Dec. 21, 2005
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Penn State closed out its respective season in the national semifinal of the 2005 NCAA Women's Soccer Championship, as the Nittany Lions were defeated by No. 1 Portland 4-3 in penalty kicks after remaining scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods. The Pilots, who defeated PSU in the semifinals in 2002, went on to defeat UCLA, 4-0, in the final to claim the national title.
Penn State's road to the semifinal match included first and second round victories over Bucknell, 6-0, and West Virginia, 3-0, respectively. PSU defeated Texas A&M 4-1, before claiming a 2-1 victory over Santa Clara in its third-ever College Cup appearance. Both Penn State and Portland are the only teams to remain undefeated this season while the semifinal game was the first scoreless outing for either team. The Nittany Lions ended the season at 23-0-2, setting a new program record for victories in a season, while claiming their eighth consecutive Big Ten Championship.
Five Big Ten teams were awarded bids to the 64-team field of the 2005 Championship, as Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin also joined Penn State. It marked the tenth consecutive year the conference received at least three NCAA bids. Purdue and Big Ten Tournament Champion Wisconsin were the only Big Ten teams to lose in the first round. The Boliermakers lost 6-5 in penalty kicks to Wisconsin-Milwaukee while the Badgers dropped a 1-0 decision to Marquette. Purdue was competing it its third NCAA Championship and Wisconsin made its 14th and second-consecutive appearance.
Illinois and Michigan State were victorious in the first round but saw their seasons end in second round action. The Fighting Illini, making their fifth NCAA appearance, claimed their ninth shutout of the season in a 1-0, double-overtime win against Florida in the first round. They advanced to the second round only to be handed a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat by No. 2 Florida State.
Michigan State downed Bowling Green 4-0 in first round action but then suffered a 3-0 defeat to second-seeded Notre Dame. The Spartans finished with a 12-6-5 overall record, the fifth straight season they posted double digit victories.
Several Big Ten student-athletes were honored with postseason awards, including Penn State's Tiffany Weimer who was named a finalist for the Women's 2005 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, the highest individual honor in intercollegiate soccer. The senior forward will travel to St. Louis, Mo., on Jan. 6, 2006 for the announcement of the winner. Weimer was also one of four women's soccer players selected to the 2005 NSCAA/adidas Women's Division I All-America Team, as Penn State's Erin McLeod and Ali Krieger joined Weimer on the first team, while Illinois' Christen Karniski garnered second team honors. Nittany Lion Lindsay Bach and Wisconsin's Jessica Ring represented the league on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team as the graduate students wer first team selections. PSU's Erin McLeod was named to the third team.
Penn State and Wisconsin are the only Big Ten teams to have made it to the College Cup. The Nittany Lions lost in the semifinals in 2002 to Portland, 2-0 and in 1999 to North Carolina, 2-0. Wisconsin advanced to the championship match in 1991 before falling to the Tar Heels, 3-1.