November 5, 2012
INTO THE NITTANY LIONS DEN
LIU women visit Penn St. in NCAA 1st round
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The Long Island University women will take on No. 3 Penn State in the opening round of the NCAA Division I women's tournament, it was announced on Monday afternoon.
The Blackbirds (10-7-3), who earned an automatic bid into the field of 64 by winning their second succesive Northeast Conference tournament title, will meet the Big Ten regular-season champions on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Winners of six straight and unbeaten in their last 10 matches, the Blackbirds made NEC history on Sunday afternoon by becoming the first team to win back-to-back tournament titles away from their home venue. LIU downed Saint Francis (Pa.), 1-0, after senior Toni Smith scored the game-winner in the 86th minute, following up last season's victory over St. Francis University (Pa.) in penalty kicks in Loretto, Pa.
After missing much of last season due to injury, goalkeeper Jessica Sexton stood out down the stretch, recording 10 saves in two shutouts to earn NEC Tournament MVP honors. In addition to Sexton and Smith, seniors Katie Egan and Nicole Labo were named to the NEC All-Tournament Team.
The Nittany Lions (17-3-1) won their 15th consecutive Big Ten regular-season title and earned their 18th consecutive Division I tournament berth after compiling a 10-0-1 record in conference play. Christine Nairn, a two-time All-American, leads the team with 13 goals and nine assists.
The game will mark the first time the two schools have met in women's soccer and the second time that the Blackbirds have faced a Big Ten opponent. Earlier this year, LIU fell to Iowa at the Black Knight Classic.