It was a very very Happy Valley this weekend. The huge Penn State win over Ohio State in football, more on that later, was bracketed by several other athletic competitions.
The weekend started out with a doubleheader soccer match featuring Penn State and Northwestern in men’s soccer followed by Penn State and Illinois in women’s soccer at PSU’s Jeffrey Field. In the men’s match, the Nits defeated the Wildcats 4-1 to run their league record to 2-0 and keep them in first place in the Big Ten. UncleLar nephew David Gray scored his first career goal with a header off a free kick (David is a defender who doesn’t normally get scoring opportunities but because he is one of the taller players on the team he moves up front on free and corner kicks to attempt headers – this one worked perfectly).
In the women’s match, the Nits defeated the Illini 3-1 to run their league record to 5-0 and 13-0 overall. The women are the #2 ranked team in the country and, like the men, sit atop the league standings (they are actually shooting for their eighth consecutive league championship). UncleLar doesn’t have any nieces playing soccer for PSU this year (my last PSU soccer niece was Joanna Lohman, who graduated as an three time All-American and the Hermann Award runner-up, soccer’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy). PSU does have one huge star this year though. Tiffany Wiemer scored in her 13th straight game which puts her just two short of Brandi Chastain’s NCAA record 15 straight.
Also on Friday, the PSU women’s volleyball team traveled to Evanston to meet Northwestern in a league match. The 4th ranked women defeated the Wildcats 3-0 keeping them undefeated and atop the B10 standings at 5-0. UncleLar niece and senior setter Sam Tortorello dished out 37 assists and UncleLar niece and senior libero Kaleena Walters led all players with 12 digs.
So Friday ended with victories by three of our teams all of whom remained in first place in the Big Ten.
Saturday opened up with the 4th ranked women’s field hockey team meeting Iowa in Iowa City. Niece Natalie Berrena scored two goals to lead the women to a 4-0 victory over the Hawkeyes. The win was the team’s 13th straight win and kept them unbeaten in league play and atop the Big Ten at 3-0. Natalie and the rest of the team hopped a flight back to State College in time for Natalie to join her “JR and Natalie” bandmates performing Saturday night at the Cafe 210 in State College (which is where UncleLar wound up celebrating the football victory).
Early Saturday evening, the women’s volleyball team continued their weekend roadtrip with a match against #6 ranked Wisconsin in Madison. The ladies came away with a 3-0 sweep of the Badgers who had been undefeated in league play up until Saturday night. UncleLar niece Sam Tortorello continued her quest to repeat as a first team All American with 40 assists. Niece Kaleena Walters came up with 18 digs to come within 3 of becoming PSU’s alltime leader. With the win Penn State became the sole undefeated team in the conference.
Later Saturday night, the football team posted their 17-10 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes. The win put the Nits undefeated and alone atop the Big Ten standings (notice a familiar theme here – three teams play, three teams win and all three end the day undefeated in conference and atop the Big Ten).
Sunday saw our soccer teams back on Jeffery Field for another doubleheader. This time the ladies went first, up against B10 foe Northwestern. This time it was a romp as they rolled over the Wildcats 8-0. Tiffany Wiemer scored again to draw within one game of Brandi Chastain’s record. Her goal was the 80th of her career putting her within two goals of PSU’s Christie Welsh’s Big Ten record for career goals. Wiemer will be a shoo in All American and one of the leader’s for the Hermann Award.
In the second half of the doubleheader, the men took on Wisconsin. The had nowhere near as easy a time of it as the women did. The men were extended into overtime before they managed to score a Golden Goal and pull out a 1-0 win over the Badgers. That win allowed the men to keep pace with the ladies undefeated and atop the B10 conference.
So for the weekend, we had five teams take the field (football, field hockey, women’s volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer) for eight contests. We won all eight and each team remained undefeated and in first place in the Big Ten conference. It was a very very successful weekend for PSU sports.