Women's College Cup Preview: Penn State-Rutgers

A pair of Big Ten teams will square off in the opening semifinal at the Women's College Cup in Cary, North, Carolina, on Friday (TV: 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU) as Penn State and Rutgers meet for the third time this season. Something will have to give in the rubber match as neither team has conceded a goal in the NCAA Tournament.

They split the season series as Rutgers took their regular-season meeting in October, 1-0, but Penn State came back to win, 2-0, in the Big Ten Championship match.

Penn State has rolled over its four opponents in the NCAA Tournament by a margin of 19-0. Costa Rican star Raquel Rodriguez pulls the strings for the Nittany Lions in an attack that features Megan Schafer (13 goals) and Frannie Crouse (10). Mallory Weber led the Bug Ten with 10 assists.

The Scarlet Knights survived a tense shootout against No. 1 seed Virginia -- they missed their first two shots and watched as Makenzy Doniak hit the crossbar with a chance to win it for the Cavaliers in the fifth round -- to advance to the Women's College Cup for the first time.

Since it opened the season with eight straight shutouts, defense has carried Rutgers to its best season ever. Its 19 wins surpass the old record of 16 set in 2006. Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Casey Murphy has been in goal for every minute as Rutgers led the nation with the lowest goals-against average (0.31) and its 19 shutouts were tied for seventh all-time in NCAA history in a single season.

Penn State:
PROBABLE STARTERS
28 Britt Eckerstrom SR Germantown, Md.
1 Brittany Basinger
SO  Purcellville, Va.
3 Kaleigh Riehl FR Fairfax Station, Va.
5 Maddie Elliston SO Omaha, Neb.
7 Elizabeth Ball SO Richmond, Va.
10 Emily Ogle SO Strongsville, Ohio
11 Raquel Rodriguez Costa Rica
23 Nickolette Driesse JR Wayne, N.J.
4 Megan Schafer SO Langhorne, Pa.
9 Frannie Crouse SO Greensburg, Pa.
16 Mallory Weber SR Novi, Mich.
KEY RESERVES
12 Charlotte Williams
FR Rochester, N.Y.
14 Ellie Jean FR Coventry, Conn.
15 Haleigh Echard SO Lebanon, Pa.

Rutgers:
PROBABLE STARTERS
23 Casey Murphy SO Bridgewater, N.J.
3 Erica Skroski  SR Galloway, N.J.
22 Brianne Reed SR Tinton Falls, N.J.
9 Kenie Wright FR Mount Laurel, N.J.
15 Erin Smith JR Medford Lakes, N.J.
13 Maggie Morash SR Bernardsville, N.J.
11 Hayley Katkowski SR Westford, Mass.
14 Samantha Valliant SR Markham, Ont.
16 Cassie Inacio GS Manalapan, N.J.
73 Madison Tiernan JR Voorhees, N.J.
4 Colby Ciarrocca SO Montgomery, N.J.
KEY RESERVES
17 Jennifer Andresen JR Wyckoff, N.J.
8 Cassidy Benintente SR Jackson, N.J.
50 Courtney Norton SO Mount Laurel, N.J
36 Tori Prager JR Mount Laurel, N.J.
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