Boasting a 3-1 record and a No. 8 ranking, the Penn State women’s soccer team is undoubtedly the favorite heading into this weekend’s West Virginia 90-minute classic.
The Lions hosted the Mountaineers the previous weekend at the Penn State Invitational where West Virginia was able to overtake then-No. 1 Stanford, 1-0.
As the Lions head into Morgantown they will take on West Virginia tonight and Pittsburgh on Sunday in the second game of the Classic .
During practice this week the squad has been focused and poised as it handles the pressures off the field with fall classes beginning last Monday.
“It is the first week of classes and we have to get our players focused on why they are here,” coach Erica Walsh said. “We have gone 26 days without class, so we have to get our heads on right and know where our priorities lie.”
As student-athletes they have to handle the pressures of their academic load along with their athletic commitments.
“Our focus is more on academics at this moment,” Walsh said. “On Thursday and during our training time we [were] focused on soccer, but we have to make sure we keep the GPA up.”
West Virginia will pose as the biggest threat to Penn State this weekend with the victory over No. 4 Stanford under their belt. The Lions won the match-up last season and hold a 4-5 all-time record against the Mountaineers, but look to even the series with a win today.
“Going into [the match] knowing that they beat Stanford, because of that we have so much energy to prove to them that never should have happened,” freshman forward Mallory Weber said.
According to Weber the Lions are looking to exploit the weak spots in the Mountaineer defense this weekend by integrating more wide players into their offense.
“We have been working on playing out wide and using our wide players a lot more because they are not as good on defending the wide spaces,” Weber said.