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Women's Recruiting Jun 20, 2023

Penn State signs All-Big Ten midfielder Rowan Lapi on transfer from Northwestern

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State women’s soccer head coach Erica Dambach has welcomed Northwestern transfer and All-Big Ten Second Team midfielder Rowan Lapi to the 2023 Nittany Lion roster.

“Rowan Lapi has proven to be one of the top midfielders in the Big Ten Conference,” Dambach said. “We are incredibly fortunate that she has chosen to join us after a spectacular career at Northwestern. She is a physical specimen, as well as an incredible talent on and off the ball. She fits right in with our blue-collar mentality and matches up well with all the core values we look for in a Nittany Lion women’s soccer player. She will add to an already dangerous midfield group that we have in place here in Happy Valley.”

A versatile two-way player for the Wildcats over the past four seasons, the Reinholds, Pennsylvania, native returns home to the Keystone State looking to add to an already decorated career. Fresh off her most productive collegiate campaign to date, Lapi heads to Happy Valley after landing Second Team All-Big Ten Recognition in 2022 in addition to Third Team All-North Region honors according to United Soccer Coaches. She tallied a career-high six goals last year in addition to four game-winners, the most on NU’s roster and second-most in the Big Ten Conference.

(+READ: NCAA scoring champion and All-American Rebecca Cooke transfers to Penn State)

“I chose Penn State to continue my soccer career because, first and foremost, it feels like home,” Lapi expressed. “It’s a special feeling growing up in Pennsylvania and now having the opportunity to come back and play for the university whose soccer and football games I’ve attended since I was two years old. Not only is it a dream, it’s an honor to have the opportunity to play at the highest level of college soccer and wear the Blue & White with a program that consistently competes for championships. I know that in Happy Valley, I’ll be surrounded by the best staff, resources and support that will help me grow, both as a player and as a person.”

Over the course of her career in Evanston, Lapi appeared in 58 matches for the Wildcats and made 52 starts, including starts in each of the last 44. Her career includes 22 total points split between nine goals scored and four assists, securing career-best marks in all three statistics a season ago. Lapi placed 12 shots on goal in 2022, also a career-high mark, while playing nearly 2,000 minutes in the field for NU. Lapi owns 4,374 minutes played heading into the second stint of her career in Happy Valley. As a recruit, Lapi picked up a four-star rating according to TopDrawerSoccer and played club soccer with Penn Fusion SA in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

With Lapi’s leadership and guidance paving the way in the midfield, Northwestern rose to the No. 2 spot in the Big Ten Conference standings last year and was within striking distance of the top spot in the league until the final week of competition. The Wildcats built a 16-5-2 season in 2022 and went 7-2-1 in B1G matches, registering a .750 winning percentage in league play. Lapi helped guide NU to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, falling to the eventual champion Nittany Lions in a 2-0 result, as well as an NCAA Third Round appearance in the Los Angeles Region. Since Lapi joined the squad, Northwestern improved its win total in each of the past three years.

Lapi will look to become an immediate contributor to one of the nation’s deepest and most experienced midfields. Led by fifth-year team captains Cori Dyke and Kate Wiesner in addition to rising senior Natalie Wilson, the Blue & White return multiple All-B1G caliber athletes that combined for over 4,700 minutes of time in the field in addition to seven goals and 15 combined assists. PSU’s midfield playmakers helped guide the Nittany Lions to the top of the Big Ten and the No. 12 spot nationally with 2.39 assists per match over the course of the 2022 campaign.