Anyone who has seen Christie Welsh play, either for the Penn State Nittany Lions or for one of the USA's Women's National Teams, knows that the 5-foot-10 forward is almost impossible to stop once she gets rolling down the field, looking to set up her cannon shot. Welsh has 12 career goals in just 19 appearances with the full national team and very few could stop her this year as she scored 25 goals with 18 assists and was the consensus college player of the year, winning both the Hermann Trophy at the Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year. On a campus of big-time athletes, the First-Team All-American was definitely a BWOC.
Life was good in Happy Valley this fall. For those of you who don't know, Penn State University is in State College, Pa., which is also known as Happy Valley. Now, I'm not quite sure why they call it Happy Valley, but I can tell that it is in a Valley and there are lots of happy people there, especially when the football team wins. Of course, that didn't happen too much at the beginning of the season, but Joe Pa and the boys rallied at the end.
So, we on the women's soccer team had to keep up the morale and our season went pretty well. We went 21-4-1 and advanced to the quarter-finals of the NCAA Tournament, but lost to UNC, 2-1. Such is life in the rough and tumble world of college soccer.
As with every season, there are memories from on the field and off. The week after we lost, we needed to blow of some steam, so our goalkeeper Emily Oleksiuk decided that she wanted go apple picking in an orchard near the school. (You can see the type of fun that is to be had in Happy Valley). Anyway, as it turned out, it was too late at night to pick apples and the temperature was below zero, so I doubt there were any apples to be picked.
So Emily made our crew of four soccer players pile into my roommate's car and we drove to Rothrock State Forest because she wanted to take us to a supposedly beautiful spot on a lake where you could see tons of stars. We walked around in the woods a little and the stars were very nice, but I think Emily overstated the spiritual value of the trip. Plus, it was freezing. So we left soon after we arrived and headed back to campus after our little adventure.
We are still getting over the sting of not making the Final Four, but Penn State is a great place to play college soccer. We get great support from the school, from the students and from the community. I know we will make another run at the title next year, although we lose Emily, so we definitely need to replace some talent in goal, and we need someone new to take us on nature walks.
Bye for now. Go Lions.
Table of Contents
1) Armchair Midfielder (U.S. Soccer's Chevy 2001 Athletes of the Year)
2) Word Association (w/ MNT forward Ante Razov)
3) D.J. for a Day (w/ U-17 MNT forward Corey Ashe)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ WNT defender Kate Sobrero)
5) Big Woman on Campus (w/ U-21 WNT forward Christie Welsh)
6) Superstar!!! (w/ MNT midfielder Earnie Stewart)
7) Mark That Calendar (WNT vs. Mexico - Jan. 12)
8) From the Bleachers (w/ frequent-flying U.S. Soccer fan Andy Mead)
9) "You Don't Know Jack (Marshall)" (Gold Cup trivia)
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