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Don't count out Penn State yet
September 24th, 2009 8:15AM



WOMEN'S NEWS ... Penn State's 0-0 tie with Bucknell left it with a 4-4-1 record heading into Big Ten play against No. 13 Michigan State on Sunday (TV: Big Ten Network, live, 12 pm ET). It isn't where the Nittany Lions, ranked sixth in the Soccer America Preseason Top 25 would like to be, but they have played the toughest schedule in the country.

Penn State has already beaten two Top 25 teams, No. 14 Virginia and No. 16 Connecticut, and its two other wins are over Boston University, which won the 2008 America East title, and James Madison, which reached the final 16 in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Lions lost to three teams in this week's Top 25, No. 6 Florida State, No. 17 Wake Forest and No. 20 Rutgers, and the fourth loss was to West Virginia, which had been ranked every week up and until this week.

Soccer America MVP Alyssa Naeher extended her shutout streak in goal to 334 minutes, but the Nittany Lions cannot buy a goal. They had 30 shots against Bucknell but couldn't score. The Lions would have lost but Bucknell's Christa Matlack hit the post after she had dribbled around the sprawling Naeher.

Scoring has been the Lions' problem. They only have 11 goals in nine games. Katie Schoepfer, who entered the season with 34 goals for Penn State, has scored only once in nine games.

Wednesday's Results

* LOBOS REMAIN UNBEATEN. One of the hottest teams in women's soccer is New Mexico, which matched its win total of each of the last four seasons with its eighth victory (to go along with two ties) in a 3-1 victory over Northern Colorado on Wednesday.

Sophomore Jennifer Williams has been a big factor in the Lobos' success. Her goal 235 seconds into Wednesday's game was her sixth gamewinner of the season. The biggest win of the season came last Sunday when the Lobos won at Texas, 1-0, thanks to -- you guessed it -- another Williams goal.

Coach Kit Vela was particularly impressed how her players responded after the disappointment of tying Rice, 1-1, two days earlier when they gave up a goal in the 88th minute. "They played hard for 90 minutes," she said, "and never let down."

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