s soccer crest for the first 1,250 fans, and there will be free pizza and t-shirts for the first 500 Penn State students.

The Nittany Lions continue their season-opening homestand Sunday, Aug. 21, against Hofstra. Prior to the Hofstra match, the Nittany Lions will have a tailgate for the Centre Soccer Association. Following the Hofstra match, the Nittany Lions will be hosting their first of three Sunday autograph sessions.

Admission and parking for all women’s soccer events are free. Fans are reminded that there is a no bag policy in place on stadium grounds.

The Nittany Lions did not allow a goal over the final 733:32 of the 2015 season. Penn State ended the year with an eight-match shutout scoreless streak. The Nittany Lions set a program-best 10-straight matches without allowing a goal during the 2004 season (1032:33).

The Nittany Lions are no strangers to hosting a top-10 showdown at Jeffrey Field in their program history. Since the start of the 2005 season, Penn State, while ranked in the top-10, has hosted seven opponents also ranked in the top-10.

Most recently, the No. 6 Nittany Lions played host to the top-ranked Stanford Cardinal on Aug. 24, 2012. The Cardinal edged the Nittany Lions, 3-2, with a go-ahead goal in the final minutes of play. The match against the Cardinal set the program record for attendance with 5,117 fans.

Six years earlier, future Olympian Alyssa Naeher started her first game as a true freshman for the Blue and White in showdown with the No. 2 UCLA Bruins on Aug. 25, 2006. The No. 3 Nittany Lions defeated the No. 2 Bruins, 3-1, in front of 3,208 fans, which was an attendance record at the time for the Nittany Lions.  Also starting for the Nittany Lions against the Bruins was future world champion and Olympian Ali Krieger.

Since the first year of the program in 1994, the Nittany Lions have posted a record of 15-6-1 in season openers, a tally of 18-2-2 in home openers and they are 11-0-1 starting the year at home.

The Penn State women’s soccer program has a record of 54-4-4 at Jeffrey Field since the start of the 2011 season. Over the past five seasons, Penn State has not lost twice at home in a single season.

All-time at Jeffrey Field the Penn State women’s soccer team has an overall record of 215-24-10.

Last season, the Nittany Lions finished sixth in overall attendance in the nation with 21,856 fans, which was a program-best.

The 2015 season featured two of the top-10 home field crowds in program history.

Penn State opened the 2015 season with a crowd of 3,175 against Hofstra and 4,207 fans packed into Jeffrey Field to watch the Nittany Lions host Duke.

Head coach Erica Dambach welcomed nine freshmen to the Penn State women’s soccer family for the class of 2020.

Amanda Dennis and Emma Hasco enrolled early to Penn State during the spring of 2016.

Becca Hamilton, Madison Moroi, Bristol Pizzuto, Laura Suero and Sarafina Valenti joined the Nittany Lions back on signing day in February.

Grace Fisk and Laura Freigang were the last to join the Penn State women’s soccer family as they joined the program in August.

Brittany Basinger, Nickolette Driesse and Megan Schafer will captain the Nittany Lions for the 2016 season.

The 2016 season marks the 23rd year of varsity women’s soccer for Penn State. Heading into the 2016 campaign, the Nittany Lions have posted an overall record of 399-103-29 and Coach Dambach has tallied a record of 197-78-13 during her time as a head coach at Penn State, Harvard and Dartmouth.

According to the 2016 Big Ten preseason coaches’ poll, the Penn State women’s soccer team was selected to defend its 2015 Big Ten regular season championship.

Since the preseason poll started in 2003, the Nittany Lions have been named the preseason favorites every time.

The 2016 Penn State women’s soccer roster is comprised of nine freshmen, one redshirt freshman, seven sophomores, one redshirt sophomore, eight juniors, three redshirt juniors and one senior.

Junior forward Megan Schafer was named to the 2016 MAC HERMANN Trophy Watch List prior to the start of the 2016 campaign.

During her 2015 season, Schafer led the Nittany Lions in goals (13) and points (30). Six of her 13 goals during 2015 captured a victory for the Blue & White.

As a sophomore, she started 24 of 27 matches and netted at least one point in 11 of the final 17 matches on the year.

Heading into the 2016 season, Frannie Crouse and Megan Schafer both rank in the top-25 in career points with Penn State women’s soccer.

Crouse currently ranks 21st with 51 points (21g, 9a) and Schafer ranks 24th with 47 (19g, 9a) points.

The Nittany Lion duo also rank in the top-20 in game-winning goals as Schafer ranks 17th with eight and Crouse is 18th with seven.

The Nittany Lion underclassmen accounted for 46 of the team’s 64 goals last season, which also includes 17 of the 20 goals scored in the NCAA Tournament.

During Penn State’s run to the National Title last season, the Nittany Lions outscored the opposition, 20-0 and outshot the opposition, 108-43. Only 13 of their opponents shots during the NCAA Tournament were on goal.

The Nittany Lions enter the 2016 season as the No. 2 team in the nation according to the NSCAA.

The 2016 schedule features No. 6 West Virginia (Aug. 19), No. 10 Rutgers (Oct. 13), No. 16 BYU (Aug. 26) and No. 23 Ohio State (Oct. 26).

The 2016 season marks the 10th season for head coach Erica Dambach at the helm of the Penn State women’s soccer program.

Heading into the 2016 season, Dambach has tallied an overall record of 157-50-13 and a record of 80-14-3 in Big Ten play.

The Penn State women’s soccer team will be featured three times during the regular season on the Big Ten Network.

The BTN regular season matches for the Nittany Lions will be West Virginia (Aug. 19 – 7:30 p.m. EDT), Minnesota (Sept. 16 – 8 p.m. EDT) and Rutgers (Oct. 13 – 7 p.m. EDT).

The 2015 season was a banner year for the Nittany Lions as they brought home the national championship along with both Big Ten titles.

The Nittany Lions continue their season-opening homestand with No. 16 BYU on Aug. 26. The match is slated for a 7 p.m. start inside Jeffrey Field.

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