A Football Weekend In Happy Valley…Kind Of
Arguably the best weekend in September (or late August) every year is the first home football weekend. There’s nothing better than thousands of people coming to Happy Valley for the first time since the previous November to watch the Nittany Lions square off against a non-conference foe.
The first one of those is still a few weeks away, but this is a big weekend in State College, because it’s a different kind of football weekend. Penn State’s men’s and women’s soccer programs have their only doubleheaders of the 2015 season this Friday and Sunday. Tonight’s slate features a men’s match against San Francisco and a women’s match against Duke, while Navy and Arkansas will face the men and women, respectively, on Sunday. The action begins tonight at 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Both evenings should be spectacular, but not only because of the nice weather or the fact that the promotions for both games are amazing (on Friday alone, you get a scarf for going to the men’s game and this poster for the women’s game).
No, these nights will be entertaining because they will showcase two of the premier soccer teams in the nation. Currently, the women are ranked No. 4 in America on TopDrawerSoccer.com, while the men are slotted at 15th. This makes Penn State one of the only schools in America with two programs ranked in the top-15 of both polls.
The teams also features some of the premier talent in America. In addition to ranking teams, TopDrawSoccer.com has a ranking of the top-100 players in both the men’s and women’s game. It contends that Penn State has the eighth-best male player in the country in junior forward Connor Maloney, while there are five women in the top-100: senior forward/midfielder Raquel Rodriguez – who you can read about in our most recent issue of the magazine – comes in at 13th, sophomore midfielder Emily Ogle is 27th, sophomore forward Frannie Crouse is 61st, senior forward Mallory Weber is 67th, and sophomore defender Maddie Elliston is 71st.
It should be a fantastic weekend for the “other” kind of football in State College.
Bill DiFilippo, online editor