Sport Summary - Soccer
Women's soccer was incorporated into the Big Ten Conference in 1994 and immediately produced four different regular-season champions. Wisconsin captured the first conference title in 1994, and was then succeeded by Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan. A dynasty formed in 1998 however, as Penn State earned its first Big Ten championship and went on to claim eight-straight titles through the 2005 season, which is tied for the longest active (Northwestern tennis) and third-longest streak of any women's sport in Big Ten history. Over 12 years, Penn State has won over 87 percent of its conference games and has posted a mark of 92-11-6.
Penn State's Christie Welsh is perhaps the most-decorated women's soccer player in Big Ten history as she earned the conference's Freshman of the Year honor in 1999 and the Player of the Year award in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Welsh also earned the prestigious Hermann Trophy as the nation's top player in 2001 and was named the Big Ten Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year in the spring of 2002. A four-time All-Big Ten honoree, Welsh joins fellow Nittany Lions Rachel Hoffman (1994-97) and Joanna Lohman (2000-03) along with Minnesota's Jennifer McElmury (1994-97) as the only four women's soccer players to ever receive All-Conference honors in each of their four seasons.
Lohman was also a heralded standout as she finished runner-up for the renamed M.A.C. Hermann Trophy in 2004. Her success on the field was a byproduct of her success in the classroom. The Big Ten's Freshman of the Year in 2000 and Player of the Year in 2003, Lohman was the NSCAA/adidas College Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2002 and 2003, which marked the first time ever a male or female player won the award in consecutive years. Lohman was also named the first three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and would go on to receive one of the NCAA's coveted postgraduate scholarships.
In recent years, the passing of the Nittany Lion torch landed with 2002 Freshman of the Year and 2004 and 2005 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Tiffany Weimer. A two-time runner-up for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, Weimer established the Big Ten single-season scoring record (32 goals in 2005) and finished with 91 for her career, which is also an all-time conference best. In 2005, she earned a share of the NCAA record for consecutive games with a goal, having scored in 17 straight contests. Following her career, she joined Welsh in the spring of 2006 as the only two soccer players to ever receive the conference's Suzy Favor award.
At the head of the PSU success has been Patrick Farmer and Paula Wilkins. Farmer earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and led the Lions to their first two conference championships. Since Wilkins took over in 2000, she has been honored as the league's top coach four times, including 2003, 2004 and 2005. And while Penn State has found success in the regular season, parity has played out in Big Ten Tournament play. Two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year Sue Montagne guided her Minnesota squad to the tournament title in 1995, while the late-Joe Kelley took his seventh-seeded Indiana Hoosiers to victory in the 1996 event. Since the tournament's inception in 1994, Penn State has captured three titles, while Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin have all won twice. Illinois gained its lone Big Ten Tournament title in 2003.