Penn State soccer team looking to make noise in NCAAs
College Football Videos
Depth, talent, experience, home-field advantage — it's all there for the Penn State women's soccer team.
And now, junior Taylor Schram said she's finally back in top form.
No wonder coach Erica Walsh is so confident.
“I wouldn't want to play us,” said Walsh, whose Nittany Lions (18-3-1) host Boston College (11-7-3) in an NCAA Tournament second-round game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Schram, a Canon-McMillan graduate and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's girls athlete of the year in 2010, has suffered two concussions in the past year. The first came during last year's NCAA Tournament, when Army's goalie went to punch the ball away and hit Schram's head with two fists.
Schram watched as Penn State was eliminated in the third round, and she was sidelined for another seven months. Schram received good news when her and Penn State teammate Maya Hayes were selected for the U.S. Under-20 World Cup team this summer. Schram got to train with the gold medal-winning squad in Japan — an experience she said words can't describe — but missed Penn State's first seven games this season.
During her first practice back at University Park, Schram suffered another concussion while going up for a head ball.
“I couldn't believe it was happening again,” she said. “I was more scared than anything. I didn't know if I'd have to sit out the year. The redshirt topic came up, but this will probably be our best team in my four years.”
After missing four more games, Schram passed her concussion tests and returned Sept. 30. She wasn't her usual self right away, though.
“I hadn't played a game in 11 months,” said Schram, who has four goals this season after finishing with 12 goals and 12 assists last season. “I've been trying to take small steps back. It's been a slow process. I feel like I'm finally peaking.”
Walsh said the early-season absences of Schram and Hayes — the two-time Big Ten Forward of the Year — will make the Nittany Lions a better team in the long run.
“Last year, (Schram and Hayes) were the show,” Walsh said. “They played 90 minutes a game, and ultimately, that's why we lost. We're so much more well-rounded this year.”
As a No. 1 seed, Penn State will host the next two rounds if it keeps advancing. Friday's winner faces Michigan or Portland in the Sweet 16 at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
“There's not a team out there that scares me or intimidates me,” Walsh said. “We just need to go out and play. I'll take my players over anyone else's.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates analyst Kent Tekulve recovering after heart transplant
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up
- New approach on offense has Pirates in playoff contention this season
- Pitt football coach Chryst refutes analyst Wannstedt’s opinion
- Wheel separation incidents can prove deadly; NTSB doesn’t track them
- Man found shot dead in Penn Hills
- Woman killed in crash on Birmingham Bridge
- Steelers’ Brown combats disruptive defensive ploys
- Woman killed after car hits tree in Norvelt
- Police investigate Hempfield fight
- Crosby appreciates his relationship with Penguins fans