Posts tagged ‘Raquel Rodriguez’

An Award for Raquel Rodriguez

We knew Raquel Rodriguez was special back when she was the featured athlete in our Sept./Oct. 2013 issue. Two years later, she won the Hermann Trophy en route to leading Penn State women’s soccer to a national title. Now a professional, Rodriguez on Monday was named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Rookie of the Year.

Rodriguez is the fourth recipient of the award in league history, and the second Penn Stater to win an individual NWSL award – Alyssa Naeher ’10 was named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014.

Drafted second overall in the 2016 NWSL Draft by New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC, Rodriguez played in 18 of the team’s 20 matches, recording 17 starts, one goal, and one assist from her spot in the midfield. Her only goal was this right-footed strike during a match against Washington:

Her run of good form extended to the international stage, where Rodriguez was a standout for Costa Rica’s national team during Olympic qualifying earlier this year. While the squad did not qualify for the 2016 Olympics, Costa Rica came in third and Rodriguez tied for the tournament lead with six goals.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

October 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

Redemption Song: Penn State Women’s Soccer Wins a National Title

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In 2012, when I was a junior, the Penn State women’s soccer team made it to the NCAA title match. And got trounced.

Going up against the closest thing women’s college soccer has to a dynasty in North Carolina, the Nittany Lions lost in the College Cup final, 4-1. Honestly, I remembered the scoreline indicating a bigger blowout, as Penn State was thoroughly outclassed by the Tar Heels that afternoon.

That match came to mind after coach Erica Walsh and Co. won the program’s first national championship on Sunday afternoon against, ironically, UNC’s bitter rival—the Duke Blue Devils. It was the exact opposite of a dominating performance by one team over another. Instead, it was 90 minutes of back-and-forth soccer that culminated in Penn State winning the NCAA title (meaning at least one Nittany Lion team has won a national championship for the ninth consecutive year).

It was things coming full-circle. Three years ago, Penn State got run off of the pitch by a team from the Research Triangle. Sunday was the chance for redemption for Walsh and the handful of seniors who participated in that match against UNC. And because sports can sometimes be the best, that’s exactly what happened. The Nittany Lions’ goal was set up by a brilliant run and pass from senior Mallory Weber and finished by classmate Raquel Rodriguez, the only players in the starting XI for both matches.

The team was dominant for the duration of the tournament. Its attack was potent, as it netted 20 goals in six matches. Its defense was stout, as it didn’t allow a single goal during its entire postseason run. It was the type of all-around performance that you don’t even expect out of teams at the highest levels of soccer, let alone a group of college kids.

And as a fan, man, was it fun to watch. Everyone knew that this matchup was going to be about as even as it came, mostly because the two sides played a thrilling scoreless draw in Happy Valley earlier this year. But this match exceeded expectations. Both sides had opportunities to convert chances, both had long spells of possession, and both perpetually seemed like they were on the cusp of breaking the match wide open.

In the end, Penn State came out on top. Watching Walsh finally getting a national title after years of coming so close was spectacular. Watching the veterans who lost to North Carolina celebrate a championship was spectacular. And watching a team that will bring back eight starters in 2016 can only leave fans with one question: what’s going to happen next year?

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

December 7, 2015 at 2:08 pm 2 comments

From the Magazine: Rocky’s on a Roll

Expanded content from the pages of The Penn Stater.

We weren’t surprised to hear that Raquel Rodriguez had been named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. With two goals and an assist in a pair of Penn State wins last week, Rodriguez is having just the sort of impact we expected in 2013.

Photo by Cardoni

Photo by Cardoni

In fairness, (more…)

October 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm 2 comments


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