Communication and possession will be the keys to success for the No. 7 Penn State women’s soccer team (5-1) tomorrow night as they prepare to take on BYU in Provo, Utah.
The Lions are flashing major wins over No. 9 Virginia and an overtime victory last weekend at West Virginia and are confident in their ability heading into the weekend.
“We feel great. We met with out captains [on Wednesday] and the pulse of the team is very positive,” Penn State coach Erica Walsh said. “We are excited for a big crowd and a very talented team to play against.”
BYU took down then-No. 11 Long Beach State by a score of 1-0 on Aug. 30 and received one vote in the NSCAA coaches poll this week, but this won’t be the toughest test for the Lions in 2012, who are undefeated on their opponents’ turfs this season.
“There is nothing that BYU is going to throw at us that we haven’t already seen from Stanford or Virginia,” Walsh said. “Possession is what we are focusing on. We want to be more patient in our attack.”
It has not all been smooth sailing for the squad who has to deal with the absences and injuries, which come with the game. The Lions look to their depth to carry them and players to fill roles outside of their traditional ones.
“[Whitney Church] and I have been pushing each other this year to control the defense with the two defenders that went down,” junior defender Bri Hovington said. “[Church] has been absolutely tremendous in stepping in even when she didn’t exactly want to play center back, she was willing to do whatever it was for the team.”
Despite missing the potent scoring duo of forwards, Maya Hayes and Taylor Schram, to the U-20 national team, the Lions have been successful thus far.
In addition to Hayes and Schram, freshman forward Raquel Rodriguez did not make the road trip with the Lions last weekend as she competed for the Costa Rican national team in Rochester, NY in her team’s 8-0 loss to the US national team.
Rodriguez is back to play with the Lions tomorrow.
Even with the absences and injuries of key parts to the team, the Lions are focused on their game plan and are confident heading into the match against BYU.
“We are feeling great, we are confident in our abilities and where we are at right now with our season,” Church said. “We are always focusing on communication throughout the team, we need to make sure to keep that tight.”